In This Issue...
ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (NATIONAL FOCUS)
(1) President Bush's State of the Union
URL (full text): http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2005-02-02-sou-text_x.htm
URL (White House report): http://www.whitehouse.gov/stateoftheunion/2005/
The following is excerpted from the White House report of the
State of the Union Address:
...Strengthening High Schools: The No Child Left Behind
is bringing important reforms to America's elementary schools by
on standards and accountability for results. The early grades
progress across America, but we must improve America's high
President wants high standards to be applied to AmericaÍs high
to ensure that every student graduates with the skills needed to
in college and a globally competitive workforce. His Fiscal Year
budget will provide $1.5 billion in funding for a new High
to help states hold high schools accountable for teaching all
and to provide effective and timely intervention for those
are not learning at grade level. This initiative includes
for state assessments in high school to ensure that diplomas are
Providing Students with Assistance for Quality Higher
current Federal student-aid system does not serve American
and is not the best use of taxpayer money. By reforming the
program, the President's Fiscal Year 2006 budget will increase
Pell Grant award to $4,150 this year and $4,550 over five years
more students pay for higher education and prepare for a
lifetime of achievement.
The President's budget request will increase resources for Pell
by more than $15 billion over the next 10 years to provide extra
for the Nation's low-income studentsf
Helping America's Youth: Statistics show that boys are
greater risk than girls for learning disabilities, dropping out
violence, juvenile arrest, and early death caused by violent
Boys often begin to fall behind girls in elementary school,
to higher dropout rates and juvenile delinquency, and they often
signs of behavioral problems early in life. As boys grow older,
such as alcohol and drug abuse become more prevalent, and gang
* The President announced a new outreach effort, to be led by
Laura Bush, to focus on young Americans, especially young men,
ensure a successful future. During the next year, the President
Bush are committed to highlighting the importance of focusing on
youth, especially boys; educating parents and communities on the
of promoting positive youth development; and informing parents
of strong and successful prevention and intervention programs
by drawing attention to initiatives from around the country.
* The President's focus on young Americans will include support
for programs that help youth overcome the specific risk of gang
and involvement. The President proposed a three-year,
to help youth at risk of gang influence and involvement through
to faith-based and community organizations. These organizations
a positive model for youth-- one that respects women and rejects
(2) "President Bush Outlines Second Term
for High School Students"
Source: ABC News (Associated Press) - 12 January 2005
On January 12, President Bush began his push to require high
to take the math and reading tests now required of younger
the No Child Left Behind law, the most ambitious item on the
slate of second-term education proposals.
"Testing is important," Bush said at J.E.B Stuart High School
in [a] Washington suburb. "Testing at high school levels will
us become more competitive as the years go by. Testing in high
will make sure that our children are employable for the jobs of
century. ...Testing will make sure the diploma is not merely a
endurance, but the mark of a young person ready to succeed"...
"We're not interested in mediocrity," Bush said at the school,
which was the lowest-performing among those in relatively
County, Va., in 1997, but met its academic goals under No Child
Act in the 2003-04 school year. "We're interested in excellence
not one single child is left behind in our country," he said.
Bush wants to require states to test students annually in
math in grades three through 11. That's an expansion of the law
in 2002, which requires those tests in grades three through
at least once during grades 10 to 12.
The president also wants to require that the 12th grade National
of Educational Progress be administered in every state in
math every two years, just as it is in those subjects in grades
eight. That would produce the first-ever state results for high
seniors on this national test, helping policy-makers evaluate
Among other proposals Bush has announced for high schools:
--$200 million for the "Striving Readers" literacy program.
Bush asked Congress for $100 million for this fiscal year and
$25 million for the initiative, which provides grants to schools
extra help to middle and high school students who have fallen
--$12 million to expand the state scholars program nationally to
prepare more students for college or the workplace.
--$500 million for states and school districts to reward
students show improved achievement.
(3) "AMS Website Connects Math and the
by Allyn Jackson
Source: Notices of the AMS - February 2005
Math in the Media is an online magazine posted monthly on
website (http://www.ams.org/mathmedia/). Its main aim is to
entertain both mathematicians and interested members of the
by highlighting coverage of mathematics in the mainstream media.
offering on the AMS website is the monthly Feature Column,
provides expositions about mathematical topics accessible to the
This fall, the AMS inaugurated a snazzy new design for both
the Media and the Feature Column that makes them even
fun and easier to use.
Each month, the main page of Math in the Media carries
Take," a survey of the previous month's news relating to
written by Tony Phillips of the State University of New York at
Brook. His brief synopses of stories appearing in print and on
television are witty and eloquent...
The "Math Digest" section takes a more comprehensive approach
to following math coverage in the media (http://www.ams.org/new-in-math/mathdigest/).
Pooling the efforts of AMS staff and AMS-AAAS Mass Media
"Math Digest" section provides bibliographic references and
short summaries of media stories about mathematics. Among the
systematically covered are Science, Nature, New
the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education,
American Scientist. The "Math Digest" contributors also
stay on the lookout for math stories in other print outlets and
and TV. With archives reaching back to 1995, this may be the
resource for media coverage of mathematics available on the
The following article appears in the same issue of Notices of
(available for download as a PDF file):
"Racial Equity Requires Teaching Elementary School Teachers
by Patricia Clark Kenschaft
The author argues that societal imperatives,
particularly in minority education, necessitate improving the
competence of elementary school teachers, and she shares her own
in so doing.
(4) "Test-Takers Also to Face More
SAT Math Section" by Sean Cavanagh
Source: Education Week - 2 February 2005
Students taking the revamped SAT this spring will face a broader
of their abilities in advanced mathematics, a level of rigor
the higher standards many states are making a part of their high
The revised college-entrance exam, which debuts in March, will
first time include questions covering Algebra 2, a subject
in the junior year of high school. Quantitative comparisons, a
of relatively short-answer questions requiring less time and
will be dropped from the math section entirely.
As with the addition of a writing section and changes to the
section, now called Critical Reading, the revised math test is
providing admissions officers with a better gauge of what
learned in high school, and how prepared they are for higher
"There was a belief among some students that the SAT was not
to what you did in school," said Brian O'Reilly, the executive
for SAT information services for the College Board, which
test. "We're trying to steer away from that."
The new math section, which will still be scored on scale of 200
points, "is more of a signal to students that if you're going to
be college-ready, you'd better be prepared for this," he said.
While the addition of Algebra 2 will provide a different test of
ability, Mr. O'Reilly believes it won't necessarily amount to a
one. The College Board evaluated the types of questions on the
he said, to make certain the difficulty level was roughly
that of the current exam.
Students who have taken Algebra 1-a subject typically offered in
or in middle school-will already be familiar with much of the
Algebra 2 material, Mr. O'Reilly said. Moreover, the ability of
to answer SAT questions correctly, he argued, is likely to
on those test-takers' overall problem-solving abilities than on
mastery of specific mathematics content.
But Jennifer H. Karan of the test-preparation company Kaplan
that the math section will clearly amount to a tougher task for
The new exam contains a heavier dose of more complex math, such
exponents, as opposed to generally simpler concepts such as
and whole numbers, said Ms. Karan, the national director of
for New York City-based Kaplan...
Mr. O'Reilly acknowledged that the SAT was only now adding
math that the ACT has included for years. But he argued that the
traditionally done a better job of evaluating students'
problem-solving skills in mathematics-as opposed to simply their
of classroom material-than the ACT.
The changes to the SAT'S math section are significant enough,
of Kaplan believes, that some schools will evaluate their math
to make sure advanced algebra and other higher-level material
early enough so that students can master themf
The following article appears in the same issue of Education
"It's Not Just About the Numbers
" by Erica N. Walker &
Alexander P. Karp
..."As teacher-educators and lifelong mathematics
enthusiasts, we think that America's problems with math are not
they predate both the No Child Left Behind Act and the reform-math
To us, the story here is less about test scores and more about the
attitudes toward math. Simply put, America is math-phobic--to an
that profoundly influences our country's policies, teaching
ultimately, the performance of our students"f
(5) "The Sexes in the Sciences:
One Gender do Better?" by Natalie Angier and Kenneth Chang
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
When Lawrence Summers, the president of Harvard, suggested
one factor in women's lagging progress in science and mathematics
be innate differences between the sexes, he slapped a bit of
a debate that has simmered for decades. And though his comments
so many fierce reactions that he quickly apologized, many were
left to wonder:
Did he have a point?...
(a) "Gender Differences Still a Touchy Topic"
- 30 January 2005
(b) "Harvard President Criticized over Comments"
CNN.com - 18 January 2005
"Harvard President's Comments Spark Debate About
Source: PBS - 24 January 2005
(d) "There is no Single Reason why Girls Avoid Science
by Valerie Strauss
Source: Washington Post
(e) ñHarvard President Right to Mention Gender Differences in
" by Linda Chavez
Source: Human Events Online
- 19 January 2005
(f) "Truth about Math, Science and Women"
by Joyce King
Source: USA Today
- 27 January 2005
(g) "Truth to Power"
by Judith Kleinfeld
: National Review
- 25 January 2005
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Professor, Mathematics Education
California State University, Fresno
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