December 8, 2021

Hundreds of mathematics professionals have signed on to an open letter expressing that they are, “deeply concerned” over what they describe as, “the unintended consequences of recent well-intentioned approaches to reform mathematics education, particularly the California Mathematics Framework (CMF).  They go on to say, “Such frameworks aim to reduce achievement gaps by limiting the availability of advanced mathematical courses to middle schoolers and beginning high schoolers. While such reforms superficially seem “successful” at reducing disparities at the high school level, they are merely “kicking the can” to college.”

The signers also express their dismay at the proposals to replace algebra and calculus with less rigorous studies.  They say, “Another deeply worrisome trend is devaluing essential mathematical tools such as calculus and algebra in favor of seemingly more modern “data science.” As STEM professionals and educators we should be sympathetic to this approach, and yet, we reject it wholeheartedly. The ability to gather and analyze massive amounts of data is indeed transforming our society. But “data science” – computer science, statistics, and artificial intelligence- is built on the foundations of algebra, calculus, and logical thinking. While these mathematical fields are centuries old and sometimes more, they are arguably even more critical for today’s grand challenges than in the Sputnik era.”

The full letter can be seen, here:  Mathematics Open Letter


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