The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced Wednesday that it will grant more than $1 billion in grants over the next four years as part of a broader US plan to improve math education.
The goal is to help students succeed in school and find well-paying jobs upon graduation, given research showing a link between strong math skills and career success.
The foundation, which has long sparked controversy over its educational work, said it would cut grants for other subjects such as reading, writing and the arts, in order to put more money into mathematics.
The increased focus on math came after the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on basic education and wide achievement gaps by race: math scores among black students higher than white students, according to Bob Hughes, director of Gates Foundation Education and Elementary Education. Fell from grant program.
The Foundation believes that improved math instruction in the early grades is vital to helping students succeed in school and beyond. Hughes said students who pass algebra in 9th grade are twice as likely to graduate from high school and go to college.
The problem is that math doesn’t present itself as an important and enjoyable subject for many students, he said.
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