KU Chancellor delivers letter to White House pledging more math, science teachers

University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little is one of four educators delivering a letter to the White House today, promising more math and science teachers for U.S. schools.

The letter to be given to President Barack Obama was signed by 79 university leaders who pledged to address the national shortage.

Gray-Little was one of those invited to attend Obama's second "Educate to Innovate" event.

"We have been told that University of Kentucky President Lee Todd will actually present the letter to the President just prior to the start of the official ceremonies," said Lynn Bretz, KU spokeswoman. The other two are from the university systems of Colorado and Maryland.

Obama is honoring 100 educators, including three from Kansas: Sherry Helus, a third-grade teacher in Wamego; DeAnn Swofford, a science teacher in Gardner; and Mary Beth Meggett, a KU graduate who teaches science in Charleston, S.C.

In November, Obama called to American teachers and students to climb back into the world's top ranks in science and math over the next decade.

Gray-Little also is there to represent UKanTeach, a program established in 2007 at KU to train science and math majors to become teachers. The program expects to have 120 math and science teachers a year graduating from KU by 2014. UKanTeach is launching a new partnership to

The Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities selected UkanTeach as one of four top programs answering Obama's call for a larger and more diverse pool of math and science teachers, Bretz said.

The letter said half of the schools will at least double their science and math teachers graduates within five years.

While at the White House, Gray-Little and the university presidents were to have a private meeting with Education Secretary Arne Duncan.