By John Fensterwald
Sunnyvale, in the heart of Silicon Valley, is home to such high-tech fixtures as Yahoo!, Juniper Networks, AMD and Applied Micro, plus aerospace/defense operations of Lockheed Martin and Honeywell. Yet few Latinos who grow up in their shadow are qualified to work for those companies.
The disconnect between aspirations and reality starts early. Only 10 percent of Latinos, who comprise 42 percent of students in Sunnyvale Elementary District, are proficient in algebra by the end of 8th grade, a key measure of getting students on track for a career in science, engineering and math.
via Disparities in education can crush aspirations in heart of Silicon Valley – by John Fensterwald.
The State Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday to remove state incentives encouraging schools to offer Algebra I in 8th grade.
The move was both a vote of confidence in the new Common Core standards for 8th grade, which districts are now beginning to implement, and a retreat from a decade-old policy of pushing universal algebra in 8th grade. Proponents of the state’s current policy are predicting that enrollment in Algebra by 8th grade, which has doubled over the past decade to nearly two-thirds of students, will plummet in coming years.
via State Board eliminates incentives to offer Algebra in 8th grade – by John Fensterwald.
By Doug McRae
At its meeting next week, the California State Board of Education will consider eliminating the incentive for schools to offer a full Algebra 1 course to students ready to take Algebra by 8th grade. But removing this incentive would result in a de facto lowering of expectations for mathematics programs in middle schools, and lead to a significant reduction in the number of middle school students becoming proficient in Algebra. Do we really want to do this?
Perhaps it is best to view this issue from the perspective of a middle school mom who asked in an email several weeks ago: “With state board action adopting Common Core grade 8 math standards in January, will middle schools be able to offer Algebra?” She continued, “My son’s school will be offering the new 8th grade Common Core class next year but not Algebra. I’d like my son (who is a high performing math student) to take Algebra 1 in 8th grade. The middle school principal, high school principal, and high school math teacher have all said this is a better pathway for college prep.”
via State Board poised to lower standards for middle school math – by Doug McRae.
By John Fensterwald
An education committee recommended Tuesday that the state stop docking the test scores of districts that don’t offer Algebra I in 8th grade. The recommendation by the Public Schools Accountability Act Advisory Committee would reverse a decade-old practice and could go to the State Board of Education as early as next month.
The Advisory Committee is charged with suggesting changes to the state’s school accountability system, the Academic Performance Index or API. It will soon be transformed as a result of the switch from state tests to tests aligned to the new Common Core standards, as well as the passage of Senate Bill 1458, which requires that career and college readiness measures and high school graduation rates be included, along with standardized test results, in the API.
via API penalties for not offering 8th grade Algebra to be dropped – by John Fensterwald.
Some education critics say California seems to be relaxing middle school math standards, making them less rigorous, by shedding a policy that expects eighth-graders to take Algebra I.
But Vacaville-area educators agree that the state’s decision to permit eighth-graders to take Algebra I or an alternate course not only matches existing policies but comports with the Common Core curriculum being rolled out across the nation.
“You’re going to hear both sides” of the argument, said Mark Frazier, chief academic officer for Vacaville Unified School Distrit. “The bottom line is, not all eighth-graders are taking Algebra I.”
via Vacaville, Dixon, Travis educators support algebra requirement change.