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Committee Discusses How to Spark Younger Children's Interest in Math And Science

Details available at the House Science & Technology Committee's website

Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) joined Ranking Member Ralph Hall (R-TX) and Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR) in Rep. Hall's congressional district to hear witnesses discuss how to keep students interested in math and science throughout middle school and high school, and how to translate that interest into rewarding careers that will benefit the nation, long-term. Further, the Committee examined the establishment of a Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM)-based public elementary school and the progress that it is making with its students, which could serve as a model for the nation.

"The National Academies' 2005 report Rising Above the Gathering Storm, found that 68 percent of eighth graders received math instruction from a teacher with no degree or certification in math and less than a third of 4th and 8th grade students are proficient in math," said Chairman Gordon. "We used the recommendations in that report to write the America COMPETES Act, which was signed into law last year. But there is still work to be done. The economy will depend on having a highly skilled workforce in order to compete globally. We have enormous responsibility to support younger students' growth, to stimulate their interest, and to ensure that they are prepared for higher level work in subsequent grades and beyond."

Testimony was given at the hearing by Dr. Cora Marrett, Assistant Director for the Education and Human Resources Directorate, National Science Foundation (NSF).

The hearing took place at the Martha and Josh Morriss Mathematics and Engineering Elementary School in Texarkana, Texas. The school is part of a vertical aligned K-16 engineering education collaborative between Texas A&M University-Texarkana and Texarkana Independent School District. It provides mathematics and pre-engineering integrated curriculum and pre-engineering electives for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Students graduating from the elementary school will be able move into an advanced Math and Science program at Texas Middle School. This school seeks to serve as a national model for K-16 collaboration in how young children can become engaged in and educated for careers in mathematics and engineering.

Go to the Committee's website to read more about this hearing, including witness testimony documents.