## More “Algebra” for Chicago Public Schools Eighth Graders

What do you think about the CPS effort to bring more algebra into middle schools?

From Catalyst: “The June board meeting included a brief presentation on student achievement from the Office of Instructional Design and Assessment. A recap of statistics showed that while 40 percent of 8th-graders across the country take algebra, only 8 percent of CPS 8th-graders do.

“With this in mind, Chief Officer Xavier Botana noted how the district is revamping algebra instruction: 8th-grade algebra will now be called “High School Algebra in the Middle Grades,” a name change that Botana said will help parents and others understand that students are tackling high-school-level material.A commenter nails the issue:

The exit exams have to be real. They can’t be given credit for high school algebra, then show up in high school unprepared to take second year algebra.

Of course, they would only be prepared to take algebra in 8th grade if they have had rigorous math instruction before that. I believe these suburban schools with 40% of 8th graders taking algebra also have pre-algebra programs for kids in the 7th grade.

I’m all for offering rigorous classes; but there has to be some support to help kids get there.Related:

- Madison West High School Math Teachers letter to Isthmus:

Moreover, parents of future West High students should take notice: As you read this, our department is under pressure from the administration and the math coordinator’s office to phase out our “accelerated” course offerings beginning next year. Rather than addressing the problems of equity and closing the gap by identifying minority math talent earlier, and fostering minority participation in the accelerated programs, our administration wants to take the cheaper way out by forcing all kids into a one-size-fits-all curriculum.- Math Forum audio / video and links
It will be interesting to see the results of the Madison Math Task Force’s work.