Carnegie Launches Math for America Chapter in D.C.

Washington, D.C. The District of Columbia, like many other cities, has a continuing need for highly qualified mathematics teachers in its middle and high schools. This nation-wide shortage has left American students unable to compete with students in other nations and ill prepared for university studies and the workforce. To combat this trend, the Carnegie Institution’s Carnegie Academy for Science Education (CASE) has launched a partnership with Math for America (MfA) to improve the mathematics education of Washington, D.C., public and charter school students.

 

James H. Simons, distinguished mathematician and president of Renaissance Technologies Corporation, founded Math for America in 2004. Its mission is “to improve the quality of mathematics education in the country's public schools by recruiting, training, and retaining effective secondary school mathematics teachers.”

 

The D.C. Math for America chapter will recruit, train, and mentor 34 fellows over 5 years. In the first year, the  fellows will obtain a Master of Arts in Teaching and teaching certification. CASE joined forces with the American University (AU) School of Education, Teaching, and Health and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics to provide the masters degree and certification. The fellows will commit to teaching for 4 years in D.C., schools after completing the AU program.

 

The first fellows will be recruited in the fall of 2008 from Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Baltimore-area colleges and universities. Six fellows will begin the program in the spring of 2009. Eight will be enrolled in 2010, 10 in 2011, and 10 in 2012. The program will provide full tuition and stipends. During the 4 years the fellows teach in D.C., they will receive frequent professional development sessions and will be provided with an experienced personal mentor.

 

Recent research indicates that rigorous mathematics education in secondary school correlates with success in college. The Carnegie Institution founded CASE in 1993 to enhance science, mathematics, and technology teaching and learning for K through 12 D.C., teachers and students. Carnegie president emerita Maxine Singer remarked, “The establishment of the MfA program in Washington, D.C., speaks to all our interests in supporting Mayor Adrian Fenty and Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee as they work to transform the city’s school system into one that ranks among the best in the country. By recruiting and training outstanding secondary school mathematics teachers for D.C., Math for America-D.C. will help our city’s children receive the educations they deserve.”

 

Irwin Kra, executive director of MfA said, “Our program was created as a model and I believe this model will thrive in the District.” 

 

Currently, MfA has placed 150 Fellows in over 50 New York City schools. Additional MfA sites have been created in San Diego and Los Angeles. This past year, MfA's program was the congressional model for the National Science Foundation Teaching Fellowship and the enhanced Robert Noyce Scholarship program.

 

Kra added, “New York City's example of making a school system innovative and vibrant can be duplicated in DC and MfA is pleased to play a role in supporting that effort. Putting the most qualified and mathematically knowledgeable teachers in the classroom will immediately inspire student learning while preparing them for the jobs of the future.”

 

“The Carnegie Institution is extraordinarily pleased to have formed this alliance with AU and Math for America to strengthen mathematics education in the District,” remarked Carnegie president Richard Meserve. “A strong education is the vehicle to improve the lives of the District’s children.”

 

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For more information about CASE see http://www.ciw.edu/first_light_case/

Additional information about Math for America is found here http://www.mathforamerica.org/index.php