Forum to look at whether schools should expect more of poor children

May 29, 2003

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Whether a more demanding math and science curriculum and raised expectations could benefit students in poor and underprivileged areas will be the topic of a June 2 and 3 forum here sponsored by the Education Policy Center at Michigan State University.

The forum, "Why Content Matters: Breaking the Link Between Poverty and Achievement," will be held at the Marriott at Metro Center, 775 12th St. NW.

Some the nation's leading education, science and math researchers will discuss the policy implications of what has been an overlooked area in the national debate about reforming K-12 schools: the link between the academic content children study and their achievement.

At the heart of the discussions will be curriculum and how and why students in poor and underprivileged areas are often exposed to less challenging and interesting coursework.

Participants will include MSU Distinguished Professor William Schmidt, former national director of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and co-director of the Education Policy Center at MSU; Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman, a physicist at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy; E.D. Hirsch, professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and author of "Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and The Schools We Need and Why We Don't Have Them;" and U.S. Rep. Vernon Ehlers of Michigan.

In addition, the forum will also take up the issue of how the structure of disciplines such as math, biology or history should be reflected in what all students study and learn, the tests they take, and the textbooks they are required to read. There will also be a discussion about the policy implications of the No Child Left Behind legislation for curriculum and testing.

The forum is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, June 2, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, June 3. For additional information, call the Education Policy Center, (517) 353-7755.

Michigan State University

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