California’s Department of Education is working on a new framework for K-12 mathematics that discourages gifted students from enrolling in accelerated classes that study advanced concepts like calculus.
The draft of the framework is hundreds of pages long and covers a wide range of topics. But its overriding concern is inequity. The department is worried that too many students are sorted into different math tracks based on their natural abilities, which leads some to take calculus by their senior year of high school while others don’t make it past basic algebra. The department’s solution is to prohibit any sorting until high school, keeping gifted kids in the same classrooms as their less mathematically inclined peers until at least grade nine.
“The inequity of mathematics tracking in California can be undone through a coordinated approach in grades 6–12,” reads a January 2021 draft of the framework. “In summary, middle-school students are best served in heterogeneous classes.”
In fact, the framework concludes that calculus is overvalued, even for gifted students.
“The push to calculus in grade twelve is itself misguided,” says the framework.
As evidence for this claim, the framework cites the fact that many students who take calculus end up having to retake it in college anyway. Of course, de-prioritizing instruction in high school calculus would not really solve this problem—and in fact would likely make it worse—but the department does not seem overly worried. The framework’s overriding perspective is that teaching the tough stuff is college’s problem: The K-12 system should concern itself with making every kid fall in love with math.
Broadly speaking, this entails making math as easy and un-math-like as possible. Math is really about language and culture and social justice, and no one is naturally better at it than anyone else, according to the framework.
“All students deserve powerful mathematics; we reject ideas of natural gifts and talents,” reads a bulletpoint in chapter one of the framework. “The belief that ‘I treat everyone the same’ is insufficient: Active efforts in mathematics teaching are required in order to counter the cultural forces that have led to and continue to perpetuate current inequities.”
The entire second chapter of the framework is about connecting math to social justice concepts like bias and racism: “Teachers can support discussions that center mathematical reasoning rather than issues of status and bias by intentionally defining what it means to do and learn mathematics together in ways that include and highlight the languages, identities, and practices of historically marginalized communities.” Teachers should also think creatively about what math even entails: “To encourage truly equitable and engaging mathematics classrooms we need to broaden perceptions of mathematics beyond methods and answers so that students come to view mathematics as a connected, multi-dimensional subject that is about sense making and reasoning, to which they can contribute and belong….”
The above comes from a May 4 story on reason.com.
Oh my goodness, let us not let the “cream rise to the top”. This is just stupid.
The irony is that this effort to undue inequities will exacerbate inequities because underprivileged students in public schools will not be provided with the education they need to advance in life, while students from privileged families will pay for private schooling or tutoring that will give them the knowledge and skills to advance. Liberals are idiots.
Kevin T, what/who are “privileged families”? Parents who worked hard to acquire assets, or did without for themselves? You have no idea what it took for my husband and I did to send our daughter to a private Catholic school. We were not financially privileged.
Instead of dumbing all students down to the lowest common denominator, the Board of Education should have raised the bar and require that all high school students take calculus.
I guess that one can’t expect much from a basket-case state such as California.
I’ve been teaching math for most of my professional career and am retiring in June at age 70. So I hope I know something about all this. The push for equity has been going on for a while, but in saner moments it was not about dumbing down the content but in pedagogical methods to raise up the performance level of those who are struggling. So now the idiots in Sacramento have thrown in the towel and tacitly admitted that real differences in math ability exists (who would have guessed) and the only corrective is to undo mathematics and recast it in terms of social justice parameters so that “everyone is a winner” becomes the end result of the new mathematics curriculum. If everyone gets a mathematical trophy, a diploma, as it were, then what level of competency has been sacrificed to make this happen? This is on par with requiring students to show their work as being racist, as was highlighted in these pages a few weeks back. If Sacramento wishes to counter “cultural forces” that perpetuate inequities, they should explain clearly what those forces are and how they work against mathematic success. At the same time the should highlight cultural forces that perpetuate success, and endeavor to bring those elements into the discussion. But as it is, ideologies foreign to math education have hijacked the ship and are heading it to some very bad waters. I agree totally with Kevin T’s remark at 1:16 p.m.
Could you reference the part in the “hundreds of pages” that you are referring to?
There is a lot of merit in this. I was good in school until it got to art, music, gym, recess…things where you had to do something beyond sit at a desk and answer rote questions. There was no help. the kids who were good at sports got the help. The kids who were good at music got the help. And I did not know I could get help- I just thought “I’m not good at this.”
As an adult, I wondered “Did the kids who were not good at math or history or English have that same experience?” I remember some kids leaving the class during reading to go to some mysterious place and we just wondered why THEY got out of it and we didn’t.
it sounds as if your parents were not very involved in your education. Parents make a big difference. Public school teachers and instructional assistants before 1999 could tell the difference between children who had a mother and/or father at home helping them with their homework. The latter did much better all around in school. Now some administrations are encouraging the break up of two parent heterosexual families, and bringing in massive amount of children from foreign countries, some even without parents, and it will only get worse. Countries such as Finland, Korea and Japan with excellent schools do not do that.
Regarding my last post, many of those same “stay at home home” moms volunteered at the public and private schools when their children to them, and helped the less advantaged children, or ran off materials so teachers had more time for students. If people do not want things to get worse, laws to help two parent heterosexual families stay intact should be encouraged, and mothers to stay home while their children are small. It is the communist countries that want every woman in the workforce as soon as possible and working for someone else besides their own families. They first destroy the middle class.
Right but that’s not what the Republican Party stands for anymore.
You are right about many Republicans, but not all. I can think of one Republican woman who did a good job getting President Trump put into office, but her family was falling apart because of it. She finally woke up, and realized family and children should always come first before careers. Men, too, should not overwork themselves until their children no longer know they even exist. I have often wondered if some of these “great” men had stayed home more and taken care of their own hearth if life for all would have been better.
“We reject ideas of natural gifts and talents.” Then how explain Mozart, Beethoven, Stephen Hawking, Niels Bohr, etc., etc.? These “educationalists” have exposed themselves to be buffoons who deny the reality right before their eyes. Of course, they must—to do otherwise would to self-destruct the horse’s ass theory of “equity”. Which demands educating all students at the same pace, despite their differences in talent, maturity and willingness to work hard to understand difficult concepts. All that counts is that every child likes himself/herself. Of course when the kids grow up and live in the real world that demands and rewards achievement—and find themselves ill-prepared—how much self esteem can they muster?
Are we to entrust the education of our children to such fad-driven bureaucrats? Right now, a small but realistic and industrious country like Finland boasts of students who outperform American kids by miles, by every metric, in every field.
PARENTS WAKE UP AND PUT AN END TO THIS
So this article is saying that if kids aren’t good at math, give them something else.
The framework says that all kids have the right to learn math.
The only way parents can put an end to it is to take their kids away from the indoctrinators, but we know that’s not going to happen. 50 years ago (yes, 50) I fought the same rotten school system and the only thing that has changed is that things have gotten progressively worse. Fighting the system is useless. They have more money and influence than complaining parents.
Math is racist. If Johnny has six apples and Jimmy has two, then, Jimmy takes one apple from Johnny, how many many apples should Johnny have?
See. Johnny still has more apples than Jimmy.
If Heather has two mommies, that’s a couple. If Oliver comes from a polyamorous family with more love and more than two parents, what is that called?
(We know it’s a throuple if they limit their love to three, but what about more loving relationships?)
Speling tu iz ovrvalyoud. Our are Kathlic skulz woking up? Or, we need two cansil them!
If American educators were intelligent, they would have different educational tracks for different kids of different abilities and talents. With more vocational courses for those who excel at that kind of work, so they can make a good living– and advanced courses for those who excel at different kinds of academic subjects. All students should be proud of their God-given abities, and given good opportunities to develop them.
Sounds like Communism.
Yes, it is. The following link is to an excellent, short article on Critical Race Theory. In short, “equity” is code for Marxist thought – not to be confused with equality.
Just wait til these diversity hires start designing and building bridges or developing software for aircraft avionics. Gonna be some rude awakenngs…
Or, they’ll just hire east asians and chinese. Oh wait, this is already happening in tech.
They’re already running government.
Other than Planned Parenthood, the entity that needs to be defunded is the public school system.
Because having no school is better than equalized math classes?
“The inequality of incomes can be undone through a coordinated approach. We reject ideas of natural gifts and talents that produce disparities of income. The belief that ‘everyone has the same chance’ is insufficient: Active efforts are required in order to counter the cultural forces that have led to and continue to perpetuate current income inequities.”
You know it’s coming.
…and this is yet another reason people are removing their children from public schools.
This is about math but did you know that 21% of Americans are illiterate or functionally illiterate. They cannot read at the level required for daily living or employment tasks. 1 out of 5 Americans cannot read.
If you were tracked, passed on or passed over and did not learn math well (or any other subject) there are great resources online.
What we do to our children is criminal. It’s just one of many good reasons to get the heck out of California if able.
It’s just another take on the European “enlightenment” narrative, that egalitarianism and equality of outcome are more than freedom, responsibility and competency. Nothing new here, other than this well intentioned lie is dressed up in new age clothing.
It seems that “equity” has become one of those squish words that can mean anything. Therefore, I think conservatives need to use this term frequently such as . . .
“We need to vote more Republicans to the legislature to achieve equity.”
So here is another area, with an equivalent approach.
Everyone knows there is a very superior athletic group in basketball. It is very obvious, and they perform outstanding athletic feats. But they are nearly all from one race. So here’s a solution, (like the one advanced by The Department of Education). Let’s attach handicap weights to the belts of these better players.
Good players get 20 pound weights, the best players get 40 pound weights on their belts.
After this, in any game, the Asian and white kids will now be able to compete.
Makes complete sense, doesn’t it? – ( According to the Cal Dept. of Edu.)
Isn’t that what they are proposing in the fields of mathematics and science? (Only this time, those getting the handicap weights are the reverse)
And NO, the CalDepEdu proposed program doesn’t make sense.
Let the best players play in basketball and sports.
Let the best players play in science and math
The best players are the ones who work the hardest.
Well spoken Anonymous at 3:32 p.m. To be free is to be free to excel in one ‘s interests or there is no freedom, only mindless conformity — an intellectual, moral and political gulag.
No. In that world, you do what someone else decides you are good at in 6th grade or 8th grade. That is not freedom. You should be free to be an artist even if you are good at Math. You should be free to be a doctor even if you are good at Math.
That sounds a lot like the short story “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
The countries that are ahead of us in math and science , a lot of them non white , do they put up with this or do they simply teach in the best way , that experience has shown them works?. We should look to these non white educational systems for clarity and excellence, they are teaching the subject not sjw posturing .
Just to be clear, you’re not talking about sub-Saharan non-white countries.
They are not even on the lists.