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Newsclippings and Press Releases


News Clippings

submitter: Indiana Mathematics Initiative
description: News Stories and Press Releases about the Indiana Mathematics Initiative

published: 10/22/1998
posted to site: 10/22/1998


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - 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- 1 2 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 fU College of Arts and Sciences, The fU School of Education and the IU School of Continuing Studies. 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 RJ Bloomington, and Daniel Maki, professor of mathematics at TU Bloomington, will serve on the Executive Committee of the Center.

The Center will use the $2 million NSF grant to help launch the Indiana Mathematics Initiative (IMI), a new state-wide program developed in partnership with the Indiana Education Network (IEN), an alliance of 12 urban Indiana school districts that includes Anderson, Fort Wayne, the Indianapolis area (Lawrence, Pike, Warren and Wayne townships), Muncie, Northwest Indiana (Gary, Hanimond and East Chicago) South Bend, and Vigo County (Terre Haute). The five-year collaborative project, funded through the NSF's Local Systemic Change program, will provide teachers with seminars and workshops, (MORE-center) technical support, leadership development and coordination related to state educational reform efforts.

"New reform mathematics textbooks and curricular materials - stressing problem solving, the intelligent use of technology, and more effective assessment tools - are rapidly becoming available for middle school and high school students," Frascella said. "This creates two problems for school teachers and administrators: They have to know how to identify and adopt truly excellent reform materials from the merely 'gimmicky,' and they need access to comprehensive in-depth programs that assist teachers in mastering the mathematics and pedagogy in these materials for effective classroom use."

A major focus of the Indiana Mathematics Initiative will be to provide significant professional development resources and programs to the participating districts, their teachers and administrators, as they adopt and implement textbooks and other curricular materials based on national and state standards. The Indiana Education Network's contribution to the IMI project is unique not only in terms of teacher training, but also in the way it fosters collaboration among the various constituents involved in developing and implement new curricula.

"What makes this project truly innovative, Frascefla 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. The most lavishly funded reform efforts in the past have failed because one or more of these key groups were not included in their plans, AU the money in the world can not make up for that deficiency. We are trying not to make that mistake. By combining the resources of the Indiana Education Network and all campuses of Indiana University we were able to assemble the kind of broad-based team that is required.

Barbara Moore, executive director of the Indiana Education Network, described another forward-thinking dimension of the project. "The PM project is distinctive in that school administrators and classroom teachers developed the project design,"she explained. "Collaboration among Indiana University, the Indiana Education Network and the National Science Foundation provides the resources, personnel and technical assistance to support meaningful mathematics reform."

The advantages of the IU-IEN collaboration were singled out by the National Science Foundation as a significant strength of the AU proposal. With prior funding from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., the IEN had already laid significant groundwork for teacher enhancement in Indiana. Complementing the IEN's readiness were the resources and experience Indiana University has gained through genuine mathematics education reform projects such as "Mathematics Throughout the Curriculum." In this ongoing program, all IU campuses are reforming the way college mathematics courses are designed and taught to all majors at all levels of instruction.

"The new Center for Mathematics Education and the Indiana Mathematics Initiative are leading examples of how Indiana University is fulfilling its mandate to strengthen partnerships that reach beyond the university," said IU President Myles Brand. "By working in collaboration with the Indiana Education Network, the resources of IU can be brought to bear on one of Indiana's most pressing needs, preparing today's students for the callenges of a new millennium.

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