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July 24, 2008

U.S. Rep. Alexander praises ULM to Congress

U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander praised ULM’s elementary education program on a national level; his statements lauding the university’s work appeared in the U.S. Congressional Record July 15.

Alexander stated, “Madam Speaker, I rise today to commend the University of Louisiana at Monroe for its recent designation as one of only ten universities in our nation whose elementary education program received full passing marks from [the] National Council on Teacher Quality for its preparation for future mathematics teachers.

“As our nation’s educators continue to improve and strengthen education in America, the need to ensure our children have a strong background in mathematics is becoming increasingly important in a generation where breakthroughs in fields such as research and technology are occurring every day.

“To keep the United States on the cutting edge of these advancements, we must work to ensure our children are properly prepared from the very first day of their education. Universities such as ULM and the nine other universities acknowledged by the council are surely doing their part to make certain the teachers who complete its program are ready to meet the challenges of educating the new generation.

“Madam Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me today in honoring the University of Louisiana at Monroe elementary education program and its efforts to produce quality educators in the field of mathematics.”

ULM President James Cofer expressed his deep appreciation for the congressman’s acclaim. “U.S. Representative Rodney Alexander never fails to support ULM and the superior educational programs housed here. It is very gratifying to have the unwavering support of our congressional delegation and especially Representative Alexander – his support of higher education is both well-grounded and progressive, and we will continue to make him proud.”

The National Council on Teacher Quality released its study in June. It looked at 77 elementary education programs from all states but Alaska, examining the mathematics courses that elementary teacher candidates had to take.

Only 10 of the 77 programs scored adequately on all three criteria (relevance, breadth and depth), according to the report, “No Common Denominator: The Preparation of Elementary Teachers in Mathematics by America’s Education Schools.” They are the University of Louisiana at Monroe, the University of Georgia, Boston College, Indiana University at Bloomington, Lourdes College, University of Maryland at College Park, University of Michigan, University of Montana, University of New Mexico, and Western Oregon University.

The ULM College of Education and Human Development and the College of Arts and Sciences mathematics faculty collaborated to develop a sequence of mathematics courses totaling 15 credit hours for elementary education majors. The sequence includes one general mathematics course and four mathematics courses designed specifically for elementary education teachers, according to Dr. Beverly Flowers-Gibson, associate dean for the ULM Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

All agree that it is critically important that elementary teachers gain the knowledge and ability they need to effectively teach mathematics, passing on skills necessary to allow American children to keep up with their peers around the world, and to produce a skilled workforce that can compete in today’s global economy.

To view the original ULM article, visit:

For more information on the report, go to James Heggen of Inside Higher Ed’s article at:

or read the National Council on Teacher Quality report at:

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