Idaho’s ‘math initiative’ hasn’t improved kids’ math scores – they’ve actually dropped…

Big surprise: spend more money on education and get lower results. That negative correlation should mean something to educated people. 

Idaho has invested millions in improving math instruction in schools since 2008, Idaho EdNews reports, but math scores haven’t improved – they’ve actually gone down. EdNews reporter Clark Corbin analyzed math scores, and found that they’ve been stagnant or dropping across the board. For example, the percentage of 8th-graders scoring at or above grade-level benchmarks on the math section of the National Assessment of Educational Progress dropped from 38 percent to 34 percent over the seven-year period. For fourth-graders, math proficiency levels dropped from 41 percent of students to 38 percent over that same time period.

“Our math scores are stagnant and we need to do something about it,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra declared last week.

Idaho’s statewide math initiative was launched in 2008 under then-Superintendent Tom Luna; lawmakers allocated $3.9 million that year, with teacher training among the top focuses. Over the past seven years, the state has invested $16.5 million into the math initiative, including for online supplemental math programs; and another $118.6 million professional development training for teachers, which districts could apply to any subject, including math.

Corbin reports that Ybarra is working on a new proposal to lawmakers for 2017 to tie the math initiative to her rural schools center proposal, which lawmakers didn’t support this year. She’s also looking at adding “math coaches” in regional schools centers to help teachers improve math instruction. Corbin’s full report is online here.

Via Betsy Russell