Legal Beat: Should Courts Be Weighing In On the Math Wars?

“In February 2010, for the first time, a state judge overturned a school district’s choice of a high-school math curriculum,” Josh Dunn writes in a new “legal beat” article posted on the Ed Next website. (The article, “2+2=Litigation,” will appear in the Fall 2010 issue of Ed Next.)

As Josh explains in the article, the court considered allegations that the “Discovering” math curriculum, which was adopted by the Seattle school board in May 2009, was unsound and would widen achievement gaps. Judge Julie Spector surprised all sides in the dispute by ruling that the school district behaved capriciously in approving the curriculum.

Josh concludes that while here might be good reasons to reject the curriculum, “such pedagogical disputes are beyond the courts’ proper constitutional role and institutional capacity.”

The article, “2+2=Litigation: New front opens in the math wars,” is available online.

Ed Next editor Marty West interviews Josh Dunn about the article in this week’s podcast, “Math Wars Have Their Day in Court.”

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