Aids Understanding of Math
The State University of New Jersey, will be the lead recipient
of up to $10 million over five years from the National Science
Foundation (NSF) to conduct a project focused on improving
urban students’ understanding of mathematics.
in the project are The City University of New York Graduate
Center and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as the school
districts of New York City, Newark and Plainfield, N.J. and
Philadelphia. The diverse partnership includes specialists
in mathematics, mathematics education, cognitive science, urban
studies and urban education.
The Center for Mathematics in America’s Cities” is designed
to discover how urban children learn mathematics, to equip
urban teachers with the most effective instructional strategies
and to leverage existing resources in urban communities to
help children learn. It will also seek to develop a research-based
model for successful mathematics education that can be used
in urban schools across the country.
substantial number of urban students do not attain the mathematical
skills and understanding needed for success in today’s world,” said
Joseph G. Rosenstein, a Rutgers mathematics professor and principal
investigator on the project. “Strategies that work for teachers
and students in other environments may not work best in the
cities. We need to know what does work.”
investigators include Jean Anyon, professor of urban education
at the CUNY Graduate Center; Gerald A. Goldin, professor of
mathematics, physics and mathematics education at Rutgers;
Janine Remillard, assistant professor of mathematics education
at Penn; and Roberta Y. Schorr, associate professor of mathematics
education at Rutgers-Newark. At Rutgers, the project is co-sponsored
by the Center for Mathematics, Science, and Computer Education;
the Graduate School of Education in New Brunswick; as well
as the Faculty of Arts and Sciences-New Brunswick and the Faculty
of Arts and Sciences-Newark.
center, which will function principally online, will receive
$2 million each year for up to five years. It will offer two-year
seminars and mentored internships for 50 graduate students
and 100 teachers, each of whom will earn a special certificate.
The seminars will be aimed at developing teachers’ knowledge
of mathematics and their understanding of how it is learned
and how it may best be taught. It will also seek to enhance
their leadership skills and understanding of urban communities
and to prepare them for career advancement. To prepare teachers
for these graduate-level seminars, the center will offer professional
development programs for more than 300 teachers.
center will involve the urban communities in supporting mathematics
education by soliciting parents to help in mathematics instruction
and to advocate for strong schools in their communities. Churches
and civic associations will be tapped to promote successful
mathematics learning, an approach that has worked in literacy
campaigns in the past.
we make mathematics more accessible to community leaders,” Rosenstein
observed, “they can encourage parents to become mathematical
resources in the schools. We need to overcome adults’ fears
of topics like fractions, which is a gateway to future learning
in mathematics, science, and other subjects and careers.”
is committed to helping improve the mathematical abilities
of children in our cities,” said Philip Furmanski, Rutgers’ executive
vice president for academic affairs. “Development of these
skills is essential in ensuring that our children will succeed
in an increasingly competitive and demanding global environment.
This program is just one of many that illustrates Rutgers’ commitment
to the children, families and communities of New Jersey.”#
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