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AAAS Wins NSF Funding for Meeting at UNESCO
AAAS has received a $150,000 grant from NSF to hold an international science education conference at UNESCO headquarters in Paris that will focus on worldwide efforts to strengthen K-12 science and math education.
"It's clear that a lot of us are struggling with the problem of how to reform the entire system of math and science education, said Shirley Malcom, director of AAAS's Directorate for Education and Human Resources. "We want to look at reform models in which scientists are permanently involved, so we can figure out how scientists can best work with education policy-makers, teachers, and educators in bringing about systemic reform.
Although a date has not been set for the 3-day conference, the event will take place in Paris sometime in the spring. Its goal is to link the national and international efforts to improve K-12 science and mathematics education and to consider how reform efforts in the United States compare to those under way in other countries, according to Malcom.
"Programs to improve teaching and learning in these fields are being implemented throughout the world, Malcom said. "Yet, many of these programs exist in a vacuum due to the lack of communication among educators and policy-makers in different countries. Improved communication is needed to share information on effective practice and to identify areas for further research.
Malcom, who is organizing the meeting with AAAS's International Office, said that scientists have continued to work on international initiatives to improve the teaching of science and mathematics during the 18 years that the U.S. government and UNESCO were estranged.
"At this critical juncture in the U.S. reentry into UNESCO, we see this meeting as an opportunity to forge even closer ties between science, education, and policy at UNESCO, said Shere Abbott, AAAS's chief international officer.
Malcom noted that the event in Paris will build on the recent thawing in relations between the U.S. government and the U.N. agency, as reflected in the words last year of UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura.
"I look forward to the possibility of closer collaboration with the enormous intellectual and cultural resources of the American academic and scientific communities, and fuller contact with the extraordinary cultural diversity that characterizes American life, Matsuura said in an 11 September press release. "Their energy and ideas are vital in the effort to shape policies that can improve the lives of people everywhere.
28 November 2003