Winston Churchill told the House of Commons in 1945 that “The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” Nowhere could that be more plainly illustrated than a proposed change in a new framework proposed for California’s schools. At Reason, Robby Soave details the plan by California’s Department of Education to hold back gifted children from accelerating their learning in the name of “equity.” He writes (abridged):
California’s Department of Education is working on a new framework for K-12 mathematics that discourages gifted students from enrolling in accelerated classes that study advanced concepts like calculus.
The draft of the framework is hundreds of pages long and covers a wide range of topics. But its overriding concern is inequity. The department is worried that too many students are sorted into different math tracks based on their natural abilities, which leads some to take calculus by their senior year of high school while others don’t make it past basic algebra. The department’s solution is to prohibit any sorting until high school, keeping gifted kids in the same classrooms as their less mathematically inclined peers until at least grade nine.
“The inequity of mathematics tracking in California can be undone through a coordinated approach in grades 6–12,” reads a January 2021 draft of the framework. “In summary, middle-school students are best served in heterogeneous classes.”
Broadly speaking, this entails making math as easy and un-math-like as possible. Math is really about language and culture and social justice, and no one is naturally better at it than anyone else, according to the framework.
“All students deserve powerful mathematics; we reject ideas of natural gifts and talents,” reads a bulletpoint in chapter one of the framework. “The belief that ‘I treat everyone the same’ is insufficient: Active efforts in mathematics teaching are required in order to counter the cultural forces that have led to and continue to perpetuate current inequities.”
The entire second chapter of the framework is about connecting math to social justice concepts like bias and racism:
If California adopts this framework, which is currently under public review, the state will end up sabotaging its brightest students. The government should let kids opt out of math if it’s not for them. Don’t let the false idea that there’s no such thing as a gifted student herald the end of advanced math entirely.
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