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FIGURE K–12-3 Number of schools and colleges participating in AP programs.

SOURCE: National Research Council. Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in US High Schools. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2002. Data courtesy of Jay Labov, Center for Education, National Academies.

interactions is the surest way to improve education in these subjects in the United States.

Many mathematics and science teachers in US schools do not have backgrounds needed to teach these subjects well (see Figure K–12-4).5 Many of these teachers at the high school level—and even more at the middle school level—do not have a college degree in the subject they are teaching (see Tables K–12-9 and K–12-10). Many lack certification to teach mathematics and science, and a subset of teachers start in the classroom without any formal training. The lack of adequate training and background is especially severe at schools serving large numbers of disadvantaged students, creating a vicious circle in which a substandard education and low achievement are intertwined (see Table K–12-11). The stresses on teachers are equally se-

5

US Department of Education, The National Commission on Mathematics and Science Teaching for the 21st Century. Before It’s Too Late. Washington, DC: US Department of Education, 2000.



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