NSF awards $89 million to 13 U.S. cities to improve urban math & science teaching

September 17, 2000

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has recommended 13 U.S. cities to receive awards totaling $89 million over five years to improve K-12 science, mathematics and technology education in urban school districts.

These cooperative agreements between NSF and the school districts are funded through NSF's Division of Educational System Reform. Award amounts range from $5 million to $11.8 million each over a period of five years to advance district-wide reform. Chicago, Miami and Philadelphia each will receive $11.8 million; Memphis will receive $8.7 million, and $5 million will go to Birmingham, Ala.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Fresno, Calif.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Nashville, Tenn.; Newport News, Va; Oklahoma City, Okla.; Omaha, Neb.; and Pittsburgh, Penn. The awards begin in the current academic year.

"These awards will enable the sites to expand existing improvement efforts and initiate new activities to ensure that all students have access to high quality programs in science, mathematics, and the supportive environment needed for success, " says Dr. Judith Sunley, interim assistant director for NSF's Directorate for Education and Human Resources.

Costello Brown, interim director for NSF's Division of Educational System Reform, says that these new awards, some to school districts that have never had NSF funding before, offer new opportunities for reaching a wider range of students.

"Math and science education has traditionally been aimed at a small pool of the best and the brightest," Brown says. "At a time when the U.S. is having to import workers to meet the nation's requirement for a highly skilled technical workforce, we can no longer afford to overlook the resources we have here. In these awards, we see a much stronger focus than ever before on reaching all children with vigorous math, science, and technology education."

The USP targets urban districts with a student population of at least 20,000. Districts must demonstrate that reform is significantly underway in the district and that it will have an impact on the full breadth of K-12 science and mathematics education. Districts must provide what NSF describes as "compelling plans" to scale up efforts to substantially increase student achievement in the fields of science, mathematics and technology. The plans must also show a high quality curriculum for science and mathematics that is available to a majority of students as well as improved education for teachers, both inservice and preservice. They must address the number, quality, and diversity of the teaching workforce. Finally, they must include efforts to increase the number of skilled workers entering the technological workforce by ensuring the convergence of resources and bolstering of partnerships to support a coherent program for science and mathematics for all students.
Media contact:
Charles S. Drum
NSF PR 00-63

Program contact:
Costello Brown

National Science Foundation

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