Turlock Junior High School and Dutcher Middle School parents are voicing their concern about the varietal lack of mathematical courses for 7th and 8th graders with Turlock Unified School District’s recent implementation of Common Core.
As of this year, TUSD is only offering one math class each for seventh and eighth graders, Integrated Math 7 and Integrated Math 8, respectively.
For accelerated math students, these classes are not sufficient.
Stating that these classes only address one level of mathematical knowledge, parent and former math teacher Marie Guerrero argues that the lack of an accelerated math course ignores the academic needs and goals of accelerated math students.
“I think that these students are missing out on an opportunity to further their math knowledge,” said Guerrero. “It’s not so much what they are missing out right now, but what they will be missing out on towards the end of high school.”
Guerrero believes that without the option of an accelerated math course for students at the junior high level, these students will not progress at the same rate of students from other districts in California.
It is because of this that Guerrero partnered with another parent in the district to initiate a petition on Change.org. The petition, which asks the district to offer accelerated math classes for 7th and 8th graders has 141 signatures as of Wednesday.
“By offering two different pathways for students to follow, the district will be able to ensure that all students can be presented with a math curriculum that challenges them with depth, rigor, and conceptual learning,” the petition states.
Guerrero was joined by a number of other parents throughout the district who shared the same concern at Tuesday's TUSD Board of Trustees meeting. All of the parents who spoke before the Board listed reasons why they thought it was critical to implement an accelerated math course for students at the junior high level including the fact that accelerated students are not being challenged anymore.
Parents also stated that the currently implemented courses do not address the wide range of mathematical skills held by individual students in one classroom.
“Why not? Why not offer an accelerated math course for our junior high students?” Guerrero asked the Board on Tuesday. “I think it is better to begin an accelerated math course now, find out that it does not work, and then go back to having our normal classes. But if we do not have an accelerated math course now, we cannot go back in time and give students another chance to excel at the same rate as their peers.”
The parents who spoke at Tuesday’s Board meeting and the petition both urge the district to consider offering an accelerated 7th grade math class that condenses both Integrated Math 7 and Integrated Math 8 into one year. Once students complete the course in 7th grade, they will then enroll in an accelerated 8th grade math class, Common Core Math I.
This accelerated course successfully prepares students to take Common Core Math II in high school, followed by Common Core Math III, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus.