We mathematics teachers have more focus on our occupations that ever before. We have a public debate about education that is spilling over into the movies and editorials such as the article reacting the to the documentary “Waiting for Superman” http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2010/10/20/08liebowitz.h30.html?r=8 .Some like this attention and others do not but all of us need to view this attention as an opportunity to improve mathematics education. I feel that the number one issue that needs to be addressed in the Achievement Gap. There is an achievement gap between how our student perform in mathematics and how well they need to perform to meet the challenges of the future. There is also a mathematics achievement gap between groups of students in the United States identified in many ways but I will use the term at-risk. These students for many reasons are not succeeding in our public education system.
NCTM Position statement
Every student should have equitable and optimal opportunities to learn mathematics free from bias—intentional or unintentional—based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or language. In order to close the achievement gap, all students need the opportunity to learn challenging mathematics from a well-qualified teacher who will make connections to the background, needs, and cultures of all learners.
I am totally convinced that mathematics teachers can, in the spirit of collaboration build better classrooms for learning mathematics. This new classroom needs to be an environment where students are expected to think mathematically. This means students will solve relevant problems and explain their solutions in understandable terms.
I also see that teachers need to do a better job of collecting and using assessment data to make instructional decision to improve mathematics achievement. Along with the drive to use data to improve our classrooms we need to document and disseminate this information and changes to a society that is calling for accountability. The national report on the need for effective math teachers can be found at http://www.nctm.org/news/content.aspx?id=14391.