March 2022

*EdSource* quotes Just Equations founder and CEO Pamela Burdman on the race to calculus and the viability of alternate math pathways in this article on California’s revised math frameworks, which have an important focus on advancing math equity and expanding math courses to reflect the use of mathematics in the 21st century.

EDSOURCE—“I hope the outcome (of the framework) will be to give schools and districts more latitude to develop math courses and sequences that excite students and help draw more of them into STEM fields or to sophisticated math, no matter what they choose to do in life,” said Pamela Burdman, executive director of Just Equations, a nonprofit that promotes policies that prepare students with quantitative skills to succeed in college.

Burdman said research is clear that a “race to calculus” can undermine the mastery and conceptual knowledge of math. The framework makes clear that students who take a standard math sequence starting in ninth grade should have options other than calculus to take as seniors – data science, financial algebra and statistics, which involve “how math is used in the real world, what it means to be quantitatively literate,” Burdman said.

“It is unfortunate that many see these as inferior pathways when they are central to our future,” she said.

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