In the new school year, parents who have children in accelerated math programs at LA Unified will have to sign a “contract” acknowledging that their child must keep a B grade or better to stay in the class.
If the student doesn’t keep at least a B, there will be a parent-teacher meeting to form some plan of action. If at the end of the quarter there is no improvement, the student will be put in the regular Common Core class for that grade level.
The reason for accelerated math for some students is to prevent high achievers from being bored with the Common Core Math 6 in sixth grade that is sometimes repetitive or too rudimentary.
Accelerated math classes in middle and high schools do not skip standards but compress them into a faster learning tract, according to the memo. Three years of math, for example, will be combined into two, requiring that students learn at a faster pace.
The new requirement is included in a memo to teachers, obtained by LA School Report. It explains Common Core math standards and says, “Students who demonstrate advanced skills in mathematics may be eligible for placement into an Accelerated Mathematics Pathway beginning in grade 7, or into an Alternative Accelerated Mathematics Pathway beginning in grade 6.”
The 26-page memo also says, “Misplacement is common, with negative consequences for students when they are unable to keep pace with the incremental difficulty of mathematics content.”
The reason for the contract is to prevent parents with high-achieving students from forcing their children into classes they may not be prepared to handle. It is also to make parents aware that the Accelerated Mathematics Program is a special advanced program offered in middle school and high school that could jump a whole grade level ahead (or more) for students at the same age.
Some parents have become so upset with their children receiving C grades (or even consistent B grades) that they have taken their children out of the program, or even out of school, according to interviews with parents and teachers. Some parents also want their children to get consistent A grades in accelerated math programs to get recommendations into private high schools.
The memo was issued by Ruth Perez, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Instruction and Gerardo Loera, Chief Academy Officer. Teachers with questions were asked to contact Philip Ogbuehi or Laura Cervantes at the Mathematics Branch of the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and School Support.