Gold Medalist Apolo Ohno Lends His Talent to Math Education Awareness

Raytheon Launches Hippest Homework Happening and Helps Thousands of

America's Students Make Homework History



Apr 26, 2006, 01:00 ET from Raytheon

    WASHINGTON, April 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Thousands of students
 across America are giving their teachers the night off. They're doing math
 homework together online with their heroes, including speedskating
 sensation Apolo Ohno, soccer legend Mia Hamm, basketball star Lisa Leslie
 and BMX biker Dave Mirra.
     The first-of-its-kind Hippest Homework Happening is made possible by
 Raytheon (NYSE:   RTN), a leading technology company, as part of its mission
 to show American middle schoolers that math can lead to cool careers.
 Already, more than 18,000 students from across the country are registered
 to participate.
     Ohno, the newest celebrity to lend his name to the MathMovesU program,
 showed his support by skating onto Capitol Hill in front of members of
 congress and over 100 seventh graders to preview tonight's Hippest Homework
 Happening. Instead of their regular math homework, middle school students
 can visit http://www.mathmovesu.com to time Ohno's gold-medal winning
 speed; measure the angles of Hamm's on-field moves; calculate the rotations
 behind Mirra's favorite trick; and figure out the math behind a prime-time
 television show. On the site, students can also apply for cool prizes,
 scholarships and school grants from Raytheon.
     "Math is very relevant in my career and in my life," Ohno said. "From
 counting laps around the rink and calculating speed to determining the
 shortest distance between me and the finish line, math is vital to what I
 do every day -- I think some kids will find that surprising!"
     The company launched the MathMovesU program in 2005 to help engage
 students in math in an innovative, fun way. The initiative targets students
 in grades six through eight -- at a time when research (1) indicates that
 math and science performance begins to decline. In a Raytheon-sponsored
 survey, a majority of middle school students reported that they would be
 more interested in math if they learned about celebrities (79%) or were
 shown how people in music, sports and video gaming use math in their jobs
 (81%). An overwhelming majority of students (93%) said they knew they would
 need to use math later on in life, but couldn't directly link it to their
 dream jobs. In fact, many students can't name a compelling career that uses
 math.
     "It's a challenge to get and keep American students interested in math
 so we need to take a long-term view and address this issue early, during
 the 'slippery slope' of middle school," said William H. Swanson, Raytheon
 Chairman and CEO. "We hire nearly 3,000 engineers each year making this a
 real business imperative for us. We must do something to cultivate math
 skills in this country and engage our students or our workforce is going to
 be in crisis."
     America's Math Problem
     The National Assessment of Educational Progress found that less than
 one- third of eighth graders reached a level of proficiency or higher in
 math. The fundamentals -- like homework -- are at the core of the issue.
 Raytheon surveyed more than 1,000 middle school students and found that a
 combined 84% of American sixth to eighth graders would rather do one of the
 following: clean their rooms, eat their vegetables, take out the garbage or
 go to the dentist than sit down with their math homework.
     About one-third of the fourth-graders and one-fifth of eighth-graders
 cannot perform "basic mathematical computations," and U.S. high school
 seniors recently tested below the international average for 21 countries in
 mathematics and science (1). As a result, fewer American students than ever
 are graduating from college with math and science degrees -- causing a
 shortage of hundreds of thousands of engineers and scientists needed for
 American companies.
     Capitol Hill Event Shines Spotlight on Math
     Ohno will be joined by Professor Jonathan Farley, a mathematician and
 science fellow at Stanford University's Center for International Security
 and Cooperation. Farley is also a member of Hollywood Math & Science Film
 Consulting, working with writers and producers on television shows like
 "Medium" to ensure that the technical details in the script are accurate,
 whether they are mathematical, scientific, or medical.
     "Many kids struggle to see where math can take them," said Farley, who
 holds an A.B. in math from Harvard University and a D.Phil. in mathematics
 from the University of Oxford. "With math as my passion, I've not only
 traveled to places like India, South Africa, and Jamaica, I've also met
 some incredibly interesting people, from Navy admirals to actors and
 producers."
     Participating in the Hippest Homework Happening
     Students and teachers can still sign up for the Hippest Homework
 Happening by logging onto http://www.mathmovesu.com , and they can apply
 for scholarships and grants on an ongoing basis. In all, Raytheon will
 provide $1 million in scholarships and grants this year. Scholarships will
 be awarded to students who explain how they would help make math "cool" in
 their schools. Grants will fund classroom help for teachers and fund
 in-school support for math education.
     About MathMovesU
     MathMovesU is a unique initiative designed to "elevate math to cool" by
 combining middle school students' interest in celebrities with grant money,
 awards and a robust MATHCOUNTS curriculum to encourage excitement about
 math. The program reaches students at a time when studies(2) show
 performance declines in math and science, grades six through eight.
 Raytheon also supports MATHCOUNTS, a national math enrichment, coaching and
 competition program. You can learn more about MathMovesU and its sponsors
 by visiting http://www.mathmovesu.com , http://www.mathcounts.org ,
 http://www.raytheon.com , and http://www.bhef.com .
     (1)  National Center for Education Statistics
     (2)  "A Commitment to America's Future: Responding to the Crisis in
          Mathematics & Science Education," Business Higher Education Forum.
          January 2005.  Page 6.
 
 

SOURCE Raytheon