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Re-visioning Math

Fall into the achievement gap.

More bad news on how U.S. schools rank against the rest of the world.

According to a new study out of the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) College of Education, the United States was found to have the fourth-largest opportunity gap between rich and poor students, in terms of access to qualified teachers. Only Taiwan, Chile, and Syria had worse records. More than 67 percent of wealthy students are taught by highly qualified teachers, compared with about 53 percent of low-income students. The gap between these percentages, more than 14 percent, is far larger than the international average, which is just 2.5 percent.

In large part, the reason comes down to money. Poorer districts simply don’t have the funds to hire better teachers—and students are paying the price. “The intention of teacher quality requirements in NCLB is good, but it is not enough,” says Motoko Akiba, assistant professor of educational leadership and policy analysis in the College of Education at MU. “There is a gap in learning opportunities for teachers,” she says. “In order to close the opportunity gap in the United States, teachers should have equal opportunities to learn and to expand their knowledge in their field.”

29.7 percent
of U.S. eighth-grade math teachers did
not major in mathematics or mathematics
education; the international average
is 13.2 percent.

40 percent
Nearly this many eigth graders do
not have access to highly qualifed
mathematics teachers.


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