Everybody seems to agree that the United States needs to improve the quality of its math education. There's less consensus, however, on how to get there. A conference scheduled for next month in Washington will focus on that topic, specifically on the math taught in high schools. Hosted by the University of Maryland's Center for Math Education, the two-and-a-half day event will highlight such topics as improving the math curriculum, professional development in high schools, and the essential math skill needed to succeed in college. The conference will be held Sept. 25-27 at the Renaissance M Street Hotel in D.C....


As the world turns its eyes toward China for the upcoming Summer Olympic Games, former W.Va. Gov. Bob Wise has donned a sweatsuit, ready to talk international competition. But in a series of video messages being released over the next two weeks, Wise, the president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, will outline the need for the U.S. to aim to be among the best in the world not just in athletics, but in academics. In his kickoff message, Wise talks about the "Academic Olympics" and the need for high school students to compete on the world stage. "We...


The board that sets policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress has been meeting in Washington over the past few days, attempting to solve some of the trickiest issues in the world of testing. An ad hoc committee of the National Assessment Governing Board gathered Thursday to consider one such topic: how to bring more uniformity to the proportions of students that states and cities exclude from taking NAEP, or provide with special help known as accommodations, on it. It's not easy, as I discussed in a recent story. States set their own policies on how to deal with ...


Some 500 educators attending the National Reading First Conference here in Nashville this week have signed up for more information about a new national association that will push for legislation and policies based on the tenets of the federal program. State Reading First directors came up with the idea for the National Association for Reading First after learning about plans in Congress to eliminate the $1 billion-a-year grant program, according to Debora Scheffel, who directs the program in Colorado. The organization will promote inclusion of Reading First principles in the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, and work ...


There's no shortage of cheerleaders among the nearly 6,000 attendees at the National Reading First Conference here in Music City. Calling it the "5th annual celebration of the success of Reading First," Joe Conaty, who directs the program for the U.S. Department of Ed, kicked off the national conference today with a plenary session touting the benefits of the federal reading program, and lamenting its potential demise if Congress proceeds with plans to zero it out in the next budget. Deputy Secretary Ray Simon was up next, shaking his head at the looming cuts, saying Reading First "has ...


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill that would have required discussions of climate change to be added to the state's textbooks and curriculum, calling the measure an "overly prescriptive" approach. The Republican governor is no skeptic when it comes to global warming. He speaks often of the dangers of climate change on his state and the country, and he has won praise from environmental advocates for leading a high-profile fight to attempt to get the federal government to allow California to set its own, more stringent auto-emissions standards. The climate-change curriculum legislation was sponsored by Sen. Joe Simitian, a ...


Jim Rubillo has announced that he is resigning as executive director of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics after seven years in that position. NCTM, headquartered in Reston, Va., has had a strong influence on math instruction in the nation's classrooms, dating back decades. During Rubillo's tenure, NCTM released "Curriculum Focal Points for Prekindergarten through Grade 8: A Quest for Coherence" and took an active role in attempting to shape policy at many levels. The organization's president, Hank Kepner, recently informed the board and staff of the 100,000-member organization of Mr. Rubillo's decision. Kepner credited Rubillo for his ...


For years, arts education advocates have been pushing for restoring programs in schools hampered by budgets and curriculum plans that tend to marginalize those subjects. So when D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee promised art, music, and PE teachers in every school, she won widespread praise from those advocates, as well as from teachers and parents. But a study released by a consortium of D.C. organizations this week claims that the plan—which is based on a new funding formula—would create budget disparities between the city's disadvantaged schools and better-off ones, such as "teacher shortages, large class-sizes,...


Charles Smith, the executive director of the National Assessment Governing Board, has announced that he's stepping down from that post to take a position with the Washington office of ACT. The governing board, which sets policy for the influential National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, has an important role in education policy, though one that, it's safe to say, is probably not well understood by the public at large. Smith, 69, says he has sought to change that during his tenure on the board. He took the position of executive director in 2003, not long after the passage of ...


Math and science "academies" have grown more popular around the country in recent years. But the movement apparently has stalled in Gary, Ind., as Ball State University has withdrawn its sponsorship of a new school there. The school was scheduled to open on Aug. 20 in the city the Jackson Five made famous. But according to the Associated Press, university officials found that the school had not secured an adequate building, enrolled students, or hired teachers. The school was to be known as the Indiana Math and Science Academy, a charter school. A university official is quoted as saying it ...


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