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Return to October 23rd, 1997 Memo to Secretary Riley...

Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 16:55:50 -0500
From: Melissa_Chabran@ed.gov (Melissa Chabran)
Subject: Memorandum regarding pro-mathematics action
To: pdx4d@teleport.com

                                                          November 17, 1997
     Dear Mr. Urner:
     Secretary Riley has asked me to respond to your letter regarding the 
     pro-mathematics campaign you are organizing and your commitment to 
     improving the public perception around this important subject.  I can 
     assure you that this Administration remains steadfast in its 
     determination to support challenging mathematics curriculum and 
     instruction that has a lasting effect on our youth.  Indeed, one of 
     the key priorities outlined by President Clinton in his 1997 State of 
     the Union address is that all students be able to master challenging 
     mathematics, including the foundations of algebra and geometry, by the 
     end of the 8th grade.  
     To reach this goal, President Clinton asked the U.S. Department of 
     Education to support the development of a voluntary national test in 
     mathematics at the 8th grade.  In addition, the Department has put in 
     place a mathematics initiative focusing on 6 core strategies:  (1) 
     build public understanding and engagement; (2) improve the preparation 
     of future teachers of mathematics by challenging colleges and 
     universities and providing good information and tools; (3) develop 
     opportunities and incentives for more effective professional 
     development of teachers of mathematics by providing good information 
     and tools; (4) upgrade curriculum by providing schools with good 
     information about existing materials, guidance in selection and 
     implementation, and spurring development of effective supplementary 
     materials; (5) increase the capacity of federal programs to improve 
     mathematics instruction; and (6) build a research and evaluation base. 
     Your proposal to organize a "National Walk Out of Math Class Day" 
     however, is not one which we can assist you.  Our research tells us 
     that there are a variety of ways of gaining student interest in 
     mathematics.  For instance, the programs featured in the Mathematics 
     Equals Opportunity Report report convey the importance of rigorous 
     mathematics as a gateway to college and future success.  While we 
     recognize the value of youth becoming involved and interested in the 
     path of their own education, we also know that through high 
     expectations and good curriculum and instruction, students are 
     motivated to reach high levels of academic achievement.  
     We  appreciate your concern for this important issue and wish you the 
     best of luck in your endeavors.  We value your partnership in 
     improving mathematics education among students.  Please keep us 
     informed of your future endeavors and accomplishments.  
                                            Melissa Chabran
                                            Planning and Evaluation Service

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