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Global Thought Leaders to Convene at MasterCard Math Education Summit


Event Will Provide Forum for Education, Community and Business Leaders to Discuss Advancing the Teaching of Mathematics in the St. Louis Region

Math Expert from Singapore to Speak on Why Singapore Leads the World in Student Math Achievement.

St. Louis.- Math experts from around the globe will convene for a Math Education Summit at MasterCard in O’Fallon, Mo. on Oct. 24. The event’s theme, “Global Expertise, Local Possibilities,” sets the stage for convening thought leaders to advance the teaching of mathematics in the St. Louis region.

The summit features Singaporean math education expert Lianghuo Fan, Ph.D., who will discuss how math teachers help Singapore lead the world in student math achievement. Dr. Fan is an associate professor of mathematics education at the National Institute of Education, which trains all primary and secondary teachers in Singapore.

Other speakers include Frank Corcoran, founding teacher of KIPP Academy in New York City, the highest-performing non-selective public middle school in the Bronx for 10 consecutive years in reading scores, math scores and attendance , and Jason Kamras, the 2005 National Teacher of the Year and special assistant to the chancellor for teacher performance in the District of Columbia Public Schools.

“There is widespread evidence of the need for improved math education,” said Victoria May, director of science outreach at Washington University in St. Louis. “American eighth graders rank fifteenth globally in math achievement, behind students in countries such as Estonia, Hungary and Malaysia.”

In Missouri, only 38 percent of fourth-graders and 30 percent of eighth-graders are performing at proficient levels in math.

“Math achievement is key for students’ future employability,” said Dr. Terry Adams, superintendent of the Wentzville School District. “Students of today will face global competition for the employment opportunities of tomorrow. This globalization of the workforce means our students must be as proficient in math and science as their international counterparts.”

MasterCard invited St. Louis-area education, business and community leaders to the summit for a dialogue on advancing the teaching of mathematics in the St. Louis region and to identify new possibilities for improving student math achievement.

“Technology companies such as MasterCard depend on a future workforce that is skilled in math,” said W. Roy Dunbar, president of Global Technology and Operations at MasterCard. “As an innovation and global commerce leader, math is core to our business. We are not experts in math education, but we recognize how critical the support of math teachers is to improving student math achievement. By offering our Global Technology and Operations headquarters as the venue for the Math Education Summit, we provide a forum for experts to share knowledge and collaborate in identifying opportunities to aid our local education systems.”

The event also includes a panel discussion on successful collaborations between business and education.

“From the business perspective, nothing is more important than a quality education for our young people,” said Kathy Osborn, executive director of the Regional Business Council. “Businesses throughout the region are confirming their commitment to education by collaborating with individual schools and organizations to drive a math and technology focus. Businesses are taking an active role, as we know our competition is global and we must remain competitive.”

MasterCard is hosting the summit as part of its Project Math initiative, a St. Louis program that supports advancing excellence in the teaching of mathematics. Project Math areas of focus include support for sharing national and international expertise, facilitating regional partnerships and assisting local districts, as well as sharing intellectual resources through employee volunteer opportunities, and donating technology.


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