Panel Urges Closer Cooperation Between Universities and Public Schools
By The Associated Press
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 comes amid mounting pressure to improve education by stiffening requirements for teachers and giving students high-stakes exams.
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.
Every summer, about 25 New York City schoolteachers work beside Columbia University scientists to hone their science skills.
"It will be of increasing importance that K-12 teachers understand what is going on in research science," said Robbie McClintock, who directs the Institute for Learning Technologies at Columbia's Teachers College. "And research scientists need to be aware that students can make use of the tools that they're developing."
The National Education Association 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."
The report will also go to an Education Department task force created last year to look at math and science education in K-12 and recruitment, training and retention of good teachers. Led by former senator and astronaut John Glenn, the National Commission on Math and Science Teaching in the 21st Century is due to offer its recommendations Oct. 3. ********************************************** -- Jerry P. Becker Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction Southern Illinois University Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA Phone: (618) 453-4241 [O] (618) 457-8903 [H] Fax: (618) 453-4244 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org