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Is the Uproar Over Common Core’s Algebra Delay a Result of Poor Communication?

Is the Uproar Over Common Core’s Intention to Delay Algebra Until High School a Result of Poor Communication?

“Few topics grab more parental attention than middle school accelerated math,” writes Washington Post reporter Jay Mathews in a recent article.

Indeed, the nation’s ambitious parents want- need- to be reassured that their children will be prepared to take Calculus by senior year, and most are unsure this can happen without Algebra I in eighth grade.

This is contradictory to what the Common Core math standards suggest. Under Common Core, it is suggested that students do not take Algebra I until high school, a suggestion that is greatly at odds with what parents expect for their child’s trajectory.

According to Mathews, Common Core explains its eighth-grade math course replacement as covering:

“Formulating and reasoning about expressions and equations, including modeling an association in bivariate data with a linear equation, and solving linear equations and systems of linear equations.”

This mumbo-jumbo is hard for parents to understand, but one Education Week reporter says if they had a better understanding, they might not be so concerned.

William G. McCallum, a mathematics education professor at the University of Arizona spoke with EdWeek reporter Liana Heitin about how eighth grade math under Common Core is not that dissimilar from an eighth grade Algebra I course.

"There's big confusion between the Algebra I course with a capital A and algebra, the mathematical subject...[T]here's now tons of algebra content in the 8th grade,” McCallum said.

Mathews asks, would parents would be so upset about a delay in Algebra if “they knew how much the 8th grade math and Algebra I courses had changed?”

In other words, is this argument against changes under the Common Core yet another thing to blame on poor implementation and communication?

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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