Town Square

Understanding the debate behind California's new math framework

Original post made on Nov 22, 2021

In the push to help more students thrive in STEM, California is working to change the way its schools teach math. But the suggested new framework has sparked widespread criticism.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, November 21, 2021, 1:31 PM


Posted by gutbug
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 22, 2021 at 11:59 am

gutbug is a registered user.

The article describes how California already lags the nation in math standards. US lags the world similarly. Yes Black and Latinx students are under-represented in advanced Math classes. Is that a reason to hold back the advanced classes, or should even more effort be put in to increase the support to the under-represented minorities? I disagree with this current plan.

Posted by S. Underwood
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 22, 2021 at 3:38 pm

S. Underwood is a registered user.

The right approach is to look at what's working for the kids / schools with high performance and bring that to the folks who need it.

Left-wing math "reformers" have been in charge of California education for a long time. This is just the latest round of fashionable veneer that misdirects from anything resembling actually teaching of core skills, practice, and schools being accountable for results. ['Results' don't matter if you're perpetually 3 years into a 5 year 'reimagining' experiment that will (we promise!) fix everything.]

May God help Palo Alto if we are dumb enough to be chasing San Francisco regarding how to manage our public schools, even if it is the woke thing to do. I guarantee you, nearly all San Francisco public families wish they were in Palo Alto. I don't think it counts as progress if we make that not the case.

Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 24, 2021 at 10:28 am

Citizen is a registered user.

Partisans are working too hard to make this a left-right issue for their own purposes. It’s not. It's a how-to-teach-math issue, and a how-to-reform-education-so-it's-not-stuck-in-the-industrial-revolution issue.

The problem with Jo Boaler's take is that education majors tend to be notoriously bad at math. I’ve seen how this translates to hurting kids eager to learn math, from the materials chosen to outright forbidding kids to work ahead.

When PAUSD chose the pedagogically wordy Everyday Math, what a nightmare for dyslexics and math lovers. But since many teachers felt left out of math more geared to mathy kids in their youth, they eagerly inflected EDM on kids who were thus disadvantaged, held back and/or made to feel they were bad at math because the program contained so little actual math. I saw students who entered middle school behind where they were when EDM began a few years earlier and felt serious anguish because of it.

The problem with the math professors perspective: they only see students whose learning needs & style were met by the system.

Individualizing instruction so each student has agency and can learn to best meet their needs and ambitions, is a better approach. It didn't used to be easy to do but is now.

Making everyone do the same thing and putting off algebra is exactly the wrong approach. Children arrive at school intuitively understanding variable substitution: 2 apples plus 3 pears is algebraic. But we force them to see math as purely numeric for years, so of course they have trouble understanding variables later. Students with basic math skills can do BASIC calculus. The concept of differentials and how to apply them (since subjects are scrubbed of calc in K-12), would be way easier if introduced far earlier and integrated (LOL) into other subjects.

Relevant, applied math should become an early focus of teaching math. But students should also have opportunities to learn as much math, as fast as they wish, as early as they wish.