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Sunday, May 19, 2024

UF joins effort to improve Florida education

UF's participation in two multimillion-dollar programs aims to improve the quality of the state's K-12 teachers in response to a national crisis in math and science education.

Earlier this month, UF joined Florida State University and the University of South Florida in a $5.9 million project: The Florida Partnership to Rejuvenate and Optimize Mathematics and Science Education, or Florida PROMiSE.

A three-year grant from the Florida Department of Education will allow PROMiSE participants to teach K-12 math and science teachers the updated Sunshine State Standards for those fields.The new standards, implemented by the education department in 2007 for math and in 2008 for science, encourage educators to focus on fewer topics with greater concentration.

Tom Dana, director of the School of Teaching and Learning in UF's College of Education and UF's PROMiSE director, said the state's old standards produced math and science education that was "inch-deep and mile-wide," meaning that teachers covered several topics with minimal depth.

John Bailey, UF's PROMiSE coordinator, said UF officials would meet in April to plan a curriculum to train teachers statewide in the new methods. Bailey said the first group would be trained by August.

The PROMiSE program is the second major effort undertaken by UF this year to improve the country's declining quality in K-12 math and science education.

In November, the College of Education was one of 10 universities that received a total of $3.4 million in grants from the National Math and Science Initiative and the Helios Education Foundation to groom undergraduate students for careers as K-12 math and science teachers.

UF's program, called FloridaTeach, is modeled after the UTeach program at the University of Texas at Austin and will launch this summer, said Dana, who is the program's co-director.

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