In April 1991, President Bush unveiled “America 2000,” a national strategy for improving the overall performance of students in America's school system. He and the nation's governors developed the strategy as a result of the historical Charlottesville Summit, held in Virginia in 1989.
America 2000 focuses on six national education goals, three directly related to mathematics and science education. Goal 4, in particular, states that “by the year 2000, US. students will be first in the world in science and mathematics achievement.” By the Year 2000, the report of the Federal Coordinating Council for Science, Engineering, and Technology (FCCSET) Committee on Education and Human Resources (CEHR) details the federal government's strategic objectives for meeting this goal.
The primary objectives outlined in the report focus on (1) improving student performance, (2) providing a strong precollege work force, (3) ensuring an adequate pipeline for the science and engineering work force, including increased participation of underrepresented groups, and (4) improving public science literacy. I'll discuss later how a revolutionary materials science and technology curriculum developed by Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL) and Northwest teachers has proved to be a model for meeting these objectives.
The FCCSET/CEHR report identified precollege as the educational level receiving the highest priority. At this level, the strategy for achieving the objectives is structured around (1) improving teacher preparation and enhancement, (2) reforming curricula, (3) organizing systemic reform, and (4) providing student incentives and opportunities.