Bypass Navigation


The FY 2003 Budget Request for the Math and Science Partnership Subactivity is $200.0 million, an increase of $40.0 million, or 25.0 percent, from the FY 2002 Current Plan of $160.0 million.

(Millions of Dollars)


FY 2001

FY 2002
Current Plan

FY 2003




Math and Science Partnership

$ -





The underlying philosophy of the Math and Science Partnership (MSP) is that collaborations of school systems, higher education, and other partners will increase the capacity of preK-12 educational systems to provide requisites for learning to high standards in science and mathematics. The MSP seeks to ensure the future strength of the nation by supporting the preparation of the next generation of scientists, engineers, science and math educators, and a science-literate citizenry. MSP is a cornerstone of the President's education policy, No Child Left Behind, which states that "...we have fallen short in meeting our goals for educational excellence. The academic achievement gap between rich and poor, Anglo and minority is not only wide, but in some cases is growing wider still.... Among the underlying causes for the poor performance of U.S. students in the areas of math and science, three problems must be addressed - too many teachers teaching out-of-field; too few students taking advanced coursework; and too few schools offering a challenging curriculum and textbooks."

The strategic focus of the Math and Science Partnership is to engage the nation's higher education institutions, local, regional and state school districts, and other partners in preK-12 reform by calling for a significant commitment by colleges and universities to improving the quality of science and mathematics instruction in the schools and to investing in the recruitment, preparation and professional development of highly competent science and mathematics teachers. MSP, as a major national effort, is an investment intended to serve all students so that learning outcomes can no longer be predicted based on race/ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender or disability.

A defining feature of MSP is the development and implementation of productive partnerships among the major stakeholders, with each partnership requiring commitments from one or more local school systems and one or more higher education entities, and including other partners that bring additional assets to preK-12 teaching and learning. These other partners can include industrial organizations, which bring unique insights on workforce needs to the partnerships, state education agencies, and not-for-profit entities with a commitment to science and mathematics education. Institutions of higher education who partner in MSP are expected to tap their disciplinary departments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as well as their education departments. The insistence that higher education must play a critical role in preK-12 educational reform, especially in support of professional education throughout the career of preK-12 teachers, distinguishes MSP from prior NSF-supported systemic efforts.

A second distinguishing feature of MSP is that it will not be an isolated set of local partnerships, but will become part of the NSF and national STEM education portfolio of interconnected sites whose experiences will help generate the capacity of the nation to serve all students well. Further, by involving the MSP awardees in a nationwide network of educational researchers and practitioners, the program will contribute to the development of a greater U.S. capacity to analyze and learn from the experience of large-scale change and to apply this knowledge to preK-12 STEM teaching and learning.

MSP seeks to improve student outcomes in high-quality mathematics and science by all students, at all preK-12 levels. The partnerships expect to contribute to increases in student achievement across-the-board, as well as reductions in achievement gaps in mathematics and science education among diverse student populations differentiated by race/ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender or disability. To achieve these long-term outcomes, MSP will support the development, implementation, and sustainability of exemplary partnerships addressing the following goals:

Goal 1: To significantly enhance the capacity of schools to provide a challenging curriculum for every student, and to encourage more students to participate in and succeed in advanced mathematics and science courses.

Goal 2: To increase and sustain the number, quality, and diversity of preK-12 teachers of mathematics and science, especially in underserved areas, through further development of a professional education continuum that considers traditional preservice education as well as alternative routes into the profession (e.g., scientists and engineers wishing to shift careers to preK-12 teaching), professional development during early phases of a career (i.e., induction), and continued professional growth (inservice) in mathematics and science for preK-12 teachers.

Goal 3: To contribute to the national capacity to engage in large-scale reform through participation in a network of researchers and practitioners that will share, study and evaluate educational reform and experimental approaches to the improvement of teacher preparation and professional development.

Goal 4: To engage the learning community in the knowledge base being developed in current and future NSF Centers for Learning and Teaching and Science of Learning Centers.

The FY 2002 Current Plan for MSP is $160.0 million. In FY 2002, MSP will provide support for two types of partnership efforts, those that are comprehensive in nature and those that are more targeted in their expected outcomes, focusing on solutions to specific problems in the improvement of preK-12 science and math education. Some of the targeted awards may also be used to provide technical assistance to build capacity in those districts lacking the infrastructure or ability to be competitive initially for a comprehensive award. It is anticipated that the partnerships will share a number of key characteristics that will facilitate MSP reaching the above goals. For example, partnerships will design high learning expectations into all math and science classes, and will ensure that educators effectively match local and state standards to curricula, learning technology, instruction and assessment.

MSP funding in FY 2002 will also be used to support a combination of technical assistance, evaluation, and research grants and contracts. It is expected that research on learning and the application of math and science education models to a wide range of learning environments will be a key component of MSP and will contribute to the national understanding of how to introduce and sustain successful education reform in math and science.

NSF's intent is to develop creative and innovative approaches on a continuing basis to achieve the purposes of MSP. An assessment of lessons learned from the FY 2002 efforts will likely lead to changes in the program in FY 2003.

The U.S. Department of Education will be sponsoring numerous programs that support the President's initiative, and NSF and Education are planning program linkages to manage the federal investment in math and science education for the greatest effectiveness.

  Last Modified: Sep 17, 2004


Policies and Important Links


Privacy | FOIA | Help | Contact NSF | Contact Web Master | SiteMap  

National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA
Tel: (703) 292-5111, FIRS: (800) 877-8339 | TDD: (800) 281-8749

Last Updated:
Text Only
National Science Foundation Summary of FY 2003 Budget Request to Congress NSF Logo