News Update

State Board of Education delays math curriculum revision timelines

The California State Board of Education on Wednesday voted to push back its timeline for reviewing and revising the California Mathematics Framework, a voluntary guidance document on how schools and teachers should implement the state’s math standards.

The vote will give the authors of the framework about six more months to incorporate requested changes to the framework. A second 60-day public review period previously scheduled for June-July 2021 will now take place December 2021-February 2022, and an official vote on the framework by the state board will be moved to May 2022 instead of November 2021.

“The math framework development timeline from 2019 is out of date and needs to be adjusted to allow for completion of edits directed by the Instructional Quality Commission,” said Janet Weeks, director of communications for the California State Board of Education.

The move comes almost two months after a decision by the Instructional Quality Commission to make changes to the framework following a 60-day public review period that solicited more than 500 comments from teachers, parents and math education experts.

Teachers, parents and education equity groups such as the Ed Trust-West and Californians Together have expressed support for the framework and its aims to reduce segregation within schools based upon students’ perceived math abilities. But others are wary of its approach and fear that it would hold students back from reaching their full potential in math or getting personalized lessons.

A flashpoint in the debate is a proposal to encourage districts to have students take the same level of math from middle school to their sophomore year, rather than separating them into advanced and slower math pathways starting as early as fifth grade. Parents and teachers said that the move could hold students back from reaching their full potential in math. Others criticized elements of the framework that incorporated elements of social justice into practical applications for math lessons.

Many studies on math education have shown that so-called math tracking in middle school often holds Black, Latino and Native American students back from options to take advanced math and other courses required for college admission.