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Carol Kocivar / ON EDUCATION

Algebra Kid

Dumb Squared

• • • • • • • • January 23, 2024 • • • • • • • •

There are two education issues in San Francisco that are just plain dumb squared.

  1. Removing Algebra 1 from the 8th grade.
  2. A voting rights lawsuit against the school board.

Algebra in the 8th grade

quote marks

For ten years…ten years…kids of all ethnicities who were ready to take algebra 1 in the 8th grade were benched. While just plain common sense tells you this was dumb squared, it took a decade and research from Stanford to show this charade did not work.”

Let's say you have a basketball team of 8th graders. Some are taller than others. Some are more skilled than others. The taller, more skilled kids score more points. Duh.

 Do you bench these kids because the shorter, less skilled kids aren't scoring? Of course not. You provide strong coaching to improve skills.

Tempted by the siren song of equity, a decade ago, the San Francisco Unified School District benched 8th grade algebra 1. Removed it. Period.

They did this to eliminate the achievement gap. For ten years…ten years…kids of all ethnicities who were ready to take algebra 1 in the 8th grade were benched. While just plain common sense tells you this was dumb squared, it took a decade and research from Stanford to show this charade did not work.

Thankfully, the new superintendent now sees the picture more clearly and is moving to bring algebra 1 back.

Proposition G on the ballot in March is our opportunity to tell the school board that San Francisco wants kids to have the opportunity to take algebra 1 in the 8th grade. 

No longer should San Francisco deprive high-achieving students the opportunity to take challenging math. 

No longer should high achieving students have to desert our public schools to private schools and other school districts that offer algebra 1.

Psst…equity means equity for all.

Lawsuit to change how school board members are elected

A lawyer is using the California Voting  Rights Act to allege both SFUSD and City College are suppressing the voting rights of minorities. He wants to change how the School Board and the City College Board are elected from a citywide vote to a vote in individual districts.

Not that I want to be his mom, but this act reminded me of when my kids did something that I thought was not well thought through (dumb squared). I tried to bring them back to reality with some rules of civility.

  1. Make sure you know the facts.
  2. Don’t kick someone when they are down.
  3. Act in the public good.
  4. Don’t profit at someone else's expense.

I wish I had talked to him before he sent a demand letter to the school district.

When you look at the history of elections for the school board, which is elected city-wide, it's much more diverse than the board of supervisors, which is elected by individual districts. Make sure you know the facts.

The school district is facing huge budget deficits. Don’t kick someone when they are down.

Don't take money away from the education of our children to pay for what appears to be a questionable lawsuit. Act in the public good.

This lawsuit can trigger fees for the plaintiff attorney. Don't profit at someone else's expense.

 

Well, there we have it, dumb squared, twice.

Carol Kocivar is a children’s advocate and lives in the Westside. Feedback: kocivar@westsideobserver.com

February 2024


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