SEATTLE is home to many cutting-edge research institutions and innovative companies including big employers like Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks and Zillow. We’re a national leader in green building and home to the University of Washington. Seattle ought to be a leader in math education too – the Math Capital of the nation.
Sadly, too many of our city’s kids graduate from high school without the math skills they need to succeed in higher education and beyond. In fact, 51-83% of Seattle high school graduates require remedial math classes in community college. Seattle’s achievement statistics show that our problems begin in elementary school — and many students never recover.
So What Can Be Done? Here’s the good news – if we implement the following proven solutions immediately, Seattle can become the Math Capital of the USA.
- Put effective instructional materials in the classrooms
Seattle’s current textbooks are not serving the needs of our students. They are poorly aligned with the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and due for replacement. Seattle needs to start a math textbook adoption immediately, including workbooks and computer-based supplemental materials.
- Reinforce math content expertise for K-8 teachers
The math requirements for starting K-8 teachers are minimal. Seattle needs to raise the bar for hiring new teachers, and recruit master teachers with proven classroom success as mentors and training resources for existing teaching staff.
- Focus on effective student placement and interventions
Student learning outcomes are optimized when kids are taught at their current ability level. This requires assessments that inform teaching and learning at the younger years, and college/career readiness in older grades. Seattle needs to administer the COMPASS test, a nationally normed measure of college readiness, prior to graduation.
Why Math? Math is a fundamental building block for many subjects – science, engineering, design, even music. It’s a key component of STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – the focus of many current industries and career opportunities. By providing effective instructional materials, teaching practices, and student interventions, we can help our kids succeed in math, allowing more time in school for a well-rounded education, and reduce the need for costly outside tutoring.
Why Now? Seattle has a tremendous opportunity right now to refocus its math instruction. A national focus on improving STEM education has identified proven classroom strategies in districts across the country. We have a new school superintendent with a proven track record in math achievement, a math-savvy school board, and a chance to update two of the district’s math textbooks which are due for review – Everyday Math (EDM), for elementary grades, and Connected Mathematics (CMP) for middle school. Both have been used by our students for the past 7 years, and the results are underwhelming. Now is the time to bring better math to Seattle.
Are you in?
Go to the Take Action page to see how you can help make Seattle the Math Capital of the USA.