Virginia Eliminates Accelerated Math Courses Because Equity

The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is eliminating accelerated math courses before 11th grade to “[i]mprove equity in mathematics learning opportunities.”

Loudoun County school board member Ian Serotkin announced Tuesday that the “Virginia Mathematics Pathways Initiative (VMPI),” is a “a sweeping initiative by the Virginia Department of Education to revamp the K-12 math curriculum statewide over the next few years” by “eliminat[ing] ALL math acceleration prior to 11th grade.”

“That is not an exaggeration, nor does there appear to be any discretion in how local districts implement this” Serotkin wrote. “All 6th graders will take Foundational Concepts 6. All 7th graders will take Foundational Concepts 7. All 10th graders will take Essential Concepts 10. Only in 11th and 12th grade is there any opportunity for choice in higher math courses.” 

The VDOE website says that in addition to improving equity, the change will “[e]mpower students to be active participants in a quantitative world.” 

However, a Loudon parent told Fox News Thursday that the initiative would actually “lower standards for all students in the name of equity.”

“These changes will have a profound impact on students who excel in STEM-related curriculum, weakening our country’s ability to compete in a global marketplace for years to come,” the parent said.

VDOE spokesperson Charles Pyle told Fox News the VMPI would “support increased differentiated learning opportunities within a heterogeneous learning environment.” 

Delegate candidate for Virginia’s 50th House District, Mike Allers, told The Federalist that VDOE “didn’t level the playing field —they destroyed it.” 

Oftentimes initiatives, like one created by the Virginia Department of Education, are pitched as a way of giving black and brown students a necessary leg up, but Allers said barring students from taking accelerated courses will have the opposite effect.

“This decision from the VDOE stunts natural growth, choice, and progression for students, and is incredibly belittling, arrogant, and racist in assuming that children of color cannot reach advanced classes in math,” he told The Federalist. 

“The racial achievement gap in schools will never be closed if higher opportunities are not provided for all students, while at the same time pushing common core and mediocrity,” Allers continued. “As long as Common Core and curriculum like it is pushed, civics isn’t taught at younger ages, and economic concepts aren’t introduced earlier, REAL actual non-political equity will not be achieved.”

“We need real solutions, such as investment in Pre-K , tackling discrepancies at the source and early, making sure there are more opportunities available — that is how you make education equitable,” he said. “If you are not solving the problem at the root, it’s window dressing.”

Allers added that VDOE’s goal reminds him of a line from Disney’s “The Incredibles,” when the villain Syndrome claims, “When everyone’s super, no one will be.”

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