I just received a PDF file containing state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell's press release about implementing the governor's Algebra Initiative. I cannot find this press release on the Department of Education web site, but I assume it will be there shortly after the 3-day weekend.
We need more teachers, blah blah blah. The CSUs and UCs need to produce more math teachers, blah blah blah. We need to increase math instructional time, blah blah blah. Smaller class sizes, blah blah blah. Specialized classes for struggling students, blah blah blah. Extend AVID, STEM, and MESA programs, blah blah blah. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
There's a dollar figure attached to each proposal. Total cost: $3.1 billion.
There's not a single thing new here. Same old ideas.
There's not one suggestion about studying successful programs in other states, both math programs and poor/minority achievement programs, and adapting them to California. We know there's more to this problem than just incompetent teachers and schools, and there's not one suggestion about addressing the family component of education. There's not one suggestion about looking at those countries which successfully teach algebra to 13 and 14-year-olds, and seeing how they accomplish it.
No, we just throw more money at the same old time-worn ideas and hope they'll work this time.
$3.1 billion. That's about $100 for every person in the state, in addition to already spending half of our state budget on education. In fact, this represents about 6% of our entire state education budget, for more of the same old, same old.
Sometimes it's scary having number sense.