Special Report
Curriculum

How Schools Are Putting Equity First in Math Instruction

May 05, 2020 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Educators and policymakers have been worried about the math skills of the nation’s students for decades now. U.S. students lag behind their peers in other countries, and the nation’s lowest-performing students have gained no ground on the math portion of the National Assessment of Educational Progress for nearly 30 years.

Just as disturbing, the Nation’s Report Card persistently reveals gaps between the math-skill levels of students by income, race, and ethnicity. Poor, African American, and Native American students fare the worst on the assessment.

And, yet, more than ever, Americans depend on math-fueled technology and call on big data to solve major problems. Educators recognize the value of math. They want their students to thrive in a quantitative world—maybe more than most citizens realize.

In a nationally representative survey of U.S. educators last month, when almost all teachers were meeting their students remotely, the EdWeek Research Center found that teachers are more concerned about their students falling behind in math than in any other subject.

Nine in every 10 teachers are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about a math deficit during the school shutdowns. Teachers in higher-poverty schools are even more concerned than those in lower-poverty districts. Educators are worried about math, the survey shows, even though they generally think the arts and science are harder than math to teach at a distance.

Pandemic conditions have heightened the challenges for math learning, no doubt about it.

This special report showcases bold approaches—almost all of them in use now remotely—for helping all students succeed at math.

The educators featured in this report are changing instructional priorities, altering lessons, and working on ways to help teachers grow professionally. Like their peers across the nation, they know that math is a critical subject and they want it to be a favorite one, too.

—Bess Keller
Senior Contributing Editor

A version of this article appeared in the May 06, 2020 edition of Education Week as Leveling the Playing Field in Math

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Curriculum Teaching in the 'Metaverse'? Roblox Looks to Make It a Reality
Gaming company Roblox will give $10 million to support development of immersive virtual STEM curriculum for its metaverse platform.
7 min read
A young person reaches out from behind a virtual reality headset
Natasa Adzic/iStock
Curriculum Opinion Media Coverage of Critical Race Theory Misses the Mark
News accounts of critical race theory focus on topics that are not particularly controversial, while neglecting those that are.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Curriculum A 'War on Books': Conservatives Push for Audits of School Libraries
After Texas banned critical race theory in schools, battles grew heated in the conservative suburbs surrounding the state's largest cities.
Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times
12 min read
Image of books.
iStock/Getty
Curriculum Texas Lawmaker Demands Districts Provide Lists of Books on Racism, Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ
The Texas attorney general candidate's request has received criticism from educator groups who say the inquiry is politically motivated.
Eleanor Dearman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
3 min read
Image of books on a library shelf.
iStock/Getty