Math summit highlights importance of math education and pushes for change

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- We've all thought it: You're in school, learning formulas and theorems, and you think... Will I ever use this in real life? Well, the answer is you should be able to.

It may be hard to believe in our science, technology, and math-fueled economy, but Alabama is one of the furthest states behind in math education.

Teachers and instructors participated in a math summit this year to learn how to improve those stats and what needs to be done to get us on par with the rest of the country.

"We see many students who can read words brilliantly, but then they don't have any comprehension, we have the same problem in mathematics," explained Sheila Holt, Director of UAH AMSTI.

Instead of just memorizing formulas, students need to be able to apply those math skills, and instructors need to know how to teach them.

"If we restrict our students to only knowing one way, that way is not always going to work out for them," Holt said.

This summit, the Alabama Math Science Technology Initiative, is challenging educators to come up with ways to accelerate math education in schools.

"We need to acknowledge the fact that the jobs of the future require a strong basis in mathematics," said Mary Scott Hunter with the Alabama Board of Education.

"We want to make sure we're not tracking students into a pathway where there's a dead end. we want every student to be challenged," Holt said.

So, what's the solution? Hunter says younger students need to be learning higher levels of math.

"Most of our students need to be on what we would no call an accelerated pace, well that doesn't need to be called accelerated anymore, it needs to be normal," she said.

These educators encourage you to contact your state legislators and let them know the upcoming generation needs equal opportunities in math, and that more funding needs to go into math education.

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