AMSTI: Money holds up progress - Montgomery Alabama news.

AMSTI: Money holds up progress

AMSTI has changed the way teachers do business.  AMSTI is the Alabama Math Science and Technology Initiative. AMSTI uses interactive activities to help students learn. The program began in Alabama ten years ago.  The goal was to have it in every school by this year, but it hasn't happened.

Vaughn Road Elementary teacher Grace Quantock tells us as test scores have gone up absences and discipline problems have gone down. "I credit that to AMSTI, too," she says.

Vaughn Road is one of 800 schools that participates in AMSTI - that's about half the schools in the state. A recent study revealed a year in the AMSTI program was equivalent to 28 extra days of class time in math, 40 days in reading and science gains were even greater.

Several groups have recognized AMSTI for its effectiveness. Program Director Steve Ricks says 21 countries in Europe use AMSTI as a model.

The success and praise beg the question - Why isn't AMSTI in every school? Ricks says, "Funding is the only reason we haven't been able to reach every single student."

In the past four years, AMSTI funding has steadily dropped from $40,792,05 in the 2008-2009 fiscal year to $26,049,318 this year. "That means we can't take on additional schools," adds Ricks.

The proposed budget includes a slight increase - up to $28 million for AMSTI.  Ricks says that $2 million increase is to help soften the blow of $3 million in lost federal dollars. Governor Robert Bentley made this promise during his state of the state address: "In my education budget, the Alabama Reading Initiative, Access Distance Learning, the Alabama Math Science and Technology Initiative, Advance Placement and our highly successful Pre K programs will all be protected."

Governor Bentley Thursday said he hopes to be able to expand AMSTI to every school as Alabama's economy recovers.

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