Supervisor Katy Tang and I recently sent Superintendent Richard Carranza a letter concerning a change in policy regarding 8th Grade Math Curriculum. You can read the text of the letter below or by clicking on the PDF versions at the bottom of this page in English, Chinese, and Spanish.
March 19th, 2015
Superintendent, San Francisco Unified School District
555 Franklin Street
San Francisco CA 94102
Re: Restoring an Advanced Math Curriculum at SFUSD
Dear Superintendent Carranza:
We have followed with interest the advocacy by parents all over San Francisco to change the District’s one-size-fits-all math policy for public middle and high schools in San Francisco. As a hub of innovation and home to one of the strongest technical communities in the world, encouraging and supporting high achievement in math seems commonsense. It is hard to dispute that a significant cohort of SFUSD students is ready for a more advanced math curriculum (formerly known as Algebra 1) by 8th grade. Therefore, we urge you to listen to the voices of the more than 640 San Francisco residents who have signed a petition to restore an 8th grade advanced math option for students who require a more challenging path. While we understand that the District made these decisions after a thoughtful and deliberative process, we encourage you to work with the parents who are advocating on behalf of the education of their children and other students.
We understand that many other school districts in Northern California have adopted Common Core implementations that include such an option in 8th grade, and that allowing such an option is fully consistent with the State’s requirements for adoption of a Common Core math curriculum. Indeed, while SFUSD was part of a consortium of 10 districts to jointly develop a Common Core implementation, SFUSD is the only one of those 10 districts that does not allow high achieving 8th graders to take an advanced math sequence. By creating a situation where we alone are not supporting the rapid advancement of students in science, technology, engineering, and math (“STEM”), we are concerned SFUSD students will be put at a disadvantage relative to the rest of the Bay Area when it comes to college readiness, especially for careers in math, science and technology. These very careers are now the bedrock of the Bay Area economy.
We urge you listen to parents and to join with the consortium of other public school districts by offering an accelerated math option in 8th grade to qualifying students. We can all work together to keep San Francisco in its rightful place as a City where all children are encouraged to thrive.
Scott Wiener Katy Tang
Member, Board of Supervisors Member, Board of Supervisors
cc: Dr. Emily Murase, President, Board of Education
Matt Haney, Vice-President, Board of Education
Sandra Lee Fewer, Commissioner, Board of Education
Hydra Mendoza-McDonnell, Commissioner, Board of Education
Rachel Norton, Commission, Board of Education
Shamann Walton, Commissioner, Board of Education
Jill Wynns, Commissioner, Board of Education