The Education Trust–New York Statement on Middle School Math Investments

Jun 24, 2024 | Press Release

NEW YORK – The Education Trust–New York applauds the decision by Chancellor David Banks and Mayor Eric Adams to make substantial investments in middle school mathematics instruction in New York City. “NYC Solves” — a new citywide initiative to raise math achievement so all students graduate with strong math skills — is the result of persistent advocacy from educators and organizations like Educators for Excellence-New York (E4E-NY). This new initiative marks a major step forward in addressing the critical need for high-quality math education.

The decision to adopt Illustrative Mathematics across eight districts and provide centrally-funded professional learning demonstrates a clear commitment to enhancing math instruction for students and educators. This investment is poised to equip students with the foundational skills they need to succeed in higher-level mathematics and beyond.

The urgency of this initiative is underscored by our recent analysis of assessment results showing a significant gap in math proficiency among eighth graders in New York. Assessment data from the New York State Education Department (NYSED) in 2023 revealed only 45% of eighth graders in New York City Public Schools were proficient in math, with rates significantly lower for Black (39%), Latinx (37%), and students from low-income backgrounds (42%). These results demonstrate decisive action is required to reverse this trend and ensure all students, especially students of color and those from low-income backgrounds, have the opportunity to excel in mathematics.

While the announcement of the new initiative is cause for celebration, it is imperative that we monitor the implementation closely. Effective execution, ongoing feedback from educators, and high-quality professional learning opportunities will be essential to ensuring the success of this endeavor. This initiative will also need to take the needs of multilingual learners and students with disabilities into account; by ensuring proper scaffolds are provided for both and that the curriculum is translated for use in bilingual education programs. We also encourage the Chancellor to expand this initiative to additional districts throughout the city so that all New York City middle and high school students have access to the curriculum and instruction they need to be successful in mathematics.

New York City’s decision to invest significantly in math instruction is a bold and commendable move. It sets a positive example for other urban school districts across the state and the nation. By creating initiatives that focus on literacy and numeracy skills, New York City is taking important steps toward addressing our English and math proficiency crisis in New York.

For media inquiries, please contact Elizabeth Chmurak at [email protected].

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About The Education Trust–New York: 

The Education Trust–New York works to eliminate the gaps in equity and opportunity that hold back too many students from reaching their full potential, especially those who are from low-income backgrounds or students of color, in order to enable all students in New York State to achieve at high levels — from early childhood through college. Learn more at EdTrustNY.org.