The new state school superintendent of Alabama says that the state is facing a crisis in math education and is calling for a strategy to provide a solution.
In a presentation to the state Board of Education, Michael Sentance showed that Alabama fourth graders rank 52nd in math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. That means they are in last place, behind all other states, the District of Columbia and Department of Defense schools.
“We have a crisis in math education in this state,” said Sentance, who began working as superintendent in Alabama last month. He is the former secretary of education in Massachusetts.
According to Sentance, Alabama students also have problems in reading and science. However he says that the most urgent concern is math.
Sentance will name a panel of 25 teachers, administrators, school board members, academics, and business leaders who have experience in math education or applied mathematics to develop a strategy to address the problem. The panel will begin meeting at different locations in the state and provide a report in December to the board.
“I agree with it 100 percent,” board member Stephanie Bell of Montgomery said. “I think it can be done. It will require the support of the Legislature because we cannot do it without specific funding.”