By Corinn O’Brien, VP of Policy, A+ Education Partnership
This piece was originally published in Alabama Daily News on March 29, 2022.
If there is one thing that we know for sure in Alabama, it’s that good coaches make all the difference. Whether it’s Alabama football or Auburn basketball, we have collectively witnessed the impact of incredible coaches who have supported and prepared their teams and taken them to the highest levels of performance.
As a former middle school math teacher, I know that this same level of coaching was a foundational reason for the academic success of my students. And it’s going to be a critical element of addressing the math crisis in our state.
Only 22% of Alabama students were proficient in math on the 2021 ACAP state assessment, including only 11% of low-income students and 7% of Black students. This puts us dead last nationally. In addition, there are currently 28 K-5 schools that have 0% of students proficient in math.
Our students deserve better. In fact, they need better if they are to be prepared for the real world. The Alabama Legislature is considering a bill, the Alabama Numeracy Act (SB 171), to address this challenge with intensive teacher and student support. It is awaiting final passage in the House of Representatives today.
The Alabama Numeracy Act creates a comprehensive statewide plan to improve math achievement. The bill adds intensive support and funding for teachers and schools including: K-5 math coaches in every elementary school, training for teachers and principals, high-quality instructional materials and curricula for teachers to use in the classroom, intensive interventions for struggling students, and accountability to ensure schools are making progress. Although it is very similar to the Literacy Act, there is no student retention included.
Alabama voters care about getting this right for students. The most recent Alabama Daily News poll reported that about 56% of Republican voters support the Numeracy Act’s plan to modernize math education. Only 15% oppose it.
Just like Coach Saban and Coach Pearl ensure that their players have all the right support and training in place to be successful on the field or the court, the Alabama Numeracy Act is about ensuring that our teachers and students have the support and tools needed to be successful in the classroom.
With the right coaching, training, and support, I have absolutely no doubt that Alabama students will rise to the highest level of performance and be able to compete in today’s economy.
To our State Representatives, we urge you to lead our state to success by voting yes on SB 171, the Alabama Numeracy Act! Alabama teachers and students need your support!