Connecting Middle School and College Mathematics

Recruitment Letter

University of Missouri-Columbia
Mathematics Education
303 Townsend Hall
Columbia, Missouri 65211
Phone: 573-882-4406
Fax: 573-882-4481

January 15, 2002

Dear Missouri Mathematics Educator:

Greetings from mathematics and mathematics education faculty of institutions of higher education throughout Missouri! This letter is a request for your assistance.

The teaching profession has reached a time of critical shortage. Many current teachers are reaching retirement age, and we see fewer certificates issued to new educators every year. Mathematics education is among the areas hardest hit by this shortage. In 2001, all Missouri higher education institutions combined graduated less than 100 middle and/or secondary mathematics teacher candidates. Last year more than 400 jobs were posted for mathematics teachers in Missouri.

Now more than ever it is crucial that we attract bright, new minds to the field of mathematics education. This is where you come in. You interact every day with outstanding mathematics students who may hold the interest and potential to become a teacher of mathematics. Just as you alert your students to math related careers like engineering and science, please also alert them to your career mathematics education. In addition to your efforts as an ambassador for your own profession, please use the enclosed form to provide us with the names of 5 - 7 outstanding mathematics students in their junior or senior year of high school. Feel free to share the enclosed brochure with your students as well. This information will be made available to Missouri higher education institutions offering certification in middle or secondary mathematics and we will follow up by sending the student a personalized letter. The funding for this project is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation and the University of Missouri with collaboration among all institutions listed on the second page of this letter.

We know one of the strongest factors influencing young people to become a teacher is the encouragement of teachers they had in elementary, middle and secondary school. As a teacher, you are in a unique position to inform them about teaching as a career-its rewards as well as its challenges. We hope this letter will be the first step in an ongoing effort to encourage high school students with solid skills in mathematics to consider mathematics teaching as a career. Thanks for your help in spreading the word. If you have any questions about this request, or any suggestions for increasing interest in a career as a mathematics teacher, please let us know.


Ira J. Papick
Professor of Mathematics
University of Missouri-Columbia

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