Withdraw the planned implementation of the new K-12 Mathematics Framework
Withdraw the planned implementation of the new K-12 Mathematics Framework
Petition to repeal the proposed K-12 Mathematics Framework
This is a petition to repeal the proposed K-12 Mathematics Framework and request all concerned organizations make a sincere effort to reform the way mathematics is taught in California’s public middle schools and high schools.
The State Board of Education (SBE) adopted the K-12 Mathematics Framework on November 6, 2013. Curriculum frameworks provide guidance to educators, parents, and publishers to support the implementation of California content standards.
The California Department of Education (CDE), Instructional Quality Commission (IQC), and SBE have commenced the revision process for the Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (K-12 Mathematics Framework). Information and updates concerning the revision of the Mathematics Framework are posted on the CDE website(1).
Summary of petition
The proposed K-12 Mathematics Framework (Math Framework) for California Public Schools—which would severely restrict acceleration in mathematics for all middle and high school students—will not level the playing field and increase access to STEM majors and careers for marginalized students. Rather, the proposal would cause an increased number of low-income and BIPOC public school students to fall behind their more resourced and supported peers, both in California and throughout the United States.
Discouraging schools from offering Algebra 1 in middle school and calculus in high school will put California students behind their domestic and international peers, who adhere to more rigorous standards. Furthermore, the document’s approach presupposes an inability of Black and Latinx students to excel in STEM courses at the same level as their counterparts from other cultural groups. No specific comparison is offered with regards to the performance of Black and Latinx students who attend private schools or have access to better resources (such as after-school enrichment and tutoring), a comparison which would provide valuable data to either support or weaken arguments for curricular changes.
The reality is that STEM programs at nearly all colleges and universities, both domestic and international, expect applicants to have taken at least one year of high school calculus, regardless of whether they repeat such a class in college. Wishing this global reality away sadly will not change it, nor will it prevent private schools and highly resourced school districts from continuing to provide acceleration opportunities for their students.
Ultimately, the proposed Math Framework would fall far short of ensuring the “inclusion of each and every learner” (Chapter 8, line 189). It would instead create additional hurdles for underrepresented students by limiting their access to advanced courses, hampering their ability to gain admission to and succeed in university STEM programs, and making it harder to pursue a career in STEM.
We, therefore, request a complete reform to the way mathematics is being taught in public schools in California by inviting educators, parents, volunteers, board members of educational non-profits, higher education faculty members, experts from the technology sector, and manufacturing industry to formulate better pathways to teach mathematics and other STEM subjects in public schools in California.
In our view, the better approach would be to:
1. Increase, through training and continuous professional development, the ability of public school teachers throughout California to teach mathematics.
2. Ensure that all new STEM teachers have majored or minored in the subject that they are expected to teach.
3. Increase recruitment of teachers from the Asian, Black, Latinx, and Native American communities, as well as increasing the proportion of female teachers, so that they serve as role models for their students.
4. Provide, especially at under-resourced schools and communities, additional support such as online practice sessions, group workshops, and simple downloadable mathematical apps, so that students can reach their full potential in mathematics.
5. Ensure that under-resourced communities have a wide variety of after-school opportunities so that students can explore and build upon their love of STEM subjects.
6. Inform under-resourced communities on all school-based opportunities for students to pursue a stronger mathematical foundation and provide assistance in that process.
7. Educate under-resourced communities on how their children’s career opportunities get expanded with mastery in mathematics.
8. Create and expand peer tutoring opportunities, which have been found in the past to lead to increased success (2) (3).
9. Reassess the determinants of G.A.T.E. eligibility. Students could be screened in early elementary school years for exceptional qualities in creativity, visual and performing arts, leadership skills, verbal communication, and academic aptitude. Eligibility criteria should progress beyond math and English Language Arts (ELA) to gauge the markers of academic aptitude (including practical problem solving, logic, and understanding of numerical patterns).
10. Eliminate the problem of over-enrollment and overcrowding in advanced courses by using a placement test to filter out underprepared students. Such placement tests should not be about memorizing facts like some standardized tests, but about students’ ability to solve practical/real-world problems and match patterns.
11. Offer enrichment and remedial courses in mathematics to middle school and high school during the summer months. During the summer months, college students could be successfully recruited to teach these courses.
Public Comment for Draft Mathematics Framework
Commenters may submit comments using the following methods:
Via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the preferred method of receiving comments.
Via telephone at 916-319-0598. You may leave a comment at that number. Staff will record the content of the comment, but the actual voicemail will not be forwarded to members of the IQC.
Via physical mail addressed to
Instructional Quality Commission
1430 N Street, Room 3207
Sacramento, CA 95814
This petition is prepared by:
Guillermo José Chicas is an Educational Entrepreneur, STEM Instructor with a dual degree in Mathematics & Computer Science from MIT; former QA Engineer with a background in educational software. Guillermo’s ultimate goal is to provide underprivileged students opportunities afforded through education so they can pursue meaningful STEM careers that fulfill their goals and bestow a positive socio-economic impact.
Robin Levi is a women’s human rights consultant and an independent college counselor. Robin founded and, for seven years, ran the College Outreach Program at Students Rising Above, which supports low-income, first generation students in applying to and then successfully graduating from college. As a Black woman, Robin has focused on the rights of women in color. A 1993 graduate of Stanford Law School, Robin is also the co-editor of “Inside the Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women’s Prisons.”
Archana Sudame (Ph.D.) is a STEM Educator, former college lecturer, and currently an independent college admission adviser for students interested in STEM fields. Archana mainly works with families who are unfamiliar with high school and higher education in the United States (students who are first-generation or functionally first generation).
Divya Chhabra is a math teacher for fourteen years and currently working for a public school district. With a Bachelors's in Math and Masters's in Education, Divya continues to work on improving math standards and provide support and enrichment to students.