Amid the many graphs and charts signaling problems in the preparation of elementary and secondary teachers in the new National Science Foundation report Indicators of Science & Mathematics Education 1992 are a few statistics that some observers are taking as a glimmer of hope. According to the report, minority students at the elementary and secondary level have made slow but measurable progress in math and science achievement over the past 20 years.

The report found, for example, that in math achievement tests between 1973 and 1990, nine-year-old black students increased their scores by 18 points (out of 230), 13-year-olds bettered their scores by 21 points (out of 270), and 17-year-olds improved by 19 points (out of 300). Scores of nine- and 13-year-old Hispanic students increased by 12 and 16 points, respectively. By contrast, neither 13-year-old nor 17-year-old white students demonstrated improvement.

"You don't often see change in these numbers [minority...

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