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Archive for Thursday, August 17, 2000

Report urges more science education cooperation

August 17, 2000

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High school science teachers returning to the college lab. College professors getting tips on training math teachers from the teachers themselves.

School districts and universities sharing science equipment.

That kind of cooperation between higher education and public schools some of which already exists would bolster science and math training for America's schoolchildren, according to a report issued Wednesday in Washington by the National Research Council.

The report's authors said science, math and technology education should be seamless, from kindergarten to graduate school.

"The education system must bridge the traditional divide between K-12 and postsecondary educators, and collaborate in a way that mirrors athletic teams," said Herbert Brunkhorst, the panel's co-chairman and a head of science, math and technology education at California State University at San Bernardino.

The 15-member panel consisted mainly of university educators and public school officials.

The $300,000 study was sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

The panel's chief recommendations:

Educate teachers of science, math and technology throughout their careers.

Raise the status of teachers through rewards, incentives and expectations.

Hold colleges and universities more accountable for educating teachers.

Involve more scientists, mathematicians and engineers in local and national efforts at teacher education.

The panel cited an existing partnership between Kansas State University and three school districts that has teachers and college faculty working together on curriculum, teacher training and research.

The National Education Assn. is working with 14 universities to improve teacher training, said Dennis Van Roekel, a former math teacher and now secretary-treasurer of the 2.5 million-member teachers union.

"It's happening, but not nearly as quickly or universally as it needs to be," Van Roekel said.

"What we have are bonfires of new professional development, and what we need is a brush fire."

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