From LaToniya Jones’ vantage point as Chair of Developmental Education at Baker College’s Auburn Hills campus, the nation’s schools are on the decline for one major misstep.
By her estimate, it’s a simple failure to make math exciting and relevant in everyday life. She sees the fallout in her work with college students forced to play catchup on concepts they did not grasp as children.
But rather than sit silent witness, Jones founded P.O.W.E.R (Presenting Opportunities Winning Effectual Results) the Youth, a nonprofit that hosts clinics and camps to teach youth and families how to see the applications of math in everyday life and works with companies to enhance workforce development. At Baker, Jones pushed for grant funding to help place teacher-education students in development courses to assist with students’ math needs. As a proud native Detroiter saddened by the city’s ongoing education struggles, Jones says her mission is all the more personal.
“We’re looking at generations of untapped potential and missed opportunities,” says Jones, a Cass Tech graduate who has worked in classrooms in Detroit, Minnesota and Ohio. “And it’s all because of problems with learning basics like fractions, the kinds of math connections we need daily and that can improve academic proficiency levels, position individuals to compete for STEM related careers, and help entrepreneurs predict and interpret results more accurately. I believe most students just need a small glimpse into when and how math affects our lives everyday.”
She hosts workshops around the region regularly and consults privately.