Nebraska Education Board adopts new statewide math standards

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The Nebraska Board of Education has adopted new math standards for state public schools after they won the endorsement of the state’s colleges and universities.

The Education Board voted 7-1 Friday to adopt new math standards, the Omaha World-Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1KSkX8J ). Board member Pat McPherson, of Omaha, was the lone vote against the new standards, saying they were essentially a revision of the old standards.

“Nebraska still ranks 29th in the nation on ACT scores,” McPherson said, referring to Nebraska’s 2014 rank on the college entrance test.

State officials contend the standards are more “focused and coherent” than the 2009 standards they replace.

The new standards are aimed at providing elementary and middle school students with a deeper understanding of math so they won’t stumble when they confront tougher math problems later. But the new standards don’t require high school courses in trigonometry and calculus, which some have said are important courses for students pursuing math and science majors.

The new math standards drew letters of support from four higher-education groups: the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Nebraska, the Nebraska Community College Association, the Nebraska State College System and the University of Nebraska.

By signing off on the standards, the groups affirmed that a high school graduate who masters the standards should succeed in entry-level college courses without needing remedial help.

Dennis Baack, executive director of the community college group, expressed support for the standards but issued a caution.

“There is still some concern from the community colleges about needing to require four years of math in the high schools, but the new standards will hopefully alleviate some of these concerns,” Baack wrote.

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