The state Board of Education voted this morning to approve dual math tracks in Georgia high schools, a decision that is bound to be controversial among math professionals, many of whom are bombarding me with notes that the problem is not the math but the lack of teacher training and resistance to change.
Here is the official statement:
The State Board of Education today approved the recommendation by State School Superintendent Dr. John D. Barge to allow four discrete math courses to be taught to students who may be struggling with the integrated math curriculum. The four new courses – GPS Algebra, GPS Geometry, GPS Advanced Algebra, and GPS Pre-Calculus – are taught with a more traditional delivery. The board’s actions also allowed Math I-III Support classes to count as core credit rather than just elective credit.
“We have many students who are currently struggling with the integrated approach to the math curriculum,” said Superintendent Barge. “I applaud the State Board’s action to approve my recommendation to give students more options to master our rigorous math standards. We are seeing that a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t in the best interest of of our students. Our systems need the flexibility to teach in the manner that best meets the needs of their students and local system leaders are best positioned to make those decisions. However, I want to be clear that this is not a retreat from the rigor of our Georgia Performance Standards (GPS). This is simply a restructuring of the GPS in a discrete fashion.”
Under the new rule, students struggling with the integrated curriculum will now earn core credit for support classes. Students must receive four units of math in order to graduate. Many struggling students are taking multiple math courses and, thus, not able to take other elective courses. Mathematics Support I, Mathematics Support II, and Mathematics Support III will now be counted as a core credit, giving students the opportunity to get the necessary credits needed to earn their high school diploma.
“We have approximately 17% of our current juniors that have one or no math credits, putting them at risk of not graduating,” said Superintendent Barge. “I see no harm in giving these students the opportunity to learn the math curriculum in a more traditional delivery, without compromising the rigor of the standards.”
Georgia, along with 43 other states, has adopted the Common Core State Standards in math and English language arts. This transition will allow the education community and the public to evaluate the delivery method of our math curriculum for the long-term.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get School blog