NAGC Statement on the California Math Framework
May 20, 2021

 

In their position statement on Providing Opportunities for Students with Exceptional Mathematical Promise, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) states that “Students with exceptional mathematical promise must be engaged in enriching learning opportunities during and outside the school day to allow them to pursue their interests, develop their talent, and maintain their passion for mathematics. Such opportunities must be open to a wide range of students who express a higher degree of interest in mathematics, not just to those who are identified through traditional assessment instruments.” NAGC shares this position, supports the emphasis on recognizing that exceptional mathematical promise is distributed across geographic, demographic, and economic boundaries, and that this promise is demonstrated through a variety of behaviors that may grow and be developed over time. NAGC also stands with the California Association for the Gifted (CAG) in their belief that access to a high-quality, standards-aligned mathematics curriculum should be individualized and available to students based on their mathematical learning needs. This is especially true for high-achieving students and those who have demonstrated exceptional promise in mathematics.

The draft 2021 revision of the Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools has a greater focus on supporting equity, a critical goal that is important for all schools and sectors in education. However, NAGC has serious concerns about the framework in its current form. The first chapter of the draft framework regrettably repeats several outdated myths about gifted students and gifted and talented education. Furthermore, the framework proposes limiting access to advanced mathematics for students in the middle grades and early high school. For students of varying cultural, racial, ethnic, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds whose only access to advanced learning is through public education, measures such as these would only further widen the excellence gap rather than advance equity. NAGC urges the California Instructional Quality Commission to revise the draft mathematics framework to remove the myths about gifted education, include information on supporting the needs of gifted students in mathematics, and add guidance on providing opportunities for advanced mathematics for all high-achieving students.