Arizona Offers Lower Restrictions and Grant Money to Entice Math Teachers

Arizona is changing teaching requirements and allocating grant money to help ease the shortage of math teachers statewide.

Back in March, the Arizona Board of Education ruled that math teachers weren’t required to prove trigonometry and calculus competency in order to teach middle school and lower-level high school math classes anymore. Instead, they would only need to demonstrate the aptitude necessary to teach foundational math courses.

While Arizona continues to develop a new screening process for math teachers interested in teaching grades 6-12, it is adopting California’s assessment model. However, math teachers that intend to teach higher-level math must adhere to Arizona’s current examination policy.

A few months after the board’s decision, Arizona State University (ASU) did its own part to increase the number of qualified math teachers working in the state. On May 24 the school announced it had distributed federal grant funds to 53 students in accordance with the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) program.

ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College uses SEED funding to award undergraduate students up to $10,000 and graduate students up to $25,000 while completing their student teaching residencies, degree requirements, and teaching certifications. The program is specifically designed to accommodate students preparing to become middle school and high school math and science teachers.

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Along with money, the SEED program also provides students with technological equipment, mentoring services, and professional development opportunities.

In general, ASU discourages its student teachers from maintaining after-school jobs so they can fully concentrate on their demanding residency schedules. As a result, student grant recipients are allowed to use SEED grant money at their own discretion. But there is a catch. Upon graduation these students must agree to work as a full-time math or science teacher for two years at one of Arizona’s underserved schools.