K-12 education

We believe all students deserve the opportunity to succeed in school and in life. One of the most powerful ways for students to be able to take charge of their own futures is success in math. Math teaches students to make sense of the world and how to be better problem solvers and critical thinkers.

Building on the work we’ve done over the last 20 years working with partners to drive improvements in teaching and learning, the Gates Foundation is deepening our work in math in our K-12 Education to help improve math instruction and outcomes.

We look forward to a time when all students can see themselves as “math people” and see math as a tool to prepare them for the futures they envision for themselves.

The math classroom all students deserve

We want all students to see the joy of math, to feel its relevance, to experience what math education can make possible. Basic math skills, coupled with technology to help prepare students for the workforce of today and tomorrow, can set students up for future success, regardless of the career they choose. But too many students feel out of place in the math classroom. They don’t see how math is relevant in their lives and experience math as something to “get through” rather than explore.

Why math? Why now?
Unfinished learning brought on by the pandemic has added to these existing challenges, exacerbating learning and outcome gaps and contributing to a decline in math achievement across the country. This is especially true for Black and Latino students and students from low-income backgrounds who even before the pandemic frequently experienced inequitable access to a variety of math learning supports.

Supporting teachers to improve student outcomes in math
That’s why over the next 10 years, the Gates Foundation is going deeper in math, building on the work we’ve done alongside our partners for the past 20 years to support teachers, schools, and districts in their efforts to improve student outcomes. We’ll be focusing our efforts in a few key areas:

High-quality digital instructional math materials
Educators deserve better instructional math materials that are academically rigorous, engaging and motivating to students and complemented by aligned, quality digital resources that offer maximum personalization for different student learning needs. The math classroom is full of possibility and potential. We’ll work with partners to improve math instruction through the development of high-quality instructional materials that increase student motivation, engagement, and persistence.

Teacher support in pre-service and in the classroom
Even the best materials can’t have an impact without supporting the educators who rely on these tools. We’ll continue to invest in strong teacher prep programs, high-quality teacher supports, and ongoing job-embedded professional learning for teachers that align with high-quality math curriculum.

Instructional coherence in school districts
Our work with Networks for School Improvement underscored how critical it is for an aligned instructional vision across a school district. We will work with US school districts to help implement the practices, protocols, and system changes most essential for supporting strong math instruction for all students.

The Gates Foundation will also continue to work alongside our education pathways partners to create stronger alignment between high school and college math course pathways to increase student success and support their career goals, as well as invest in R&D to bridge the gap between research and practice. We are focused on listening to, empowering, and enabling teachers to do ambitious math and to provide students with the math classrooms they deserve.

We believe that math is for all students. Learn why we are excited for the day when all students have the math skills to achieve their dreams.

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