A Call for a Math and Science Teaching Corps

CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein has endorsed a bill introduced earlier this year by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer that calls for the creation of a national Math and Science Teaching Corps.

“The City University of New York already focuses on teacher preparation, and we would be proud to join you in this effort,” Goldstein told Schumer in a November 1, 2006 letter. “The Math and Science Teaching Corps will deepen the pool of effective mathematics and science teachers in our nation’s classrooms and provide a catalytic effect in connecting the next generation of mathematicians, scientists, engineers and computer scientists to careers in these fields.”

The bill, which has been referred to committees in the Senate for study, would improve math and science achievement by recruiting up to 8,000 new outstanding secondary-school teachers in math and science and reward another 8,000 outstanding teachers each year who might otherwise leave the profession.

The Math and Science Teaching Corps would set up a collaboration with universities and colleges that includes a fellowship program to prepare teachers by providing graduate-level math and science courses.

In addition to longstanding programs across the campuses, CUNY recently established the CUNY Teacher Academy that has begun to attract high-performing secondary-school students to careers in math and science. Students in the Academy receive four years of free tuition and enroll in an undergraduate program that combines strong content knowledge with experience and mentorship in the city’s public schools. In addition, The Petrie Foundation and the Partnership for Teacher Excellence, a joint effort by CUNY, New York University and the New York City Department of Education, have united to assure that teaching remains an attractive option for gifted math and science students and that they enter the classroom well prepared to make a difference in the lives of their students.

“Through projects such as Metro Math, the National Science Foundation-funded Math-Science Partnership in New York City and the Teacher Academy, The City University of New York has demonstrated its capacity to make a real difference in mathematics and science education,” Goldstein wrote.

Goldstein wrote that the Corps addresses a crucial issue: retaining teachers. “The need for mathematics is so great that businesses, universities and even government agencies recruit talented teachers away from K-12 classrooms,” he wrote. “By providing a financial incentive as well as support for continued education, the Math and Science Teaching Corps will help K-12 schools retain those very teachers who can be leaders and mentors for the aspiring teachers who will be attracted to the program. In addition, students who graduate from undergraduate teacher education programs need support as they pursue their master’s degrees. I appreciate that the Math and Science Teaching Corps will provide support for a one-year master’s program.”

CUNY and its faculty, Goldstein concluded, “will work diligently with you on the issues that the Math and Science Teaching Corps addresses.”

The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university: eleven senior colleges, six community colleges, the CUNY Honors College, the Graduate Center, the Graduate School of Journalism, the Law School, the School of Professional Studies and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. The University serves more than 226,000 degree-credit students and 230,000 adult, continuing and professional education students. College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program for 32,500 high school students is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 200 high schools throughout the five boroughs of the City of New York. The University has launched an on-line baccalaureate degree through the School of Professional Studies, and a new Teacher Academy offering free tuition for highly motivated mathematics and science majors who seek teaching careers in the city’s public schools.