Mathematics and Science Learning Milieus in Diverse Schools in Florida.Report as inadecuate

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In 1989 Florida responded to the continuing crisis in mathematics and science education by developing a Comprehensive Plan: Improving Mathematics, Science, and Computer Education that identifies specific strategic goals and recommendations. Florida State University has been the sole evaluator of the Comprehensive Plan. Visits have been made at elementary, middle, and secondary schools ensuring representation from a variety of ethnic and socio-economic levels. This paper reports a study of two diverse middle school science classes. The demographics of the schools, science teachers, and learning environments are compared and contrasted. In addition, information from the mathematics and science teachers from each school is given about their own practices and beliefs about what their practices should be. The ethnic distributions at both schools were similar, but the socioeconomic distribution was different. Clarke Middle School has approximately 175 students, 75% Caucasian, 23% African American, 1% Hispanic, and 1% Asian. Fifty-five percent of the students are on free and reduced price lunches. Ocean Grove Middle School (a pseudonym), a magnet school has approximately 415 students, 65% Caucasian, 29% African American, and 6% Asian. Twenty-nine percent of its students are on free or reduced price lunches. Other differences included: resources; curricula; students' teachers' and researchers' perceptions of the learning environment; control; and teacher professionalism. (MKR)

Descriptors: Comparative Analysis, Educational Environment, Junior High School Students, Junior High Schools, Mathematics Education, Mathematics Teachers, Middle Schools, Science Curriculum, Science Education, Science Teachers, Socioeconomic Status, Teacher Attitudes, Teaching Methods

Author: Shaw, Kenneth L.; Stark, Connie


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