Since 2015, I've been having discussions with anyone interested in math education. There are many people in education who believe that anyone can learn math deeply and well, if they are taught or guided in a particular way. Since most people are not excelling in math, the question is how do we, who are interested in elevating math learning and appreciation, work together to reach those students who are currently not being reached. From these discussions since 2015, I wanted to share a few things that have come out in a series of posts.
While there are many wonderful hardworking teachers in the school system who go above and beyond, too many students enter high schools without the proper foundation. It is, therefore, imperative that the high school teachers are trained to address this deficit among older children, if we are to properly educate those entering the labor force and post-high school educational institutions. Focusing on high-quality early childhood and primary education as the Jamaican government and private sector is currently doing is an essential component of a long-run efficient solution. There are students who enter high school unable to add and subtract. Since addition and subtraction is a foundation upon which the rest of math is built, without it, there is a superficiality of learning that occurs. Teachers are being asked to cover more advanced topics when all the students in the room do not have the proper foundation. Let's build a system to support students in learning the foundations of math if they don't have it.
Dr. Linda Bailey-McWeeney is the Executive Director of Reggae Math Foundation, an economist, and an educator. She has been an Assistant Professor at Baruch College, City University of New York and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Economics at College of Staten Island, City University of New York, Yeshiva University, and Wagner College. She has a Ph.D. in Economics from Michigan State University.