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23 Apr, 2021 21:35

Virginia to revamp math curriculum, CANCEL advanced courses prior to last two years of high school to force racial equity

Virginia to revamp math curriculum, CANCEL advanced courses prior to last two years of high school to force racial equity

There's no need to worry about that ‘racist’ trigonometry, at least in Virginia, because the state is eliminating advanced math courses for all students prior to the 11th grade, all in the name of equity.

The Virginia Mathematics Pathways Initiative (VMPI) plans over the next few years to force all students in grades six through 10 to take the same “foundational concepts” courses for their grade level, according to Loudoun County School Board member Ian Serotkin, who was briefed on the plan earlier this week. 

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The move will eliminate algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus course options below the 11th grade, limiting them to the last two years of high school. It would essentially achieve math equity by bringing all students to the lowest coursework level.

“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,” Serotkin said in a Facebook post.

“My second reaction was to wonder which outside math learning franchises are publicly traded because I foresee their stock soaring.”

VMPI is an initiative of the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), set up in collaboration with the state's colleges ostensibly to align the math curriculum with the skills students will need to pursue higher education or enter the workforce. But VMPI's top goal is listed as being to “improve equity in mathematics learning opportunities.”

The new curriculum plan is illustrated in a chart on the VDOE's website. Some of the new courses may begin in 2023, with full implementation in 2025 and new graduation requirements beginning with the 12th grade class of 2027.

The move follows a trend in moving away from advanced studies and merit-based learning opportunities, such as the city of New York's decision late last year to end testing-based admissions to elite public high schools.

It also comes amid concern that only 70% of black students met minimum math testing standards in Virginia as of the 2018-2019 school year, compared with 88% of whites and 94% of Asians, according to a VMPI presentation last year.

But critics argued that the new math strategy tries to equalize students by bringing them to the lowest common denominator. Bo Winegard, who was fired as a college professor last year for speaking on the role of genetics in psychological differences, referred to the VMPI plan as, “when equity becomes a synonym for coerced mediocrity.”

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