MIDWEST CITY — The warnings from experts are sharp — increase U.S. students' proficiency in math and science or continue to lose competitive ground in the global marketplace.
Teachers from Oklahoma and across the nation recently converged at the Mid-Del Technology center to help address the issue.
The National Math and Science Initiative program brought rigorous and in-depth training to Advanced Placement teachers to help raise student education levels and competitiveness.
Dustin Moss, a Carl Albert High School biology teacher, said he stayed busy taking notes and learning new teaching strategies during the two-day program that ended Saturday.
“This allows us to sit down and go over strategies and approaches and reinforce it so it's hands-on,” he said. “It helps us raise that level of knowledge.”
The National Academies, a leading advisory group on science and technology, said in 2005 that the U.S. must focus on math and science education or continue losing ground to foreign competitors. In 2010 it renewed the warning, particularly in the face of increased efforts worldwide to focus on math and science education.
Business, education and science leaders launched the National Math and Science Initiative in 2007 to reverse declines in math and science education. The initiative works to bring best practices to education.
“It works,” said Silvya Kirk, director of secondary teaching and learning for the Midwest City-Del City School District.
“The resources provided are amazing and it definitely makes us more competitive.”
Oklahoma is one of 29 states participating in National Math and Science Initiative programs. Recently, the initiative announced that Carl Albert High School in Midwest City and Eisenhower High School in Lawton had produced a combined 69 percent increase in qualifying scores on advanced placement math, science and English scores — 26 times the rest of the state's average.
Oklahoma teachers from the Mid-Del and Lawton school districts attended the program in Midwest City along with chemistry, biology, physics and environmental sciences teachers from such states as Maryland, Massachusetts, California and Illinois.
Del City High School teacher Renee Bell said hands-on labs, expert lectures and making connections with other teachers are invaluable.
“These are resources and interactions you don't have normally,” she said.
Bell said the emphasis on sciences is important to her and her students.
“I tell my kids all the time that science really touches everything you do,” she said.