University Courses on
Mathematics and Science Content Knowledge
Sustainability: Accountability and Incentive Shifts
During the Chicago Math & Science Initiative (CMSI) of 2002-2008, there were shifts in the types of incentives for schools, for teachers, and for universities to play a role in developing mathematics and science content courses for teachers.
By spring 2008, district leaders were working on a new teacher Specialization policy that would require middle grades teachers to be endorsed in core content areas. OMS leadership was engaged with other CPS leaders, lawyers, and the teachers union to define the specific policy that was approved by the Board of Education in October 2008.
By 2005, both DePaul University and Loyola University had received grants from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) for the professional development of elementary teachers of math and science. They used these funds to help create master’s degrees in science education. By 2007, ISBE had altered its math and science grant program to require all grantees to create master’s degrees for either elementary school or high school teachers of math and science. By spring 2008, universities from across the state had proposed 24 master’s degree programs in math and science and had planning grants from ISBE. Five of these planning grants went to three universities in Chicago that were partnering with CPS: DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Technology, and Loyola University.
Table 14 Number of district-supported classes offered per academic year by university
|Total number of courses offered||% of total courses offered|
In evaluating this part of the reform effort, course instructors were asked to discuss the advantages of their participation for themselves and for their university. Among the benefits mentioned were:
- Universities valued the tuition funds and the new students that the CMSI courses attracted,
- University-school CMSI partnerships helped the university fulfill community outreach missions,
- Universities developed and supported new programs and courses related to the CMSI courses,
- University pre-service teaching programs benefited from ties to schools that were strengthened when practicing teachers participated in the CMSI courses,
- Faculty learned by working closely with their CMSI CPS co-instructors, and
- Faculty gained opportunities for scholarship, grant-writing, and service work through their CMSI courses