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Five States Win Grants in N.S.F. Reform Project

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Five states will receive as much as $10 million each over the next five years in the final phase of the National Science Foundation's State Systemic Initiative Program, agency officials announced last week.

Under the latest round of S.S.I. grants, Arkansas, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, and South Carolina will each receive up to $2 million annually to support widespread, coordinated reform efforts that incorporate the efforts of public- and private-sector agencies to improve the teaching of science and mathematics.

N.S.F. officials noted last week that the terms of the agreements between the foundation and the individual states were still being worked out. In some cases, they added, states may receive slightly less than the full $10 million, depending on the details of their reform plans.

The program, which has won the acclaim of reformers because it provides funding for a wide array of initiatives without imposing bureaucratic burdens, has expanded to 26 states since the first round of grants was made in 1991.

The five states winning the final-round grants plan to pursue very different approaches to reform.

Arkansas plans to implement large-scale teacher-training programs in mathematics and science and to dedicate state funding to equip every classroom with appropriate educational technologies.

Colorado, which had twice previously failed to obtain S.S.I. funding, will establish a program called "Pursuing Equity, Achievement, and Knowledge for Students in Mathematics and Science Education.'' The project will foster the development of a network of local partnerships and regional cooperatives of schools and businesses to support standards-based reform.

New Jersey will build a network of 10 to 14 sites across the state to enhance teaching skills under a program called "Achieving Excellence in Mathematics, Science, and Technology.''

New York will expand an existing reform effort called the New Compact for Learning to the state's six largest urban districts.

South Carolina will set up a statewide system of regional education centers to help develop a cadre of "leader teachers'' in math and science.--P.W.

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