While you’ve probably heard by now about the low student literacy rates in Boston and urban districts across the country, did you know that only one in three eighth graders is proficient in math? Little attention has been paid to student numeracy to date, leading to a quiet crisis for our schools, our economy, and our children who are not building the foundational math skills required to access rigorous high school courses, college degrees, and high-demand jobs.
In response, EdVestors recently launched Zeroing in on Math – a multi-year, citywide initiative to dramatically improve student outcomes in math and prepare the next generation for 21st century jobs, innovation, and progress.
I joined Richard Holbrook, Chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank, this spring in the Boston Business Journal to introduce Zeroing in on Math, and pose the critical question that EdVestors and our partners like Microsoft are grappling with:
“How can we possibly compete in a global economy when two-thirds of our eighth graders can’t do math? Where will the companies and institutions that anchor our economy…find highly skilled workers and leaders with math skills? The dimensions of this ‘math gap’ should concern us all.” Read the full op-ed here.
Through Zeroing in on Math, EdVestors will partner with schools, teachers, nonprofits and donors and employ many of the same levers that made our work expanding arts education in Boston over the past six years so successful. These include strategic philanthropy, a common citywide agenda, tactical support on the ground in schools, and shared measurement focused on student impact. Through the BPS Arts Expansion, EdVestors and our public and private partners led one of the largest expansion of arts education in an urban district nationally. This has resulted in an unprecedented 17,000 more children accessing arts during the school day, bolstering student engagement and school climate.
So far, EdVestors has made a first round of math investments for eight Boston schools – district and charter – to explore and implement technology-based interventions to close math knowledge and skills gaps for students in grades 4-8. Up next, we’ll look at the problem from all angles and address what happens in classrooms, how schools are organized and teachers supported to advance math achievement, and how creative tools are implemented on the ground.
My hope is that Boston’s best thinkers and innovators – including you – will join us in this important work and make a difference for Boston’s children.
p.s. EdVestors will be hosting its 10th Anniversary School on the Move Prize event, offering $100,000 to the most improving public school in Boston on Tuesday, October 27th at Boston Harbor Hotel from 8 to 10 am. Please register at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/10th-anniversary-school-on-the-move-prize-ceremony-tickets-17921498685
Laura Perille is the President & CEO of EdVestors, a school improvement nonprofit working to increase the number of schools in Boston delivering dramatically improved educational outcomes for all students. For more info about their work in math, contact EdVestors at [email protected], check the website at www.edvestors.org or follow @EdVestors.
Tags: Boston, Boston Business Journal, Boston Public Schools, Eastern Bank, EdVestors, math, microsoft, Microsoft New England, Richard Holbrook, School on the Move, STEM Education, technology, Zeroing in on Math