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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Grant to solve middle school math problem

    The National Science Foundation awarded a $4.8 million grant to the UA and Tucson Unified School District in an effort to enhance math education in middle schools.

    “”Math education is at a critical state,”” said Ginny Bohman, a former teacher who will be working for the program. “”Math isn’t the dead subject people think it is. That’s just not the case anymore.””

    The grant will be distributed over a five-year period and is intended to reimburse TUSD middle school math teachers who enroll in the new UA master’s program in middle school math education.

    Roger Pfeuffer, TUSD superintendent, said the program will fulfill two areas of need: to meet the “”No Child Left Behind”” requirements, and to create success in middle schools that will transfer into better academic careers.

    “”There is a scarcity of teachers in the math area,”” Pfeuffer said. “”We need more math teachers that are highly qualified.””

    The master’s program will take teachers three years to complete – including summer courses – and will total 32 units.

    Math education is important with today’s surge of computer use because students must learn math skills and incorporate them with computers, Bohman said.

    The program, which will be taught by UA professors, will also increase communication between high school and middle school teachers. This will help middle school teachers understand what is expected of higher-level math students.

    William McCallum, a UA mathematics professor who helped draft the proposal to the foundation, said he was excited when the schools received the grant.

    He hopes the program will bring changes and better educate students, and that by building a stronger math center in middle school, higher forms of math can be taught in high school, he said.

    “”It will create a new institution of math and education,”” McCallum said.

    Sue Adams, co-director of the UA’s Center for Recruitment and Retention of Mathematics Teachers, believes the program will bridge the gap between middle school and high school.

    Teachers from other school districts may study in the master’s program, but only teachers from TUSD will be reimbursed at the UA’s expense.

    Although only a few teachers are expected to take part in the program, they will mentor other teachers with the new information, creating a ripple effect, Pfeuffer said.

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