$2 million NSF award to improve state's math ed

By Jeff Austin

Indiana University has announced the creation of the Center for Mathematics Education, which has been awarded a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to improve K-12 mathematics education throughout Indiana.

The center is a university-wide operation that will be based in the office of IU President Myles Brand and will link mathematics, educational and technological resources from every campus with the stakeholders in Indiana education, including teachers, administrators, parents and state officials. A primary focus of the center will be to develop performance-based and technologically rich teacher preparation and in-service programs.

The center is co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Education and the School of Continuing Studies at IU.

William Frascella, who has served for the past five years as chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at IU South Bend, will be director of the center. Frank Lester, professor of education at IUB, and Daniel Maki, professor of mathematics at IUB, will serve on the executive committee.

The center will use the NSF grant to help launch the Indiana Mathematics Initiative (IMI), a new state-wide program developed in partnership with the Indiana Education Network (IEN). The IEN is an alliance of 12 urban Indiana school districts that includes Anderson, Fort Wayne, the Indianapolis area, Muncie, northwest Indiana, South Bend and Terre Haute. Funded through the NSF's Local Systemic Change Program, the five-year collaborative project will provide teachers with seminars and workshops, technical support, leadership development and coordination related to state reform efforts.

What makes this project truly innovative, Frascella explained, is that it brings together groups that do not customarily join forces to solve common problems -- mathematicians, mathematics educators, school teachers and administrators, parents, curriculum developers and publishers, and state officials.

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