Need for Math Specialists

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Subject: Need for Math Specialists in AE
From: Stephanie Moran
Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2011 1:35 PM

Forrest Chisman wrote: "I have heard the idea that, as an achievable first goal, we should have a math specialist available to every AE program. I've also heard the view that many retired math teachers or math specialists frustrated with the turmoil in K-12 might be more willing to move over to AE than we think - even if it pays a bit less. Does anybody think there's any truth to these ideas?"

The math wizards at my center really gain a lot of satisfaction from having helped students to *understand*--when I regularly had to teach GED math 10 years ago, I called it teaching "down and dirty"-enough for you to pass the test but nothing elegant or what I'd call true long-term storage of knowledge and application. We could never go back to those days-it would be unethical now that our students have access to true math instructors.

As another poster pointed out, so many of our students come hating math and often with even more psychological math baggage than other HS students, that your standard of a math specialist-just as we have a reading specialist on our faculty-would be a heavenly start.

Stephanie Moran

Subject: [PD 5708] Re: from Stephanie, Need for Math Specialists in AE
From: Donna Pierce
Date: Fri Jun 24 09:31:33 EDT 2011

Our program does not have funds to hire math specialists for each center. My center has a day instructor and night instructor. However, we have been fortunate to have a retired math teacher who was finished with the politics of the K-12 system and who volunteers for us two days per week at no charge. This has been a wonderful addition to the program for our students.

Donna Pierce, Adult Education Instructor
Georgia Northwestern Technical College
based at Catoosa Learning Center
Ringgold, GA
dpierce at

Subject: [PD 5707] Re: from Stephanie, Need for Math Specialists in AE
From: Virginia Simmons
Date: Fri Jun 24 10:16:10 EDT 2011

My priority in hiring for any full time positions is to have math, science, social studies and English covered. My math teacher teaches at both full time centers and the students love him. He has a million different ways to teach one concept and if they don't get it one way, he can help with another. We have noticed a marked difference in GED math scores since he came on board.

If you can convince you powers that be that you need the core curriculum covered so that you can offer a high school diploma, it is well worth it.

Virginia Simmons
Horry County, SC

Subject: [PD 5713] Re: Need for Math Specialists in AE
From: Lynda Ginsburg
Date: Fri Jun 24 11:04:35 EDT 2011

Virginia and Stephanie,

Clearly, your commitment to hiring content specialists is paying off in student outcomes. I've also seen that students persist when they see that they can be successful math learners after a history of frustration and failure.

Of course, just having a strong understanding of the content isn't sufficient. The wonderful teachers you describe also understand how to teach that content to the variety of adult learners in their classes. They need both the content and the repertoire of effective instructional strategies.


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