Virginia is working on a new "math path," and conservative news outlets have gone off.
The initiative itself is loaded with the usual bureaucratic argle bargle, likeThrough collaboration with other stakeholders across the Commonwealth, the VMPI state task force will make suggestions for institutional changes that will strengthen the alignment between K-12 and higher education mathematics while ensuring that students are better prepared for college and career success.
The goals include math jargonny ones like "Empower students to be active participants in a quantitative world" and ed-speak ones like "Encourage students to see themselves as knowers and doers of math" and also worthwhile ones like "Improve equity in mathematics learning opportunities."
Fox and Breitbart and the Washington Examiner and a host of other stars in the right wing constellation are upset because, in its current form, the plan eliminates advanced math coursework in the early grades.
The handwringing is calculated to stir the usual audience members. Out of the five goals and outcomes that the program lists, conservative commentators have focused exclusively on equity, which is guaranteed to agitate a certain sector of their audience. The coverage also soft-peddles the fact that the task force is looking at a timeline that still has to go through "response from stakeholders" and a "revise as needed" steps. So the current version is not necessarily the final word on this program; it's a little early for advanced hand wringing.
That said, the outcome of the current version of Virginia's math path is easy enough to see--wealthy families will send little Pat to Match Camp so that Pat can still get that all-important calculus class in 9th grade.
There is one other thing here. Tom Loveless, in his new book about the Common Core, makes this observation about math and the Core (p. 152):
Another example of a CCSS dog whistle is organizing a high school math curriculum integrated math courses (typically named Math I, Math II and Math III) instead of the traditional Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II sequence. Integrated math courses have long been a dream of reformers.
Equity is never enhanced by removing programs from public schools, because the wealthy will find a way to buy those programs, and only those who can't afford to fork over the money will actually do without the program. You don't get fairness on ice cream eating by banning ice cream from the cafeteria menu, because the rich will always find a way to get ice cream on their own. You get equity my making the special programs available to everyone, and making sure that everyone is prepared to take advantage of them.