In April 2006, George Bush commissioned the National Mathematics Advisory Panel to investigate why the U.S. continues to drop in rank in world standing in regards to math education and make recommendations on how to redevelop the nation's competitive edge in mathematics education. On March 13, 2008, the Panel released the report of their findings.
The House Education and Labor Committee held a Full Committee Hearing to examine the National Mathematic Advisory Panel's report. The Committee heard testimony from members of the Panel and on Wednesday, May 21, 2008, released that testimony, in written and video form.
Representative George Miller (D - CA), Chairperson of the Hearing, said in his opening statement that the Committee was going to focus on two areas of the Panel's report. One: Raise math standards and revise curriculum to include fewer topics explored at greater depth. Two: Provide teachers with better training; teachers can't teach what they do not know.
The "Wow! You've got to be kidding!" moment came when I heard Rep. Miller state that George Bush was suspending participation in the next Trends In Math and Science Study (TIMSS). TIMSS is one of the main tools used to provide reliable data on the mathematics achievement of the nation's students compared to those in other countries. TIMSS data has been collected in 1995, 1999, 2003, and 2007. TIMSS 2007 results will be released on December 9, 2008.
The main motivation for forming the Math Panel in 2006 (a good idea from Bush!) was about how to improve the nation's competitive edge in mathematics in the 21st century global economy. The U.S. ranks 25th out of 29 developed nations (not good) for 15 year-olds in mathematics education, unacceptable especially in view of the international leadership status of the U.S. TIMSS was one of the necessary tools used by the Math Panel to compare the nation's math education to that of other countries.
Although Rep. Miller said he was disappointed that Bush had suspended participation in the next TIMSS, he did not give a reason for Bush's decision. I can only wonder: Perhaps the NCLB Act hasn't been as successful at the Bush Administration purports.