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Federal Funds Educate SD Math Teachers

September 17, 2012, 5:00 PM by Peggy Moyer

Federal Funds Educate SD Math Teachers
SIOUX FALLS, SD -

Hundreds of South Dakota teachers are beefing up their math stills thanks to a federal grant.

South Dakota Counts has helped train hundreds of South Dakota teachers since it began in 2006.

It started with a budget of more than a million dollars, but as federal funding has dwindled over the last few years, so has the amount of money available to train the state's math teachers.

You'll hear more students talking in math classes these days. That's because teachers are encouraging students to discuss how they arrived at an answer. National math standards are changing. It's becoming just as important for students to understand there is more than one way to solve a problem as it is to come up with the correct answer.

"Going away from the yes, no; right or wrong.  And more of the why; what's the purpose?  How'd you do that? Can you show me another way?  That's really what we want to look at," South Dakota Department of Education mathematics program specialist William Kliche said.

Kliche oversees the South Dakota Counts grant program and says with a new math curriculum being introduced into classrooms this year, the money is especially important.

If it weren't for federal funding for the South Dakota Counts program, it's quite possible South Dakota teachers wouldn't get this training.

"This particular training is solely federally funded and to be able to pull this money in within the state of South Dakota would be difficult especially with the current conditions," Kliche said.

The South Dakota Counts program is currently applying for the federal grant dollars for the next three years. However, it will be at least next spring before the state finds out how much money will be available for math training for the 2013-2014 school year.

South Dakota hopes to receive at least $750,000 for next year to keep the math teacher training program widespread.

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