In a controversial move, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is eliminating advanced math options for students prior to 11th grade. This change would amount to limiting high-achieving students from normal advancement.
Ian Serotkin, a member of the Loudoun County school board, took to Facebook, outlining the changes announced during a Virginia Mathematics Pathway Initiative briefing.
Serotkin said, “[A]s currently planned, this initiative will eliminate ALL math acceleration prior to 11th grade. That 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. All 10th graders will take Essential Concepts 10. Only in 11th and 12th grade is there any opportunity for choice in higher math courses.”
Charles Pyle, the spokesperson for VDOE, told FoxNews “Differentiated instruction means providing instruction that is catered to the learning needs of each child (appropriate levels of challenge and academic rigor).”
Ian Shenk, a committee member, addressed the impact the changes would have on grades 8-10 saying, “Let me be totally clear, we are talking about taking Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2 – those three courses that we’ve known and loved … and removing them from our high school mathematics program, replacing them with essential concepts for grade eight, nine, and 10.”
A concerned parent spoke to FoxNews saying, “These changes 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.”
Ian Prior, a former Trump official and parent of a student in Virginia, said the changes will “stifle advancement for gifted students and set them back as they prepare for advanced mathematics in college. This is critical race theory in action and parents should be outraged.”
When pressed for answers, Pyle did not answer how the new model would limit high-achieving student’s ability to advance. However, he did say in a statement, “VMPI implementation teams continue to work on addressing these considerations while moving forward to improve equity in mathematics opportunities for all students.
Reducing scholastic achievment to advance a controversial idea of “equity” in educaiton is not new for Virginia. In April of 2021, the state’s Department of Education floated the idea of ending awarding advanced diplomas for the sake of equity.
Virginia education Department’s office of policy, Leslie Sale gave her perspective of ending advance departments and described it as a “lever for equity,” saying “This is about … how and where graduation requirements can operate as a lever for equity, So, first, we’re going to start with…the possibility of consolidating the standard and advanced studies diploma.”
You can see her statements at the 1:26:26 mark in below YouTube video.
She continued: “Hopefully, this discussion will allow us to think through how we maintain a rigorous academic foundation in a way that’s really equitably serving the needs and aspirations of all of Virginia learners.”