Alabama’s top educator discusses bill to aid math scores

Around 900 math coaches would be hired if the Numeracy Act is passed, per the state...
Around 900 math coaches would be hired if the Numeracy Act is passed, per the state superintendent.(Source: WSFA)
Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 6:59 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - When lawmakers return from spring break, many will put their focus on Alabama’s Numeracy Act, which is the latest effort to improve math scores within elementary schools.

“When you have parents that can’t do third grade math with their children because it makes no sense, that’s a problem,” said Becky Gerritson, executive director of Eagle Forum Alabama.

State Superintendent Eric Mackey explains this bill may feel familiar.

“Much of it looks exactly like the Literacy Act but just for mathematics,” Mackey said. “There are some additional pieces in there that we don’t have in the Literacy Act.”

The education leader specifically mentioned school turn around models and a section on working with institutions of higher education.

“We as a department would be looking into the math and science preparation that is going on in our colleges, that’s something we’ve not done before,” Mackey said. “I’m excited about that an opportunity to go in and lift that tablecloth and see exactly what is going on, and are there things that we can improve on?”

He explains it is to ensure the state has more competitive employees in the STEM workforce. The Numeracy Act would also hire additional help.

“There’s no money to hire more teachers in the bill. There is money to hire coaches,” he added.

These math coaches would help train teachers.

“Which is very difficult to do, especially in the primary and elementary grades,” Mackey said. “So, we’re looking at probably hiring around 900 math coaches in the state to be working in all of our K-5 schools.”

If this act is passed, Mackey said coaches would be put in place over the next six years.

The first coaches would start in Fall 2023.

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