2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

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Newton's Appeal

To its many initiatives aimed at improving urban teaching, TC has now added the Newton Fellows, an intensive master's degree program in secondary math education sponsored by New York-based Math for America (MfA).

The first 27 Newton Fellows graduated in the spring after one year at the College. In addition to earning a degree, each Newton Fellow became eligible for certification to teach in New York City. During their schooling, Fellows receive full tuition and a $28,000 stipend, along with health insurance.

In return, the Newton Fellows commit to teach in New York City public schools for four years. Beyond earning the standard beginning salary for a New York City Teacher, Newton Fellows receive an additional stipend for each year they fulfill their teaching commitment, for a combined total of $62,000 above their salaries by the end of the four years.

Math for America (www.mathforamerica.org) was founded by James H. Simons, a mathematician and investment banker who is president of Renaissance Technologies Corp., a private investment firm. Earlier in Simons' career, he taught mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and at Harvard.

There were 118 applicants for the first class of 40 Fellows across three participating schools (TC, New York University and Queens College). The incoming class of Fellows will number 39, out of an applicant pool of 130. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree, with substantial coursework in mathematics (a minimum of 18 credits in math courses at the calculus level or higher are required). Newton Fellowship applicants must demonstrate their abilities by taking the ETS Praxis II Math Content Exams: Mathematics Content Knowledge and Mathematics: Proofs, Models, and Problems, Part 1.

"One thing that distinguishes Math for America is that it selects people who are mathematically gifted but who may not have thought about teaching," says Erica Walker, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education at TC. Walker will act as advisor for the incoming class of Newton Fellows this year. She notes that another of the program's strengths is that Fellows are provided support as new teachers once they begin working at a school.

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