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If K-12 teachers are to teach science and math up to new standards, colleges and universities must markedly improve their training of teachers, a study concludes.

"Too many new teachers enter school systems underprepared, without really understanding what science and mathematics are, and lacking the excitement of discovery and the confidence and ability to help children engage knowledge," says the report released last month by an advisory committee to the National Science Foundation.

The report's authors call on undergraduate science, math, engineering, and technology departments to work more collaboratively with schools of education to make potential teachers comfortable in such disciplines. Two-year colleges, which have many prospective teachers, must also be more significant partners in teacher preparation, says "Shaping the Future: New Expectations for Undergraduate Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology."

Higher education should also forge more partnerships with precollegiate education and encourage professors to talk more with K-12 teachers about their needs, said Melvin D. George, the president emeritus of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., and a member of the committee.

Copies of the report are available free from the National Science Foundation, Division of Undergraduate Education, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, Va., 22230; (703) 306-1670.

It's no news that many American youths--as well as adults--have turned into couch potatoes. Now a federal report implies that schools may be accomplices in the sedentary ways of children.

High school students still take physical-education classes in about the same proportion they did in the first half of this decade, says "Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General." Yet, daily attendance in those classes dropped from 42 percent to 25 percent in that time, notes the report, which was issued last month.

Moreover, only 19 percent of the students reported that they were physically active for at least 20 minutes in their daily gym classes. Research, however, shows that a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes of daily moderate physical activity would improve the quality of life.

"School-based interventions have been shown to be successful in increasing physical activity levels," the report says.

An executive summary of the report is available by calling toll-free (888) CDC-4NRG or via the Internet at

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