Education is a core mission of the National Science Foundation (NSF). NSF not only promotes
research, but also shares in the responsibility for promoting quality math and science education
as intertwining objectives at all levels of education across the United States. NSF's highly
competitive peer-review process is second to none for openly and objectively identifying, reviewing,
selecting, funding and providing stewardship for the very best science, technology, engineering and
mathematics (STEM) proposals and programs in research and education.
Science and mathematics competency is becoming ever more essential to individuals and nations in an
increasingly global workforce and economy. STEM education is a special challenge for the highly
mobile US population, because it demands a sequential, cumulative acquisition of knowledge and skills.
To raise US student performance to a world-class level, all components of the US education system must
achieve a consensus on a common core of mathematics and science knowledge and skills. These core
competencies must be embedded consistently in instructional materials and practices everywhere and at
all levels, without precluding locally held prerogatives about the content of curricula.