Freeman, Gleim to bring First in Math to Pa. schools

HARRISBURG, Jan. 21 – State Reps. Robert Freeman, D-Northampton, and Barb Gleim, R-Cumberland, will soon introduce legislation that would support math fluency for all kindergarten through fifth-grade students throughout the commonwealth with the First in Math initiative.

First in Math is a program that features hundreds of engaging math games designed to strengthen fact fluency, automaticity, computational thinking and other critical problem-solving skills. Many parents and past students are familiar with “24 Game” and area school districts and intermediate units frequently set up tournaments based on the game.

“First in Math is a fun and engaging program that my own children used when they were young,” said Gleim. “I saw firsthand how much it helped the math skills of my kids and raised their excitement level about a subject a lot of kids struggle with.”

The legislation would require the Pennsylvania Department of Education to establish a statewide First in Math initiative and encourage its usage by educators. It would be an optional tool, and not a mandated part of the curriculum. All curriculum decisions continue to remain at the local school district level.

Gleim said she looks forward to discussions about the legislation during state budget negotiations to secure funding for implementation of the initiative.

“First in Math is a proven, user-friendly educational tool for learning math skills. Longtime Easton resident and First in Math creator, Bob Sun, has demonstrated his devotion to promoting math skills with great success as First in Math is now being used in more than 40 states. This is a tremendous opportunity to provide students in all schools throughout the commonwealth with a successful math learning tool that comes with proven data to support its outstanding record of improving the academic attainment of math proficiency,” said Freeman.

“There would be no cost to a school for use of the program, and it would be optional and flexible. Educators could use the program as part of enrichment or extension education, summer learning or to complement current work already being done in the classroom,” said Gleim. “What teachers are looking for are options and new ideas and First in Math is a proven, fun learning tool that could help boost math learning and interest in school.”

Gleim and Freeman plan to introduce the legislation in the coming weeks.