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Effort to Redesign Math Teacher Preparation Receives $1 Million Grant

By guest blogger Alyssa Morones

An initiative designed to improve and rethink the preparation of secondary-level math educators—and ensure they are ready to teach the common core—is getting a financial boost with a $1.1 million gift from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

The grant is being provided to the Mathematics Teacher Education Partnership, developed by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).

"One of our unique features is our purposeful collaboration among mathematicians, math teacher-educators, and K-12 math teachers," Gary Martin, a professor of math education at Auburn University and the co-director of the MTE partnership, told me in an interview.

The partnership, which includes public universities, community colleges, school systems, and stakeholders from 30 states, will use the money specifically to prepare middle school and high school math teachers for the shifts in instruction envisioned by the Common Core State Standards, according to a news release. The partnership is basing its approach around the Carnegie Foundation's Networked Improvement Community model, which enables mathematicians and personnel to collaboratively design solutions while they prepare teachers for the common core.

"The common core really brought this issue to the forefront," said Martin. "It comes with a lot of changes in what we need to do to prepare students to be ready to teach mathematics to a higher standard."

The program will develop ways to enhance candidates' clinical experiences and improve teachers' mathematics knowledge, the news release said. It will also work on finding better ways to recruit and retain teacher candidates, especially for underserved populations.

Math education plays a special role in a student's curriculum, according to Herbert Clemens, the chair of the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences and professor of mathematics at The Ohio State University, in the press release. It's built into the foundation of all STEM subjects.

He explained that "widespread expertise in these fields is one of the most critical prerequisites for a high achieving economy."

The grant builds on $100,000 in funding that the partnership previously received from the Helmsley Trust as well as earlier grants from the National Science Foundation and 100Kin10, a multi-sector network that supports STEM teachers.

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