Math Matters

Math Matters

In the 21st century, an understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts is increasingly important to succeed in school and in the real world. For California to thrive, all students need to have access to equitable opportunities to learn these subjects – and particularly to learn math, the foundation of many other academic concepts.

We know that #MathMatters a whole lot, which is why we need to make sure we’re teaching it in a way such that all students can learn and excel.

California has the opportunity to bring math instruction into the 21st century and enable all of its students to succeed.

Where Are We Now?

All students, regardless of future career paths, need a solid foundation in math to understand data and make good decisions as a consumer and member of our community. But while all students can succeed in math, not all students have received equitable access to quality support in math instruction. According to recent statewide assessments, the percentage of Black and Latinx students at grade level in math declined multiple points – a situation that should be so alarming to us as a state that one expert recently dubbed it a “five alarm fire”.

California revises curriculum frameworks every 7-10 years to reflect the latest research on teaching and learning. This year, the California Department of Education is updating its guidance around teaching math with the goal of bringing it into the 21st century. At the same time, the state legislature is considering bills that address numerous K-12 issues – including AB 2565, which would strengthen the state’s and local school districts’ abilities to offer high-quality professional development for STEM teachers, aligned with California’s curriculum frameworks for mathematics and science.

The Education Trust—West has long held that we must prioritize equity in the adoption of the math curriculum framework, and toward that end have walked alongside a diverse group of educators and advocates who are calling for common-sense reforms in the way that we teach math and also in the way that we support math educators. We know that research shows students learn better when curriculum is relevant to their lives, and providing up-to-date professional development and resources for teachers is crucial. This makes it all the more important for our curriculum, and the way we support teachers in implementing this curriculum, to center equity.

Principles for Equitable Math Instruction:

What You Can Do

Ed Trust–West resources are designed to support education equity advocates to take action. The student leaders, parent advocates, equity-minded teachers, faculty members, administrators, and community leaders who fight for students and families every day have a key role in ensuring #MathMatters.

Here’s how you can get involved: 

Encourage State Leaders to Formalize Equity Principles in its Math Curriculum Framework
The California Department of Education is currently considering a revised Math Curriculum Framework, and is accepting public comment through May 16, 2022. As the framework is considered, we recommend advocates remind key players to keep equity principles in mind, outlined below.

Sign up to advocate for increased funding in STEM support
On May 3rd and 4th, The Education Trust—West will join partners for our second annual virtual advocacy day focused on establishing the California Mathematics and Science Educator Professional Development Program for teachers and teacher leaders in order to strengthen mathematics and science instruction among low-income, students of color, and English learners. Please join us to make your voice heard as we meet with legislators and encourage them to be champions for education equity.
Support ETW’s Math Matters Principles
Our math equity principles are five simple principles that The Ed Trust—West thinks should guide math instruction and framework updates in California. Please join us in distributing this graphic – and if you agree, please sign up to publicly endorse these principles!