We need to get racial politics out of the equation before it's too late.
I agree that teacher training programs are laughable and rigor has been lamentably lost, but I strongly disagree with your dismissal of shifts toward equity. CRT has nothing whatever to do with my own district's recent decisions to finally pay attention to our low income students.
I taught in my small town, nearly all white-- but half rich, half working class -- town a decade ago. The "gifted" students were actually just the "rich" ones. I taught the non-honors, College Prep (they were not preparing for college) level, and my students were not ungifted, they were just from the wrong side of the tracks, or in our case, the hill towns. I know this is true because I asked my stronger readers and writers directly why they had not signed up for Honors. They told me they did not want to be grouped with the rich kids. A district admin admitted, "There are no poor kids in Honors Math." The seismic shifts that would be required to pull off your bullet list of proposals are not up to bureaucrats to enact, they are up to us as a citizenry to demand, and as it stands now, the only people who demand stuff are the well-educated, upwardly mobile parents whose kids, ironically, would do just fine on their own with a laptop and wifi.
My daughter will be in the first freshman class at that high school in their new untracked, unleveled system, and it's about time.
Whatever she may lose in rigor, I hope will be made up in the education she and her classmates will get in what actual citizenship looks like. People of all walks of life together in one room, compelled to work together. Where else in the US do we see that happening today?
I don't care if we produce the next Einstein. China can "win." I care about turning our common ship in the direction of our founding promises. The civil strife we saw on Jan 6th is just an amuse bouche for what's to come if we don't do that.
CRT in math is unspeakable- thanks for speaking out. However I believe that the math curriculum has been a catastrophe for other ideological reasons for several decades. Teacher’s colleges have been dominated by the lazy idea that fun means easy, and a corresponding contempt for any form of learning that requires repetition for mastery. This has destroyed not only the math curriculum but the language curriculum. I was a highly non-interventionist parent, until I noticed at the end of second grade that my oldest daughter essentially didn’t know how to read or perform fundamental arithmetic operations. After spending some time with the curriculum I discovered that the math curriculum had entirely eliminated exercises that involved what was considered rote learning, like adding up columns of numbers. Instead they were given entertaining but completely confusing word problems. Generally the answer required skills not yet taught, even algebra, to solve.. Sometimes neither I nor my husband (we both have advanced degrees in mathematical fields) could figure out what was expected of the answer. When we went to the school, some teachers and administrators were themselves frustrated and supportive, while others said “Oh the kids here are so smart they don’t need drills.” We go to a high-performing school that is majority immigrant Asian. Although the kids are indeed bright, it turned out that they were receiving massive amounts of after-school supplementation in both formal classes and parental tutoring . I’ve begun to wonder whether curricular reforms are actually a clever ploy to reproduce class hierarchy by ensuring that no one without that kind of support can succeed.
This piling on of Critical Race Theory is getting ridiculous. It might help if the authors were actually conversant with its ideas before blaming it for America's decline in mathematics. That decline predates "CRT" by decades. Very sloppy, ideologically driven reasoning here. This kind of thinking needs to get out of the "equation" if the math problem is to be solved.
The problems in K12 mathematics existed long before DEI and single-tracking initiatives. DEI may not be a panacea, but history proves that it's also obviously not the root cause of the problem. The red meat laid out at the beginning of this article is mostly a red herring.
However, I really paid $10 to comment on the article’s defense of ostensible measures of merit. Professional mathematics is a case study in how an old guard obsessed with preserving "objective selection process based on merit" can corrode the culture of a field and drive away a generation of the best and brightest minds.
When my undergraduate mentees ask about Mathematics PhD programs, I warn them vehemently that against pissing away a year of their late teens/early 20s pouring over Berkley’s archive of test questions. Sometimes I use stronger language. That time is too valuable, and the rewards of a Mathematics PhD candidacy too modest, to justify the waste. Alternatives abound.
If mathematicians are frustrated with the quality of the domestic students in their PhD cohorts, the single best intervention would be to insist that NSF funds for mathematics research go only to mathematics departments with acceptable preliminary examination pass rates.
CRT is a collectivist inhumane ideology that runs roughshod over the rights and well being of individuals: never mind if a gifted child misses the opportunity of a lifetime to become a great mathematician as long as the masses in the classrooms are repeating the same dogma in sync and leaving school equally ignorant.