Illinois politicians push for detailed math curriculum
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois lawmakers approved a proposal Wednesday that could increase the number of courses counting toward a high school math requirement.
High school students could use vocational courses, such as drafting or wood shop, as math credits under Senate Bill 3244, which requires a detailed math curriculum.
“Math is not just a college need. Math is required for manufacturing careers … agriculture careers,” said Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, who spoke for the bill during a House committee hearing.
Simon said her support for the bill stems from her statewide tour of community colleges.
“It came up at every single community college — that far too many students are not ready for college-level math,” she said.
The new legislation requires the Illinois State Board of Education to provide educators with specific skills, content and samples of lessons to teach students.
Current curriculum has been criticized for being too broad. It states that to graduate, students need three years of math, of which two courses must be algebra and geometry. The curriculum allows teachers and school administrators to decide what to teach and how to teach it.
School districts can use all or portions of the new curriculum.
“If a school has a particular geographic location with careers, they might adapt it in a different way that fits their school district,” Simon said.
The House Elementary and Secondary Education Committee approved the measure in a 20-0 vote. It now heads to the full House.
The Senate passed the bill in March.
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