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Johnny W. Lott, President National Council of Teachers of Mathematics With an increasingly competitive global marketplace and changing demographics of the workforce, there is understandable concern for our country's future productivity and our ability to keep pace. This concern has sometimes been translated as a need for functional literacy for all stu- dents. Functional literacy is in some respects too simple a term for a sig- nificant challenge posed to our educational system and a very real con- cern for the populace of tomorrow. Two primary components of functional literacy are reading and mathematics. lust as reading is fundamental for a sound education and success in any academic or career path, mathematics is the foundation for achievement in science and engineering. The sustained vitality of our scientific workforce and the education of future workers are depen- dent upon the mathematics education of today's students and the qual- ity of their teachers. Thus, any workforce strategy must rest on a solid foundation of quality K-12 instruction in mathematics and science. K-12 students must have the light of creativity and imagination sparked and nurtured in their formative years. Hence, K-12 math and science education must be a priority for the National Academies, the government, and the Ameri- can people. As a priority, the National Academies, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, and all other interested par- ties must support the continual evolution of the mathematics curricu- lum in schools. lust as the needs of the workforce are changing, so must the curriculum, teaching strategies, and tools needed to deliver instruc- tion in the schools.
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PAN-~CANIZAHONAL SUMMIT A key to quality K-12 education is a highly knowledgeable and enthu- siastic teaching force. In the 1998 report, Every Child Mathematically Profi- cient: An Action Plan of the Learning First Alliance, we find, "All students of mathematics should be taught by teachers who have been well prepared in the content of mathematics and the techniques of teaching mathemat- ics" (p. 5~. Thus a high priority integral to the future workforce must be the professional development and pre-service training of all teachers of mathematics, especially those teaching in grades K-6. As a nation, we must continue to push both for more mathematics to complement the peda- gogy of these teachers and for more mathematically capable students to become teachers. If this means recommending different certification pro- grams for the nation, then let us work together to determine what those programs must be. Teacher quality should be a concern for all of us. It is a special concern of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, an organization of nearly 100,000 members committed to mathematics education of the highest quality for all students. The Council's members include both classroom teachers from kindergarten through grade 12 and teacher educators and researchers in academia, with the majority being teachers. The mix with teachers and academia has enriched the Council's work, including the development of its Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, which describes a vision of mathematics from pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Teaching mathemat- ics with understanding is the basic tenet of the Council and it is a philosophy that infuses all we do, from the professional development institutes we offer teachers to the range of publications and other forms of professional develop- ment we provide classroom teachers. All classroom and university teachers need both a solid foundation in mathematical content and a broad under- standing of how students learn mathematics. TEACHER PREPARATION AND SUPPORT The growing public discourse about new paths for teachers to enter the profession seems to have engendered a growing assumption that con- tent knowledge alone is enough for one to be a teacher. Or, that if one simply has enough content knowledge, quality teaching will follow natu- rally. For mathematics teachers, deep understanding of how one knows and learns mathematics is vitally important. And how one comes to know mathematics is a vital element in developing the mathematical learning of students. The certification of new teachers through either traditional means or alternative routes must attend to the critical elements: content and pedagogy. Regardless of the method of certification, it is critical to the success of our education system that classroom teachers are adequately prepared
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L COUNC~ OF TEACHERS OF MATHEMAHCS for the classroom, and then it is equally critical that teachers are ad- equately supported once they are in the classrooms. School systems should develop structured induction programs that include mentoring. University teacher-preparation programs should partner with school dis- tricts in induction programs by participating in the training of mentors, continuing communication with their graduates, and serving as a re- source. Mentor teachers should be provided with significant and consis- tent training and be given additional remuneration or release time for their services. Schools should set aside time specifically for the collabora- tive efforts of the beginning teacher and the mentor. And finally, district and school administrators should recognize the added demands on be- ginning teachers and their mentors and should be sensitive in making teaching assignments. Teachers' needs do not end when they have completed their induc- tion programs. Once a part of the workforce, they should have profes- sional development opportunities provided by districts and universities that include a strong focus on content knowledge, pedagogical knowl- edge, and a knowledge of Principles and Standards for School Mathematics and its applications to the classroom. DOCTORAL PROGRAMS A key to training and certifying teachers is high-quality faculty at the college and university level. The worsening shortage crisis at this level matches the problems of the entire science and engineering workforce. Thus the recruiting, training, and retention of these professionals must be one of the major initiatives of an overall program. A significant percentage of mathematics doctoral students will become postsecondary faculty. Many have no training for teaching positions; yet many will become teacher educators. We should ensure that all those who are completing doctoral degrees, and not in a research or business track, take some pedagogy coursework to be prepared to be the teacher educators of the future. Because our colleges and universities must supply our K-12 classrooms with highly qualified teachers in every sense of the word, iden- tifying core elements of doctoral programs in the United States that will prepare these postsecondary educators is a challenging and evolving pro- cess. As this development continues and as research helps us learn more about effective practices in the preparation of graduates, the more the pro- fession of mathematics education will ultimately benefit. This in turn will benefit our students, and the improved education of today's students will provide us with a better workforce tomorrow. As a discipline that is vital to the future scientific and engineering workforce, doctoral programs in mathematics education should be in-
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PAN-~CANIZAHONAL SUMMIT eluded in the National Academy of Sciences doctoral programs review. This is not a simple matter because mathematics education doctoral pro- grams cut across disciplines, but it is a necessary step for future quality and productivity. The issues of the science and engineering workforce affect us as indi- viduals and strike at the heart of our nation's leadership position in the world. At a time of uncertainty and anxiety, we owe it to our country, its future, and future generations to make a thoughtfully considered, con- certed commitment to better prepare for a tomorrow we can only imag- ine. Making an increased commitment to education and mathematics edu- cation is a basic and fundamental investment in revitalizing the science and engineering workforce of tomorrow. We must focus attention at the start of the education pipeline, K-12 mathematics education, but we must not fail to consider the other end of the pipeline, teacher educators, if we are to achieve the desired result: more scientists and engineers and a more knowledgeable and productive workforce in the future. The mission of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is to provide the vision and leadership necessary to ensure a mathematics education of the high- est qualityfor all students. With nearly 100,000 members and more than 250 afftli- ates, NC TM is the world's largest organization dedicated to improving mathemat- ics education in grades pre-kindergarten through grade 12. The Council's Principles and Standardsfor School Mathematics are guidelinesfor excellence in mathematics education and issue a callfor all students to engage in more challenging mathemat- ics. NC TM is dedicated to ongoing dialogue and constructive discussion with all stakeholders about what is best for our nation's students.
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