This week Superintendent Smith sent a Call Out to all Laguna Beach parents, which does nothing to address the concerns presented in the Feb. 27 Indy article titled “Parents Protest Dumbed Down Math”.
This last minute district attempt to communicate with parents the plan to eliminate advanced classes leading to geometry for middle school students and disbanding honors math classes in high school starting with the Class of 2015 is something the entire community should be deeply concerned about.
Let’s get the facts to the community.
The Laguna Beach Unified School District will become a second tier district by not providing rigorous math courses for students who chose to take on the challenge of college level and advanced placement (AP) courses in high school. Neighboring schools districts like Irvine, Tustin and Capistrano continue to offer these rigorous options that allow for acceleration points in middle school and high school so all students can enter advanced math courses when developmentally appropriate.
The district’s so-called “accelerated path” is simply skipping content from sixth grade to go into seventh grade and taught with identical material and identical pace as the regular seventh grade class. This is an outdated practice widely known to be a source of student failure in math. Content should not be skipped, it should be “compacted/accelerated” to allow for the faster pace of learning for students who desire a challenge.
The California Common Core does include acceleration “compaction courses” for advanced students that can lead to geometry in the eighth grade. Why the school district leadership chose to ignore this is beyond me. Parents have been advocating to be included in this conversation and have been widely ignored. An advisory meeting scheduled next week with parent representatives was abruptly canceled with no explanation and some parents were not notified. The ongoing lack of transparency and understanding of the community needs has led to far too many poor decisions that regretfully need to be reversed.
Parents need to attend the board meeting on March 10 to show support for meeting all students’ needs and designing course options that put LBUSD truly at the top of OC Districts.
David G. Flores, Laguna Beach
The author is a retired educator and parent.