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Math proficiency in New York City schools at center of NYC Solves program. Here's how it works.

Math proficiency in New York City schools at center of NYC Solves program
Math proficiency in New York City schools at center of NYC Solves program 02:52

NEW YORK -- Saying that New York City public school students often struggle with math, Mayor Eric Adams and Schools Chancellor David Banks on Monday unveiled NYC Solves, a new and innovative program.

The program, which tries to relate math to real-world experiences, like going to the supermarket or the drug store, will begin this fall at 93 middle schools in eight districts, and 420 high schools. It's necessary because math proficiency in city schools is sorely lacking.

"In 2023, half of our students in grades 3 through 8 were not proficient in math and that was an improvement from the year before. Nearly 66% of Black students and approximately 64% of Latino students scored below proficiency. That is wholly unacceptable," Banks said.

"The equation is simple. When you take good policy and multiply it by hard work, the net results will always be positive," Adams added.

The move came after 1,000 teachers signed a petition organized by a group called Educators for Excellence, which said the move from the mayor and the chancellor shows they heard the teachers' pleas.

"NYC Solves is another huge and much-needed step forward in helping our students achieve better outcomes in math," said Marielys Divanne, the group's executive director.

Program designed to change attitudes about math

Adams and Banks are now intent on drumming math into the heads of city public school students, like eighth grader Imani Reevey.

"I used to hate math," Reevey said.

Reevey is a success story of a new way of teaching math, which tries to undo the fear of numbers that so many students and teachers have.

"I now feel confident in my skills the way I do math, both with help and without help," Reevey said.

Officials said it's also about changing the classroom attitudes about the subject of math. CBS New York's Marcia Kramer asked the mayor if he hated math when he was in school.

"Yes, because, you know, growing up in the household, everybody on the block was saying they hated math. You were constantly reminded about what you can't be," Adams said.

The mayor and the chancellor also announced the creation of a new division within the Department of Education that will focus students with disabilities and who may not speak English. It will also focus on the needs of some 38,000 migrant students who have already entered the system. 

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