California Proposes A Ban On Advanced Math Classes

In the name of equality, the California Department of Education seeks to dumb down the brightest kids.

A friend of mine emailed an article the likes of which always prompts me to say “really?”

Please consider the Reason article In the Name of Equity, California Will Discourage Students Who Are Gifted at Math.

Culturally Responsive Framework

I like to verify things myself and you can do so as well by reading the California Department of Education Mathematics Framework

In its framework, the Department of Education seeks “Culturally responsive mathematics education.”

Introduction Highlights 

  • Active efforts in mathematics teaching are required in order to counter the cultural forces that have led to and continue to perpetuate current inequities. Mathematics pathways must open mathematics to all students, eliminating option-limiting tracking. [i.e. no advance classes].
  • implementation of this framework and the standards, teachers must be mindful of other considerations that are a high priority for California’s education system including the Environmental Principles and Concepts (EP&Cs) which allow students to examine issues of environmental and social justice.

Teaching for Equity Highlights

  • The evolution of mathematics in educational settings has resulted in dramatic inequities for students of color, girls, and students from low income homes.
  • Teachers are encouraged to align instruction with the outcomes of the California ELD Standards, which state that linguistically and culturally diverse English learners receive instruction that values their home cultures. 

Need to Broaden Perceptions of Mathematics

I did not go through all the chapters. Reason uncovered these gems.

  • The inequity of mathematics tracking in California can be undone through a coordinated approach in grades 6–12
  • Middle-school students are best served in heterogeneous classes.
  • The push to calculus in grade twelve is itself misguided.
  • 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.

Sabotage the Best 

Reason concludes, and I agree “If California adopts this framework, which is currently under public review, the state will end up sabotaging its brightest students. The government should let kids opt out of math if it’s not for them. Don’t let the false idea that there’s no such thing as a gifted student herald the end of advanced math entirely.”

Instead, and in the name of “equity”, the proposed framework aims to keep everyone learning at the same dumbed down level for as long as possible.

The intention is clear. The California Board of Education intends to sabotage the best and brightest, hoping to make everyone equal.