Credit: Allison Shelley for American Education

California has a math problem.

Nearly a decade after Common Core math standards were adopted in California, the majority of K-12 students are not yet meeting grade-level benchmarks, and Black and Latino students are underrepresented in rigorous accelerated programs. Now, a state-led recommendation to overhaul math pathways is meeting pushback.

On Wednesday, the state’s Instructional Quality Commission faced a barrage of comments from parents and teachers opposing a controversial rewrite of the California Mathematics Framework, voluntary guidance that aims to help schools, teachers and textbook companies implement the state’s Common Core math standards.

The commission voted to incorporate approved changes, including to specify guidance for districts around accelerated math tracks and removing references to a controversial study. The framework is now headed for a second public review in June, and the commission will review additional changes if the State Board of Education requests it. The framework will go before the State Board of Education in November.

The draft document emphasizes alternative math courses, such as data science and modeling, and structures mathematical topics by grade rather than distinct courses. But a flashpoint in the debate is the recommendation that students take the same math classes in middle school through sophomore year of high school, rather than placing students into advanced or traditional math courses beginning in sixth grade.

The recommendations also question the concept of student giftedness, saying the notion has “led to considerable inequities in mathematics education. Particularly damaging is the idea of the ‘math brain’— that people are born with a brain that is suited (or not) for math,” the document reads.

On Wednesday, members of the commission shared experiences they said made the framework’s goals resonate with them.

“I was placed on the advanced math track, and I took algebra in eighth grade,” said commission Chairman and high school history teacher Manuel Rustin. “I raced through math just like other students who are determined to get into the UC system. But eventually, math became something I couldn’t identify with anymore. It felt like a rat race to memorize procedures and formulas. … Seeing what we have here, I saw myself all over it.”

Groups, including the California Teachers Association, the Education Trust-West and the California STEM Network, expressed support for the draft framework. But others, such as the California Association for the Gifted, said it hinders opportunities for students, and individual teachers and dozens of parents called in to the meeting to oppose the changes at Wednesday’s virtual hearing.

Some, including state Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, pointed out challenges with differentiating teaching for a class where students are at widely different levels, especially as California faces a shortage of professionals choosing to become math teachers. Many parents cited fears over their child’s unique abilities being shortchanged without pathways for students identified as gifted.

“I’m concerned about the proposals for the elimination of advanced math classes in the middle school years,” said Wendy Marcus, a parent of three students in Moorpark Unified in Ventura County, including a daughter she described as gifted. “Putting advanced students with average and below average in the same class does not work. A lot of times they just toss those kids aside and give them extra work.”

A Los Angeles Unified parent and graduate named Victor said he supports parts of the framework but rejected the idea of “limiting access to accelerated math in public schools,” he said. “Advanced math is the pathway that so many first-gen students like myself used to reach the middle class.”

The framework does not require districts to eliminate honors math programs, nor does it direct schools to hold students back from rigorous math courses. Districts that choose to remove accelerated courses in middle school could still offer calculus and other advanced math courses required for STEM pathways for juniors and seniors.

Many supporters of the new proposal point to examples, such as San Francisco Unified, which in 2014 voted to remove accelerated middle school math classes.

Five years after the policy change, the San Francisco Unified graduating class of 2018–19 saw a drop in Algebra 1 repeat rates from 40% to 8%, and 30% of the students in high school were taking courses beyond Algebra 2.

However, two parents on Wednesday argued that “de-tracking” efforts in their districts have not made any noticeable improvements for disadvantaged students, and, instead, have removed opportunities for students to excel.

“If we don’t have explicit guidance here around how to accelerate those students who need more or need to move faster, you will have districts that don’t implement the frameworks,” said commission member Linsey Gotanda, deputy superintendent of Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District. “That’s not what we want as a commission.”

On the heels of a fierce debate over a statewide ethnic studies curriculum, state education officials are now finding themselves trying to address both misinformation and the very real concerns parents have over their children’s future with mathematics. Headlines, such as The Wall Street Journal’s “California leftists are trying to cancel mathematics,” are already stoking fears.

“Misinformation is sort of the reality of today and the future. We dealt with that with the ethnic studies curriculum, as well,” Rustin said. “But this issue of equity and race and racism in classrooms is not going to go away.”

Some opponents argue the framework attempts to inject math with critical race theory, an academic approach that argues that the history of slavery and segregation lives on in current laws and social structures, perpetuating racism in the U.S.

While not explicitly mentioning critical race theory, the framework points to research that supports teaching math through a social justice lens. It also suggests using real-world examples to make math lessons more relevant to students’ lived experiences, encouraging multiple ways of showing an answer. And it calls out how race, class and gender play a role in the messages students receive about their place in the math class.

Several comments from the most recent public review push back, in particular, on a report cited in the framework titled “A Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction,” which calls for dismantling racism and white supremacy that surfaces in mathematics through tracking, course selection and intervention rosters, as well as finding only one “right” answer.

The commission agreed to remove references to the study from the draft framework on Wednesday, stating it was inconsistent with teaching to the standards.

Still, some parents feel uneasy about a subject they believe lives outside the realm of race and politics.

“This math framework is a giant step backwards and anti-merit indoctrination,” one parent from San Diego said. “Don’t turn math into an ideological battleground.”

Like all of the state’s subject guidelines, the math framework is regularly revised on a seven-year cycle. The updated framework has been in development since 2019, and it will be presented to the State Board of Education for approval in November 2021. Along with a 60-day public comment period from February to April 2021, input guiding the document came from four focus groups of teachers along with a focus group of students to provide insights into their experiences with mathematics and courses.

The proposal still has a way to go to earn public approval: About 53% of those who provided comments during the public review rated the framework’s guidance for instruction for all students as “poor.”

After the public comment period, commission member Kimberly Young added that students without the opportunity to take accelerated classes were largely missing from the discussion.

“We didn’t hear from people who have been harmed by tracking. We need to make sure we are representing diverse learners who don’t have people to speak for them,” Young said. “I’m really looking at this document to do that.”

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  1. Robert Wilson 4 weeks ago4 weeks ago

    All the pushback here is evidence that we should implement the new curriculum. Pushback happens as a result of feeling threatened, and it is telling that only organizations for the "gifted" are complaining about the proposed changes – which is ironic because conceptual understanding is better for more inquiring people, not worse. What I see is a bitter ship sinking that should have sunk 30 years ago. I was harmed very much … Read More

    All the pushback here is evidence that we should implement the new curriculum. Pushback happens as a result of feeling threatened, and it is telling that only organizations for the “gifted” are complaining about the proposed changes – which is ironic because conceptual understanding is better for more inquiring people, not worse.

    What I see is a bitter ship sinking that should have sunk 30 years ago. I was harmed very much by rote mathematics teaching styles, and grew up believing I was stupid for asking why something was the way it was without already knowing how to do it.

    The truth is clear, mathematics is a knowledge based skill that serves largely as a financial gatekeeper. And by improving the quality of math education, you provide more of this knowledge to more people, and more different kinds of people thus threatening the way some groups have historically been kept in poverty over time. That’s what this is really about.

    No sane honest person would complain about improved instruction.

    Replies

    • Ted Kowzlowski 3 weeks ago3 weeks ago

      That's faulty logic. While pushback can happen as a result of feeling threatened, pushback also occurs frequently because of a bad idea or decision. You have never witnessed pushback from management in a business environment? Then you are lucky. So what we have here is an obvious failure of Common Core math, so now they want to "fix" that problem, too. The real problem is that CA has to politicize everything and that includes education. … Read More

      That’s faulty logic. While pushback can happen as a result of feeling threatened, pushback also occurs frequently because of a bad idea or decision. You have never witnessed pushback from management in a business environment? Then you are lucky. So what we have here is an obvious failure of Common Core math, so now they want to “fix” that problem, too.

      The real problem is that CA has to politicize everything and that includes education. Unfortunately, politics solves nothing, including education. The arguments for this proposal is ridiculous at best. And of course, “no sane person would complain about improved instruction.” But this is not improved.

  2. MICHAEL LANGDON 1 month ago1 month ago

    As you can see from the comments, the research is true. Education policy is largely dominated by white people who think that they're the victims of equitable education. My guess is that a lot of these comments are fakes since they clearly show a level of ignorance on the topic that is, in fact, staggering. Yes, math can be racist when you have questions about owning slaves. When you simulate slave … Read More

    As you can see from the comments, the research is true. Education policy is largely dominated by white people who think that they’re the victims of equitable education. My guess is that a lot of these comments are fakes since they clearly show a level of ignorance on the topic that is, in fact, staggering. Yes, math can be racist when you have questions about owning slaves. When you simulate slave auctions. Here is some racist math examples:
    https://www.edweek.org/teaching-learning/weird-racist-math-test-has-been-surfacing-in-classrooms-for-20-years/2016/06

    To those parents who claim that their child is a victim, if your kid is so smart why do they need special classes just for them? Oh, because you think the rest of the kids are beneath them. Eugenics literally used racist math to justify the position of the white upper class.

    Replies

    • Ted Kowzlowski 3 weeks ago3 weeks ago

      Obviously, you’ve never had a gifted child who became a disciplinary problem because he wasn’t being challenged enough. As a teacher, I see it frequently until the system gets smart enough to put such a child in an accelerated program. I do not understand why you would be against meeting the needs of a gifted child and would rather put him/her in an educational jail to be bored to death as punishment.

  3. Michelle Hunt 1 month ago1 month ago

    How many people creating this new frame work are current Math teachers from a wide variety of socioeconomic school districts? I teach high school math at a Title 1 school in a Title 1 district. In my opinion, our math scores are so low for a couple of reasons. Teachers need to stop telling children they are dumb because they can't do math. These kids already lack confidence. The only way … Read More

    How many people creating this new frame work are current Math teachers from a wide variety of socioeconomic school districts? I teach high school math at a Title 1 school in a Title 1 district. In my opinion, our math scores are so low for a couple of reasons. Teachers need to stop telling children they are dumb because they can’t do math. These kids already lack confidence. The only way for them to get better is to learn the basic math skills. Most of math is difficult simply because students don’t know their multiplication tables. Elementary schools should teach 3 things & 3 things only! Reading, Writing & Arithmetic need to be mastered before being allowed to leave elementary school! Nothing else matters if they can’t accomplish those 3 things.

  4. J Ng 2 months ago2 months ago

    As an Asian-Americans, the new proposal seems to punish us for doing well and attempt to set us back with the detrack concept. I am sure it wasn’t the intent but this is racism against Asians, and I am deeply hurt and troubled by this. Please reject this. Sadly this article is so one-sided and does not appear to take into account the Asian view point. #stopAsianHate

  5. Jen 2 months ago2 months ago

    I really do not agree with this. My daughter accelerated 3 grades in math at her NY public school, she took geometry last year as a 7th grader. She has not gotten a grade less than 99 since 1st grade and she never looked at her book. You cannot ignore that there really are kids who are really really good in math.

  6. Murali Chundi 2 months ago2 months ago

    First it was the cancellation of SAT and now removal of AP courses. This is not the end despite backing down for now I expect them to bring back more such proposals increase school hours, provide more opportunities, but removing advanced courses doesn’t make sense. Already businesses are moving away from California, soon people will start moving out for better opportunity for their kids. It will have the opposite effect of making the state more polarized.

  7. Melissa 3 months ago3 months ago

    First, when was math (or any subject or sport) equitable? There is a lot of utopian thinking here, with this vague concept of equity. Have we forgotten history? The very policies used to serve typically make things worse for that group. Folks, we are seeing the dismantling of public education – if you really want to see the disparity, look to higher education. If the best students from our public high schools cannot … Read More

    First, when was math (or any subject or sport) equitable? There is a lot of utopian thinking here, with this vague concept of equity. Have we forgotten history? The very policies used to serve typically make things worse for that group.

    Folks, we are seeing the dismantling of public education – if you really want to see the disparity, look to higher education. If the best students from our public high schools cannot dominate and compete with those graduating from top-notch private schools and international students, that should tell you something.

  8. Varshi 3 months ago3 months ago

    America is failing millions of high achieving students by their middle school rank. The acceleration method has left many students in grasp of lower confidence and self-esteem. The ability of this to satisfy students' needs is a very low probability and has a full down effect on the final report. In consideration, accelerated policy should be removed immediately from the Fremont system. Some people object that accelerated math has a positive impact on children, … Read More

    America is failing millions of high achieving students by their middle school rank. The acceleration method has left many students in grasp of lower confidence and self-esteem. The ability of this to satisfy students’ needs is a very low probability and has a full down effect on the final report. In consideration, accelerated policy should be removed immediately from the Fremont system. Some people object that accelerated math has a positive impact on children, but recent studies have shown that unhealthy balance with kids and their peers is putting more pressure and stress on themselves.

    Some individuals convey that accelerated math challenges students from early periods of their time, but disregards the fact about children developing mentally and physically throughout their middle school years. Middle school seems to be captious and includes many diligent students who tend to fall behind on math at certain time periods, practically shown from assessments and overall value of grades. As time passes by, students continue to attempt and make progress throughout the year.

    Instead of showing support to the persevering children, the system does not give another opportunity for students to blossom and prove their worth. Some evidence to prove this claim is, “In most cases acceleration is a path that you can get off after you get on, but one that you cannot get on once it passes by. This is due to the fact that students who are not in accelerated math in middle school will not have the opportunity to access advanced math courses, such as Advanced Placement (AP) calculus as high school students because they will run out of time” (Bryan, 7). This shows that kids do not have a second chance or any chance to prove themselves of their capability to work harder.

    Also, one states that this rigorous math accelerated course challenges students in the non-accelerated pathway to strive for a better rank but does not comprehend about the unhealthy competition between students and peers. Many students have had a struggle in adapting to the new curriculum or adjusting to the teacher’s specific methods of teaching but did not get enough support or help needed to succeed in that syllabus.

    For example, students lose self-confidence of their status rank in math which can lead them to not majoring in this specific subject in the future. Some evidence to support this is, “According to Wentzel, a perceived lack of support from parents and peers led to emotional distress and a lack of interest in school. A lack of motivation and interest in school can lead to a decline in academic achievement in subject areas such as math” (Wentzel, 1998). This shows that parents and adults can be a big motivator for a student’s behavior and attitude. If there are any personal problems a student is experiencing, they might get distracted or lose interest in studying because they develop a lack of discipline.

    Lastly, Accelerated students have a higher advantage from colleges and have access to learn many more topics which degrades the non-accelerated students priorities. Since this pathway has come out, many students were left with no chance in the future to regain their self strength. Their whole future has been given up to them as subjects are a very big portion of their overall capabilities. Also, the students that are included in non-accelerated classes might have a bigger interest in a topic that is not an available subject for them.

    This does not allow them to enjoy their interests by cutting down the challenging courses. Some evidence to support this is, “Many school districts have acceleration policies that focus on accelerating only the highest academic achieving students. The issue becomes that there are many students that may not have elite grades but have the ability to complete accelerated courses”(Bongiovanni, 2). This piece of evidence shows that some teachers give more attention to the students with high grades because they seem to be more knowledgeable and diligent while working than others. In the future, kids can always have a change throughout their years but the district is not willing to accept any opportunity knocks from bright students. Another piece of evidence to support this is, “Accelerated students have access to advanced courses, in math as well as other disciplines, which can set them up to attend elite colleges and obtain higher paying jobs” (Bongiovanni, 2). This proves that colleges pick students who do have a higher test scores and performance. They also review the class placements which can affect talented kids. Since it affects college students, the first job they get picked in, also is decided by college placement.

    In conclusion, Accelerated math has had a downfall to society and built up many unnecessary tensions within students. As shown, it is a biased deciding factor based on elementary and middle school grades which do not give a student another opportunity to challenge themselves throughout high school. Although, performances of kids might be low, the competition and effort kept in will be in an individual’s hands. Lastly, the talented students should get opportunities to out-shine with the rest of their peers.

  9. Steven Nelson 3 months ago3 months ago

    As a former school board member (and retired STEM R&D professional) I assure you - my district/ one of the worst 2009-12 in the nation for White - Hispanic math outcome inequality, was and is neglegent in LCFF/LCAP use of money for Supplementary math learning hours for "High Needs" students. They have Math-tracking which tries to satisfy "gifted' (mostly White & Asian) parents. Cram 5 years of middle school math, into 3 years. … Read More

    As a former school board member (and retired STEM R&D professional) I assure you – my district/ one of the worst 2009-12 in the nation for White – Hispanic math outcome inequality, was and is neglegent in LCFF/LCAP use of money for Supplementary math learning hours for “High Needs” students. They have Math-tracking which tries to satisfy “gifted’ (mostly White & Asian) parents. Cram 5 years of middle school math, into 3 years. Yet, still Hispanic students get no extra (supplementary) hours of good school instruction to help their Math learning.’

    As a recent former Republican – I really do understand “tears of White women”. I just think they are, in this case, usually self serving and against the lower economic class(es). The college cheating scheme mentioned by a very early commentator – was a “Wealthy White woman” enabled scheme.
    White man/ he / him

  10. Raul 3 months ago3 months ago

    Math isn't racist and it is a stupid attempted point. China, India, Russia, etc.. don't care if some moron thinks it is racist. They just keep separating the math gap with the US. Slowing others from progressing is stupid. Fix the problem for kids that aren't getting adequate education, and fixing doesn't mean you slow down the best students. Should good athletes have to wait until others get better? … Read More

    Math isn’t racist and it is a stupid attempted point. China, India, Russia, etc.. don’t care if some moron thinks it is racist. They just keep separating the math gap with the US. Slowing others from progressing is stupid. Fix the problem for kids that aren’t getting adequate education, and fixing doesn’t mean you slow down the best students. Should good athletes have to wait until others get better? No, because like math it is a stupid idea.

    Replies

    • TimD 2 months ago2 months ago

      You make common sense, straightforward observations. Unfortunately, the ideologues in academia have chased common sense out the door…

  11. Nicole L Heiney 3 months ago3 months ago

    How about they improve the quality of the teaching? Stop changing requirements so districts have to buy new text books that fit a political agenda but might not be very good at teaching math? My daughter had to do IM3 without a textbook in a great district. I can only imagine what it is like for other students in other districts. Luckily I could help her out a lot, but in the end that just … Read More

    How about they improve the quality of the teaching? Stop changing requirements so districts have to buy new text books that fit a political agenda but might not be very good at teaching math?

    My daughter had to do IM3 without a textbook in a great district. I can only imagine what it is like for other students in other districts. Luckily I could help her out a lot, but in the end that just meant passing where she had been getting A’s until then. Better ideas also might be allowing kids to stretch one of the tougher years of math over three semesters instead of two. Let’s not rush kids who just need a little slower pace so that they finish their high school math and take some weird filler class their senior year.

  12. Ann 4 months ago4 months ago

    Well, Ed Source, these comments should make you sit up and pay attention. You have become (or perhaps always were) simply a mouthpiece for elected and non-elected government employees and officials, unions and a number ever-failing non-profits with well paid staff and major conflicts of interest (as they contract with school districts), who collectively, have profited while nearly decimating California's educational outcomes even as we have spent billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars. … Read More

    Well, Ed Source, these comments should make you sit up and pay attention. You have become (or perhaps always were) simply a mouthpiece for elected and non-elected government employees and officials, unions and a number ever-failing non-profits with well paid staff and major conflicts of interest (as they contract with school districts), who collectively, have profited while nearly decimating California’s educational outcomes even as we have spent billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars. Maybe you should hire a few reporters, editors, managers, even a co-Executive Director who represent different views, provide alternative analysis of issues and represent the likes of commenters below, parents, business, teachers and students who are deeply unsatisfied with the direction (decent) we are heading.

  13. Logical Parent 4 months ago4 months ago

    Math is a tool that is used to benefit many people regardless of race. Math was invented by the Sumerians around 3000 BC. From the last recorded PISA rankings of 2018, the U.S. ranks 25 around the world when it comes math. If the U.S. expects to be globally competitive for its future, it should improve its education system to meet the demands of the world in its rankings. Our global economy demands this for … Read More

    Math is a tool that is used to benefit many people regardless of race. Math was invented by the Sumerians around 3000 BC.

    From the last recorded PISA rankings of 2018, the U.S. ranks 25 around the world when it comes math. If the U.S. expects to be globally competitive for its future, it should improve its education system to meet the demands of the world in its rankings. Our global economy demands this for the U.S to remain competitive.

    Math rankings:
    https://factsmaps.com/pisa-2018-worldwide-ranking-average-score-of-mathematics-science-reading/

    There is no logic in lowering the math standards that results in the U.S. to be less competitive to other nations who are high performing. If you are going into STEM, you need all the math you can get.

    You should have advanced math courses for your high performing students, not bring them down to some level that is considered below them due to politics of being equitable for the many. This creates a problem for those who worked to be at the high levels.

    For your average and low performing students, create special classes that are after school for them to attend either free, taxpayer, hybrid, or privately funded to bring up their math skills.
    Example:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand_and_Deliver

    You need to reevaluate/reform your math teaching system and course material to determine if they are the problems. The other problem maybe not communicating to some parents their kids are a problem or they need help. Parenting and culture values could also be the problem when it comes to education. Some parents expect more, average, or they don’t really care about their kids.

    Replies

    • TimD 2 months ago2 months ago

      Agreed

  14. jeffrey 4 months ago4 months ago

    I found Mr. John Wilson III reflections to be particularly poignant. The children these changes are deemed to help seem to suffer the most in many cases. It seems a series of blunders for a numbers of years and ideological rigidity has got us to this point in history

  15. T rex 4 months ago4 months ago

    Lmao, and then they wonder why America is dropping world scales in math and science so quick. What is exactly the point in making the smart kids as dumb as the McDonald’s workers of the class? The smart kids are the ones that will join NASA and research. America gonna go down so quick if they will actually do this “reform.”

  16. Maya 4 months ago4 months ago

    My children are SFUSD alumni. My son just graduated as an electrical engineer, he had access to 8th grade Algebra which also allowed him to take advance science (this isn't just about calculus). My daughter on the other hand was one of the first caught in the removal of 8th Algebra. I paid to play for her when she was in 8th grade. She's now a sophomore at the same STEM college my … Read More

    My children are SFUSD alumni. My son just graduated as an electrical engineer, he had access to 8th grade Algebra which also allowed him to take advance science (this isn’t just about calculus). My daughter on the other hand was one of the first caught in the removal of 8th Algebra. I paid to play for her when she was in 8th grade. She’s now a sophomore at the same STEM college my son just graduated from. Not everyone needs Calculus or Physics or other advance sciences but some do and if people want to go in to STEM careers this matters.

    The state needs to audit San Francisco to see what is really going on and not rely on vague and misleading claims. It has become very difficult to reach Calculus, one has to double up in Algebra and Geometry in 9th grade but not all high schools allow it. The Algebra 2/ Pre Calculus compression class offered in 11th grade is missing a lot of pre calculus content which is needed to be successful in AP Calculus.

    It’s not enough to point to the Mars Rover (for example) and say to children you can do that, we need to give them the tools to reach these dreams. San Francisco should be a huge “DANGER WILL ROBINSON DANGER” moment for the state.

  17. John Wilson III 4 months ago4 months ago

    I run an inner-city enrichment program and I am very attentive to upcoming changes and was not aware of the Feb 2021 through April 2021 period of comment. This is typical of the crappy treatment we get from the teachers unions and the state. They never talk with informed experts and parents in the black community about these types of major changes. I know why ....it's another one of these "we (whites) will … Read More

    I run an inner-city enrichment program and I am very attentive to upcoming changes and was not aware of the Feb 2021 through April 2021 period of comment. This is typical of the crappy treatment we get from the teachers unions and the state. They never talk with informed experts and parents in the black community about these types of major changes. I know why ….it’s another one of these “we (whites) will take care of these poor little black children.”

    As a black community leader here is Los Angeles (I am the Director of West Angeles Education and Enrichment Program), I can tell you I am infuriated that they are wanting to bring this racist, condescending and demeaning equity-based, race based, CRT math framework to middle school and high school classroom math. I do not like it in any curriculum but think it ludicrous to include this politicized theory to our math students. When I tell my parents, they will be infuriated.

    Your article is fair but not balanced since you have not included parent comments or at least a suitable proxy for them!!!!

  18. Parent 4 months ago4 months ago

    Taking accelerated math opportunities out of public schools will only increase “inequality” in math outcomes. Students with parents who understand the importance of a strong, differentiated math education and who have the resources will turn to other sources including online high schools and online community college courses. Economically and socially disadvantaged kids who previously had easy access to accelerated courses in middle school and high school are the ones most hurt. Law of Unintended Consequences plays out.

    Replies

    • K H 4 months ago4 months ago

      @Parent - You are absolutely right about increasing inequality. San Francisco Unified School District, the leader in "de-tracking" has a worse achievement gap than the state of California as a whole. Math scores (proficient or above) for 11th graders broken down by ethnicity (see the attached website): Black or African American (CA: 14.27%; SFUSD: 12.11%). Hispanic or Latino (CA: 20.27%; SFUSD: 15.09%). Filipino (CA: 50.92%; … Read More

      @Parent – You are absolutely right about increasing inequality. San Francisco Unified School District, the leader in “de-tracking” has a worse achievement gap than the state of California as a whole.

      Math scores (proficient or above) for 11th graders broken down by ethnicity (see the attached website):

      Black or African American (CA: 14.27%; SFUSD: 12.11%).

      Hispanic or Latino (CA: 20.27%; SFUSD: 15.09%).
      Filipino (CA: 50.92%;

      SFUSD: 36.15%). White (CA: 44.6%; SFUSD: 54.13%);

      Asian (CA: 70.40%; SFUSD: 72.79%).

      This is what happens when advanced math opportunities are removed from the public schools – they become the exclusive domain of those who can afford private school, or to live in the suburbs, or private tutors, etc.

    • Maya 4 months ago4 months ago

      This is exactly what I did in San Francisco when my daughter was caught in this years ago. She was the second cohort without access to 8th grade algebra so I paid for a yearlong online UC approved algebra class that she took concurrently with Math 8 so she could take Calculus in 12th grade and also Physics and other advance sciences. She's now a sophomore at the same STEM college my son … Read More

      This is exactly what I did in San Francisco when my daughter was caught in this years ago. She was the second cohort without access to 8th grade algebra so I paid for a yearlong online UC approved algebra class that she took concurrently with Math 8 so she could take Calculus in 12th grade and also Physics and other advance sciences.

      She’s now a sophomore at the same STEM college my son just graduated from (as an electrical engineer. He had 8th algebra).

    • Jon Reed 1 month ago1 month ago

      You can just go online and learn all the math you need, school doesn’t really matter that much for smart kids

  19. Laraine Kokin 4 months ago4 months ago

    As a retired teacher and special educator as well as a parent of three adult children, I strongly oppose the suggested curriculum revisions. Research shows students who are math advanced as well as those challenged can exhibit a variety of negative behaviors if instruction is not meaningful and properly challenging. In the early years of a child's education parents/families and the school need to help students to think critically about math concepts (even going to … Read More

    As a retired teacher and special educator as well as a parent of three adult children, I strongly oppose the suggested curriculum revisions. Research shows students who are math advanced as well as those challenged can exhibit a variety of negative behaviors if instruction is not meaningful and properly challenging. In the early years of a child’s education parents/families and the school need to help students to think critically about math concepts (even going to the market to shop can help build conceptual math understanding) and then be expected to master basic math facts (multiplication without the use of a smart phone).

    Issues of concern: The statement that there is more than one answer to a math problem. If there is one area in education that only has one possible answer, it is a math problem. The steps to get the
    answer may vary and should be required and given credit as part of the solution, but there is only one correct answer. As we need to stay competitive with the rest of the world, students with the advanced talent should be pushed to achieve all they can as educators strive to motivate and teach all learners to master high level math skills.

  20. Jay G 4 months ago4 months ago

    A few years ago there were some high profile people caught trying to go around merit-based placement. That was illegal and it was obvious. This is an attempt to do something similar. Another attempted con with the over used groupthink that has become commonplace.

  21. Jim Laliberte 4 months ago4 months ago

    I am college educated, graduated in 1976 ... when things were normal. I never liked higher math – have no idea how I passed trigonometry, calculus, etc. I pretty much got lost after Algebra II. I am so sick of this radical left nonsense. Some kids are just better at certain things than others, so why should they not be honored with accelerated programs? That is how you separate the exceptional from the … Read More

    I am college educated, graduated in 1976 … when things were normal. I never liked higher math – have no idea how I passed trigonometry, calculus, etc. I pretty much got lost after Algebra II.

    I am so sick of this radical left nonsense. Some kids are just better at certain things than others, so why should they not be honored with accelerated programs? That is how you separate the exceptional from the ordinary … and we need that!!

    All of this white supremacy stuff ….stupid!!! In math, there are right and wrong answers – plain and simple. For those who can’t accept that? You have no common sense.

  22. ZZ 4 months ago4 months ago

    My spouse and I are mathematicians and unsurprisingly we produced a child who is a math prodigy. Yes, Virginia, there are “math people.” And they don’t work at the CDE, that’s for sure.

    Replies

    • Math Lover 4 months ago4 months ago

      Yes!!

  23. alex c bracamontes 4 months ago4 months ago

    Sadly due to Covid and because my child like many students is an online attendee. I have found out that majority of the teachers in her school have no idea how to teach math in the current format. The LBUSD system is failing our kids. If this system is going to continue to be pushed. The schools need to offer more online services and not math games like ST Math. It's sad and it's costing … Read More

    Sadly due to Covid and because my child like many students is an online attendee. I have found out that majority of the teachers in her school have no idea how to teach math in the current format. The LBUSD system is failing our kids. If this system is going to continue to be pushed. The schools need to offer more online services and not math games like ST Math. It’s sad and it’s costing me $ to hire a tutor, just to keep my kid on the level.

  24. Kurt Kaufman 4 months ago4 months ago

    I think if we really wanted to help kids learn some practical, useful math, we would concentrate first on basic arithmetic, basic geometry (especially in terms of calculating area and volume), then on household budgeting (especially as to how it relates to household expensing), how to keep track of accounts receivable and payable, understanding loans and interest (including compound interest), and understanding in a general way how our economy works. Leave the more complicated, abstract … Read More

    I think if we really wanted to help kids learn some practical, useful math, we would concentrate first on basic arithmetic, basic geometry (especially in terms of calculating area and volume), then on household budgeting (especially as to how it relates to household expensing), how to keep track of accounts receivable and payable, understanding loans and interest (including compound interest), and understanding in a general way how our economy works.

    Leave the more complicated, abstract math to those students who demonstrate an ongoing interest and aptitude for it.

  25. William Konya 4 months ago4 months ago

    Overall this seems like movement in the wrong direction. One key to improving our system is to give students a variety of pathways depending on their desires, abilities, etc. Even if there is no “math brain,” there are huge differences in how fast people learn math (& other topics too). Why force these people to be in the same courses for so many years?

  26. K H 4 months ago4 months ago

    SFUSD has been touting the "40% to 8% reduction in Algebra 1 repeat rates" far and wide for years, but have never explained the raw numbers behind those percentages. I did some digging to try and figure it out, and I found that the raw numbers of students failing Algebra 1 at the end of the 9th grade year actually rose from 124 to 195 from the HS Class of 2018 to 2019 - … Read More

    SFUSD has been touting the “40% to 8% reduction in Algebra 1 repeat rates” far and wide for years, but have never explained the raw numbers behind those percentages. I did some digging to try and figure it out, and I found that the raw numbers of students failing Algebra 1 at the end of the 9th grade year actually rose from 124 to 195 from the HS Class of 2018 to 2019 – the Class of 2019 being the first cohort not to have Algebra 1 in 8th grade.

    So how are the repeat rate percentages lower? Two reasons: 1) There were way more 9th graders taking Algebra 1 the second of these two years, because they were denied the opportunity to take it in 8th grade, thus greatly enlarging the denominator of the 8% number. 2) The number of these 9th graders failing Algebra 1 who actually re-took Algebra 1 in 10th grade went down from 70 to 18. SO – the number of students failing Algebra 1 by the end of 9th grade INCREASED, but they just let the vast majority of them go on so they could say that they hadn’t “repeated Algebra 1”. Note the careful use of language: “repeating” instead of “failing”.

  27. Kyle Petty 4 months ago4 months ago

    The revised framework will be presented to the State Board for adoption in November 2021, not 2022.

  28. Brenda Lebsack 4 months ago4 months ago

    As Rustin seeks to fight "misinformation" here is a direct quote from the Equitable Math Toolkit, "the concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it even less so. Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict." Mr. Rustin, next time you drive across a bridge or fly in a plane, do you want our … Read More

    As Rustin seeks to fight “misinformation” here is a direct quote from the Equitable Math Toolkit, “the concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it even less so. Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.” Mr. Rustin, next time you drive across a bridge or fly in a plane, do you want our architects, civil and aeronautical engineers, to base their designs and calculations on how they “feel”? Will that make people “feel” more safe?

  29. Eta 4 months ago4 months ago

    The absurdities that are being taught to our kids in the CA public school system today are, well, absurd.

  30. Jim 4 months ago4 months ago

    So we are contemplating a top-down dramatic change of math courses based on no evidence or pilot programs? I’m glad to hear we have a couple of anecdotes.

  31. Brenda Lebsack 4 months ago4 months ago

    Ms. Kimberly Young, so you all of sudden care about the voices of the “unheard”? When the California Department of Education excluded all non-English speakers from the Community Input Process for the Health Framework and Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum, I did not hear the IQC advocate on their behalf. The hypocrisy is astounding. This bilingual article explains the double standards of “inclusion”. https://www.brenda4kids.com/index.php/our-media/padres-hispanos-discriminados-de-participar-en-la-educacion-de-sus-hijos

    Replies

    • JudiAU 4 months ago4 months ago

      Thank you for sharing.

    • ZZ 4 months ago4 months ago

      Many of the so-called English "learner" parents have lived here for years, decades even, and never bothered to learn English or attempt to teach it to their children. At some point they cross the bridge from English "learner" to English "refuser" and we need to be honest that they are never going to learn English. We cannot waste limited resources on people who flat out refuse to learn the language of a country they chose … Read More

      Many of the so-called English “learner” parents have lived here for years, decades even, and never bothered to learn English or attempt to teach it to their children.

      At some point they cross the bridge from English “learner” to English “refuser” and we need to be honest that they are never going to learn English. We cannot waste limited resources on people who flat out refuse to learn the language of a country they chose to migrate to. I don’t see what English-refusers have to do with this article, other than the fact that they contribute to racial learning gaps in all subject areas, including math, because they cannot help their children with any of their schoolwork.

  32. Holly 4 months ago4 months ago

    Why is it not ok to celebrate children with exceptional abilities and encourage the development of these abilities? This does not detract from educating other students. What about gifted athletes not being allowed to pursue that talent because of there are less athletic children in the grade. Let’s celebrate excellence.

  33. A.A. 4 months ago4 months ago

    So do the proponents of the new framework think Asian-American kids being in advanced math at a higher rate than whites is evidence of inequity?

    Replies

    • JudiAU 4 months ago4 months ago

      It is really worth reading Chapter One of the framework. My son sent several letters to Asian-American groups tracking anti-Asian hate online. In our reading it shows deep and unresolvable bias towards Asian-American students, gifted students, and especially Asian-American gifted students. They are portrayed as undeserving, other, somehow sneaky in their success, and not really POC whose needs matter. I found it obscene.

  34. JudiAU 4 months ago4 months ago

    The coverage of SF Algebra rates of success should be corrected above. Children taking 8th grade Algebra were tested and required to pass. Children taking algebra in 9th grade were not. Completion of the class was enough. We don't know if they were successful or not and thus the numbers are invalid. We do know that five branches of the Russian Math School in the Bay Area opened at the same. Luckily, my 6th grade earning … Read More

    The coverage of SF Algebra rates of success should be corrected above. Children taking 8th grade Algebra were tested and required to pass. Children taking algebra in 9th grade were not. Completion of the class was enough. We don’t know if they were successful or not and thus the numbers are invalid.

    We do know that five branches of the Russian Math School in the Bay Area opened at the same. Luckily, my 6th grade earning an A in Algebra lives in Los Angeles. Because as a disabled parent, I would not be able to meet her needs outside the public system.

    Replies

    • Paul Muench 4 months ago4 months ago

      This is an excellent point. Wealthy parents never think that learning starts or stops at the schoolhouse doors. With money there are many other ways to get the necessary credentials. That’s why expanding school resources is the only feasible method to achieve more equity.

  35. Ann 4 months ago4 months ago

    "Study"? Seriously this isn't a study it's just a bunch of persons that are part of the CRT crowd pushing an seriously flawed belief system at the expense of not only individual students and schools, but all our futures. For those who think this is 'new thinking', it's been festering for at least 20 years. I have had personal interaction with a few of the 'collaborators', scientists-none. These theories they pushed then (and some schools … Read More

    “Study”? Seriously this isn’t a study it’s just a bunch of persons that are part of the CRT crowd pushing an seriously flawed belief system at the expense of not only individual students and schools, but all our futures. For those who think this is ‘new thinking’, it’s been festering for at least 20 years. I have had personal interaction with a few of the ‘collaborators’, scientists-none. These theories they pushed then (and some schools actually implemented) were failures for kids. We are in deep trouble in this country. This needs to stop. https://www.persuasion.community/p/why-america-is-flunking-math-education

  36. Paul Muench 4 months ago4 months ago

    Just math?

    We should be asking ourselves why school systems regulate what children learn. I would not develop such a system if my goal was to foster curiosity and understanding.