September 21, 2008
Elementary Math is Beyond Teachers
A mere 13% of undergraduate education schools require sufficient amounts of relevant math coursework for prospective elementary teachers, according to a report by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), Washington, D.C. The organization rated schools in 49 states by studying entrance and exit requirements, tests, textbooks, course syllabi, and state licensing exams. The results shed new light on why American kids fare so poorly on international comparisons. Math scores for U.S. fourth-graders have not improved since 1995 on the world's "report card"-the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, or TIMSS, leaving American students 12th out of the 25 countries whose students took the test. "As a nation, our dislike and discomfort with math is so endemic that we do not even find it troubling when elementary teachers admit to their own weaknesses in basic mathematics," states Kate Walsh, president of NCTQ.
"Not only are our education schools not tackling these weaknesses, they accommodate them with low expectations and insufficient content. We simply must begin to appreciate the critical importance of elementary teachers gaining the knowledge and skills they need to effectively teach mathematics. It is what our children need in order to keep up with their peers around the world- and what our country needs in order to produce a skilled workforce that can compete in today's global economy." Copyright Society for Advancement of Education Sep 2008
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