CA’s Architect of “Equity-Based Algebra” Accused of Academic Fraud

the state's math framework is strongly influenced by the academic work of jo boaler, now accused of significantly distorting citations in research underpinning the framework
Sanjana Friedman
Mar 26, 2024
  • Jo Boaler, a Stanford professor of math education, is arguably the person most responsible for the new California Math Framework, a set of curriculum recommendations that advocate against teaching most middle-schoolers algebra in the name of equity.
  • Though she advocates for these changes in the public school system, she's sent her own children to a $48,000-a-year private school that teaches its middle schoolers algebra, and charged an underfunded school district $5,000 an hour for her consulting services.
  • An anonymous 100-page complaint recently documented over 30 claims of alleged citation misrepresentation in her research — the very research that underpins the CMF.

Jo Boaler, a Stanford professor of mathematics education, is arguably the person most responsible for the new California Math Framework (CMF), a newly approved set of curricular guidance for teachers across the state’s more than 950 public school districts. These guidelines, which are non-binding but help shape instructional materials and practice, suggest delaying instruction of Algebra I until high school and teaching fuzzy “data science” courses as alternatives to calculus in the name of ensuring “equity.” The CMF has long been accused of distorting research to fit its policy agenda, but last week it got hit with what might be its most damning blow yet: a 100-page, well-sourced document published by an anonymous complainant alleging that many of the misrepresented citations throughout the CMF can be traced directly back to Boaler.

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