Plan Seeks To Increase Minorities in Math, Science

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An advocacy group for minority education last week unveiled a plan for improving science and mathematics instruction that calls for a five-fold increase in the number of minority students who enter precollegiate teaching by the year 2000.

At least 30 percent of those new teachers would teach math and science, officials of the Quality Education for Minorities Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Network proposed at a press conference here.

The plan notes demographic projections indicating that increasing numbers of minorities will enter the workforce by the turn of the century. As a result, it is "imperative that the nation take extraordinary steps to maintain America's leadership in science and technology by preparing minorities for greater levels of participation'' in science, math, and engineering, the plan recommends.

Shirley McBay, a former dean for student affairs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the president of the Q.E.M. Network, presented the proposal, which she described as a "comprehensive national plan'' for increasing minority participation in math and the sciences.

Sponsors estimate that the total cost of their proposal would be $18 billion over eight years, which they hope to raise from private foundations and science-oriented government agencies.

'Rigorous' Curricula Urged

Quality Education for Minorities is a Washington-based nonprofit group dedicated to improving educational opportunities for minority students.

The Q.E.M. Network of 60 postsecondary institutions, public-school systems, and professional and academic associations includes such large school districts as Milwaukee; Oakland, Calif.; Pittsburgh; Newark, N.J.; Dade County, Fla; and Tucson, Ariz.

The plan released last week outlines three goals, including increasing the number of newly qualified minority teachers from the 6,000 who graduated in 1986 to 30,000 by the year 2000.

The plan also calls for quadrupling the number of minority students receiving bachelor's degrees in the physical and life sciences and engineering, from 17,000 in 1987 to 68,000 by 2000, and expanding the number of minority students receiving science and engineering doctorates from 389 in 1987 to 1,200 by decade's end.

The report also calls for the adoption of "rigorous'' math and science curricula at the K-12 level.

Copies of the report, entitled "Together We Can Make It Work,'' can be obtained from the ñ.å.í. Network, Suite 350, 1818 N St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036; (202) 659-1818.

Vol. 11, Issue 30, Page 9

Published in Print: April 15, 1992, as Plan Seeks To Increase Minorities in Math, Science
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