The Calculus Project

This is a guest post by Adrian Mims, one of the author of the open letter I responded to in Yet More on the California Framework (Part 1) and (Part 2). Read it, and click on the links therein. 

— Henri


Hi Henri,

Thank you for sharing the links to your posts. The one correction I would add to the blog is that I am a math educator with 27 years of experience. My dissertation was entitled, “Improving African American Achievement in Geometry Honors“. The findings from my dissertation led to creating The Calculus Project that is now a nonprofit. Our approach to equity is different from what is being proposed in the California Math Framework. We know that a large percentage of students who succeed in mathematics have most, if not all of the following in common:

  1. Highly qualified teachers with high expectations
  2. Robust math curriculum with differentiated instruction and assessments
  3. Access to resources (technology, additional academic support, school counselors/guidance counselors)
  4. Highly engaged parents/caretakers

For us, equity means helping school districts create a learning environment with these criteria. This is the hard work that too many people avoid because it is exhausting and it requires strong educational leadership to ensure it is sustainable. I replicated The Calculus Project in Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Florida. It is the ninth largest school district in the country and we found great success in accelerating students’ learning. As you may know the problem wasn’t the children, it was the adults not sticking to the script for fully implementing the model up to twelfth grade. Below are links to two articles in the Orlando Sentinel about my work in the district.

I agree that tracking should be eliminated but that will never happen. Abolishing tracking is too political and many teachers don’t believe they have been properly trained to teach heterogeneous classes. Our educational system is doing exactly what it was designed to do… sort students. If you haven’t read You Can’t Get There From Here: The Need for a New Logic in Education Reform, I encourage you to check it out. There was only one time when tracking didn’t occur and that was when we had one-room school houses. You can’t avoid tracking as long as more than one math course is offered at any grade level. One of the reasons school districts partner with us is that we tell them to keep their tracks. In fact, we create an additional track during the summer that accelerates students’ learning so they can move up to the honors and advanced math levels.

Adrian B. Mims Sr., Ed.D.
Founder & CEO


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