I'm no math whiz. Some understand math to extreme levels and some do math with ease. The level of math skill doesn't make anyone better than another, generally speaking. Oftentimes, math is a deciding factor in a future path. It certainly influenced mine.
So, it was good pre-algebra was recently approved by the USD 260 BOE as a math credit. Students that struggle with algebra electing to take pre-algebra will get the math credit for the course along with the relief they can avoid unnecessary advanced math courses.
Not all see it this way. One argument from the BOE was how USD 260 would be "lowering standards" and "moving the goal post to them" [students] versus challenging students to rise above. Thankfully, an academic professional was able to offer DHS-specific data qualifying the need to recategorize pre-algebra. Additionally, another academic professional spoke to the importance of considering the mentality some have when studying subjects, like math, to a level that may not be useful or necessary later in life.
The proposal wasn’t about lowering standards but giving the same opportunity to all students, which is the philosophy of USD 260 - "Every student, every day, preparing for the future.” We all don’t excel or even completely grasp all subjects. A voice from the BOE reminded me of this when they admitted the changes in how elementary math is taught created challenges in supporting their students at home. The standards are not being lowered. A change to the system was proposed because Derby is changing. The system is now more empowered to get to a student's level helping them meet the requirements for their first big achievement: a high school diploma.
When it comes to education, blanket standards are not the answer. Standards should appeal to a group with common capabilities. Standards can challenge students, and in a way that makes sense supporting the future of a student. USD 260 educators know this, which is why the proposal was brought forth. Not every student learns the same way, but each deserves the same opportunity to learn to their diverse potential. The diversity within our community is more than skin deep. There is diversity in learning, developing and exceling. If other schools can recognize this and make changes, Derby certainly can. After all, change is necessary to avoid the craziness of doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.
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