Kathy Brown

Access to Higher Levels of Mathematics – Podcast Episode 13 | Podcast Episode 13

Classnotes Podcast (May 30, 2007) Latino and African American children are under-represented in advanced math courses. And achievement gaps in math by ethnicity and economic background are sharp divides between minority, low-income high school students and their peers. These divisions show up later on college campuses, the workplace, earnings and life opportunities. Poor math preparation hurts children and leaves the nation behind as well. Twenty three out of 38 countries outperform the United States in mathematics literacy. Kathryn Brown, an IDRA education associate and developer of IDRA’s Math Smart! model, discusses how all students should have access to quality instruction in math that ensures success on all assessments, and enrollment and completion in higher-level mathematics courses. Kathy is interviewed by Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed., director of the IDRA Texas Parent Information and Resource Center.

Show length: 22:32

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IDRA’s Math Smart! Model
IDRA’s Math Smart! presents a shift in mathematical thinking for instructors, that develops the five dimensions of mathematical proficiency using scientifically-based researched strategies.

“Making Mathematics Accessible to All Students and Closing the Achievement Gap”
By Kathryn Brown, IDRA Newsletter

“Re-Invigorating Math Curricula”
By Kathryn Brown, IDRA Newsletter

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

George Lucas Edutopia Learning Modules

Dynamic Learning Sites

Virtual Library of Online Manipulatives (in Spanish too!)


Teacher Tube – bringing in multimedia into the classroom and this site has good instructional ideas

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Show Notes

  • 00:33 Host Aurelio Montemayor, M.Ed., IDRA senior education associate, opens the show and describes the mission of IDRA and the podcast.

  • 01:51 Aurelio reads listener e-mail from Sandy M. Doland, an elementary school principal in Louisiana whose school was mentioned in Episode 4 of the podcast.

  • 03:03 Aurelio introduces the topic of the show -- access to higher level of mathematics in secondary education -- and welcomes guest Kathy Brown, an IDRA education associate and developer of IDRA's Math Smart! model.

  • 04:00 Kathy provides a national overview of children's access to higher-level mathematics in public schools.

  • 04:45 Kathy says that mathematics is the primary subject in which public schools are failing to make annual yearly progress (AYP) under No Child Left Behind, and she discusses the corresponding impact on students entering college.

  • 05:49 Kathy explains why algebra I is called a "gate-keeping course." Kathy explains why concepts of higher mathematics should be introduced to students at all grade levels. She stresses math's importance in the professional world.

  • 09:57 Kathy talks about the under-representation of Latinas and African American women in science degree programs in the United States.

  • 12:08 Kathy disputes the notion that Algebra I and higher levels of mathematics are only for the select few.

  • 14:02 Kathy touches on the "human-nature and devaluing costs" of having so few Americans graduate high school and college with degrees that require advanced levels of math.

  • 15:00 Aurelio asks Kathy how schools can work with teachers who either aren't strong in math themselves or who claim that too few students are able to master higher levels of mathematics.

  • 16:50 Kathy says there is a direct correlation between teachers' expectations of their students and the students' ultimate performance.

  • 17:06 Kathy explains how teachers can "engage [their students] from the get-go" and says that teachers need to put mathematics in context of something that is meaningful in their students' lives.

  • 18:54 Kathy encourages math teachers in lower grades to spend time with their colleagues in higher grades who are leading more advanced math classes.

  • 19:20 Kathy says that teachers can raise their students' confidence in mathematics by introducing higher-level math concepts as early as kindergarten.

  • 20:28 Kathy counsels teachers to have an open line of communication with parents as well.