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Report Calls For Grassroots But Comprehensive Changes

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A $1.5 million study from the Carnegie Corp. of New York focuses on weaknesses in U.S. math and science education. The report calls for more comprehensive math and science content, higher standards and evaluation, improved training for educators, and more innovative institutions. The success of this initiative requires participation from all stakeholders, including business leaders, politicians, principals, and professors.

The report supports current reform initiatives, which include a 46-state consortium that aims to develop a common set of "fewer, clearer, and higher" reading, math, and science standards. At the study's rollout, Carnegie commissioners noted that the improvement of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education will demand far more than simply requiring yearly student progress on reading and math tests. "Even though the target is better math and science education, you probably can't achieve it without looking at the entire system," said commissioner Katherine Ward.

The study supports a strategy that involves scaling up what U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan terms local "islands of excellence" such as Urban Advantage, a program that taps the resources of New York City museums to teach middle school science. Among the things the program does is fulfill a requirement that all eighth-graders in the New York public schools carry out a long-term scientific investigation.

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