UC faculty lead 'behind-the-scenes protest' over new equity-based math admissions requirements
'Giving high-school students the idea that it is OK to skimp on their math education is very dangerous.'
'We are concerned that under-represented groups ... may be steered into alternative math pathways that are promoted as being friendlier ... but in fact offer less preparation.'
Faculty members in the University of California (UC) system have begun to speak out against their campuses’ adoption of lower math standards in order to bolster diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
The controversy surrounds a policy enacted by a UC committee in 2020, which changed the admissions requirements for high school applicants in order “to expand course offerings beyond the traditional sequence of math courses that may lead students into the ‘race to calculus,’ to be more inclusive of new and innovative advanced math courses (e.g., data science), and to address equity issues.”
UC faculty have initiated “staging a behind-the-scenes protest” over the data science classes now being permitted, claiming that they do not prepare students for the rigor of STEM fields, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
“Giving high-school students the idea that it is OK to skimp on their math education is very dangerous,” read a letter from the UC Santa Barbara physics department earlier this year. “Such students will have their career choices severely curtailed, at an early age, and perhaps without even realizing it.”
In a letter obtained from The Chronicle written by a UC Santa Cruz faculty member, the individual noted: “We are concerned that under-represented groups, women, and those attending under-resourced schools may be steered into alternative math pathways that are promoted as being friendlier or more engaging but in fact offer less preparation.”
Other faculty members, however, are defending the equity-based math standards.
Robert Gould, a UCLA professor who created the “Introduction to Data Science” course for high school students after the UC policy change, told The Chronicle that such courses “open up opportunities for more students.”
Boaler promoted the push for more high school data science classes in June when she tweeted: “data science PK-12 can be a game changer for maths and equity.”
A May 2022 letter from black UC faculty members blasted the emergence of new data science courses, stating: “Introduction to Data Science … [makes] claims that they specifically support learning for women and minorities, which are not only baseless, but fail to appreciate that they actually do the opposite and harm students from such groups by steering them away from being prepared for STEM majors.”
Campus Reform has contacted all relevant parties for comment and will update this story accordingly.
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