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"Math War" starts again in multicultural California.

Once again California schools mull over lowering standards to decrease the racial gap. With blacks and Mestizos at the bottom, and whites and Asians at the top.

California has already scrapped “gifted and talented” programs because too few blacks and central American immigrants qualify.

Phrases like “changes in the way we teach,” and “going in depth on concepts” are just code for “dumbing down the curriculum for everyone to create an illusion that blacks are doing better.” Despite billions of dollars, not to mention the election of a black president, nationwide efforts to lift the achievement of black students has been 56 years of absolute failure.

The only thing that schools desegregation has brought is higher taxes for white parents and sub-standard, violent schools for white children.


Hold on to your graphing calculators: The passionate, contentious debate over how California students should learn math is ready to erupt again.

While math formulas and properties may be delightfully precise, how best to teach them to children is not. As the United States prepares for the first time to adopt nationwide K-12 “common core” standards, mathematicians and educators are split.

Some hail the proposals as a groundbreaking advancement because students will develop a more solid footing in math before rushing to the next level; others fear the plan would propel California backward. Each side warns that America’s future as a global science and technology powerhouse is at stake.

Fast-tracked by the Obama administration, standards for what students should learn in English and math have been drafted by a national committee representing 48 states and the District of Columbia. The public has until Friday to submit comments. California can choose not to adopt the federal standards but would miss out on competing for hundreds of millions in federal stimulus dollars.

While the proposed English curriculum hasn’t provoked an outcry, the math debate echoes California’s “math wars” that raged in the 1990s and led to repeals of reforms that favored problem-solving, applications and group work over traditional teaching.

Under the new proposed standards, primary students would spend more time going in depth on concepts before learning new skills, said Gretchen Muller, president of the northern section of the California Math Council. For instance, students here would learn multiplication in fourth grade rather than third.

Rather than following in step with other states, critics say, California should be looking to keep up with India, Singapore and Europe. Compared with their peers in Europe and Asia, U.S. students are two to 2½ years behind in math; California students are 1½ years behind, said James Milgram, professor emeritus of math at Stanford University who will help determine the new national standards.

Milgram doesn’t think California should adopt what he sees will be weaker standards. Neither does Ze’ev Wurman, a Palo Alto high-tech executive and former adviser to the U.S. Department of Education.

“Essentially we are giving up on the hope of teaching algebra in the eighth grade,” he said. He charges the proposed standards set the bar too low for college readiness.