The Launch Years Initiative: State-Level Strategies to Reimagine Mathematics Education

ESG's work with Georgia, Texas, and Washington

In May 2019, the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas (Dana Center), in collaboration with Education Strategy Group (ESG), Achieve, Community College Research Center, and the Association of Public & Land Grant Universities and with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, started the Launch Years initiative, an ambitious national effort to reimagine mathematics education in high school and usher in a new paradigm for postsecondary readiness in mathematics.

The goal of this work is to dramatically scale high-quality mathematics courses with rigorous, relevant, and engaging content; culturally and pedagogically inclusive instruction; and multiple and flexible high school to postsecondary mathematics pathways designed to better prepare students – especially African American, Latinx, and Native American students and also students in lower-income communities – for mathematics attainment and continuous achievement. In order to accomplish this goal, K-12, higher education, and workforce partners and equity advocates must work together to establish the conditions necessary for every student to succeed.

Over the past several years, ESG has worked with representatives from state education agencies, institutions and systems of higher education, and workforce entities to build on successful efforts to date and identify short- and long-term opportunities for collective action. The primary outcomes of this engagement with state partners are the development of state-level recommendations related to key domains of work including enhancing the content, structure, and sequence of high school and postsecondary mathematics courses; continually enhancing the capacity of mathematics instructors; establishing and implementing differentiated mathematics pathways for all students across the state; and institutionalizing effective cross-sector partnerships. In addition, ESG has identified essential conditions that should be established and action items that should be executed by state-level entities to ensure that strategies will be implemented effectively, with fidelity, and sustained over time.

The purpose of this brief is to present detailed information about ESG engagement with the partner states and the outcomes of this work, as well as to offer questions to guide further work.

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