In Support of Moving MSP Funds from NSF/EHR to Education Department

February 12, 2004

Dear Representative Boehlert and Members of the House Science Committee;

I am writing to ask you to support President Bush's proposal to redirect Math and Science Partnerships (MSP) funds from the Education and Human Resources division of the National Science Foundation to the U.S. Department of Education. Although the NSF has made many positive and important contributions in other areas, I believe its involvement with MSP grants has been detrimental for large numbers of students.

As a school board director in a high-performing Pennsylvania school district, I am very much aware of the controversy generated by the Greater Philadelphia Secondary Mathematics Project, which is responsible for MSP grants in my area. I have friends in some of the school districts that have received these grants; they rue the day GPSMP-sponsored math programs entered their districts. It is most unfortunate that the federal government puts local school board directors like me in the position of having to explain to our constituents that the NSF is promoting highly controversial math programs that are directly opposed to the type of mathematics education they expect their children to receive.

I take math education very seriously, and so does my son. Two years ago, President Bush invited him to the White House to congratulate him for his third place finish in a nationwide math competition. Because of my son's determination to do his very best in math, I have had the opportunity to meet some of America's top math students and their families. Two things have struck me in my conversations with the parents of these students: 1) They have little tolerance for fuzzy math, and 2) Many if not most of these students were born in East Asia or India where fuzzy math is not promoted by the government.

My son's prowess in mathematics has also given me the opportunity to meet some of America's research mathematicians. I am grateful to those who have dedicated their time and considerable talents toward improving math education, and I value their opinions. In particular, I appreciate the efforts of Dr. R. James Milgram, who provided Congressional testimony about the type of math programs supported by MSP grants [link].

I ask you - indeed, I beg you - to give considerable weight to the views of professional mathematicians like Dr. Milgram, who stress that our children need and deserve content-based mathematics programs that will permit them to compete with their international peers. Accordingly, I ask you to transfer responsibility for MSP grants to the U.S. Department of Education.

Thank you for your time and your consideration of this matter.

Very truly yours,

Timotha Trigg
School Board Director
Unionville-Chadds Ford School District

Note: These views are my own, and they do not necessarily represent the views of the Unionville-Chadds Ford Board of School Directors as a whole, or the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District.

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