Petition to Retain Current Math Pathway in PUSD
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Dear PUSD students and Parents，
Starting this school year (2018-19) and potentially moving forward, PUSD will plan to stop offering an accelerated math program for current 6th to 12th graders as it used to. The proposal could disturb the whole school district’s math and STEM education in middle and high school level.
Until this year, there have been 3 tracks in middle schools for math starting as early as 6th grade – grade level, advanced and accelerated. For the accelerated track, students complete geometry in middle schools and enter 9th grade at the Algebra 2 level.
This accelerated track enabled students to challenge themselves intellectually and opened up options for multiple STEM classes in high school. This accelerated program has contributed to the Pleasanton schools’ reputation for high quality education and test scores.
The main rationale given for putting this 3rd track on hold, at least for 6th graders, is related to the priority given to students with the most achievement gaps. However, according to the constitutional right to education, the most advanced should be given an equal opportunity to receive meaningful education and be challenged intellectually. Besides, the most efficient way of teaching may be achieved by gathering slightly different paced students and encourage group discussions and peer assistances. It does NOT require the elimination of the most accelerated path, or deliberately pushing Algebra to further tighten up high schoolers’ existing demanding schedules. Actually, adding the accelerated students to non-accelerated classes could unintentionally affect the confidence and morals of some students struggling to make improvements.
Furthermore, it’s impressive that over sixty percent of students on the accelerated path are able to accomplish the designed goal. Not to mention the other forty percent of students who might feel they enjoyed less of the lessons at times, nevertheless get the opportunities to learn the valuable life lesson of being willing to challenge themselves and to adjust their goals when needed. For all of the students involved, these are great opportunities that should not be taken away in vain. Pleasanton is the beautiful hometown of many young dreamers who would like to change the world one day. We as adults have a duty to nurture such dreams, as one day ten or twenty years later, a former student might discover a cure for a certain cancer, a device to monitor climate change, or a way to get humans onto the Mars.
Communities such as San Ramon, Saratoga, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Gatos and Palo Alto continue their accelerated math programs. The elimination or major amendment of this program could affect ALL families and students in PUSD. If current and future students do not have it available, the lack of this program could affect the reputation that Pleasanton has for its commitment to top-quality education. To remain a high-achieving school district, PUSD needs to keep its accelerated program while finding feasible ways to help those students with achievement needs. Besides, better placement tests and clearer recommendations from teachers for accelerated math path may be used to replace the current open enrollment methods to further improve the success rate of all math paths.
If you would like to support the effort to get the PUSD board, the superintendent and the principals to maintain an accelerated math track in the mainstream curriculum, please sign the petition.
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