COMET • Vol. 7, No. 14 – 20 April 2006


Assumption Program of Loans for Education (APLE): Incentives for Future Mathematics and Science Teachers

Source: Joan Bissell, Office of the Chancellor, California State University (562-951-4716)

The Assumption Program of Loans for Education (APLE) provides up to $19,000 in assumption of educational loans for students planning to teach in mathematics or science. There are approximately 2,400 CSU APLE allocations available for 2005-06.  These awards can play a significant role in helping students to finance the costs of becoming a math or science teacher. It is the goal of the Chancellor’s Office to have all of these allocations utilized by CSU students before the end of the academic year.

A new CSU APLE Web site created to bring APLE to the attention of all potentially interested students and assisting them in applying for it is at We urge you to visit this Web site to learn about the program, and we ask for your help using it in your efforts to recruit more future math and science teachers.

Students interested in teaching math or science (and designated students pursuing teaching careers in other categories) who have junior, senior, or post-baccalaureate status in 2005-06 are eligible for APLE. Applications will continue to be accepted for 2005-06 until all allocations are utilized.

We need the help of everyone who can inform potential math and science teachers about (a) APLE and (b) the new CSU APLE Web site. The significance of making students aware of APLE is underscored by a recently released study indicating that loan debt may deter students from choosing a teaching career. The study, “Paying Back, Not Giving Back: Student Debt’s Negative Impact on Pubic Service Career Opportunities,” is available at:

Additional CSU Press Releases of Potential Interest to COMET Readers:

(a) “CSU Joins with Students to Call for New State Investments in Student Financial Aid”

(b) “Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive/Forgivable Loan Program” (for doctoral students who obtain tenure-track faculty positions at CSU campuses following graduation):



(1) Fact Sheet: The American Competitiveness Initiative: Encouraging Innovation

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary
URL (ACI-pdf):
URL (ACI-html):

On Tuesday, April 18, President Bush discussed his American Competitiveness Initiative (ACI).  As the President outlined in his State of the Union Address, the ACI commits $5.9 billion in FY 2007 and more than $136 billion over 10 years to increase investments in research and development, strengthen education, and encourage entrepreneurship and innovation. [For the full text of the ACI, please visit one of the above-listed ACI Web sites.]

Also on Tuesday, the President signed an Executive Order establishing the National Math Panel [see below], which will bring together experts in mathematics, cognitive science, and education with the goal of helping to evaluate and determine the most effective ways of teaching math–and share that knowledge with schools and teachers around the country. By January 31, 2007, the National Math Panel will provide an interim report to the President with its preliminary assessments of the best practices for teaching math. [See the text of the Act (below, next item) for specific issues the report will address.]

As the National Math Panel identifies principles for effective teaching, other teams of mathematicians and educators must be prepared to translate these research findings into practical solutions for teachers. The President’s “Math Now” programs, similar to the No Child Left Behind Act’s (NCLB) Reading First Initiative, will put effective tools into the hands of teachers so students begin to benefit from the best techniques for teaching math. “Math Now for Elementary School Students” will promote researched-based practices to ensure children get the basics of a good math education early. “Math Now for Middle School Students” will target students struggling with math, so teachers can intervene before students fall behind. The President’s 2007 Budget includes $250 million for “Math Now” programs…

Improving Math and Science Education for America’s Students

To prepare Americans to compete more effectively in the global marketplace, the ACI proposes $380 million in new Federal support to improve the quality of math, science, and technological education in K-12 schools and engage every child in rigorous courses that teach important analytical, technical, and problem-solving skills. Building on the successes of NCLB, the ACI will raise student achievement in math and science through testing and accountability, by providing grants for targeted interventions, and by developing instructional materials based on proven methods of instruction. In addition to the “Math Now” programs, the ACI includes a number of new and expanded programs, including:

*  The Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate (AP/IB) Program: This program would expand access of low-income students to AP/IB coursework by training 70,000 high school teachers over the next five years to lead AP/IB math and science courses.

*  Adjunct Teacher Corps: This initiative would provide children with the opportunity to learn from people with real-life experience by encouraging up to 30,000 math and science professionals over the next eight years to teach in our Nation’s classrooms.

(The House recently reauthorized the Higher Education Act, which included provisions for the AP/IB program and Adjunct Teacher Corps – Now the Senate must act.)

Academic Competitiveness Grants

Academic Competitiveness Grants Will Give More Students Access To A Good Education. The Deficit Reduction Act, signed into law by the President on February 8, 2006, provides funding for Academic Competitiveness Grants for students who have completed a rigorous high school curriculum and SMART Grants for college juniors and seniors studying math, science, or critical-need foreign languages.  The Academic Competitiveness Grants will provide a total of $4.5 billion in grant aid to students through the 2010-2011 academic year, including $790 million in the 2006-2007 academic year…


(2) Executive Order by President Bush: National Mathematics Advisory Panel

Source: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy.

To help keep America competitive, support American talent and creativity, encourage innovation throughout the American economy, and help State, local, territorial, and tribal governments give the Nation’s children and youth the education they need to succeed, it shall be the policy of the United States to foster greater knowledge of and improved performance in mathematics among American students.

Sec. 2. Establishment and Mission of Panel.

(a) There is hereby established within the Department of Education (Department) the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (Panel).

(b) The Panel shall advise the President and the Secretary of Education (Secretary) consistent with this order on means to implement effectively the policy set forth in section 1, including with respect to the conduct, evaluation, and effective use of the results of research relating to proven-effective and evidence-based mathematics instruction.

Sec. 3. Membership and Chair of Panel.

(a) The Panel shall consist of no more than 30 members as follows:

(i) no more than 20 members from among individuals not employed by the Federal Government, appointed by the Secretary for such terms as the Secretary may specify at the time of appointment; and

(ii) no more than 10 members from among officers and employees of Federal agencies, designated by the Secretary after consultation with the heads of the agencies concerned.

(b) From among the members appointed under paragraph (3)(a)(i) of this order, the Secretary shall designate a Chair of the Panel.

(c) Subject to the direction of the Secretary, the Chair of the Panel shall convene and preside at meetings of the Panel, determine its agenda, direct its work and, as appropriate to deal with particular subject matters, establish and direct the work of subgroups of the Panel that shall consist exclusively of members of the Panel.

Sec. 4. Report to the President on Strengthening Mathematics Education. In carrying out subsection 2(b) of this order, the Panel shall submit to the President, through the Secretary, a preliminary report not later than January 31, 2007, and a final report not later than February 28, 2008. Both reports shall, at a minimum, contain recommendations, based on the best available scientific evidence, on the following:

(a) the critical skills and skill progressions for students to acquire competence in algebra and readiness for higher levels of mathematics;

(b) the role and appropriate design of standards and assessment in promoting mathematical competence;

(c) the processes by which students of various abilities and backgrounds learn mathematics;

(d) instructional practices, programs, and materials that are effective for improving mathematics learning;

(e) the training, selection, placement, and professional development of teachers of mathematics in order to enhance students’ learning of mathematics;

(f) the role and appropriate design of systems for delivering instruction in mathematics that combine the different elements of learning processes, curricula, instruction, teacher training and support, and standards, assessments, and accountability;

(g) needs for research in support of mathematics education;

(h) ideas for strengthening capabilities to teach children and youth basic mathematics, geometry, algebra, and calculus and other mathematical disciplines;

(i) such other matters relating to mathematics education as the Panel deems appropriate; and

(j) such other matters relating to mathematics education as the Secretary may require.

Sec. 5. Additional Reports. The Secretary may require the Panel, in carrying out subsection 2(b) of this order, to submit such additional reports relating to the policy set forth in section 1 as the Secretary deems appropriate…



April 18, 2006.


Related Note:

This year, W. Stephen Wilson, Professor of Mathematics at Johns Hopkins University (, is serving as Senior Advisor for Mathematics in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education.  A listing of Dr. Wilson’s work related to education is available at   A co-authored report, “What’s Important in School Mathematics,” is available at


(3) AERA Members Elect Math-Science Education Researcher as President-Elect

Source: American Educational Research Association (AERA)

William F. Tate, Ph.D., a math-science education researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, has been elected president-elect of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), a professional society with approximately 25,000 members in the United States and abroad.  His term as president starts at the end of the Annual Meeting next April in Chicago, after serving as president-elect for a year.

Professor Tate will succeed Eva L. Baker, Ed.D., an educational psychologist who specializes in educational assessment and social methods on the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies faculty at UCLA. Dr. Baker, who also is co-director the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, & Student Testing, assumed the AERA presidency on April 11, at the close of the Association’s 87th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California.

At Washington University, Professor Tate is Chair of the Department of Education and the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor in Arts and Sciences… He has concentrated his research in two main areas: (a) on mathematics, science, and technology education, specifically in urban settings and (b) on the intersection of urban studies, race and legal thought, and American education.

Professor Tate also serves as the principal investigator and project director for the St. Louis Center for Inquiry in Science Teaching and Learning, one of 10 centers that the National Science Foundation funds in the United States. This center aims to develop an ongoing capacity to produce and diversify science education leaders, researchers and practitioners who apply research to practice in order to improve science teaching and learning…

Professor Tate, who holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in mathematical sciences education from the University of Texas at Dallas, received his Ph.D. degree with a focus in mathematics education from the University of Maryland at College Park.

An AERA member since 1991, Professor Tate has served as an editor of AERA’s peer-reviewed, scholarly quarterly American Educational Research Journal and as Program Chair of AERA’s 87th Annual Meeting, held on April 7-11 in San Francisco, California. Approximately 14,000 education researchers from 50 countries attended this meeting, which featured 2,400 peer-reviewed sessions.

Last year, he published a monograph entitled “Access and Opportunities to Learn are not Accidents: Engineering Mathematical Progress in your School” ( His journal articles have focused on the political and social dimensions of mathematics and science education, as well as urban education.

Related Note:

Four Webcasts from the 2006 AERA Annual Meeting are available at One presentation that may be of particular interest to COMET readers is “Securing the Right to Learn: Policy and Practice for Powerful Teaching and Learning” by Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford University. Many of the examples provided relate to California schools and state education policies.


(4) Variation in the Relationship Between Nonschool Factors and Student Achievement on International Assessments

Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

In a new report, NCES data were used to describe differences in nonschool factors that are related to student achievement. The data are from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2003, an international assessment of 15-year olds in reading literacy, mathematics literacy, and science literacy. The report focuses on data from 20 countries that are considered to be the most developed (based on the World Bank High Income Group).

The report investigates six nonschool factors that are related to student achievement: highest level of education attained by either of the students’ parents; the highest occupational status of either of the students’ parents; the number of books that students have access to in the home; whether students speak the native language of the country at home; students’ immigrant status; and students’ family structure.

The PISA data indicate that the observed variation in the distribution of student characteristics across countries does not place the United States at a disadvantage in international assessments compared with other highly developed countries; students with high levels of socioeconomic status had an educational advantage over their low SES counterparts across all 20 countries, even after considering the differences in the percentage of students who are immigrants, from less-advantaged homes, non-native language speakers, and other factors. The complete report can be downloaded from