State says framework includes ‘differentiated instruction’ catered to the needs of the child
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is moving to eliminate all accelerated math options prior to 11th grade, effectively keeping higher-achieving students from advancing as they usually would in the school system.
Loudoun County school board member Ian Serotkin posted about the change via Facebook on Tuesday. According to Serotkin, he learned of the change the night prior during a briefing from staff on the Virginia Mathematics Pathway Initiative (VMPI).
SEROTKIN WROTE – MASSIVE STATE MATH CURRICULUM REVAMP
During last night’s Curriculum & Instruction Committee meeting, we received a briefing from staff on the Virginia Mathematics Pathways Initiative (VMPI), a sweeping initiative by the Virginia Department of Education to revamp the K-12 math curriculum statewide over the next few years.
There are some noble goals with this initiative – it provides a pathway for every student to be able to take calculus or higher math by the end of high school if they so choose. That is a very good thing, and eliminates a major problem we have currently of students being “locked in” to their math track and being unable to get to calculus later on if they weren’t sufficiently accelerated in middle school.
That being said…as currently planned, this initiative will eliminate ALL math acceleration prior to 11th grade. That is not an exaggeration, nor does there appear to be any discretion in how local districts implement this. All 6th graders will take Foundational Concepts 6. All 7th graders will take Foundational Concepts 7. All 10th graders will take Essential Concepts 10. Only in 11th and 12th grade is there any opportunity for choice in higher math courses.
My first reaction to this was that it seemed absolutely bananas, and that it sets a soft cap on the number of higher math courses students are going to be able to take. My second reaction was to wonder which outside math learning franchises (Kaplan, Mathnasium, etc.) are publicly traded, because I foresee their stock soaring.
I’ve asked for this to be an information item at next week’s board meeting to communicate this more broadly with other board members and the community. There is also a series of information sessions run by the VDOE for parents wishing to learn more.
However, a Loudon parent told Fox News Thursday that the initiative would actually “lower standards for all students in the name of equity.”
“These changes will have a profound impact on students who excel in STEM-related curriculum, weakening our country’s ability to compete in a global marketplace for years to come,” the parent said.
VDOE spokesperson Charles Pyle told Fox News the VMPI would “support increased differentiated learning opportunities within a heterogeneous learning environment.”
Delegate candidate for Virginia’s 50th House District, Mike Allers, told The Federalist that VDOE “didn’t level the playing field —they destroyed it.”
Oftentimes initiatives, like one created by the Virginia Department of Education, are pitched as a way of giving black and brown students a necessary leg up, but Allers said barring students from taking accelerated courses will have the opposite effect.
“This decision from the VDOE stunts natural growth, choice, and progression for students, and is incredibly belittling, arrogant, and racist in assuming that children of color cannot reach advanced classes in math,” he told The Federalist.
“The racial achievement gap in schools will never be closed if higher opportunities are not provided for all students, while at the same time pushing common core and mediocrity,” Allers continued. “As long as Common Core and curriculum like it is pushed, civics isn’t taught at younger ages, and economic concepts aren’t introduced earlier, REAL actual non-political equity will not be achieved.”