Metro school leaders want choice in teaching high school math

Education leaders in metro Atlanta are fighting mad – over math.

Fulton County school Superintendent Robert Avossa is leading an effort urging state education officials to make a change. They say students are struggling with math classes, and want districts to have a choice in how it’s taught and tested.

Avossa and others argue the state’s “integrated” method of teaching math in high school – which combines three disciplines such as geometry, algebra and data probability — is not preparing students well enough for college math. Teachers coming out of universities and into classrooms are not adequately prepared to teach it, plus textbooks and other materials needed to teach the math method are scarce, education leaders say.

“My fear is we’re creating a generation of kids who don’t like math, who are scared of math, who are having a hard time stitching together these concepts because their teachers have a hard time stitching together these concepts,” Avossa said.

Besides Fulton, Avossa notes other school districts including Cobb have also voiced concerns about the integrated math approach — a teaching method that’s been hotly debated among educators since its implementation in Georgia classrooms in 2008. The change marked a significant shift by state education leaders from the more “traditional” approach, which focuses primarily on one kind of math in each course.

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