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Summary of Florida Science and Mathematics Education Summit

Description

In a little over a year, the 2005 Florida Summit resulted in a major advance of the importance assigned to mathematics and science education in Florida. The advocacy by the leadership of the Florida Coalition for Improving Mathematics and Science Education (CIMS) led to inclusion of the Summit's recommendations in the December 2005 report of the Governor's Commission on the Future of Space and Aeronautic in Florida. The PI and CIMS chair also gave invited testimony before the education committees of both Florida Senate (2005) and House (2006). As a result, the 2006 Florida Legislature provided for a new Center for Research in Mathematics and Science Education, funded at $2,000,000 the first year and scheduled for an increase to $3,000,000 in year 2. The Center is a tangible outcome of the Summit.


The new Center is located at Florida State University (www.fcrstem.org) and will play a key role in all aspects of improving K-12 Mathematics and Science Education in Florida. In addition, the Florida Department of Education has reorganized its science and mathematics sections, moved its director into the office of the Commissioner and thus to the same level as each of the University, Community College, and K-12 Chancellors, and increased its staff. The revision of Florida's Science Standards will begin shortly. As a result of the Summit, science and mathematics education have finally moved to the front burner in Florida. It is remarkable that this success was achieved in less than two years.


NSF's investment in the Florida Summit provided the seed money that has paid off very well. We are extremely pleased that the strategy and long-term approach we had proposed in 2004 proved themselves successful and a model for other states. Many states have since held statewide summits and most have followed the pattern first used in Florida.