Council on Primary and Secondary Education

The Council on Primary and Secondary Education (CPSE) develops programs that bring the strengths of MIT to bear on the American K–12 educational system. The projects sponsored by the council include the MIT/Wellesley Teacher Education Program, Teacher Sabbaticals, and Educational Outreach Programs. The council's chairman is also involved in a number of K–12 educational efforts, including the Science and Engineering Program for Teachers and its product, the Network of Educators in Science and Technology as well as a collaboration with the Association of American Universities (AAU).

MIT/Wellesley Teacher Education Program

To foster the growth of a cadre of new teachers who meet MIT's standards of excellence in science and mathematics, yet appreciate the value of different ways of approaching and understanding a problem, MIT has created a joint program with Wellesley College, the Teacher Education Program (TEP). It prepares undergraduates for Massachusetts State Certification in mathematics and science at the middle and high school levels. This program, started in the fall of 1993, has its administrative home in MIT's Department of Urban Studies and Planning. Undergraduates in the program must complete a major in the subject area in which they wish to teach. In addition, they must complete three courses at MIT and two at Wellesley; one of the latter is a seminar taken in conjunction with the required 150 hours of supervised practice teaching. Students must also complete 75 hours of supervised classroom observations. More information about TEP can be found on the web at

TEP is led by Dr. Eric Klopfer, the Joseph B. ('54MG) and Rita P. Scheller professor of teacher education. TEP enrollment in the AY2003 reached 29 students from 16 departments, and once again sets the standard as the largest in the history of this program. Although the administrative home for TEP is in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, students come to the program from many disciplines. Professor Klopfer occupies a newly renovated office and laboratory. The latter is an electronic classroom dedicated to the use of educational technology in science education. Eric's emphasis on simulation and modeling of chemical, physical, and biological phenomena as a tool in science education is drawing considerable attention as is his newly published book Adventures in Modeling: Exploring Complex, Dynamic Systems with Star Logo with coauthors Venessa Colella and Professor Mitchell Resnick from MIT's Media lab.

Teacher Sabbaticals

The Class of 1952 Educational Initiatives Fund launched the MIT Teacher Fellows Program, which brings middle and high school teachers together with MIT faculty. Not only is this program effective in helping teachers develop new and creative ways to teach math and science, it allows MIT faculty members to share their expertise in the development of K–12 math and science curricula.

Ken Brody, retired from Boston Technical High School, returned to MIT in AY2003. Mr. Brody continues to serve as the Secretary of the Network of Educators in Science and Technology (NEST). Additionally, he arranges tours of MIT by NEST teachers and students. We are pleased to have precollege educators with us. Their understanding of the needs of classroom teachers is essential to the development of MIT's agenda in K–12 education.

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Educational Outreach Directory

The council's MIT's Educational Outreach Programs continues to be widely circulated through its web page. Approximately 65 programs are listed; programs are either conducted on MIT's campus or have the involvement of people from MIT's faculty, staff, or student body. The directory is now also available through the council's home page. Activities range from the Chemistry Magic Show, a 45-minute long road show of attention-getting chemistry experiments along with a running commentary, to the Voyage of the MIMI, an interdisciplinary, multimedia math and science presentation geared toward 4th–8th graders using connected educational television, software, and other instruction materials.

Programs by the Council Chairman

Association of American Universities Task Force on K–16 Education

The Association of American Universities (AAU) Task Force on K–16 Education, which I chaired through 2002, continued its work during the past year. The AAU initiative, Standards for Success, moved into its final year of work. With $2.4 million of support, largely from The Pew Charitable Trusts, this program will provide admissions officers with the tools to compare the qualifications and skills of students from states with different proficiency standards. Tools developed by S4S will enable AAU universities, and others as well, to make better informed admissions and placement decisions about incoming students.

In addition, with encouragement from the National Science Foundation and MIT's Center for Materials Science and Engineering as a model, the Task Force is working to make research experience available to in-service teachers on the campuses of all 63 member institutions. During the summer of 2003 we will have 12 such teachers at MIT in a variety of center and laboratory settings: the Center for Materials Science and Engineering, the Biotechnology Process Engineering Center, and the Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing. My goal is to accommodate 50 people each summer. If all AAU member institutions were to develop similar initiatives, we would collectively reach thousands of in-service teachers each year with such experience.

Science and Engineering Program for Teachers

Professor Latanision directs the Science and Engineering Program for Teachers, which shares the council's goal of science literacy for all students. Key to a good education is an enthusiastic, knowledgeable teacher. Since 1989, this program has endeavored to give educators a unique perspective of how the basic sciences, mathematics and engineering are integrated to meet the technological challenges and needs of commerce and society. Our Science and Engineering Program for Teachers continues each summer with sustaining support from MIT alum, H. Johan von der Goltz ('60MG), founder and general partner of Boston Capital Ventures. During the past summer we set a record for alumni involvement in this program as 14 MIT Alumni Clubs around the world sponsored 47 of 55 teachers who participated in the program. Guest speaker and visiting scientist Felice Frankel presented slide photo's from her new book, Imagining Science: The Art and Craft of Science Imaging.

The alumni of this program, now totaling approximately 900 people, become members of the Network of Educators in Science and Technology (NEST). This year, NEST members attended the fall retreat at St. Stephen's Priory, a retreat center based in Dover, MA on November 15 and 16, 2002. This past summer, NEST members came to MIT's campus in June for a two-day meeting to assess the program and determine future directions for the organization. The year 2003 Agenda for returning NEST alums represents a continuing alliance between NEST and MIT's Center for Materials Science and Engineering. CMSE director, Michael Rubner, arranged a full day program for NEST 27 June 27.

Once again six Siemens Scholars were identified from among the participants in the Science and Engineering Program for Teachers. These teachers were supported during their visit by the Siemens Foundation. In addition, the foundation provided the resources for MIT's Siemens Teacher Fellows: Susan Matthews and Cary Kilner will be in residence during the 2003 summer at MIT as a member of the research team of Professor Robert Langer. The object of this effort is to make research experiences available to in-service teachers. It is my goal to have 40–50 such teachers on campus during the summer in a few years.

Finally, I have been on a leave of absence from MIT during the past several months in order to pursue both my involvement with the United States Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, to which I was appointed by President Bush last summer for a four-year term, and to work full time in an engineering practice environment in the Natick office of the firm, Exponent. I have enjoyed both these experiences and have decided, after much thought, to take an early retirement from MIT in order to continue these associations. I expect to remain visible and involved in terms of MIT's precollege educational initiatives. As such, I expect to be present during MIT's Science and Engineering Program for Teacherseach summer, to work with Professor Eric Klopfer in the evolution of his Teacher Education Program, to host the Siemens/Westinghouse Competition and in general, to continue to lead my science and engineering colleagues at MIT and in the AAU institutions in taking part in meaningful ways in precollege education. This has been a many-faceted decision for me. My affection for the Institute is deep and lasting. I am certain that I will miss being in the classroom. However, I expect that as an emeritus professor I will continue to have a presence on campus and an involvement in campus life. I am convinced that after 29 years of teaching, it is time to open a few more chapters in my professional life before I do decide to go fishing every day! It will be challenging and exciting, but never more exhilarating than the feeling I continue to have today of having had the honor and pleasure of teaching at MIT.

R. M. Latanision

More information about NEST and the Council can be found on the web at


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