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Rethinking Math Education - Opposing Perspectives

In 2021, California set off a national debate on the future of K–12 math education when the state unveiled new guidelines for teaching the subject that included a number of proposed changes to the traditional math sequence. Harvard’s Education Next asked for opposing perspectives on one component of the proposal, which adds a dedicated high school pathway for data science.

As states and districts work to identify the implementation models that make sense for their context, the Data Science for Everyone Coalition supports and believes in the need to research and pilot all potential solutions to improve K-12 education and bring data science learning opportunities to every student.

This forum in Education Next highlights DS4E Coalition member & University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt, and Center for RISC Director Jeffrey Severts. Levitt and Severts advance one perspective, with their piece “Every Student Needs 21st-Century Data-Literacy Skills.

Boaz Barak, computer science professor at Harvard, and Adrian Mims of The Calculus Project offer another perspective with their piece, “Data Science Is No Panacea for High-School Math Education.

While DS4E encourages data science broadly across the curriculum, these conversations highlight some of the diverse perspectives in education change, and the importance of trying multiple models that meet the unique needs of each community across the country. You can find both pieces here. You can also find tools to help you teach data science across the subject areas in our Resource Center.

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