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The National Science Foundation is shelling out $1.5 million to Math for America San Diego — a nonprofit consortium of local school districts and colleges — to supply new mathematics teachers across the county.

Their goal is to keep math teachers flowing to schools by providing scholarships, mentoring from more experienced teachers and extra training. Math teachers in the program commit to teaching for four years in high schools in the county where they are most needed. There are now 16 fellows in the Math for America San Diego program. The program’s overall goal is to add 60 mathematics teachers to schools by 2015.

A press release from the group states:

According to Dr. Guershon Harel, professor of mathematics at UCSD and principal investigator of the Noyce grant, “the quality of mathematics teaching required to meet this challenge depends on a deeper understanding of the mathematics currently taught in high schools. Through intensive engagement in mathematical topics, our Fellows come to understand that effective teaching is not a matter of gimmicks, entertainment or systems of reward and punishment. The best learning environment is created by fully engaging students’ inherent intellectual need to solve problems.”

This ties into a big question I’ve been looking at: What are schools doing right — or wrong — in the world of math and science? I’m most interested in hearing from people with math or science expertise who are also parents or have first-hand experience with San Diego County school systems. Please send me your thoughts at emily.alpert@voiceofsandiego.org — or just post your comments on the blog!

EMILY ALPERT

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