Archived article from Nov 3, 2003
Do urban kids learn differently?
Two plus two equals four anywhere, but do kids in urban schools learn mathematics differently from their suburban and rural counterparts? The New Jersey Statewide Systemic Initiative, based at Rutgers–New Brunswick, has secured up to $10 million from the National Science Foundation to explore that question. Rutgers’ partners in the five-year project are the City University of New York and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as the school districts of New York City, Newark and Plainfield, N.J., and Philadelphia. The partnership includes specialists in mathematics, mathematics education, cognitive science, urban studies and urban education.
“MetroMath: The Center for Mathematics in America’s Cities” is designed to discover how urban children learn mathematics, to equip urban teachers with the most effective instructional strategies and to leverage existing resources in urban communities to help children learn. It will also seek to develop a research-based model for successful mathematics education that can be used in urban schools across the country.
Jobs without gender
Despite some gains, it’s still true that few boys want to be nurses, while few girls plan to be engineers. A new $1 million, three-year grant should help broaden students’ career aspirations. The funding from the New Jersey Department of Education will establish a Nontraditional Career Resource Center at Rutgers’ Center for Women and Work.
The new center will assist New Jersey students in grades seven through 12 in identifying and training for professions that now attract less than 25 percent of either men and women. These include engineering, science, technology and the building trades for women, and nursing and nutrition for men.
Activities during the pilot year will include building partnerships between the education and workforce development communities and identifying model programs for nontraditional career development. The new center will also help develop a career Web site; training programs for students, educators and parents; and a summer “Nontraditional Career Week at Rutgers University” for middle and high school students.
Rutgers–Camden literacy initiative
A $1.2 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to a Rutgers–Camden center will support an early literacy education program designed to serve more than 1,000 Camden children. Under the aegis of the Camden campus’s Center for Strategic Urban Community Leadership (CSUCL), the Rutgers/LEAP Early Childhood Development Initiative will deliver a comprehensive approach to strengthening early childhood education and family literacy in the city of Camden. In collaboration with the Camden school district’s early childhood program and the children’s literacy initiative, the project will seek to improve the verbal, written and language skills of preschool students, involving the children, their teachers and their parents.
The project already has been tested successfully in a 2002 Knight Foundation-funded pilot program administered by the Rutgers-Camden CSUCL. In this new phase, 92 teachers will learn and use specifically designed literacy techniques in the classroom. The program will engage teachers, parents and staff at Camden preschools through training activities to enhance teaching effectiveness, improve language abilities of children, empower parents and transform the organizational culture of preschool centers.
Probing racial and gender equity in higher education The U.S. Supreme Court in June affirmed the right of colleges and universities to continue to consider race as a factor in their admissions policies. Rutgers’ Institute for Women’s Leadership has received a $346,000 Ford Foundation grant to probe beyond admissions standards.
The two-year research initiative, called “Reaffirming Action: Designs for Diversity in Higher Education,” will produce an on-the-ground view of what faculty members in higher education are successfully doing to create change where inequity exists. Faculty-led teams from a variety of institutions, including Rutgers, will discuss progress on diversity issues, compare strategies and develop new approaches to addressing barriers.