OAN’s Noah Herring
12:24 PM – Monday, July 24, 2023
California’s new mathematics curriculum will adopt a new framework emphasizing “equity” and “social justice” for its K-12 schools after a vote from the State Board of Education last week.
The 2023 Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools, which was unanimously passed after multiple years of development and revisions, seeks to renew the state’s “commitment to ensuring equity and excellence in math learning for all students.”
“This framework provides strategies to challenge, engage, and support all students in deep and relevant math learning by building on successful approaches used in nations that produce high and equitable achievement in math,” State Board President Linda Darling-Hammond said in a statement.
“It also draws on the experiences of educators who have worked for a decade to develop successful strategies for teaching California’s rigorous standards, carrying those lessons to others across the state. This framework provides teachers and schools with a path to greater excellence with greater equity,” she added.
The 1,000 page document, which has undergone three revisions and two public hearings, works to “structure the teaching of the state’s math standards around ‘big ideas’ that integrate rather than isolate math concepts,” and “allow students to ‘see themselves’ in curriculum by making math instruction culturally relevant and empowering.”
“Cultural and personal relevance is important for learning and also for creating mathematical communities that reflect California’s diversity. Educators can learn to notice, utilize, and value students’ identities, assets, and cultural resources to support learning for all students. Additionally, because culture and language can be intertwined, attending to cultural relevance may also enable teachers to attend to linguistic diversity – a key feature of California and relevant to the teaching and learning of mathematics,” the document read.
The new framework also includes a section on the ability of teachers to integrate “social justice” into lessons to “empower” students.
“Teaching toward social justice urges educators to empower learners with tools to examine inequities and address important issues in their lives and communities through mathematics,” the document explains.
It adds, “Mathematics educators committed to social justice work provide curricular examples that equip students with a toolkit and mindset to identify and combat inequities with mathematics.”
The new framework has caused backlash from parents who have been calling for improved education arguing that the proposed framework does not prioritize academic achievement.
Angela Morabito Spokesperson for the Defense of Freedom Institute (DFI), Angela Morabito, stated, “Despite what the proponents of this plan might say, it’s not really designed to boost academic achievement. It’s designed to further a progressive goal that exists in the minds of adults… The math framework really does show misplaced priorities.”
The California Department of Education (CDE) and the California State Board of Education (SBE) both acknowledge that math proficiency has been a statewide issue, with less than one third of students meeting grade-level expectations during the 2021-22 academic year.
This has caused California parents to advocate for a “high-quality education” to be recognized as a constitutional right.
In response, a SBE spokesperson told Crisis in the Classroom (CITC) that the new framework would enhance math learning by creating pathways that empower students to reach advanced math coursework that would serve as gateways to STEM careers.
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