Stronger Math and Science Education Key to Boosting U.S. Competitiveness

Jul 23, 2008 Issues: Elementary and Secondary Education

Improving the teaching and learning of mathematics and science in U.S. schools is vital to maintaining America’s global leadership, witnesses told the Committee in yesterday's hearing.  A report released in March by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel found that the nation’s system teaching math is “broken and must be fixed” if the U.S. wants to maintain its competitive edge. Among other things, the panel called for a comprehensive, systemic effort to strengthen math education, including improving teacher training and professional development.  The panel of experts, which included business leaders, a teacher, and the first American woman to travel in space, recommended expanding partnerships between the business and education communities that focus on bolstering STEM education, and increasing training and support programs for teachers.  The witnesses also urged lawmakers to fully fund the America COMPETES Act, a law enacted by the Democratic Congress last year to provide education and job training for students and workers in math, science, technology, and engineering fields. Last year, Congress approved $193 million in funding for math and science education in the COMPETES Act, but President Bush vetoed that legislation.