Texas that would create partnerships between high-need school districts and colleges, universities, and private sector companies to improve high school laboratories.
The private sector is also supporting teacher recruitment and training programs. NMSI, with support from ExxonMobil, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has made grants to 13 universities — from 52 that applied — for programs similar to UTeach. The ultimate goal, said NMSI CEO Tom Luce, is “to make sure that these programs are available in all 50 states.”
In addition, the America COMPETES Act authorizes the Math Now program that has been proposed by the administration but not yet funded. The program would use the recent report of the National Mathematics Panel to strengthen math education in elementary and middle schools so that students enter high school ready to take challenging math coursework. Teacher training would be an essential part of this program, because “teachers matter a lot,” according to Professor Francis (Skip) Fennell of McDaniel College. “We need people who know the subject and love the subject delivering it every day as early as the first grade or even earlier.”
Students who take high-level courses in high school are much more likely to do well in college. According to Spellings, “A high school student who passes an Advanced Placement exam is three times more likely to earn a college degree than those who do not. If a student is African American, just taking and passing AP exams makes it four times more likely that that child will receive a college degree.”
Individual schools, school districts, and states have been encouraging larger numbers of students to take AP courses so that they are better prepared for college-level work. For example, the O’Donnell Foundation has supported a program that provides teachers with training to deliver AP courses in the Dallas public schools, and the program has been so successful, according to Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, that it has received federal funding as well.
The administration has proposed that such programs be expanded, and the America COMPETES Act authorized such an expansion. Adequate appropriations now need to be