$216.3 million from the National Science Foundation to improve math and science education
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $216.3 million in the second year of its innovative Math and Science Partnerships program to improve K-12 mathematics and science education in the United States and Puerto Rico. The program supports partnerships that unite K-12 schools, institutions of higher education, and other stakeholders in activities that “reinvigorate mathematics and science instruction and strengthen curriculum across the United States,” the agency said. The awards will directly impact nearly 3 million students.

As an example of one of these awards, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia will receive $34.6 million to strengthen math and science programs in 13 Georgia school districts. The five-year grant will fund a statewide, collaborative educational reform initiative called Partnership for Reform in Science and Mathematics (PRISM). Its goal is to improve educational achievement levels and close the performance gaps among Georgia’s students in science and mathematics. Once underway, PRISM will reach more than 170,000 students and more than 10,000 teachers in the participating schools. It also will impact future science and mathematics teachers who are being prepared at Georgia universities by showing them the best ways to teach these subjects.

$74 million in Early Reading First grants from the U.S. Department of Education
Thirty local education agencies and organizations will share more than $74 million in grants to improve the language and pre-reading skills of young children, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige announced Oct. 14.

The grants are part of the Early Reading First program, President Bush’s initiative to transform existing early-education programs into preschool centers of educational excellence that provide high-quality, early education to young children, especially those from low-income families. Early reading software and other technology-based measures are eligible for support.

$32.4 million for online education and medical service in rural communities
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced 84 winners of Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants totaling more than $32 million. Fifty-seven distance education grants worth $23.5 million and 27 telemedicine grants worth $8.9 million were selected for funding. The education projects will help 556 rural schools provide their students with tools to better equip them for the global digital economy, department officials said.

$30 million to establish new virtual K-12 Centers for Learning and Teaching
The University of Missouri, Rutgers University, and the University of California- Berkeley each will receive $2 million per year for the next five years to establish three new virtual K-12 Centers for Learning and Teaching, the National Science Foundation announced. The grants are intended to build current and future leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education through the schools’ graduate programs; improve elementary and secondary education practice; and provide opportunities for research. These awards increase the total number of NSF-funded centers focused on elementary and secondary issues to 13.

$14 million to extend the benefits of advanced tele-communications technologies to underserved communities
Twenty-eight nonprofit organizations–including local school systems and state, local, and tribal governments–in 22 states were awarded a total of $14 million in Technology Opportunities Program (TOP) grants from the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. These grants, matched by $14.8 million in contributions from the private sector and state and local organizations, extend the benefits of advanced telecommunications technologies to underserved communities and neighborhoods. The awards will fund projects such as streaming video to ill children, creating new tools for vision screening in schools, and online oversight of charitable organizations.

$15 million to help states study technology’s impact on student achievement
U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige on Nov. 10 announced that nine states–Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin–will share $15 million in grants to conduct rigorous, scientific evaluations of how technology impacts student achievement in elementary and secondary education, which in turn will assist other states and school districts with evaluating their own educational technology programs.

The competitive, three-year grants are part of the No Child Left Behind Act’s Enhancing Education Through Technology program and are intended to increase states’ ability to design, conduct, and acquire high-quality evaluations of educational technology, department officials said.

$2.1 million to support minority colleges and universities
Hewlett-Packard Co. has given the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund more than $2.1 million in ProLiant servers, notebook PCs, and other technology equipment and services. The donation will be used to improve educational opportunities for minority students by providing a world-class information systems infrastructure for the fund’s 45 public historically black colleges and universities, company officials said.

HP technology will support member schools’ eMail services for student and faculty communications, a prioritized area of need identified by a majority of the 45 Thurgood Marshall academic institutions.

“HP’s technology gift will help our 45 member schools to cross the digital divide and allows our member schools to more effectively compete with better-endowed institutions in preparing their students to succeed in the 21st-century workforce,” said Dwayne Ashley, president of the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund.

Besides hardware products and installation services, HP also is providing Microsoft Windows technical support services, the company said. http://www.hp.com

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