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Math Ed. Strategies for Inner City Kids

GSE will be among three participants in a five-year, $10 million NSF grant to create a center for improving math education in city schools. The Center will focus on discovering how urban children learn mathematics, equipping urban teachers with effective instructional strategies and developing a research-based model for successful mathematics education in America's cities. The project, MetroMath: The Center for Mathematics in America's Cities unites Penn, lead-recipient Rutgers, and the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center, with other institutions, and the school districts of New York City, Philadelphia, Newark, and Plainfield (NJ). 

According to Dr. Janine Remillard, a GSE assistant professor and co-principal investigator of the project, participants will develop research-based initiatives to increase the knowledge of mathematics teachers and school leaders through the programs at each university in the partnership.

"The Center's mission will be to develop a core of leaders in math education working with urban schools and urban communities," says Dr. Remillard. "The interdisciplinary design of the Center assumes that improving math education requires knowledge from a variety of perspectives in mathematics and in education, urban studies, and cognitive science."

Participating faculty bring expertise in a wide range of specialties, including mathematics, mathematics education, cognitive  science, urban studies, and urban education. Educators from a number of public school districts and institutions in PA, NJ and NY will be involved.

Dr. Joseph G. Rosenstein, a Rutgers mathematics professor, is the principal investigator. Other team members are Dr. Jean Anyon, professor of urban education at the CUNY Graduate Center;  Dr. Gerald A. Goldin, professor of mathematics, physics, and mathematics education at Rutgers; and Dr. Roberta Y. Schorr, associate professor of mathematics education at Rutgers-Newark.

Over five years, the Center will offer two-year seminars and mentored internships for 50 graduate students and 100 working teachers, each of whom will earn a special certificate. These seminars will be aimed at developing teachers' knowledge of mathematics, how it is learned and how it may best be taught, as well as enhancing their leadership skills and understanding of urban communities, and to prepare them for further career possibilities. To prepare teachers for the graduate-level seminars, the Center will offer professional development programs for over 300 teachers.

The Center will involve 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.


  Almanac, Vol. 50, No. 16, December 16, 2003