Gov. Jerry Brown evidently agrees that California’s math standards should align more closely with the national Common Core standards. On Thursday, he signed SB 1200, which will allow the State Board to weed out the dozens of California state Algebra standards that were inserted two years ago with the adoption of Common Core as part of an ongoing, unresolved debate over what students should learn in eighth grade.
Advocates of SB 1200, which the Department of Education drafted, argue that the amalgamation of eighth grade standards created confusion for teachers and for publishers, who would have to design unique materials for California for an unwieldy course combining pre-Algebra and Algebra I. Critics, who include former State Board of Education Executive Director John Mockler, charged that SB 1200 will result in discouraging most students from taking Algebra I in eighth grade. That’s because removing the California standards will leave Common Core pre-Algebra standards as the default course for eighth grade.