Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communications Office
Kentucky Awarded National Math and Science Initiative Grants for AP and Pre-AP Courses

Press Release Date:  Friday, August 31, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

Governor Fletcher announces new funds to foster scientists and engineers

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today announced that the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) has awarded Kentucky a highly sought and intensely competitive grant with which to fund training and incentives for Advanced Placement (AP) and Pre-AP courses in Kentucky high schools.

The grant, one of seven awarded by NMSI, will provide as much as $13.2 million over six years to a nonprofit organization, Advanced Placement Enterprise of Kentucky (APEK). The grant is to be used to fund extensive training of teachers, identification and cultivation of lead teachers, extended time on task for students and financial incentives based on academic results. Research has shown that students who have access to strong AP programs are better prepared to do college-level work in math, science and engineering.

“My administration is committed to maximizing this six-year grant opportunity for accelerating and institutionalizing Advanced Placement coursework in Kentucky schools,” Governor Fletcher said. “This is consistent with my focus on improved educational attainment for Kentucky citizens.”

APEK was formed by the Kentucky Science and Technology Corp. (KSTC), a private corporation formed in 1987 to promote science, technology and innovative economic development. APEK’s bid for the NMSI grant had the full backing of the Governor, the Kentucky Department of Education, the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) and the Partnership for Kentucky Schools.

NMSI was formed in March 2007 in response to a call to action by the National Academies of Science. The academies’ 2005 report, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, said the most effective means of increasing the United States’ global competitiveness was to improve American students’ performance in math and science.

Earlier this year in Kentucky, a task force of the CPE also issued a report – The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Imperative: Competing in the Global Economy. It said Kentucky urgently needed more math, science and engineering graduates and charted a strategy for getting there.

“The response NMSI has received from across the country has been remarkable,” said Tom Luce, president and CEO of NMSI. “Their interest in our approach tells me they believe in the potential of NMSI and are eager to improve math and science performance.”

NMSI was launched with major backing from ExxonMobil Corp., which committed $125 million.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation have also joined as funders.

“ExxonMobil invests in people and communities around the world because we believe that meeting the world’s economic, energy and environmental challenges requires the development of the world’s most powerful natural resource – the human mind,” said Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil chairman and chief executive officer. “By focusing on programs that are proven to be effective, NMSI holds great promise in fostering the next generation of scientists and engineers.”

In addition to the AP grants, NMSI will offer funding opportunities to many universities across the nation for UTeach programs, which encourage math and science majors to pursue teaching credentials during their undergraduate education. Recipients of the UTeach grants will be announced in October of this year. Non-profit entities in 28 states applied for the first round of AP grants, and 52 universities have applied for the UTeach program.

“We are grateful to NMSI’s far-reaching vision and national leadership,” said Ron Geoghegan, executive director for external and legislative affairs for AT&T–Kentucky and chairman of KSTC.  “We believe passionately in the value of science and math and look forward to working with our very capable partners to make this initiative a success for the people of Kentucky.  It is a proud moment for Kentucky to be among the first partners joining with NMSI in making important new investments in the nation’s innovative talent.”

“Kentucky is well poised to begin immediately to learn from the NMSI model of training and incentives and add local value to STEM learning for our teachers and students,” said Joanne Lang, KSTC executive vice president.

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