Math can be tough, but the state hopes to make it a little easier. But, not by letting students take fewer courses. Instead, districts can adopt a new math curriculum. It's one Simon says will be much easier to teach.
"This is not an order. It's an opportunity. We're providing a curriculum teachers can use all or part of and have that as an option, particularly for small school districts that don't have a curriculum director who to do this kind of research for them. This is a really useful tool for teachers."
The new curriculum is designed for 6th - 12th grades. It works to reduce remedial math courses and follows the common core standards. The initiative focuses on college and career readiness.
"It started from visiting all 48 of the community colleges in the state where one of the things I learned was not being ready for college-level math is the single biggest barrier to college success."
Simon says she wanted to find a way to change that. So, she teamed up with the Illinois State Board of Education. Together they launched the Math Curriculum Task Force.
"They're going to be developing lesson plans for individual topics so that schools and teachers who want assistance of this kind can grab it for free from the state and really make it work in their classes."
Districts will get a chance to try it out this fall. Simon also wants to eventually make math a four-year requirement for high school students.