SPRINGFIELD – Illinois middle and high schools are one step closer to accessing statewide math curricula thanks to a bill supported by Lt. Governor Sheila Simon that passed the House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee unanimously today.
SB 3244, which passed 22-0, authorizes the Illinois State Board of Education to design curriculum models that detail content and teaching techniques for middle and high school math standards. Schools could opt to follow the state-recommended scope and sequence of study for math and math equivalent courses through a student’s final year of high school, or continue to follow local curricula.
The bill does not change high school graduation requirements in math; however the state could adjust the requirement – by mandating more time or a competency test, for example – if it finds that students who use the state curriculum perform better than those that do not. The new curriculum will be available for the 2013-14 school year, with analysis to come four years later, according to the bill.
“Students learn locally, but they compete globally,” Simon said. “Employers and colleges are telling us that too many of our students are not competing in math. This bill will provide educators across the state, in all zip codes, the tools they need to prepare their students for college and career math.”
In 2011, 58 percent of high school graduates did not meet the math college readiness benchmark, according to ACT. More than one-third of recent high school graduates who transitioned as full-time community college freshmen between 2006-08 enrolled in at least one remedial math course, according to the Illinois Community College Board. Students who enroll in remedial courses are more likely to drop out or graduate late.
Simon said the optional statewide curriculum moves away from simply requiring “seat time” to promoting use of that time wisely, with the ultimate goal of making students more employable and reducing expensive and time-consuming remedial math needs in higher education. The state curriculum could be most helpful to teachers in districts that lack curriculum directors or that rely on textbook manufacturers that claim their materials are aligned with state standards.
The bill passed out of the Senate 50-1 in March and now moves to the House for a vote.