The Hechinger Report - Learning algebra is like a Lego problem

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Liz WillenDear reader,
 
Kentucky math teacher Jeffrey Coots considers learning algebra to be something like a Lego problem. “You can’t build a house if you don’t have that first foundation,” he told The Hechinger Report, in our intensive look at why pandemic-related learning loss spells trouble this fall for students and for their teachers, who struggled to keep them on track while learning online.
 
What happens in ninth-grade math matters greatly for students’ lives and careers, particularly if they want to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Some schools will be confronting these issues full-on in the fall. Others became aware of how far behind students were when they returned to reopened schools this spring, and are now immersing them in intensive tutoring programs.
 
Also this week, our Proof Points columnist looked at the latest research on rural students, a population that struggled with sufficient math even before the pandemic. They are often not equipped to enter STEM fields because they don’t get the proper training, especially the foundation in algebra. Algebra I is the air you breathe to be in STEM,” Nathan Levenson, the former CEO at a crane manufacturing company who became a school superintendent, told us. Reminder: we love to hear how our schools are coping with all of these issues, and we especially love to hear from our readers.

Liz Willen, Editor
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Main Idea 

Kids are failing algebra. The solution? Slow down.

One class often makes the difference between a STEM career and dropping out of high school — and this year the warning signs are everywhere that students have fallen behind.
Reading List 

How one district went all-in on a tutoring program to catch kids up

A North Carolina district figured out early that tutoring could make a difference for kids who missed instruction, and they plan to keep it up for months and even years to come.
 

PROOF POINTS: Rural American students shift away from math and science during high school, study finds

Lower math achievement, fewer course offerings and lower quality teachers block path to science.
 

Reluctance to require suicide prevention education could cost lives, but it’s complicated

Wyoming has the highest rates of suicide in the nation and some teens here say learning about prevention in schools is a “no-brainer,” but adults are still debating how, and whether, to make it happen.


Five ways you can help ease kids’ stress from the last year

As children transition to post-pandemic life, here’s how adults can help.
 

OPINION: Let’s give unaccompanied immigrant children a better chance in school

Based on my own experience, here’s what we can do to make things better.
Solutions 
"How can a one-minute kindergarten test help teachers tackle the ‘COVID slide'?" Dallas Morning News

This week’s solutions section came from SolutionsU powered by Solutions Journalism Network and their database of solutions journalism. Search for more solutions.
👋 Contact Nichole Dobo at dobo@hechingerreport.org to give feedback on The Hechinger Report’s newsletters. Did you know we produce newsletters on early childhood, education research, the future of learning and higher education? And it helps us if you recommend our newsletters to a friend. 
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