November 22nd, 2011 by Dan Meyer
We live in an affluent community. Most of our students are fortunate to come from families where education matters and parents have the means and will to support and guide their children in tandem with us, their teachers. Not all of them. [..] We are concerned about the others who, for reasons that are often objective (poor math background, lack of support at home, low retention rate, lack of maturity, etc) can’t pass our Algebra II regular lane course. Many of these are [Voluntary Transfer Program] students or under-represented minorities.
Since those students objectively can’t pass Algebra II, the next appropriate step is to compile a list of those students and prevent their enrollment in Algebra II in the first place. Otherwise, you’re putting them in a position to care about passing a class we can be objectively certain they will fail. If I were a parent of one of those students, this determinism would probably drive me out of my mind.
The signatories are Radu Toma, Suzanne Antink, Kathy Bowers, Judy Choy, Arne Lim, Deanna Chute, Natalie Simison, Misha Stempel, Maria Rao, Charlotte Harris, Scott Friedland, Lisa Kim, Ambika Nangia, and David Baker.
Their hearts I think were in the right places but they whiffed badly. The point isn’t can every kid take Alg 2, but should they.
2012 Jan 16: Coverage from the San Jose Mercury News.