Leadership Symposium Early Bird Deadline Approaching | Join K-12 leaders nationwide for three days of empowering strategies, networking, and inspiration! Discounted pricing ends March 1. Register today.
Science

Companies Unveil Projects to Improve Math, Science Learning

By Rhea R. Borja — September 27, 2005 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Two multinational companies have announced plans to donate millions of dollars—and, in one case, encourage some of its own employees to become teachers—to help American students stack up better in mathematics and science against students from China, India, and other fast-developing nations.

The Fairfield, Conn.-based GE Foundation was expected to announce on Sept. 26 that it will donate a total of $100 million over five years to raise math and science scores in up to five school districts around the country and increase their numbers of graduates going on to college.

The first district to receive a grant will be the 97,000-student Jefferson County, Ky., school system, which includes Louisville. The district received a four-year $25 million grant, foundation officials said last week. They will announce the remaining districts over the coming year.

The school system will use the money to purchase a districtwide math and science curriculum, provide professional development to teachers, and engage the community, among other uses. Only 38 percent of students in the district’s 4th, 7th, and 10th grades scored at the proficient level on state math tests last year, and only 37 percent of 4th, 7th, and 11th graders were proficient in science, district officials said.

Earlier this month, the Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM International Foundation said it will help train up to 100 of its employees to become math and science teachers in K-12 schools. Employees will receive $15,000 each from the company for college tuition and teaching stipends, for a total of $1.5 million.

The newly announced initiatives coincide with mounting concern voiced by business leaders and heads of corporate foundations about the need for schools to do a better job of preparing students to work in a knowledge-based economy.

“We’re becoming a technology-based society, so it’s critical to have a population with the ability to move into … math and science [careers],” said Bob Corcoran, the president of the GE Foundation, the charitable arm of the General Electric Co.

Techies as Teachers

Officials of the IBM Foundation pointed to projections by the U.S. Department of Labor showing that the United States will see a 51 percent rise from 1998 through 2008 in jobs related to science, engineering, and technology. They also cited figures from the U.S. Department of Education projecting that the nation will need more than 260,000 secondary math and science teachers by the 2008-09 school year.

Many of the IBM employees who become teachers through the pilot “Transition to Teaching” program are expected to be close to retirement, say company foundation officials, although “midcareer” professionals will also be eligible to apply.

Candidates for the program will need to have at least 10 years of employment with IBM, a bachelor’s degree in math or science or a master’s or doctoral degree in a related field, and experience teaching, tutoring, or volunteering in schools.

The program’s first participants will begin taking education courses and student-teaching in January in New York state, North Carolina, and other locations.

“[Our employees] want to continue working in positions that … give back to society in an extremely meaningful way,” said Stanley S. Litow, the president of the IBM International Foundation and the vice president of IBM Corporate Community Relations, in a statement. “Transferring their skills from IBM to the classroom is a natural for many.”

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the September 28, 2005 edition of Education Week as Companies Unveil Projects to Improve Math, Science Learning

Events

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Science Q&A The Skill Students Need to Find Reliable Scientific Information
A high school environmental science teacher shares how she incorporates media literacy into her lessons.
5 min read
Icons on theme of climate change.
bsd555/iStock/Getty
Science Opinion High-Quality Science Instruction Should Be 3-Dimensional. Here's What That Looks Like
Cookie-cutter lab assignments that ask students to follow explicit instructions to reach the "right" conclusion limit learning.
Spencer Martin
4 min read
Screen Shot 2024 02 07 at 1.23.09 PM
Canva
Science The NAEP Science Exam Is Getting a Major Update. Here's What to Expect
For the first time in 20 years, "the nation's report card" is updating how it gauges students' understanding of science.
4 min read
Yuma Police Department forensic technician Heidi Heck shows students in Jonathan Bailey's fifth grade science class at Barbara Hall Elementary School how fingerprints show up under a special light during a presentation about forensic science on March 1, 2023.
Yuma Police Department forensic technician Heidi Heck shows students in Jonathan Bailey's fifth grade science class at Barbara Hall Elementary School how fingerprints show up under a special light during a presentation about forensic science on March 1, 2023.
Randy Hoeft/The Yuma Sun via AP
Science Opinion STEM Is Failing People of Color. What Educators Can Do
Students, especially students of color, need fresh incentives to pursue the fields, explains a STEM professor.
Ebony O. McGee
5 min read
Illustration of a scientist holding a giant test tube.
iStock/Getty + Vanessa Solis/Education Week