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There is a widely recognized perception that the nation facing a crisis in fulfilling its needs for citizens trained in the fields of science, mathematics and technology. In particular, the State of Illinois has an obligation toward this national issue and to .its own need to develop these human resources that are so intimately coupled to economic leadership in a post-industrial society. This is a very broad challenge; here we propose to address only one important aspect: the nurturing of creative excellence in students of science and mathematics. We are concerned with the extraordinarily gifted person--the upper few tenths of one percent of the secondary-school population of Illinois. It is our conviction that, in spite of the existence of many excellent schools in this state, this special breed of student is too often insufficiently challenged, with a consequent loss of potential to the individual and to the society that he or she might have served. The brilliant child is a rare blessing and, at the same time, represents a great responsibility. Over the past decade, our system of education has not met the needs of this group of students.

We propose to remedy this by the creation of an Illinois Science Academy, a three-year residential public school which bridges the conventional 10th, 11th and 12th grades of high school and the first year of college. The Science Academy will search throughout the state to identify young students exceptionally talented in science and mathematics. They will be provided with a uniquely challenging education in mathematics and science, as well as a superior program in English, foreign languages, social studies, and the humanities. The Academy will also act as a catalyst for the improvement of teaching of science and mathematics in all Illinois schools. We propose the governance to be by an independent Board of Trustees, appointed by the appropriate State authorities.


This proposal was developed by a Curriculum Design Workshop Group convened on December 9-11, 1983.

The workshop was convened by Friends of Fermilab, and the Corridor Partnership for Excellence in Education and was funded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs and by a grant from Brooks McCormick. The support of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy is also gratefully acknowledged.



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