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E.D., N.S.F. To Pool Funds For Math, Science Education

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WASHINGTON--Secretary Of Education Lamar Alexander and Walter E. Massey, the director of the National Science Foundation, last week signed an agreement to pool their agencies' resources and to jointly plan and develop programs in precollegiate mathematics and science education.

The "memorandum of understanding" would enable the agencies, which together provide 85 percent of federal spending on precollegiate education, to target $657 million "toward helping our children learn math and science to world-class standards," Mr. Alexander said.

"To combine these two forces is a significant stop forward," he added.

Mr. Massey said the agreement would help cement the link between science research, which the N.s.F. focuses on, and education, the primary mission of the Education Department.

"Separating science from science education is wrong, and separating science education from education is just as wrong," he said.

Under the agreement, the two agencies will establish a working group of about 10 senior-level officials who will meet on a regular basis and set their own agenda.

The group's first priority will be to develop efforts to collaborate on training math and science teachers, according to Luther S. Williams, assistant director of the N.S.F. and head of the education and human resources directorate.

Teacher-Training Efforts

Through their combined efforts, the two agencies could double, to 40,000, the number of teachers each year who receive intensive training in methods to teach the subjects, he said.

"We have to get the country out of the business of improperly training math and science teachers," Mr. Williams said.

Mr. Massey added that the joint program would also enable states to use funds from the E.D.'s Eisenhower Mathematics and Science Program to participate in the N.S.F.'s statewide systemic-reform initiative.

The memorandum states that the interagency working group will also address: . Identification and development of common strategies for initiatives in math and science education;

  • Review of new and existing programs to identify opportunities for collaboration;
  • Exchange of information on pending legislation; and
  • Development of a joint four-year plan for implementing the Administration's math- and science-education program.

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