As a father of 5 kids and a grandfather of 12, I have never been more worried for our country than I am today.
—FRANK WOLF, U.S. Representative from Virginia
We are now holding schools accountable for the achievement of every single child beginning in elementary school, … which is the only way we will close and attend to the untenable achievement gap that we have in our country.
—MARGARET SPELLINGS, Secretary of the Department of Education
We have to get over the notion that there is a “math gene,” because there isn’t…. All children need to develop conceptual understanding of particular topics, become proficient in that mathematics, and be able to use that to solve important problems.
—FRANCIS (SKIP) FENNELL, Professor, McDaniel College
tend to rely heavily on textbooks and avoid the open-ended explorations that are the most effective way to learn science and math. Not surprisingly, many students gradually lose interest — for example, more girls are interested in math at the beginning of middle school than at the beginning of high school. “The longer our kids stay in school, the less they like science and math,” said Ride.
The problem of underqualified teachers is especially severe at schools that serve large numbers of minority and low-income students. Research shows that the strongest influence on the performance of students in a class is whether they have a teacher with a bachelor’s degree in the subject they teach. Yet schools serving minority and poor students typically have the least qualified teachers.
The America COMPETES Act authorized a program called Teachers for a Competitive Tomorrow, which is modeled in part after the UTeach program at the University of Texas. The UTeach program encourages undergraduate students to take courses in science, mathematics, and engineering while also earning a teaching certificate. According to Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, after four years 82 percent of the program’s graduates are still teaching, and almost half of those teach in schools where the majority of students receive free or reduced-price lunches.
The Teachers for a Competitive Tomorrow program also would support current teachers to return to college to receive a science or mathematics degree. And the America COMPETES Act includes a provision supported by Representative Rubén Hinojosa of