- The Washington Times - Friday, April 23, 2021

Old Dominion might want to consider a new nickname as the Virginia Department of Education moves to strip schools of accelerated math classes: New Equity.

VDOE plans recently spotlighted by Loudoun County school board member Ian Serotkin detail a future in which Virginia students are funneled into “concept” classes that are more opaque as it pertains to children with a fast grasp of the discipline.

“[A]s currently planned, this initiative will eliminate ALL math acceleration prior to 11th grade,” Mr. Serotkin said, Fox News reported Thursday. “That is not an exaggeration, nor does there appear to be any discretion in how local districts implement this. All 6th graders will take Foundational Concepts 6. All 7th graders will take Foundational Concepts 7. All 10th graders will take Essential Concepts 10. Only in 11th and 12th grade is there any opportunity for choice in higher math courses.”

A spokesman for VDOE did not object to Mr. Serotkin’s premise while indicating some wiggle room will be allowed for instructors.

“Differentiated instruction means providing instruction that is catered to the learning needs of each child (appropriate levels of challenge and academic rigor),” Charles Pyle told the network.

An added defense of the Virginia Mathematics Pathway Initiative by Mr. Pyle touted the educational “pathways [that] seek to restructure mathematics education by focusing instruction on reasoning, real-world problem solving, communication and connections while shifting away from an emphasis on computation and routine problem practice.”

VDOE‘s website attests to the creation of “concepts” courses and cites the overall endgame to “[i]mprove equity in mathematics learning opportunities.”

A Loudoun County parent who opted for anonymity for Fox’s story explained the changes as follows: “Lower standards for all students in the name of equity.”

“These changes will have a profound impact on students who excel in STEM-related curriculum, weakening our country’s ability to compete in a global marketplace for years to come,” the parent added.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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