Noah Smith: The results were highly disappointing — Black and Latino kids’ math skills did not improve, and the achievement gap widened, thanks to richer White and Asian families hiring private tutors to teach their kids algebra. This incident — whose results are sad but entirely predictable — highlights how some Americans think we can … Continue reading In 2014, the city of San Francisco decided to try to improve equity in math education by barring kids from taking algebra in 8th grade.
Ana Tintocalis: Van Zandt admits he has high expectations for his children. He also has high expectations for San Francisco Unified, which is why he and many parents like him were outraged when they learned Algebra 1 will no longer be taught in middle school under Common Core, the state’s new academic standards. Instead, all … Continue reading San Francisco Middle Schools No Longer Teaching ‘Algebra
Josh Koehn Two San Francisco supervisors will miss key meetings this week to attend a taxpayer-funded junket in Japan to learn how an institute in the country teaches math. The details of that word salad of a sentence might seem a bit mystifying for those who realize: Adding a bit more complexity to the situation, … Continue reading San Francisco Supervisors Fly to Japan To Learn About Math
Removing algebra and dumbing down public schools to win political points results in worse outcomes Virtue signal policies like removing honors classes and algebra result in a bigger achievement gap than before https://t.co/xrTYTUWIJg pic.twitter.com/vrLVE2Njp6 — Garry Tan 陈嘉兴 (@garrytan) April 24, 2023 Related: Madison, one size fits all – English 10 and the effort to … Continue reading Reducing Rigor: San Francisco Edition
Rex Ridgeway All parents want opportunities for their children to excel academically. However, reaching the top in math at San Francisco Unified School District, is like climbing a cactus tree. It’s going to hurt. At SFUSD, a math curriculum limiting student advancement currently exists; especially hindering socio-economically disadvantaged students from advancing in math. This is … Continue reading SFUSD’s delay of algebra 1 has created a nightmare of workarounds
Joanne Jacobs: San Francisco hoped to close achievement gaps by adopting a new, detracked math curriculum that delays algebra till 9th grade, writes Joe Hong on CalMatters. Results are mixed, at best. California’s proposed new math frameworkrecommends all districts follow San Francisco’s policies, citing the reforms as a success story, writes Hong. It’s complicated. Fewer students are … Continue reading San Francisco parents pay to put kids on path to calculus
Rachel Thomas: I am thrilled to release fast.ai’s newest free course, Computational Linear Algebra, including an online textbook and a series of videos, and covering applications (using Python) such as how to identify the foreground in a surveillance video, how to categorize documents, the algorithm powering Google’s search, how to reconstruct an image from a … Continue reading New fast.ai course: Computational Linear Algebra
MORE than a decade ago, after George Cachianes, a former researcher at Genentech, decided to become a teacher, he started a biotechnology course at Lincoln High School in San Francisco. He saw the class as way of marrying basic biotechnology principles with modern lab practices — and insights into how business harvests biotech innovations for profit.
If you’re interested in seeing the future of biotechnology education, you might want to visit one of George Cachianes’s classrooms. “Students are motivated by understanding the relationships between research, creativity and making money,” he says.
Lincoln has five biotech classes, each with about 30 students. Four other public high schools in San Francisco offer the course, drawing on Mr. Cachianes’s syllabus. Mr. Cachianes, who still teaches at Lincoln, divides his classes into teams of five students; each team “adopts” an actual biotech company.
The students write annual reports, correspond with company officials and learn about products in the pipeline. Students also learn the latest lab techniques. They cut DNA. And recombine it. They transfer jellyfish genes into bacteria. They purify proteins. They even sequence their own cheek-cell DNA.
My mom cried during the SpaceX launch. She’s a math teacher. “So many people in the education world want to get rid of advanced math for equity. I’m sick of it. Without math, this [launch] can’t happen. Kids need to be allowed to dream.” Spot on, mom 🇺🇸pic.twitter.com/LsGvs9WM5O — Max Meyer (@mualphaxi) November 18, 2023 … Continue reading Math & Progress
Wall Street Journal: In San Francisco Monday morning, there’s going to be a demonstration on the steps of City Hall. That may not be surprising, given the protests breaking out all over the country. But the topic is, believe it or not, algebra. A grassroots alliance of parents, teachers and concerned citizens known as the … Continue reading California’s New Old Math
Brian Conrad: When I decided to read every word of California’s 1,000-page proposal to transform math education in public schools, I learned that even speculative and unproved ideas can end up as official instructional policy. In 2021, the state released a draft of the California Mathematics Framework, whose authors were promising to open up new … Continue reading California’s Math Misadventure Is About to Go National
Julia Steinberg: “California is America, only sooner” was an optimistic phrase once used to describe my home state. The Golden State promised a spirit of freedom, innovation, and experimentation that would spread across the nation. And at the heart of the state’s flourishing was a four-letter word: math. Math made California prosper. It’s most obvious … Continue reading The new California Mathematics Framework promises to minimize racial inequity at the expense of mathematical excellence—and the promise of the Golden State.
Jo Boaler: When New York City’s mayor began a move to revamp the program of selective schools last year, a public outcry ensued, and the issue has yet to be resolved. Objections echoed those in the San Francisco Unified School District, which six years ago began in earnest the elimination of advanced mathematics classes until … Continue reading Separating ‘gifted’ children hasn’t led to better achievement
The drudgery of solving for X flew out the door of a Presidio Middle School classroom Friday as the giddy students traded in their back-breaking algebra textbooks for an iPad touch screen filled with integers and equations that came to life with the flick of a finger.
The San Francisco eighth-graders are among 400 California middle school students participating in a pilot study funded by textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on the use of digital textbooks. The results will help determine whether the high-tech version educates schoolchildren as well or better than its wood-pulp predecessors.
While it’s not hard to imagine classrooms full of such devices in the not-so-distant future, the novelty was not lost on many of the adults in the classroom Friday.
Remember this day, district officials told the students.
If mathematics is like a foreign language, then those who teach the subject ought to be fluent.
That is the goal of an intensive pilot program by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Intel that aims to improve the math skills of students in underperforming Bay Area elementary and middle schools.
Helping students means helping their teachers first – and that includes some veteran educators.
Take Marivic Walch of Bishop Elementary School in Sunnyvale, who has been teaching for seven years and describes herself as a “math queen.”
“I had many aha moments,” she said.
Modeled after a successful program in Vermont, the 80-hour pilot course taught 38 Bay Area teachers in the past four months how to improve their skills from basic math all the way to algebra. The program is set to expand in 2008, more than doubling its scope, training 100 teachers in 20 schools in San Jose, Gilroy, Redwood City, Foster City, Newark and San Francisco.
“The idea is to turn this into a fluency training in the language of math,” said Mark Pettinger, external affairs manager for Intel. “This is meant for teachers who are good teachers.”