California’s math ‘reforms’ worry STEM professionals

, Spencer Irvine, Leave a comment

Scientists and mathematicians, numbering over 1,400, signed an open letter critical of California’s so-called reforms to its state mathematics curriculum.

As the Daily Caller News Foundation reported, scientists and mathematicians oppose the changes. They cited their “deep concern” about making mathematics instruction equitable, which is another way of saying dumbing down mathematics and downplaying excellence.

The California Department of Education’s proposed reforms would encourage teachers to “teach towards social justice” and end the long-held practice of math teaching as a “neutral discipline.” It also would promote advanced data science and statistics courses for all students, instead of catering to the more mathematically gifted students.

The curriculum’s enactment is postponed to May 2022.

The letter’s signers, numbering 1,415 as of December 28, 2021, said that it is wrong to single out data science as more valuable than standard mathematics, calculus and algebra. The signers agree that ethnic minorities are underprepared for college courses because they enroll in fewer numbers in algebra and calculus classes. They claim that the proposed reforms “reduce access and options for all students” because the state wants to stop offering algebra in middle school, “while placing obstacles … in the way of those who want to take advanced math in higher grades.” These signers also point out that the new proposals do not offer foundational math courses that would prepare students for future careers in data science, calling it a promotion of “trendy and shallow courses.”

Dumbing down curriculum, while at the same time making it difficult for high achievers to fulfill their potential, is a dangerous path for America’s future working class. Examples like California’s proposed math changes will make private and charter education options more attractive to parents, and could spell further enrollment trouble for public schools going forward.