SF Guardians: We recalled the school board

Bring Algebra Back for SF's 8th graders

Access to Algebra 1 is a civil rights issue

Do you live in the RED part of this map?

Map showing which Supervisors are not yet signed on to bring algebra back.
Supervisor Engardio has introduced a measure to bring 8th grade algebra back to SF's schools. Supervisors Safaí, Melgar, Stefani, and Dorsey have already signed on.

If you live in the RED part of this map, your Supervisor has NOT signed on to bring algebra back.
Call your supervisor!
This is what you say:

“Hello, this is NAME. I live in your district, and I’m calling to ask you to bring algebra back to middle school. Would you sign on to Supervisor Engardio’s algebra legislation?”

Or — even better — tell them why this matters to you personally.

Wait what? 8th graders don't have Algebra 1?

Nope. In 2014, SF decided to stop offering Algebra 1 in 8th grade and delay it until 9th grade for all students.

They hoped it would be more equitable... but the results were exactly the opposite.

A study by Stanford professors found that enrollment in AP Calculus (crucial for a STEM career) dropped sharply... especially amongst disadvantaged kids … as those with means found workarounds.

AP Calculus enrollment is up for white students... down for everyone else.
This is not surprising, as delaying Algebra 1 to 9th grade forces students to compress 5 years of advanced math into four...

...making for a difficult junior year, and gaps in their precalculus education:
SF public school students have to compress 5 years of advanced math into 4 years.
Removing access to 8th grade Algebra 1 was an experiment... and it failed.

It's time to bring algebra back.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the bay area...

Most students have access to Algebra 1 in 8th grade... some in 7th... putting SF public school kids at a disadvantage compared to their bay area peers.

There are two outliers:

1/ small districts who don't have enough students to offer accelerated math, and

2/ Oakland... which last year decided to follow San Francisco's lead.

Teachers in Oakland are now raising funds so their students can take Algebra 1 in summer school instead of falling behind.

They shouldn't have to do this.
Map showing kids have access to algebra in 7th grade in Silicon Valley, 8th grade in the east bay and peninsula, but not until 9th grade in SF and Oakland.
Districts with Algebra 1* in
dark green - 7th grade
light green - 8th grade
yellow - 8th grade but online only this year
red - 9th grade
grade 7
light green
grade 8
grade 8 (online only this year)
grade 9
* or Math I, for integrated math.
(Data not available for districts shown in gray.)
Click any school district for the cite -- if it's missing, we probably called them. Got an update? founders@sfguardians.org .

We're working hard to bring algebra back

Our community decided that its #1 priority this year was to bring algebra back to SF's middle schools.

* We created a map showing which bay area school districts give kids the opportunity to take algebra in 7th or 8th grade, so people can see which kids have access to opportunity... and which kids don't.

* We created flyers explaining the problem, and talked with voters at the farmers' market. (This is the most popular issue we've ever worked on.)

* We started a petition to bring algebra back to middle school, gathered 2300 signatures in less than 30 days, and sent the petition to our school board. The Superintendent admitted that our current math pathways aren't working, and the district is now gathering community feedback on algebra. The school board will vote on algebra February 13.

* We are supporting Supervisor Joel Engardio's measure to bring algebra back. This measure would put algebra on the ballot this spring, letting voters send a message about the kind of educational opportunities they'd like for SF's children. Along with Rex Ridgeway, Maya Keshevan, and other advocates, we spoke at the Board of Supervisors meeting where the measure was introduced.

* We are keeping parents, teachers, and other community members informed about algebra via our Facebook group and our newsletter.

Learn more