Rally to keep AMSTI funded

Published 5:01 pm Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The fate of one of the state’s foremost education programs lies in the hands of Alabama’s Legislature.

The Legislature is expected to convene this week to discuss funding for programs such as Alabama Math, Science and Technology Initiative and its high school counterpart Science in Motion.

But, AMSTI Director Nadine Scarborough isn’t certain how much funding the program will get from the state, which may pose a problem since the program is state-funded.

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“We want our funding to be continued and maintained so we can continue to help students and teachers,” Scarborough said.

AMSTI was founded in 2002 to help improve math and science instruction statewide and serves grades K-12.

According to statistics, Scarborough said the improvements in education and standardized tests since the program began have showed students in AMSTI schools score higher than students in non-AMSTI schools.

Not to mention, attendance and behavioral problems are down at AMSTI schools. This program allows students in the poorest school systems to have the same access to the same quality of learning as students in Alabama’s wealthier school systems. For so long, Alabama has been at the bottom in education when compared to other states in the union, but with AMSTI, Alabama is moving to the forefront of education. Scarborough said many states are copying the program because it’s such a quality program.

According to Scarborough, more than 11,000 teachers will be affected and 365,000 students will be deprived of hands-on learning.

Here in Troy, we know hundreds of students would suffer each year, as would their ability to learn through enriching classroom experiences – from growing bugs in the classroom to studying aquariums and terrariums.

Fortunately, Scarborough said she has been on the phone with state legislators in this area and they are on AMSTI’s side.

But Scarbrough cannot do it alone. We must rally behind AMSTI and contact our local lawmakers to let them know how important this program is for current students and upcoming generations of Alabama students.

Through this program, Alabama finally has a chance to overcome the “Thank God for Mississippi” mentality and offer students in Alabama an education they can be proud of. So, as it comes up in the legislature, we urge our local lawmakers, as well as all state lawmakers to make an essential decision and put the state’s money toward an invaluable investment – our children’s future.