The San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee (The Parent PAC) has been following the Common Core Math Implementation debate very closely over the past couple of months – listening to parents’ concerns and speaking with SFUSD leadership.
At Tuesday night’s (4/14) Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Carranza announced that class sizes in 8th grade math will be reduced to an average of 22-24 students, down from the current average of 32-34 students. He also announced that math coaches would be placed in every middle school to work with teachers. Superintendent Carranza stated that these two changes will help facilitate an effective implementation of the Common Core math curriculum. Furthermore, the Superintendent announced the following benchmarks to hold the District accountable for this implementation plan:
By June 2018, SFUSD will have reduced the number of students needing to retake Algebra 1, Geometry, or Algebra 2 by 50% from numbers recorded for June 2013. This goal will be true for the entire population of SFUSD students as well as each ethnicity with statistically significant numbers. And;
By June 2018, SFUSD will increase the number of students taking and passing 4th year math courses (post Algebra 2 courses) with a C or better by 10%. And;
By June 2018, SFUSD will increase the number of Latino and African American students who take and pass Advanced Placement math courses by 20%.
We believe these changes represent steps in the right direction and would like to specifically thank Commissioner Rachel Norton for advocating for smaller class sizes, math coaches, and accountability. We would also like to thank Commissioner Norton for embracing an open dialogue with Parent PAC leadership during this process.
While we applaud class size reduction, onsite coaches and accountability, we remain uneasy that over 500 8th grade students are prepared for acceleration in Math and that the District has chosen to primarily use differentiation to meet these students’ academic needs. We are hopeful the District has made the right decision. Accordingly, we will be following the implementation closely
The Parent PAC would like to acknowledge all of the parents throughout San Francisco who have taken the time to share their opinions with SFUSD – parents like Lafayette Elementary’s Annette Hurst. Parent advocates got the attention of Supervisors Katy Tang and Scott Wiener who penned a joint letter to Superintendent Carranza asking him to continue to engage parents in discussions regarding the implementation of these new standards. You can read the letter from the Supervisors here. We appreciate the Supervisors’ support of parent advocacy.
Finally, throughout this discussion, the Parent PAC has reminded the District that parents are educational partners and should always be treated respectfully. At times, it did not feel that the District lived up to this expectation. However, District leadership has assured us that they do view parents as partners and are willing to work with the Parent PAC and other parent groups to better engage parents going forward. The Parent PAC plans to offer some ideas on how parent engagement can be improved, in the near future.
The Steering Committee
SF Parent PAC