A Survey of State Initiatives
The New York board of regents in June approved a proposal to require three years of mathematics for students planning to compete for a state-college scholarship and two years for all other students. The minimum requirement is now one year.
The board also passed a proposal to require students to take at least 115 minutes of math and science instruction per day in the 7th and 8th grades and instruction in computer literacy throughout their 12 years of schooling.
The regents also urged school districts to allow students who show a strong aptitude in math to begin their three-year math sequence in the 8th grade so that they can pursue more advanced study in high school.
The board of regents is scheduled to act on proposals for increasing science requirements at its meeting this month.
A number of bills that would have affected math and science education were defeated in the waning days of the legislative session that ended this month, a result that had been expected because of the state's financial difficulties. The most prominent bills originated with the state education department and have the backing of the chairman of the Senate education committee.
The bills would have provided $60,000 in college scholarships for prospective teachers, $400,000 in fellowships for graduate study, $720,000 for a "consultantship" program, in which 24 teachers would serve as special advisors to districts, and $1.1 million for math and science inservice programs.
The state is just now starting to feel the effects of a shortage of teachers of math and science, said Fredric Paul, chief of the bureau of mathematics. Mr. Paul said that the state does not have any figures for shortages but that noncertified teachers were used in many districts last year.
"The colleges are putting out next to nothing," he said, noting that the education school at the State University of New York at Albany, the state's largest, graduated only 12 math and science teachers this year.
The New York State Business Council, a state group of industry leaders, has in the last year worked with the state education department to increase business involvement in public schools.