Students and teachers challenge new district Common Core math plans at Board meeting

By Clarissa Wan

Originally published on February 12, 2015

The district’s new Common Core math course sequence, starting from the 6th grade, will cut the current honors math track. The new rules also allow private school students, but not public school ones, to test out of Algebra 1. Here’s footage of students and teachers speaking up against the new rules at the Board Meeting on Feb. 10.

Student representatives from the School Site Council have made a petition to request a waiver of the school from the requirements. It has gained over 1000 signatures as of Feb. 12, according to senior SSC representative James Wen. An alumni petition has received over 1500 signatures. The PTSA has also created a petition that expresses the same concerns.

We, the students of Lowell, strongly oppose the one-size-fits-all requirement

As you know, Lowell is an alternative high school within SFUSD, and “Fiat Scientia” — let there be learning — is our school’s motto. Students choose Lowell because we feel an urge to learn. We, the students of Lowell, strongly oppose the one-size-fits-all requirement that all entering Lowell 9th graders be placed into the same CCSS Algebra 1 course, regardless of their actual individual proficiency and learning needs. The new flattening of personalized learning pathways for all Lowell students will have profound, grave, and limiting implications for the rich learning opportunities that attracted us to Lowell Alternative High School in the first place.

The purpose of this petition is to support the Lowell Family’s request for a waiver to the one-size-fits-all math requirement and to explain from the Lowell student’s point of view the many learning opportunities we will lose if the Board does not grant this waiver.

Here’s the new course sequence with all freshmen taking Algebra 1, to be in effect starting the 2015–2016 year.

Courtesy of SFUSD

We are awaiting the response from the Board of Education to these proposals and will update this story as it unfolds.