By Jay A. Diskey of Diskey Public Affairs,
Policy consultant to Westchester Education Services
Extended debates over California’s draft guidelines for math instruction recently caused the state’s Board of Education to delay the approval of the guidelines until early next year or even later. The postponement could subsequently cause a delay in the adoption of new instructional programs in math.
The guidelines, which are embodied in the state’s curriculum framework for mathematics, are designed to help teachers align classroom instruction with California’s math standards. The framework also supports content developers as they plan and structure instructional programs for use in the state’s classrooms. The state’s most recent math framework was approved in 2013. The adoption of new materials occurred the following year.
The state board was scheduled to approve the draft framework this summer and then begin a two-year process of reviewing new instructional materials. Final approval of the materials is set for the fall of 2024. Now that date may slide to 2025.
The debate over the draft math guidelines centers on how to motivate and teach underperforming students. At issue are debates over new approaches to teaching, equitable instructional practices, the pacing of middle school algebra courses, and high school offerings in math, particularly for students seeking STEM education.
California students lag behind the nation in math, scoring in the bottom fourth tier of states in fourth grade and bottom third in eighth grade in the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
Jay A. Diskey is the principal of Diskey Public Affairs, a Washington DC consultancy specializing in education policy, curriculum reform, publishing, and technology. He is the former chair of the International Publishers Association’s education committee and for many years he led the Association of American Publishers’ education division. Earlier, he was a member of the senior staff of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and the Workforce. In the early 1990s, he served as a special assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Education.