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NCTM Welcomes Legislative Priority on K–12 Math Education

RESTON, Va., August 1, 2007 — The agreement reached by Senate and House conferees on S. 2272, the America COMPETES Act, was welcomed today by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).  The legislation includes a dedicated focus on enhancing mathematics education in elementary and middle schools, and on math coaches.

“The Council has been working hard the past two years to emphasize the importance of mathematics education as the critical foundation for all STEM careers and key to America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace,” said NCTM President Francis (Skip) Fennell.  “This legislation shows that policymakers not only understand the importance, but also support dedicated funding for K–12 mathematics education.”

The conference agreement authorizes new grant programs to enhance math education at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.  In addition to support for best practices and in-service training, the bill provides targeted help to low-income students who are struggling with mathematics.  NCTM is hopeful that Congressional authorizers will work to fund some of these new, but crucial, initiatives in the current spending cycle.  The conference agreement follows through on a commitment to ensure U.S. students, teachers, businesses, and workers are prepared to continue leading the world in innovation, research, and technology well into the future.

The bill also includes a provision to provide in-service training for mathematics coaches who can assist secondary school teachers to develop and improve students’ mathematical abilities and knowledge, and assist teachers in assessing and improving student achievement. 

“We know that the lack of proper mentoring and support for teachers is one reason so many leave the profession in their first few years of teaching,” said Fennell.  “The guidance and support provided by a growing group of math coaches will help early and mid-career teachers and afford better learning opportunities for students.”

The Council also expressed its support for the formation of an expert panel through the National Academy of Sciences to provide information on promising practices for strengthening teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics at the elementary and secondary school levels.  The panel would build on the work of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel to synthesize their work with promising practices

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics was founded in 1920 and is a nonprofit, nonpartisan education association.  With 100,000 members and more than 230 Affiliates in the United States and Canada, NCTM is the world’s largest organization dedicated to improving mathematics education for all students.  The Council’s Principles and Standards for School Mathematics provides guidelines for excellence in mathematics education.  Its recently released Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8 Mathematics identifies the most important mathematical topics for each grade level.

Contact: Gay Dillin, Media Relations Manager, 703-620-9840, ext. 2189.

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