# Can you educate me about California's educational reform proposals?

December 7, 2021 5:21 PM Subscribe

Recently I've seen a few articles about CA's proposed new math framework, and how some school districts are doing away with D/F grades. I don't feel like I have a good grasp about why and what exactly reformers are proposing.

Of course, this is a selfish question as I have children going through CA's public school system. I am not convinced that moving algebra up one grade or making it optional, condensing the other math subjects, would actually improve equity for everyone. (Also don't understand how making data science an option instead of calculus would even work, given the actual teacher shortages everywhere.) I don't understand what is meant by teachers would somehow demonstrate that students "mastered" a subject. So hopefully someone here can provide better explanations that what's currently out there? I want to be on board with reforms if it will actually lead to better outcomes for all, but I am unconvinced.

Of course, this is a selfish question as I have children going through CA's public school system. I am not convinced that moving algebra up one grade or making it optional, condensing the other math subjects, would actually improve equity for everyone. (Also don't understand how making data science an option instead of calculus would even work, given the actual teacher shortages everywhere.) I don't understand what is meant by teachers would somehow demonstrate that students "mastered" a subject. So hopefully someone here can provide better explanations that what's currently out there? I want to be on board with reforms if it will actually lead to better outcomes for all, but I am unconvinced.

Mastery-based learning is supposed to be more flexible and responsive to students; instead of taking a test on Chapters 1-5 on Friday morning, you are doing a range of projects and activities over time that show you know whatever the material is. It is supposed to reduce things like cramming, test anxiety, and the need for "test-taking skills" like recognizing trick questions. There are still practice problems, projects, etc. Sort of similar to a college class that lets you skip the final if you have an A average.

It's also supposed to be closer to how we learn and use skills in real life, since pencil and paper tests are a proxy for measuring (most) skills. The real test of whether you understand the Pythagorean theorem is whether you can square a wall you're building with it.

As far as D/F grades, my experience is with high school students who attended school intermittently due to justice involvement, illness, disability, etc. They often miss large chunks of school and bc of the complexities of high school scheduling, there is no easy way for them to make up work or get help with missing instruction. Getting a report card full of Ds and Fs is just another discouraging and demoralizing interaction with a place they have mixed feelings about at best and pushes them closer to dropping out at worst. An "incomplete" means they can catch up, earn a high grade if they're successful, and stay engaged in school without the stigma of "flunking" or graduating "late."

Taken together, it's essentially just codifying what many educators have done informally for a long time: you can show what you know without taking a test, if you aren't that great at tests; and if you get really behind, they will help you catch up.

posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:16 PM on December 7, 2021 [6 favorites]

It's also supposed to be closer to how we learn and use skills in real life, since pencil and paper tests are a proxy for measuring (most) skills. The real test of whether you understand the Pythagorean theorem is whether you can square a wall you're building with it.

As far as D/F grades, my experience is with high school students who attended school intermittently due to justice involvement, illness, disability, etc. They often miss large chunks of school and bc of the complexities of high school scheduling, there is no easy way for them to make up work or get help with missing instruction. Getting a report card full of Ds and Fs is just another discouraging and demoralizing interaction with a place they have mixed feelings about at best and pushes them closer to dropping out at worst. An "incomplete" means they can catch up, earn a high grade if they're successful, and stay engaged in school without the stigma of "flunking" or graduating "late."

Taken together, it's essentially just codifying what many educators have done informally for a long time: you can show what you know without taking a test, if you aren't that great at tests; and if you get really behind, they will help you catch up.

posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:16 PM on December 7, 2021 [6 favorites]

There is a lot in there, but one of the themes is project based learning. It allows students to demonstrate mastery in a different way than testing (which will still exist). Right now, we have standards, which are super useful! It's good to know that a kid moving out of 3rd grade anywhere in the country should know certain things, like being about to multiply and divide within 100, and be able understand and compare fractions.

Instead of just teaching that and moving on after a kid can demonstrate that they know a certain set of formulas on a test, project based learning lets them spend time with the subject and really understand it deeply. It makes sense if you think about it. For example, when you started at your job you probably did have a checklist of duties, maybe even with steps. But you didn't get good at your job until you actually started doing it and got into weird situations that didn't really fit within those guidelines. Projects are designed to give kids that experience. A kid might decide to measure how much time they spend watching TV each day, draw a graph, and represent it as a fraction. While working on that project, they'll have to use those skills in new ways that they wouldn't see on a test, and on top of that they're likely to learn a little excel, see how fractions and decimals are related, and all sorts of other cool stuff!

Not to mention that kids learn more when they teach and learn from each other. When they help other kids with projects, they have to learn not just to do math, but to hold mathematical discourse, to communicate mathematically. That's exactly what they need, because it helps them examine and describe how they think and become better problem solvers.

posted by Garm at 8:00 PM on December 7, 2021 [4 favorites]

Instead of just teaching that and moving on after a kid can demonstrate that they know a certain set of formulas on a test, project based learning lets them spend time with the subject and really understand it deeply. It makes sense if you think about it. For example, when you started at your job you probably did have a checklist of duties, maybe even with steps. But you didn't get good at your job until you actually started doing it and got into weird situations that didn't really fit within those guidelines. Projects are designed to give kids that experience. A kid might decide to measure how much time they spend watching TV each day, draw a graph, and represent it as a fraction. While working on that project, they'll have to use those skills in new ways that they wouldn't see on a test, and on top of that they're likely to learn a little excel, see how fractions and decimals are related, and all sorts of other cool stuff!

Not to mention that kids learn more when they teach and learn from each other. When they help other kids with projects, they have to learn not just to do math, but to hold mathematical discourse, to communicate mathematically. That's exactly what they need, because it helps them examine and describe how they think and become better problem solvers.

posted by Garm at 8:00 PM on December 7, 2021 [4 favorites]

Some of the arguments are as follows. Sorry, I don't have references off the top of my head, but they do exist.

-Everyone needs to have a good grasp of statistics to function in society. Not everyone needs to know calculus. Most adults will encounter situations requiring statistics more frequently than calculus. Calculus has historically been used as a gatekeeper, which is problematic for equity considerations.

-America has a long history of teaching and learning mathematics poorly (on average). Math curriculum has been criticized as "being an inch deep and a mile wide." For years, it was considered a good idea to push (certain) kids ahead earlier, before they had a solid grounding in mathematical basics. Students would arrive in algebra or calculus and would struggle, because they didn't master the fundamentals. In addition, student's brains develop at a varied rate, so not every student is ready to for algebra before high school.

-Students who encounter math concepts before it is developmentally appropriate and/or placed in the low math track internalize the fact that they are not "math people" and math is not for them. This is a problem, because statistics/ data are becoming increasingly important in life/ jobs.

-In theory, a good teacher should be able to differentiate instruction between different student abilities in one classroom. Instead of encouraging students to develop a breath of knowledge, high achieving students should be encouraged to developed their depth of knowledge. Anecdotally, even excellent U.S. based teachers may struggle with this due to U.S. specific factors.

-Early tracking (e.g. before high school) will miss capable students who lack the support at home. By the time these students would be ready, they are already behind their tracked peers and are unable to catch up.

-Finland is a country that is widely regarded for having equity and excellent performance by all students.

-The U.S. is different from just about every other country in that it doesn't have a national curriculum.

posted by oceano at 8:26 PM on December 7, 2021 [9 favorites]

-Everyone needs to have a good grasp of statistics to function in society. Not everyone needs to know calculus. Most adults will encounter situations requiring statistics more frequently than calculus. Calculus has historically been used as a gatekeeper, which is problematic for equity considerations.

-America has a long history of teaching and learning mathematics poorly (on average). Math curriculum has been criticized as "being an inch deep and a mile wide." For years, it was considered a good idea to push (certain) kids ahead earlier, before they had a solid grounding in mathematical basics. Students would arrive in algebra or calculus and would struggle, because they didn't master the fundamentals. In addition, student's brains develop at a varied rate, so not every student is ready to for algebra before high school.

-Students who encounter math concepts before it is developmentally appropriate and/or placed in the low math track internalize the fact that they are not "math people" and math is not for them. This is a problem, because statistics/ data are becoming increasingly important in life/ jobs.

-In theory, a good teacher should be able to differentiate instruction between different student abilities in one classroom. Instead of encouraging students to develop a breath of knowledge, high achieving students should be encouraged to developed their depth of knowledge. Anecdotally, even excellent U.S. based teachers may struggle with this due to U.S. specific factors.

-Early tracking (e.g. before high school) will miss capable students who lack the support at home. By the time these students would be ready, they are already behind their tracked peers and are unable to catch up.

-Finland is a country that is widely regarded for having equity and excellent performance by all students.

-The U.S. is different from just about every other country in that it doesn't have a national curriculum.

posted by oceano at 8:26 PM on December 7, 2021 [9 favorites]

Without digging in to the curriculum itself, I can't get super-specific, but based on the given outlines of it:

--Mastery-based "grading" is meant to move away from "stack-ranking" students (A students, B students, C students, F students) and in to assessing specific skills. My school uses a 1 through 4 system, where 1 means "needs more help to meet standards" and 2 means "sometimes meets standards." 3 is "routinely meets standards" and 4 is "routinely exceeds standards." Something fascinating to me about it is that the students tracked into the "gifted" program very rarely receive 4s. They're expected to MEET the standards

--They're trying to create a deeper understanding of math. "Number sense" is maybe the easiest for us parentally-aged people to understand. If you've looked at Common Core, I feel like multiplication is the easiest way to understand it. People our age learned "the algorithm" -- we memorized the times tables, and learned the specific way to work through 2- and 3- and 10-digit multiplication like a computer. But students today are taught HOW multiplication works in a

--Removing social/racial bias from story problems matters a lot! I remember even when I was in 8th grade, doing problems that were like, "You have a spherical cow in a rectangular field ..." and being like, "WTF, I have never owned a cow, let alone a spherical one. OR a field!" (It was always fences and fucking fields! Who the fuck is fencing a giant fucking field???) But if the problem is phrased as, "You have a bed of X dimensions you need to fit in a room of Y dimensions ..." suddenly a bunch of kids who can't picture spherical cows are going, "Oh, hey, I know how beds in different-sized rooms look!" Even phrasing something as "You are stringing LED lights around a 6x10 room, how many feet of lights do you need?" instead of "You are fencing a 6x10 field ..." can help students begin to understand how story problems work. The whole POINT of story problems is to help you understand how to use math in "real life," and that should be something that relates to the actual world you actually know, not something wholly abstract to you. It's awesome to teach cow ranchers' kids about perimeter using fences! They can picture that! But for city kids, LED strip lights are probably easy to visualize, and visualizing the problem you're trying to solve is BIG when you're first learning story problems! Being able to PICTURE the math you're trying to do makes a big difference in a) being able to set up the problem properly; b) see when you've gone horribly wrong; and c) understand the mathematical principles at play. And d) care about them! And honestly, the whole point of the damn spherical cows in the field was that

As an adult, I've spent a lot of time learning astronomy, and trying to learn the math for angles in astronomy HURTS MY BRAINPAN. But doing exactly that same math on fabric for a quilt square is, like, nothing. Because I can picture and manipulate a quilt square while barely thinking about it, but planets and moons are hard for me to visualize -- I don't have the practice! I know it's the same math! And hopefully I'll get there! But my comfort level with planets is way less than my comfort level with quilt squares; I just can't visualize them the same way.

Similarly, a lot of middle-class kids have parents who say, "Oh, let's make pancakes, let's double the recipe! We need 1/2 cup of sugar, doubled, what does that come out to? We need 3/4 cup of flour, doubled, how much is that?" and teach their kids

Anyway, my point here is, story problems are supposed to make math

posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:47 PM on December 7, 2021 [15 favorites]

--Mastery-based "grading" is meant to move away from "stack-ranking" students (A students, B students, C students, F students) and in to assessing specific skills. My school uses a 1 through 4 system, where 1 means "needs more help to meet standards" and 2 means "sometimes meets standards." 3 is "routinely meets standards" and 4 is "routinely exceeds standards." Something fascinating to me about it is that the students tracked into the "gifted" program very rarely receive 4s. They're expected to MEET the standards

*in the higher-level curriculum they're given.*If they're getting 4s all the time, they're in THE WRONG CLASS and need to move up. I went through the same school system as my kids, and we were expected to be "straight A" students. My kids and their peers are expected to be "straight 3" students, and getting a couple of 4s means they're going to get more advanced work next semester. And they all get a 2 here and there,*but it is not the crisis that getting a B was*, because it just means they need more work/teaching to understand what they're learning, not that they're only achieving at an 85% level. But even kids in the remedial track should be earning mostly 3s! They should be being taught in a way that enables them to achieve mastery of age-appropriate material! (This shifts to grades-based assessment in junior high or high school in most systems, since colleges want to see students stack-ranked and awarded GPAs. But it's HUGELY appropriate in elementary school to use standards-based assessment.) And like, the*student*has never failed in elementary school, so putting a "failing" grade is wildly inappropriate. Either the*teachers*have failed, or the student has significant challenges that need support, or the student has some serious shit going on in their home life. None of that is a failure by the student! They "(1) need more help to meet standards."--They're trying to create a deeper understanding of math. "Number sense" is maybe the easiest for us parentally-aged people to understand. If you've looked at Common Core, I feel like multiplication is the easiest way to understand it. People our age learned "the algorithm" -- we memorized the times tables, and learned the specific way to work through 2- and 3- and 10-digit multiplication like a computer. But students today are taught HOW multiplication works in a

*bunch*of ways to help them learn what multiplication actually means: by breaking up numbers into a matrix, by breaking them down into smaller bits (42x35 = 40x35 + 2x35), by other modes. At first this is like "OMG why are you repeating arithmetic and playing with manipulatives for kids who TOTALLY GET IT" but if you actually DO it and LEARN it, you get A LOT BETTER AT ARITHMETIC. I sat through two years of presentations on Common Core as a school board member, and like 18 months in, my brain glommed on to "breaking down" bigger numbers for multiplication and then combining the results, and now I do two-digit by two-digit multiplication in my head REALLY FAST*without meaning to*, because I just*see*it when I look at the problem. Whereas in the past I had to work through the algorithm step by step. But now I KNOW how it works and my brain does it without me telling it to, it just SEES how it ought to go. I cannot even IMAGINE the power of having learned it that way when I was 8, instead of 35! A lot of newer math curricula are geared towards helping students gain so much number sense that they just SEE how math should work, without having to think it through and work through calculator stuff.--Removing social/racial bias from story problems matters a lot! I remember even when I was in 8th grade, doing problems that were like, "You have a spherical cow in a rectangular field ..." and being like, "WTF, I have never owned a cow, let alone a spherical one. OR a field!" (It was always fences and fucking fields! Who the fuck is fencing a giant fucking field???) But if the problem is phrased as, "You have a bed of X dimensions you need to fit in a room of Y dimensions ..." suddenly a bunch of kids who can't picture spherical cows are going, "Oh, hey, I know how beds in different-sized rooms look!" Even phrasing something as "You are stringing LED lights around a 6x10 room, how many feet of lights do you need?" instead of "You are fencing a 6x10 field ..." can help students begin to understand how story problems work. The whole POINT of story problems is to help you understand how to use math in "real life," and that should be something that relates to the actual world you actually know, not something wholly abstract to you. It's awesome to teach cow ranchers' kids about perimeter using fences! They can picture that! But for city kids, LED strip lights are probably easy to visualize, and visualizing the problem you're trying to solve is BIG when you're first learning story problems! Being able to PICTURE the math you're trying to do makes a big difference in a) being able to set up the problem properly; b) see when you've gone horribly wrong; and c) understand the mathematical principles at play. And d) care about them! And honestly, the whole point of the damn spherical cows in the field was that

*when the math books were first written*for universal American education? MOST OF THE UNDERPRIVILEGED KIDS WERE FARM KIDS, who could picture the damn cows in the damn fields. It's super fuckin' stupid to pretend that cows and fields remain the One True Way for less-privileged students to gain an entry to story problems. Those were written to help specific kids in a specific era, and insisting upon retaining them*as a road block to learning*for different kids in a different era is dumb, perverse, and elitist.As an adult, I've spent a lot of time learning astronomy, and trying to learn the math for angles in astronomy HURTS MY BRAINPAN. But doing exactly that same math on fabric for a quilt square is, like, nothing. Because I can picture and manipulate a quilt square while barely thinking about it, but planets and moons are hard for me to visualize -- I don't have the practice! I know it's the same math! And hopefully I'll get there! But my comfort level with planets is way less than my comfort level with quilt squares; I just can't visualize them the same way.

Similarly, a lot of middle-class kids have parents who say, "Oh, let's make pancakes, let's double the recipe! We need 1/2 cup of sugar, doubled, what does that come out to? We need 3/4 cup of flour, doubled, how much is that?" and teach their kids

*academic math*from everyday examples. But working-class parents*who do exactly the same thing every dang day*may simply not have the language to turn that into Official School Math. (This is double extra the case with immigrant parents, who may have learned math under very different curricula!) One of the HUGE things my majority-minority, high-poverty, high-ELL school district did was provide teaching sessions*to parents*for those kinds of everyday at-home learning. If you didn't grow up middle class in the United States, how the hell are you supposed to know that middle-class parents teach the basics of fractions with baking? You might not even have ever used Officially Measured Measuring Cups! You might be from a "a pinch, a handful" society! Measuring cups might seem insane, like a crutch for people who DON'T KNOW HOW TO COOK! (Or for people who are bad at baking, and don't know you're supposed to WEIGH ingredients, not measuring them in measuring cups!) If you tell parents of kindergarteners, "When you're in the car or on the bus on the way to childcare, count cars with your kid and name colors (in literally any language),"*they will do that thing*, and kids whose own parents did NOT do that thing, due to class or cultural differences, WILL GET THAT SCHOOL-FOCUSED ENRICHMENT.Anyway, my point here is, story problems are supposed to make math

*more*accessible, and show kids how math relates to everyday life, not make math*really fucking opaque*by making it all about cows and fields and 19th-century trains smashing into each other because there are no train signals. (Honestly, wtf.) Urban kids should be adding public transit commute times, and multiplying purchases for parties, and learning percentages through sales tax, and doing the Pythagorean theorem to figure out if a couch can fit through a door (PIVOT!). Not doing fuckin' cow fence math intended for farm kids in 1952.posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:47 PM on December 7, 2021 [15 favorites]

*Oh, an one last thought- a lot of this has to do with your general philosophy of the role of public education. My personal view is that the number 1 goal of the public education system is that it meets a minimum standard for all students. This means that I would personally prioritize a system that allows all students to achieve a standard level than a system that leaves more children behind, but allows a smaller number of students to excel above and beyond. Education is often viewed as apolitical (not necessarily the content areas but the education system), this is obviously not the case, all things are political. Take this into consideration when you discuss systematic educational changes as people tend to hide their biases than they would if you were discussing renewable energy, for instance.*

This is absolutely the key to understanding the public conversation around this. I think it also reflects an astoundingly insular lack of nous among the academics and teachers who put together the reform proposals. Many of these proposals are actually either better for children on the right hand of the bell curve as well or could be tweaked only a little to be so. However among the people who put these proposals together, the only thing that really matters is equity and I genuinely don't think it occurred to them that this isn't true for everyone.

Mastery based education with more flexible programming in particular potentially allows much higher performance for kids who progress quickly by dynamically adjusting a level of challenge as Eyebrows discussed above.

Had they packaged this correctly to make the point that the majority of these changes will lead to the best outcomes for pupils at all ability levels (including high ability levels) which, to be clear, is actually true, then this would have been an uncontested technocratic change to how math is taught in California. I don't know if its just dogmatism, genuine insularity, or a political orientation that has led them to fuck that up but it's very curious to watch. I doubt I would find it as funny as I do if I had a child in a California public school though.

On getting rid of D/F grades - the problem is ultimately foundational. We don't have any agreement as a society what a grade is for or what it means. Should it measure complete understanding of a fixed curriculum (i.e. if you've learned all the stuff then you get an A)? If so, then how do we measure which students have way over-achieved and maintain their motivation? The real world (including academia in that category) is open ended and specialised rather than close ended and generalist, in other words if you're absolutely outstanding in a narrow range of things but adequate elsewhere you will be well set to make a great contribution to society and probably more so than someone who is a good all-rounder. With closed ended grades though, the first person has an A in their specialist subject and maybe Bs elsewhere while the second person has straight As.

Or should grades be personal and measure progression? In that case they're not comparable between children anyway and they should be measured completely differently.

How do we deal with an "A" in an advanced math class vs an "A" in a simpler one? If we're trying to measure how much math they've learned, those aren't readily comparable.

If grades measure how much you know at the end of the course, why do coursework and test grades count from throughout the period count at all? They don't measure terminal achievement at all. Indeed, the British, French, and Dutch systems place much more emphasis on final exams taken under standardised conditions for this reason. The problem with that is it rewards good exam taking and having high readiness at a point in time and is also not a good proxy for any post-school performance where sustained performance is much more important.

posted by atrazine at 3:33 AM on December 8, 2021 [9 favorites]

I can't opine on California's new proposals, but I can on the impetus behind some of it: I understand the resistance to academic gate-keeping. All too often the majority of the folks who make it through are caucasian or of Asian descent. But the U.S. has some of the finest universities in the world, and university professors are *not * taught to teach. In high schools, where teachers *are* taught to teach, we seem to have a long history of chasing one trend after another: flipped classrooms, portfolio method, new math, sight words vs. phonics and the long argument about whether or not to drop subject matter because it's "not relevant." Honestly, although the intentions are good, I think a lot of this is counterproductive. As the Brookings Institution writes albeit in context of Boston and New York's best exam schools what really seems to affect equity of outcome is universal access to the very best schools within a town or city, and universal entrance exams for the most selective, rather than opt-in. All the rest is window dressing, and usually ends up being a lot less academically rigorous than whatever it replaced.

posted by Violet Blue at 4:22 PM on December 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

posted by Violet Blue at 4:22 PM on December 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for responding. I'm still digesting a lot of it, and it's interesting to see where my perceptions and what is actually being proposed is off. I think atrazine hit the nail on the head with my major concern, which is that I want to know that with these proposals, everyone will benefit, including the more "gifted" kids. I felt like what I was reading was basically that they are going to dumb down the curriculum for everyone instead of bringing everyone up. But I also find it suspicious when I just assume the side of the naysayers, so I really wanted to know if I was objecting to anything real.

Anyway, I believe my school district already has the standards based grading Eyebrows McGee described for elementary - and I think my kids are doing well with it. I don't know how middle school is going to look though, as I think there will be changes over the next year or so, especially to math.

posted by toastyk at 8:31 AM on December 10, 2021

Anyway, I believe my school district already has the standards based grading Eyebrows McGee described for elementary - and I think my kids are doing well with it. I don't know how middle school is going to look though, as I think there will be changes over the next year or so, especially to math.

posted by toastyk at 8:31 AM on December 10, 2021

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The new framework seems to favor giving students more time to master the basics in a more substantial way (which also gives time for students to make up if they are behind in certain years). Rather than hurrying students through more quickly to cover more math content areas (like calculus).

They also bring up that calculus can be a big priority for those hoping to enter a STEM track however, that prioritization is a questionable one given that only 3% of students take that course anyway.

Again, not sure of California regulations or guidelines but many states have “end of grade” or similar exams where students demonstrate mastery of a topic by their grade on that exam. In other instances, that determination would be left up to the teacher (for example through application in project based learning, which doesn’t necessarily fit a statewide mold very well but may be a better means of determining mastery than a high stakes test).

With regards to doing away with D/F grades you have to understand the changes in education since Bush’s “No child Left Behind.” NCLB emphasized getting every child through the end of high school but what that turned into (because of pressures from state level funding) was that kids would be pushed along no matter how poorly they did because repeating a grade would make a school look bad and lose funding. This meant that kids would be pushed through almost no matter what. If you have any friend in -K-12 education ask them what it takes to “fail” a student in a class. Oftentimes no matter how many tests are missed, failed skipped, etc, teachers are pressured to give a student a low passing grade so they can be moved along.

Moving to eliminating D/Fs would theoretically focus on students demonstrating mastery of a skill or knowledge area (often called a “standard” within educational guidelines and included in a lesson plan in the format of “Students will be able to …[calculate the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle using the Pythagorean theorem]”). So rather than a student who didn’t understand the Pythagorean Theon getting a zero on that test and moving on to the next thing, they would have to demonstrate mastery before moving on to the next thing.

Again, I’m not in California, I don’t even work in education anymore, but the thoughts above might help you parse the discussion a bit and why these topics are coming up. I’m sure someone else with more localized knowledge can jump in here to address these issues with more nuanced interpretations as well.

Oh, an one last thought- a lot of this has to do with your general philosophy of the role of public education. My personal view is that the number 1 goal of the public education system is that it meets a minimum standard for all students. This means that I would personally prioritize a system that allows all students to achieve a standard level than a system that leaves more children behind, but allows a smaller number of students to excel above and beyond. Education is often viewed as apolitical (not necessarily the content areas but the education system), this is obviously not the case, all things are political. Take this into consideration when you discuss systematic educational changes as people tend to hide their biases than they would if you were discussing renewable energy, for instance.

posted by raccoon409 at 6:53 PM on December 7, 2021 [11 favorites]