First Came “New Math.” Now Comes the “Math Path.”

by James A. Bacon

The Northam administration is working on what arguably is the biggest overhaul of the mathematics curriculum since the 19th century. The Virginia Mathematics Pathway Initiative (VMPI) would replace the classic progression of Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 courses with classes that teach “essential” concepts. All students would take the same courses through the 10th grade but would be able to select courses in the 11th and 12th grades suitable to their post-graduation ambitions.

Proponents of the overhaul say it would promote educational “equity” — a code word for equal educational outcomes between racial and ethnic groups. But a movement has taken root among Northern Virginia parents who contend that by eliminating all accelerated math classes through 10th grade, the new “pathway” would hold back higher-achieving students.

The VMPI, which is in the advanced phases of development, is part of a larger equity-driven reengineering of public school curricula in Virginia, including the potential consolidation of “standard” and “advanced” high school diplomas.

Officials with the Virginia Department of Education, who are driving the process forward, cloak the changes with arcane bureaucratic language which is largely impenetrable to the public. Try reading this description on the VDOE website or, for a real treat, listen to this description delivered by Leslie Sale, director of the Office of Policy, to a bureaucratic entity called the Special Committee to Review the Standards of Accreditation. (Sale begins at 1:21:38 into the meeting.)

One thing is very clear: The impetus behind the curricular re-engineering is “equity,” reducing educational disparities between whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians. And one thing is very unclear: exactly how the new math pathway would improve equity. No one spells it out.

Foes of the new pathway have concluded, not illogically, that the unstated purpose is to achieve equal outcomes by denying higher-achieving students the opportunity to advance at a faster pace. Ian Serotkin, a Loudoun County School Board member, detailed his concerns in a Facebook post:

As currently being planned, this initiative will eliminate ALL math acceleration prior to 11th grade. That is no an exaggeration, nor does there appear to be any discretion in how local districts implement this. ….

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.

Sale began her presentation to the Standards of Accreditation Committee by providing some historical context. She presented a slide that compared graduation outcomes by diploma type and race/ethnicity. As can be seen in the image below, 79% Asian students graduated in 2019 with “advanced” diplomas, compared to 63% for whites, 45% for Hispanics, and 40% for blacks.

Addressing the equity implications for the different diploma types, Sale said, “There does continue to be a stark difference in which students are earning which diploma,” leading to “concerns about access to rigor, flexibility in course selection, and application and then systemic issues related to course placement.”

This murky bureaucratic language perhaps refers to claims made by Northam administration officials that Virginia’s public system is “systemically racist.” Some schools (serving whites and Asians) provide a wide array of accelerated and advanced courses, while other schools (serving minorities) don’t provide the same options. Thus, according to this line of thinking, many minorities students are denied access to college-prep opportunities.

In 2017, the School Board reduced the number of verified credits students needed to be awarded either a Standard or Advanced diploma, and began considering the idea of consolidating the two into a single diploma, the Virginia diploma. The Virginia diploma is still a work in progress, but it likely would require students to earn 25 course credits over four years, more than the Standard Diploma (22 credits) but less than the Advanced (26 credits).

Noting that 32 other states provide a single diploma, Sale said Virginia would be moving into the educational mainstream by eliminating the dual-diploma approach.

The diploma-consolidation initiative, Sale stressed, is only “conceptual” at this stage. However, the Virginia Mathematics Pathway Initiative, which applies the same thinking to the math curriculum, is well advanced. Indeed, VDOE officials are “vetting” the concept with various constituencies, including local school districts. The Martinsville Bulletin reports, based on VDOE officials’ meetings with Henry County educators, that teachers will start integrating the new standards into the curriculum in the 2024-25 school year. Full implementation is scheduled for the following year.

At no point did Sale explain how the new approach would advance the cause of educational equity without holding back high-achieving math students. Committee members danced around the issue in the Q&A session following the presentation.

“I think it will be one of the most transformational things we can do to advance equity,” said Leah Walker, director of equity and community for the Virginia Department of Education. But Walker, like Sale, declined to spell out exactly how minorities would benefit. 

The only concerns expressed were that the new one-size-fits-all pathway might be too difficult for some students.

Anne B. Holton, a former Virginia Secretary of Education and now a Board of Education member, raised the possibility that the restructured math curriculum might make it harder for some students to meet graduation requirements. “The impetus behind the math pathways makes a lot of sense,” she said. But, “if we add an extra math requirement, and add other requirements to standard diplomas, some students who are just barely scraping now would have to pass a higher bar.”

Anthony Swann, a 5th grade teacher in Franklin County and a School Board member, expressed his reservations in language refreshingly free of bureaucratic cant. “I have some concerns as a teacher with increasing the math requirements. I believe that we should push students. However, there are some students who absolutely hate math. I’ve tutored high school students. After they’ve finished their third math course, barely scraping by, they’re glad to get it over with. If you give them another math course, it will change the mindset. …  Even teaching 5th grade math, I had a student who said, ‘I wish I could murder the person who created math.’”

The meeting was bizarre. Participants asked only a few, mostly technical questions. Sale responded with vague bureaucratic language. No one addressed the core underlying issue — advancing equity — in a substantive way. And not a single participant in the accreditation committee raised the issue on the minds of Northern Virginia parents: will the new math pathway hold back high-achieving math students?

The meeting was so lacking in dialogue that an outsider is compelled to wonder, is this all kabuki theater? Has the Northam administration made the decision to adopt the new pathway and is just going through the bureaucratic motions of “engaging” stakeholders? Will there be any serious debate over the most dramatic transformation of Virginia’s math curriculum in more than a century, or is the whole thing running on auto-pilot?

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81 responses to “First Came “New Math.” Now Comes the “Math Path.””

  1. tmtfairfax Avatar

    Too bad there were strict anti-abortion laws when Northam was conceived. His mother could have spared the world one evil guy.

    1. Though don’t you get the feeling all these morons, from Biden to Northam, are evil in the sense Hannah Arendt meant in her writings on your average Nazi with the phrase “the banality of evil.” They are just clods who got promoted to position of power (and wealth) as long as they would follow their masters’ plans and read their cue cards.

  2. To get a sense of where the Virginia education bureaucrats’ notion of “equity” is heading toward, read Kurt Vonnegut’s dystopian short story “Harrison Bergeron” (initially published in October 1961; and included in his book of short stories entitled “Welcome to the Monkey House” published in 1968).

    Given the direction being taken by the Virginia education bureaucrats, there will come a time when teachers will become expendable and replaceable by “equity” administrators who will impose and administer the critical race theory-mandated results by fiat.

    1. I’m picturing Ralph Northam as Diana Moon Glampers, Handicapper General…

    2. Interesting tidbit: in government schools systems in Virginia you can’t read “Harrison Bergeron” until you are the 8th grade or later. This is because, I suppose, the Equity Enforcer in the story shoots disobedient people with a shotgun.

  3. Publius Avatar

    OK. In the name of equity and fiscal responsibility, everyone gets a C and we don’t even need in class instruction to get there. Heck, why even bother with canned classes – they were filmed under systemic racism. Then we will have a lottery to the State Us and everyone will be on an equal footing, but POC, LGBTQ and BIPOC get extra tickets in the lottery. And if they are still dissatisfied, like a White Elephant Christmas Party (I know. Racist and offensive), they can choose which white, hetero, cisgender they want to displace. Because EQUITY! And SCIENCE!
    Public school is a crime now for parents…

  4. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    It can serve equity if you use one of your definitions of inequity (”
    Some schools (serving whites and Asians) provide a wide array of
    accelerated and advanced courses, while other schools (serving
    minorities) don’t provide the same options”) rather considering it a code word for striving for equal outcomes.

    I am surprised at your opposition. Looking at the diagram, I would agree with Anne Holton (a person I always found to be very reasonable) and the fifth grade teacher: this could increase the overall math requirements. Under this proposal, all students would get exposure to algebra, statistics, or some concepts beyond basic arithmetic. I don’t understand the concern that higher-achieving students would not get opportunities to go further. The diagram shows that calculus and other advanced applications would be available to 11th and 12th graders.

    Quite frankly, this whole exercise seems to be classic educational jargon, repackaging what is now being taught under other names. The major change would seem to be that all students would have access to the whole curriculum. That is equity.

    1. Here’s what concerns me: Everyone involved insists these changes will increase equity. It’s a mantra, repeated over and over. But no one explains how the Math Path will increase equity. That suggests to me that there’s something the educrats don’t want to say publicly.

      A lot of parents are worried that their high-achievement children will be denied opportunities to take accelerated math courses, that they will be held back. Team Northam won’t admit it or deny it.

      1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
        Dick Hall-Sizemore

        What is the basis of the worry that high-achievement children will be denied opportunities to take accelerated math courses? “The Path” includes them in the 11th and 12th grades for all students (hint, equity).

        1. The plan is very clear — a standard set of math courses through 10th grade. No accelerated classes. No classes for slow learners. No possibility of advanced classes until 11th grade.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            no remedial or slow learner help? Where does it say that?

          2. I’m sure they will continue to spend huge amounts of time and resources on that, as they do now. It may not be for poor American black kids though. They may be overlooked as the system tries to teach English to immigrants or mainstream kids with behavioral and cognitive problems into the general education population. But then, that’s equity. Selfish American black kids who already know English and are capable of setting at a desk and paying attention to a lesson without running around the classroom and talking might just have to wait their turn.

          3. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            That has been the approach from the get go. A student had to either double up or skip a math class to accelerate so that AP Calc was available in 11-12 grade. My son had to do that twice to take multivariable Calc in 12th grade (dual enrollment). That path will likely continue to be available to the truly gifted in Math (or the student can enroll in NVCC and pay a few hundred like we did for multivariable). I see this as providing a strong math path for the non-gifted (read other 98% of students) with more options on focus. Btw, my other son stopped at AB Calc and opted for AP Stats (really the only other option for college-bound seniors). Not sure this is perfect but the concept is sound, imo.

        2. Publius Avatar

          Bull. So, the math genius in the 8th grade needs to be held back in the name of equity? What about the 6 foot tall sixth grader? Is that fair? What would the two years of delay accomplish except make Liberals feel like they did something? It won’t help that kid – it may hurt – and it will do NOT ONE THING to improve the performance of “marginalized” people. You Liberals are the racists – judging everything by skin color is racist. Also seems like “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” How about have uniform standards and pursue them? You can never have a perfectly level field of equality in talent, money, etc. And “equity” does not mean mastery of any course. Different people put in different effort levels. Some with all the advantages blow them. Others work their tails off. Equality of opportunity is the best we can do, and even that imperfectly.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            When only 2% of low income kids end up with the qualifications they need to compete for enrollment in Science and Tech Governors School, does that tell you that only 2% of kids in that strata are capable of that level of academics?

          2. How will the “Math Path” fix that problem?

          3. LarrytheG Avatar

            I don’t know and neither do you – yet.
            But if you don’t know or understand , do you just impugn it from the get go?

          4. Lol. The schools have failed for years. You trust that the masters who have overseen that failure will now do something to fix it, because they say they will. Do you trust them more the more impenetrable their jargon becomes? The more they seem to be inflicting harm on anyone who wasn’t totally failing in that system?

          5. It tells me that those kids don’t have families encouraging them to do their homework, and that they live in neighborhoods with failing schools, and they have no choice to go to another school. That will all be true after any top-down changes. If the system is already spending huge amounts of money to fail these kids because of whatever institutional interests make it do so (the need to fund teacher pensions, the inability to fire bad teachers, etc.) it won’t be changed from the top down. All those some institutional interest will be there.

          6. LarrytheG Avatar

            re: ” So, the math genius in the 8th grade needs to be held back in the name of equity?”

            So.. there is currently a path for the math genius.

            Is there a path for others , lower-income?

            Is providing them a path, taking away from the genius path?

          7. Publius Avatar

            Yes Larry – there is a path for the lower income – it’s called achievement. Now the better question is why? Some lower income achieve and some, maybe most, don’t – why? What are the family circumstances? Rather than pointing to disparate impact, a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, why not look at all the factors? I know it is politically incorrect, but intelligence plays a factor also. In general, higher IQ equates to higher income and there seems to have been a “sorting” of society in the educated marrying the educated, whose children generally enjoy higher intelligence and the benefits of higher income and maybe a higher incidence of intact families. So do what? Require only 1 parent to be educated? More divorces? Busing?
            I think the answer is school choice and charter schools that are not bound by the idiocy, and I mean idiocy, of the Education Department.

          8. LarrytheG Avatar

            When lower income are not offered the same classes that higher income are offered, is that “achievement”?

            If we rank 25th in the world in math, and we supposedly are achievement oriented, how come we rank so low? Is their “Education Department” …. “better” than ours?

            The other 25 counties don’t need school choice to beat us, right?

            Do the other countries not have divorce or more “intact” families?

          9. Publius Avatar

            Larry – post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Why?
            I am all for equal opportunity. I am not for equal outcome. You cannot achieve it and no one would really want it. The A students getting a C and the F students getting a C will lower achievement.
            School choice would at least offer the ability to get out of a bad system. Charter would allow experimentation. Both would invoke competition and one would hope with that, improvement. Some people are smarter than others. Some people are better athletes than others. The soccer development programs operate on a calendar year basis. The players who advance are disproportionately born in Jan and Feb and March, because a few months of physical age makes a huge difference at those young ages. Is that “fair” to the December birthday children?

          10. LarrytheG Avatar

            Not for equal outcome either. In fact, very much opposed to it but that does not mean that disparities are “okay” especially when only 2% of a demographic group qualify academically.

            Dismissing 98% of a demographic for various reasons is just not valid.

            If someone said 98% of women are not capable of passing Calculus or Chemistry, all hell would break loose and for good reason. Why do we accept that premise for low income or black/Hispanic?

          11. Publius Avatar

            I can’t dunk a basketball. What percent can’t do that? Is it possible that there are differences between men and women in math abilities? (The answer is yes. Women tend to have a tighter bell curve. Men have more who really excel and more who are really bad.)
            The statistic by itself means nothing. The questions are why and what, if anything, can be done about it.

          12. The reason blacks don’t get into elite colleges at the same rate without affirmative action may be that they don’t as often go to good elementary, middle and high schools, and because they don’t have functional families that encourage education as often. (This latter reason is also why white children don’t get into elite colleges as often as Asian children.)

            Why do they more often go to under-performing, failing schools? Because they live in neighborhoods those schools serve (that the government has assigned to those neighborhoods), which depresses property values and rents in those neighborhoods, so that poorer people can afford to live there. The system where government assigns people to the local school segregates poor people to low rent districts with failing schools, with no options.

            None of this will be solved until you stop paying people to raise children without fathers and you stop denying people the right to choose among options for schooling. Without that all you can do is attempt to destroy or deny education and achievement for others, which is not going to earn you any love.

            Right on your border, the D.C. government schools spend around $30,000 per year per child with meager results. In a policy that should have seen a civil rights lawsuit years ago, D.C. allows only around $20,000 per child per year for the charter schools, though they do so well over 40% of parents have switched to them. D.C. allows less than $20,000 to its small voucher program, which is almost exclusively utilized by African American families who send their kids to Catholic, Muslim, and other independent schools, and for which there is a waiting list.

          13. I don’t really understand what you are saying in many of your posts. What do you mean that “lower income” kids are not offered higher math? Does someone check the tax return their parent(s) files before allowing them to enroll in a magnet school? Are you saying schools in poorer neighborhoods never offer calculus or trigonometry? That sounds like a reason not to have government schools and to have charter schools instead (or vouchers for private schools). So that if you are poor but interested in learning Calculus (or Chinese, or ballet, or whatever) your parents can send you to the school that offers it and even specializes in it.

          14. Dave Jackson Avatar
            Dave Jackson

            Education and opportunity should never be based on income. We should also not deny individual talents on the basis of maintaining a collective whole. Denying students the opportunity to advance is built into this new program.

          15. Being able to do Calculus in your senior year is not exactly being a genius. Obviously students who can’t or won’t study calculus, or algebra, or trigonometry do need to know how to balance a checkbook, make a budget, and understand enough statistics to see where journalists and politicians are lying to them. I don’t think schools have been failing to offer that to them anymore than they fail at everything else.

        3. Dave Jackson Avatar
          Dave Jackson

          This will not homogenize learning. It will instead create classrooms with very large ranges of abilities. The gaps will surely be too large to be covered by one curriculum and no teacher will be able to address the specific learning needs of all the students. Instead the middle 50% will receive a decent education while the 25% at the top and the bottom will not have their needs appropriately addressed.

        4. Maybe the fact that there are campaigns in parts of Virginia to eliminate math and science magnet schools, or impose racial quotas on them, for example Thomas Jefferson School in Fairfax County. There have been for a few years attacks on schools, magnet schools one must choose to enroll in, that become “too Asian” (no one worries about “too Jewish” anymore, but it would be a hoot if our “new” Democratic Party racists did), or not black or Latin enough.

        5. tmtfairfax Avatar

          Let’s see. Fear exists that the United States is falling behind in STEM. I took Algebra I in 9th grade. My kids took it in 8th grade. Most kids do the same. I know a couple of their friends who took Algebra I in 7th grade.

          But this is now wrong. Inequitable. Yet, our two U.S. senators just voted to permit the federal government to fund colleges and universities that discriminate against Asian Americans in admissions.

      2. LarrytheG Avatar

        What you don’t know, you’re speculating, no?

      3. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        As long as all math teachers are issued the same weight broken cuestick, that’s equity.

    2. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Calculus and Prob&Stat were always available to 11 and 12 — at least since 1969. When I graduated they had 3 levels of diploma, vocational, general, and academic. That last may not be what it was called. If I still had mine, I could look.

      Algebra I and Geometry were required of students seeking general or academic, with latter also requiring Algebra II and P&S and/or Calculus I (differential).

      If I recall for a vocational diploma only Algebra I was required, but I’m not sure of that. Pretty sure, but not completely. They also took “business math”.

      Out of a class of 700, maybe 100 had Algebra II and Calculus. That won’t cut it anymore.

      Long time and HS was just waiting to be forgotten.

    3. Dave Jackson Avatar
      Dave Jackson

      This is not equitable. This assumes all students should be taught the same math content through 10th grade. It does not take into account the individual student’s math ability and understanding. I’ve taught math in VA public schools for 15 years. I’ve seen 8th graders with a comprehensive understanding of Algebra and 12th graders who don’t understand division. This one size fits all approach will cater to the middle 50% of math learners and leave out the other ends of the spectrum. Those who are the best math learners and those who struggle the most will equally lose personalized instruction. It is unrealistic for any teacher or curriculum to address the learning needs of such a wide range of students in one classroom.

    4. Maria Paluzsay Avatar
      Maria Paluzsay

      My 8th grader is in Geometry. In this scenario he would not have that opportunity. Please note that I am a low income single mother with sole custody of 2 teens and no child support, and their father doesn’t even have a GED, while I only have some college. So although my kids are white, they fall into several minority “equity” categories. It is beyond me that anyone with a decent education and lacking a chip on his or her shoulder could support this “equity” policy, which is just a rebranding of the dumbing down of the American student body. There is equity already. Everyone has the opportunity to excel, with effort. If a particular school doesn’t offer what you need, you can take it online or attend another school in your school district. I complain about our high school daily, but I am perfectly capable of enrolling my kids in the IB high school, getting approval for community college courses, or enrolling them in Virtual Virginia. We have equity, what we don’t have is parents taking responsibility for educating their children. My child should not do without because another parent doesn’t bother with his or her child.

  5. William O'Keefe Avatar
    William O’Keefe

    Life in the real world is competitive and not fair. This kind of attempt will have disastrous results. As John Wayne said in Sands of Iwo Jima, life is tough; it’s especially tough if you’re stupid.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      and if we believe the stats – 98% of low income kids are stupid?

      1. William O'Keefe Avatar
        William O’Keefe

        So, where did you get those bogus statistics and why are you citing them? Your agenda?

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          they’re on the VDOE build-a-table database but also in the media. Only 2% of blacks, hispanics and low income are enrolled in the science and tech Governors schools in Loudoun and Fairfax.

          They’re not at all bogus – you gotta open your eyes to the truth, guy. You gotta WANT to open your eyes instead of believing this just-plain-wrong blather that BR promotes.

          That’s the point of the changes – to see the way the schools are currently structured actually are part of the problem.

          What they are proposing MAY not fix it but they KNOW the way it is now, is not working so they are seeking change and yes it is debatable but the narrative is not honest and it personally demonizes the Governor and VDOE personnel – as opposed to dealing with the issue.

          1. William O'Keefe Avatar
            William O’Keefe

            But the data don’t mean that 98% are stupid. Torture the data until it confesses; torture it too much and it will confess to anything.

          2. You need a non-Democrat governor and charter schools. And vouchers and education tax credits. Parents must solve this with their own choices. Thinking some corrupt bureaucracy that is trying to impose some ideology on schools will solve something is what you have been trying for decades, and all you have to show for it is fatherless families, poverty, ignorant and sometimes savage kids who can’t even get a job at McDonald’s if there are any latin immigrants to hire, and trillions in debt.

      2. No Biden told us that poor kids can be good in school just like white kids.

    2. Life in the real world is fair precisely when it is competitive.

  6. James Wyatt Whitehead Avatar
    James Wyatt Whitehead

    I think Mr. Dick is right. Looks like rebranding. Educrats live for this. Poor math teachers. They are going to hate this. Rebranding seems to occur now on a more frequent basis. I expect high achieving students will map out the right path. Low achieving students follow the least path of resistance. When measurement time comes I suppose the rebranding could project a facade of hoped for outcomes. My bet is the real data will show the chips fall in place as they usually have.

  7. “Anne B. Holton, a former Virginia Secretary of Education and now a Board of Education member, raised the possibility that the restructured math curriculum might make it harder for some students to meet graduation requirements. ”

    I don’t think that is going to be a problem. I suspect the real plan is the exact opposite. They will “dumb down” the curriculum until a state of “equity” is reached – the equity of equal ignorance.

  8. LarrytheG Avatar

    We KNOW there ARE disparities in opportunities for some – to include blacks, Hispanics and really to lower income. Less than 2% of admissions to some Governor schools in math and science are not only blacks and Hispanics but Low Income – to INCLUDE lower income Asians.

    The current narratives in BR about the equity issue are disingenuous and really dishonest. One would expect a principled disagreement from Conservatives perhaps but portraying the events and actions in ways that are simply not true is wrong.

    The way the schools are currently configured is to essentially group kids by neighborhood income demographics and in turn what additional/optional opportunities are offered for kids that might have talent , can take advance of them.

    Instead, the data show that almost no low-income kids end up on a higher track so that they actually are qualified to compete successfully for entrance into science and tech Governor schools.

    Instead of reporting this in a fair and factual way, BR has chosen to misrepresent it as if the Conservative view is the actual view.

    It might work for the Echo Chamber but it won’t work for most ordinary people who support public schools, warts and all..and especially people of color who KNOW the disparities first hand.

    If Conservatives want to “win”, do better, they have to start by telling the truth and not purposely misrepresenting the actions of VDOE.

    There are clearly disparities. They are real. How to respond to them are rightly debatable but not in the disreputable way currently conducted.

    Oh – and to make clear here from the get go – I will respond to any/all comments ON THE ISSUE but will respond to NO personal attacks.

    1. tmtfairfax Avatar

      Virginia’s two woke U.S. Senators voted to kill an amendment to the legislation to address anti-Asian bias that would have barred federal aide to any college or university that discriminated against Asians in admissions. I guess Asians are both people of color and privileged White people at the same time, but not for the same purpose.

      1. Sadly the many Asian American groups that now have higher average incomes than any white ethnic groups have only just begun to realize that it is stupid to donate to the Democratic Party.

    2. “The way the schools are currently configured is to essentially group kids by neighborhood income demographics and in turn what additional/optional opportunities are offered for kids that might have talent , can take advance of them.”

      How will the “Math Path” fix that problem?

      1. “Currently”? You mean the way government schools have promoted residential racial and class segregation for DECADES, as everyone spends all the money they can borrow to buy or rent a home in the safest and best school district they can, to protect their kids? And when Democrats are finally forced to notice the disaster this caused their answer is racial quotas or destroying education for high achievement students.

    3. “The current narratives in BR about the equity issue are disingenuous and really dishonest.”

      Excellent. You essentially accuse people of lying and then admonish them not to engage in personal attacks.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        you messed up again as usual. I said narratives.

        and I said they are dishonest and disreputable and that’s true.

        What’s clearly going on is that VDOE is re-thinking how schools operate in terms of offering opportunities to kids – and concerned they may not be equitable.

        All they have been accused of here in BR is dishonest and disreputable because it presupposes those who are making that claim – that they really know motives – but no matter, they name names and impugn them personally also.

        1. dishonest – adj – saying or likely to say things that are untrue.

          Saying things that are untrue = lying.

          The things said/written in narratives are said/written by people. Therefore, you accused people on this blog of lying.

          PS –


        2. I think your faith that bureaucrats are (re)”thinking” is precious. These are flaks and prostitutes who are simply covering up problems they made and spinning new jargon. Even worse some of them are cultists who believe that killing off the futures of the kids who do manage to get some advanced education out of a sclerotic system is a righteous act because some other kids don’t manage to get a good education out of their failed and corrupt system.

      2. I think Larry may be too confused and uninformed to be held responsible for his diatribes. He’s at a level where the only reason to pay attention to him is that he may represent a confused segment of the public.

    4. You seem to think you are an advocate of reform and BR readers are the advocates of the status quo. The opposite is the truth. Democrats have for decades rounded up poor brown and black kids and sold them to the NEA and other groups for campaign donations to their candidates. So called “liberals,” in particular defenders of public schools, are objectively the biggest group of racists in the country and their programs are the engine of racism and racial segregation, by exactly what you describe where your neighborhood determines your school, and in turn the school determines the rents and property values in the neighborhood. It’s not an accident that Northam wore blackface, that Fairfax is a rapist, or that McAuliffe is a grifter who used his government influence to make money. In statist systems the worst rise to the top, and they must constantly create new government programs like this one to attempt to fix the disaster of the last government program. We are now in late stage disaster statism. It isn’t going to get better for you, or these kids, or anyone, until we begin eliminating these people from public life.

  9. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    All for it. Of course, SMEs are necessary. Although it was a 3rd tier college when I taught, the number of students totally unprepared for college level mathematics was astounding. Then, too, the number of CS students who could not handle the mathematical concepts needed for computing was even worse.

    It’s a new world, and the K-12 curriculum was in sad need of change.

  10. LarrytheG Avatar

    Math and Science is where the US fails in comparison with other developed countries. Yes, we have our advanced kids that do well but overall , we rank 25th.

    does that imply that other countries have smarter kids ?

    so if our “smart kids” are doing just fine with their access to
    higher level math , how come we rank 25th in the world?

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Actually our colleges are still up there, when we don’t go completely xenophobic. Maybe over the next 4 years, the foreign students will flock back.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        right. PISA is not College though. It’s high school. How come we rank so low compared to other developed countries if we say our system is so good and right?

        1. “How come we rank so low compared to other developed countries if we say our system is so good and right?”

          Who said the system is good and right?

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            the folks that say the current system is equitable and we should not be advocating for equal outcomes?

            If we are not “equal” to other developed countries on math – does that mean we have unequal outcomes?

            PISA is a measure of ALL KIDS so if our “high” kids are doing just fine, what does our low score in PISA mean? That our low kids are not doing well compared to other country’s kids?

            Are other countries schools more “equitable” ?

          2. I’m sure Biden can get some international agreement where non-performing US kids get extra points to make them more equal to Chinese, Norwegian and Indian kids in the rankings. And where American battle ships get extra points i they ever are in a conflict with the Chinese navy. Maybe the UN will redistribute Chinese engineers to our military.

          3. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            Well, those who don’t want to change it? We should pick one of the top 10 countries and do what they do. Except Canada, we need to keep them to blame.

            Ya know, it’s real life, and not a test. We CAN cheat off the smart kid’s paper.

            We used to be the biggest cheats in the world. US made goods made Hong Kong knockoffs look bad, real bad. We copied Italian glassmakers, Swiss clocks, British clipper ships. It wasn’t until we try innovating did we begin the long slide because we convinced ourselves that nobody can do it better. We turned inward.

        2. Nancy Naive Avatar
          Nancy Naive

          Because a lot of kids think they deserve nothing but good without effort and the others are convinced the cops will kill them soon anyway?

          PISA. WOW! We suck.

          1. John Harvie Avatar
            John Harvie

            First part of your post makes sense.

            Second is inane nonsense, off topic, and adds nothing to the dialog.

            IMHO, of course.

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            Okay.. not sure what your opinion even is but okay.

          3. John Harvie Avatar
            John Harvie

            This was addressed to NN, not you.

          4. John Harvie Avatar
            John Harvie

            Comment was to NN, not you. We’re cool, LG.

  11. DLunsford Avatar

    So will any of these new classes before 11th grade teach kids how to write a check? You know, where you actually have to write out “six hundred-forty nine and 66/100 dollars?
    And for effective interaction with a modern-day computer, will they learn how to type efficiently?

  12. You have to view this in the context that already exists.

    Students in Virginia government schools ALREADY are taught and graded in a way that aligns with Harrison Bergeron style notions of equity.

    Gifted and talented students, and “normal” students, already lose time and resources and attention redirected to children who do not know English, special education kids, and disruptive kids who were not taught how to behave politely or focus on work at home.

    Children who can’t or don’t complete assignments or grasp the material already have their lowest grades on e.g. their lowest graded two assignments for any grading period eliminated before their final grade is calculated.

    Children who are identified as having some problem already have “Individual Education Plans” (IEPs) and other various bureaucratic categories and jargon and tracking paperwork where they must be granted “accommodations” like being given easier work and tests, given extra time to complete assignments and tests, having things read aloud to them or being giving audiofiles and recordings of things students norrmally read, given special seating where they are isolated from disruptive noises, etc. etc.

  13. DJRippert Avatar

    “At no point did Sale explain how the new approach would advance the cause of educational equity without holding back high-achieving math students.”

    It will hold back high-achieving math students. Period. That’s how liberals create “equity”. By dumbing down the educational system.

    Why is this hard?

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      Because you’re imputing motives that you are surmising – bad faith.

      It is not about holding anyone back. It’s about a better way to advance MORE kids INCLUDING the high performers – to improve achievement for more kids to better equip them for jobs in the 21st century economy.

      When only 2% of TJ kids are low – income – does that mean that ONLY the higher income kids are “high-achieving”?

      1. Teddy007 Avatar

        Denying that education is an S-curve is denying reality. Some kids find math easy and others find it hard. Dumbing down math to benefit the slowest children while depending upon college educated upper middle class parent to help and to pay for tutoring does not help poor kids.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          compare math scores between the US and other developed countries and make the same statement about S curve.

          1. Teddy007 Avatar

            Written by someone who does not understand what an S-curve is. Asian students in the U.S. as well as any of the Asian countries . Whites in the U.S. score as well as any of the European countries. The problem is that the public schools in the U.S. are only about 55% non-Hispanic White and Asian. I doubt that the schools in South Korea, Finland, or Poland would be any better at educating U.S. blacks in math than the U.S. does.

          2. LarrytheG Avatar

            Do you know what OECD PISA is/

            Do you know the NAEP definitions of “proficient” and “advanced” and how they correlate with PISA and other international standardized testing ?


  14. Teddy007 Avatar

    If Virginia had a functional Republican Party, they could make a issue out of this. However, since the Republicans in Virginia only care about abortion and taxes, this is a done deal. The only thing that will stop this is if the college educated parents of Northern Virginia revolt against losing AP and IB classes for their children.

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