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has developed a 4-year sequence of courses that, when combined with college preparatory mathematics and science, introduces students to the scope, rigor, and discipline of engineering and engineering technology. PLTW also has developed a middle school technology curriculum, Gateway to Technology. Students participating in PLTW courses are better prepared for college engineering programs than those exposed only to the more traditional curricula.

Comprehensive teacher education is a critical component of PLTW, and the curriculum uses cutting-edge technology and software that require specialized education. Continuing education supports teachers as they implement the program and provides for continuous improvement of skills.

ACTION A-3:
ENLARGE THE PIPELINE

Enlarge the pipeline of students who are prepared to enter college and graduate with a degree in science, engineering, or mathematics by increasing the number of students who pass AP and IB science and mathematics courses. The competitiveness of US knowledge industries will be purchased largely in the K–12 classroom: We must invest in our students’ mathematics and science education. A new generation of bright, well-trained scientists and engineers will transform our future only if we begin in the 6th grade to significantly enlarge the pipeline and prepare students to engage in advanced coursework in mathematics and science.


The “other side” of the classroom equation, of course, is the students,43 our innovators of the future.44 Despite expressing an interest in the subjects, many US students avoid rigorous high school work in mathematics and science.45 All US students should be held to high expectations, and rigorous coursework should be available to all students. Particular attention should be paid to increasing the participation of those students in groups that are underrepresented in science, technology, and mathematics education, training, and employment.

The first goal of the proposed action is to have 1,500,000 students taking at least one AP or IB mathematics or science examination by 2010, an increase to 23% from 6.5% of juniors and seniors who took at least one AP or IB mathematics or science examination in 2004. We also must in-

43

National Research Council. Engaging Schools: Fostering High-School Students’ Motivation to Learn. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2004.

44

K. Hunter. “Education Key to Jobs, Microsoft CEO Says.” Stateline.org, August 17, 2005.

45

T. Lewin. Many Going to College Are Not Ready, Report Says. New York Times, August 17, 2005. Among those who took the 2005 American College Testing (ACT), only 51% achieved the benchmark in reading, 26% in science, and 41% in mathematics; the figure for English was 68%.



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