Request for 8th Grade Math Standards
To: Andrea Daniels, Stephanie Leonard-Witte, Brad Saron and SPASD School Board Members--
From: Parents and Students of the Class of 2023
Reason: Request for 4th Quarter Option of 8th Grade Math Standards
We are sending this letter because of the district mandated transition to having all 8th graders in a high school level Algerba this school year. Our students had access to all the 6th grade math standards in 6th grade, 7th grade math standards in 7th grade. Then in 8th grade our students had less than one quarter of 8th grade math standards before moving into high school level Algebra standards.
As parents we are aware that 19 of the 28 district adopted standards for 8th grade math have been skipped for our students. As students we are struggling to make sense of typically 9th grade level standards, of a high school Algebra course, without the conceptual foundation of those 19 eighth grade standards. Some of us are still performing well through memorization, while others of us are giving up on trying in mathematics. Together we believe that for the remainder of this school year students should have the choice between continuing with Algebra standards or having access to the 8th grade standards that have been skipped.
We are aware that the algebraic foundations found in the 8th grade content and the high school level Algebra standards together are the key to long term success in mathematics. We believe that all students should have the option of taking a freshman Algebra class without having to earn below a 70% or make a special request. We are aware that starting in Geometry as freshman means that an Algebra 1 credit option will never be offered to our students and we demand the option of earning high school credit for Algebra 1. We know you can not provide that to us this year because most of your 8th grade math teachers are not licensed in secondary mathematics, a state requirement for credit bearing middle school classes.
We are also aware of the positions of many of your math educators, math experts, and math organizations on acceleration of middle school math. Here is just one article from one math leader with an embedded video of one of the authors of common core mathematics https://robertkaplinsky.com/the-case-against-accel...
Offering 8th grade standards in after school tutoring (ELO) or summer school is not appropriate as these are deficiencies based on neglect of the district not based on student abilities or lack of effort. If the district has identified a need for these missing components, then there needs to be a focus on them during the daily mathematics instructional time.
In summary forcing students to take Algebra in 8th grade without first learning all the foundations of the 8th grade mathematics standards and forcing our kids to take it without credit is NOT acceptable to us.
Again, our current and immediate request is for a 4th quarter option to focus on the 19 standards for 8th grade that have been omitted for that class of 2023.
Thank you for living out your motto every child, every day by responding to the needs of your 8th grade students today.