Research demonstrates that teacher quality correlates to student academic achievement. No Child Left Behinds Mathematics and Science Partnerships program provides grants to strengthen math and science instruction in our nations schools. In an effort to continue to strengthen math and science instruction, President Bushs FY 2006 Budget request increases funding for the Mathematics and Science Partnerships program to $269 million, an increase of 51 percent over the 2005 level. This increase will support $120 million in competitive grants to accelerate high school students math learning, especially those who are at risk of dropping out of school because they lack basic math skills. The following are excerpts from a recent article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA) highlighting how a California school district is benefiting from these No Child Left Behind funds:
"Some math teachers in the Pajaro Valley School District will soon take part in a new program designed to help them teach more effectively while meeting new standards set by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The district received almost $994,000 through a competitive grant process from the state Department of Education for math teachers in fifth grade through any grade that teaches early algebra.
"With the money, the district has one year to form a program aimed at making its teachers even better. Pajaro Valley was one of only 26 districts or county education offices in the state to receive a grant. Given our situation, with so many schools in (program improvement mode) the importance of professional development is even more evident, said Barbara Bidlingmaier, a former Aptos Junior High teacher and the grants administrator. Its the only way to move schools forward."
"In partnership with UC Santa Cruz and other math education organizations, the plan also includes bringing in undergraduate students to help teachers in the classroom. Were really excited about this, [said Cindy Cordova, director of federal and state programs for the district]. The grants purpose is to improve math and instruction, with a pilot program for integration of science. The grant will fund expert coaches for teachers, but students remain the top concern. The ultimate goal is to support student achievement, Cordova said. Studies show theres a strong correlation between teacher effectiveness and student achievement.
"The California Mathematics and Science Partnership grant program, administered by the California Department of Education, focuses on academic achievement by enhancing the content knowledge and classroom skills of teachers through professional training. One of the major functions of No Child Left Behind is that every teacher is very advanced in the content they teach, said Kay Garcia, educational program consultant with the California Department of Education."
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