The state of Virginia is set to eliminate all accelerated math courses in the state’s public schools before the 11th grade, ostensibly as part of an “equity” plan to make math classes easier for all races, according to Fox News.
The change was made by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), and was announced by multiple county-level school districts and officials. Formally known as the Virginia Mathematics Pathway Initiative (VMPI), this plan essentially removes all options for students who would normally elect to take a more advanced level of math if they have demonstrated a proficiency in the subject, and instead keeps the curriculum at the most basic level for every grade up to 11th grade.
Ian Serotkin, a member of the Loudoun County school board, commented negatively on the change in policy on Facebook Tuesday. “This initiative,” he explained, “will eliminate ALL math acceleration prior to 11th grade. This is not an exaggeration, nor does there appear to be any discretion in how local districts implement this. All 6th graders will take Foundational Concepts 6. All 7th graders will take Foundational Concepts 7…Only in 11th and 12th grade is there any opportunity for choice in higher math courses.”
As such, the plan would eliminate such advanced courses as Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra 2. VDOE’s website lists as one of its motivations behind the change a determination to “improve equity in mathematics learning opportunities.”
Parents responded with skepticism and concern over the state’s decision to sacrifice education quality for so-called “equity.” One anonymous parent said that the revisions would only “lower standards for all students in the name of equity. These changes,” the parent continued, “will have a profound impact on students who excel in STEM-related curriculum, weakening our country’s ability to compete in a global marketplace for years to come.”
Another parent in Loudoun County, Ian Prior, put it in even blunter terms: “This is critical race theory in action, and parents should be outraged.”
A spokesman for VDOE issued a statement to the press, claiming that “for many years, parents and the system have valued and rewarded speed via acceleration and ‘covering content’ rather than depth of understanding. The VMPI shifts to a focus on and value for deeper learning through differentiated instruction on grade level that will promote student development of critical thinking, authentic application, and problem-solving skills.”