September 13, 2016 (San Francisco) – Today Supervisor Scott Wiener will introduce legislation to fund the gap created by the elimination of 8th grade algebra from San Francisco’s public schools. The $70,000 supplemental budget appropriation will provide funding to allow students from low-income families to be able to take accredited 8th grade algebra courses for free so that they can take advanced math courses starting in 9th grade. Supervisor Katy Tang, who has been a leader in supporting the parent community around the elimination of 8th grade algebra, is co-sponsoring the legislation.
“All of our public school students deserve the opportunity to excel in math and push themselves, not just those in private schools or who can afford private classes,” said Supervisor Wiener. “While I would prefer that 8th grade algebra be offered as part of the public school curriculum, this funding will help our students further their math educations so they can stay on track to take advanced math in high school and college and compete for 21st century jobs. As a product of public schools, I know the value of a quality education, and I want all San Francisco public school students to have the same opportunities I had.”“We need to set up all students for success,” said Supervisor Katy Tang. “Education and skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) are incredibly important now and for the future. This is why all students, no matter if they are in public or private schools, should have a strong foundation early on in life.”
8th grade algebra was eliminated as part of the adoption of the Common Core curriculum. San Francisco Unified School District opted to eliminate 8th grade algebra, making San Francisco one of only X school districts to not offer 8th grade algebra. Meanwhile, private schools in San Francisco still offer 8th grade algebra, which means public school students who wish to take 8th grade algebra but cannot are forced to either fall behind students from other districts or at private schools in San Francisco, or seek out alternative programs outside of school to take algebra in 8th grade. The programs that count as credits cost money, and while some students can afford it, others cannot, which creates an equity gap. The supplemental introduced by Supervisors Wiener and Tang will address that gap by offering funding for at-need students to take 8th grade algebra through a private tutoring company that will count towards high school eligibility.
In 2015, Supervisors Wiener and Tang, wrote a letter to Superintendent Richard Carranza requesting that the district continue to work with the parent community and address their concerns regarding the elimination of 8th grade algebra. Since that time, Supervisor Wiener has continued to hear from the parent community about the need for their children to have the option to take 8th grade algebra in order to stay on course to take high level math classes in high school.
The supplemental will go to the Budget and Finance Committee next month before heading to the full Board of Supervisors for approval.