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  • Provide incentives for states and coalitions of states to conduct benchmarking studies between their standards and the best standards available.

  • Foster the development of high-quality curricula and assessments that are closely aligned with world-class standards.

  • Establish ambitious but realistic goals for student performance—for example, that 30% of high school seniors should be proficient in science by 2010 as measured by the NAEP.

CHANGING THE INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE OF SCHOOLS

Students and teachers remain constrained by several of the key organizational features of schools.16 The structure of the curriculum, of individual classes, of schools, and of the school day keeps many students from taking advantage of opportunities that could build their interest in science and technology.

Possible federal initiatives include these:

  • Provide seed money or incentives for new kinds of schools and new forms of schooling. Promising ideas include small high schools, dual-enrollment programs in high schools and colleges, colocation of schools with institutions of higher education, and wider use of Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses.

  • Help districts institute reorganization of the school schedule to support teaching and learning.17 Possibilities include devoting more time to study of academic subjects, keeping schools open longer in the day and during parts of the summer, and providing teachers with additional time for development and collaboration.

  • Provide scholarships for low-income students who demonstrate that they have taken a core curriculum in high school that prepares them to study science, mathematics, or engineering in college.

CATALYZING CHANGE

The federal government has an important role to play in catalyzing the efforts of states, school districts, and schools to improve science, mathematics, and technology education. Promising actions include the following:

16

US Department of Education, National Education Commission on Time and Learning. Prisoners of Time. Washington, DC: US Department of Education, 1994.

17

Ibid.



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