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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

You want equity? Teach more -- not less

The foolish idea that teaching kids less math will advance "equity" has spread from California, which has adopted watered-down guidelines that call for delaying algebra, writes Noah Smith. "Cambridge, Massachusetts recently removed algebra and all advanced math from its junior high schools," also citing "equity."

"Progressive" educators will never admit they believe some students just aren't smart enough to learn algebra, Smith writes. But it's "impossible to avoid the conclusion that the idea is to make all kids equal by making them equally unable to learn."

He was a math tutor for years, including "volunteer work tutoring poor Black and Hispanic kids," he writes. "They learned a lot of math!" Furthermore, there's consistent evidence that tutoring is effective.

If public schools don't teach algebra, educated and affluent parents will teach their children at home, hire tutors or pay for private school, Smith writes. Students without family resources "will be out of luck." The name for that is not "equity."

Dallas decided in 2019 to "teach kids more," not less," Smith writes.

"All students who score well on state exams are now automatically enrolled in advanced mathematics, reading, science and social studies — or some combination of the four," explains Jo Napolitano on The 74. Students can't opt out without parental permission.

Enrollment rose, racial gaps narrowed and student scores held steady, she writes. For example, last year's "eighth-grade Algebra I students had similar pass rates as those in years prior, the district said, with 95% of Hispanic students passing the test and 76% meeting grade-level proficiency; 91% of Black students passing and 65% meeting grade level and 95% of English learner students passing the state exam and 74% meeting grade level."

That's equity, writes Smith. It's happening in Texas.

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