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VIRGINIA TO ELIMINATE ALL ADVANCED MATH COURSES BELOW 11TH GRADE TO “IMPROVE EQUITY”

Again: it’s important to understand the difference between EQUITY and EQUALITY.

Equality is making sure everyone has the same opportunities.

Equity is making sure everyone has the same outcome.

by Kevin Ryan

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is eliminating all accelerated math classes beneath the 11th grade to “improve equity in mathematics”.

Grades K-10 will only be offered “Foundational” or “Essential Concepts” classes. Not until 11th grade will there be opportunity for accelerated math learning.

A spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Education, Charles Pyle, said students will share a “common mathematics pathway” during grades K-10.

He said the new classes would occur in an “inclusive learning environment” and a “heterogeneous learning environment,” which appears to mean that students of differing ability will take the same class.

Indeed the reality is that the plan removes all options for proficient students to take more advanced math courses.

Jennifer Allard, of Fairfax County Public Schools explained that the decision was made because "inequity in mathematics education makes it essential for us to initiate serious discussions among a variety of stakeholders to achieve the critical mass necessary to catalyze change in school mathematics."

But many parents and several board members expressed dismay over the plan, saying it will lower standards for all students “in the name of equity” and negatively impact students who excel in STEM-related curriculum.

Virginia House candidate Mike Allers said the state “didn’t level the playing field —they destroyed it.”

“This decision from the VDOE stunts natural growth, choice, and progression for students,” Allers said.

The revamp will occur statewide over the next few years.

The state is also considering eliminating advanced high school diplomas in a separate attempt to “improve equity.” Democrats swept to power in Virginia in 2019 and now control both chambers of the state legislature and the governor’s office.

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