State Board Adopts Math Framework, Signals Potential Changes to Chronic Absenteeism

The Board also spent a good amount of time discussing possible changes to the Chronic Absenteeism Dashboard Indicator and approved the criteria for the definition of “high-need LEA” as required for the California’s Bipartisan Safer Communities Act Stronger Connections Grant program. 


Below is a summary of the significant developments from the meeting, followed by information on the regular agenda items and waiver requests heard by the Board. A printable version of this update, searchable by major topic, CAN BE FOUND HERE


Adoption of 2023 Mathematics Framework (Item 11)


California law requires the SBE to routinely renew and adopt curriculum frameworks and evaluation criteria for the adoption of instructional materials. At the July 2023 SBE meeting, after a drafting process that began all the way back in 2019, the Board adopted the 2023 Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten through Grade 12. The Board’s action last Wednesday marks the culmination of 4-years of work, multiple draft Frameworks, and over 2,000 public comments.


The approved Framework is built around several core ideas:


  • All students can achieve and be successful in mathematics
  • Encouraging all students to get as far and deep into mathematics as possible
  • Providing pathways and course options to allow for students to achieve, up to Calculus
  • Organization of California Common Core State Standards for Mathematics
  • Creating a framework of teaching through Standards for Mathematical Practices, Drivers of Investigation, and Content Connections
  • Increased engagement strategies
  • A focus on a growth-mindset


While the Board Agenda is typically posted a week and a half ahead of the meeting, to give interest holders more time to review to draft Framework before it went before the Board, the California Department of Education (CDE) posted the documents for this item and the draft Framework five days ahead of schedule. Those interested were able to submit public comments on that draft between June 26th and July 7th and the Board received over 500 comments requesting additional edits. As a result, on the morning of the Board’s first day, CDE posted an addendum to the Board Item, detailing additional changes that CDE was recommending based on the additional public comments received during this period. These staff-recommended edits can be found in the Item 11 Addendum.


Given the public activity and social media surrounding the Framework, there was a concern that the Board might not be able to come to a resolution on some of the outstanding issues and approve the Framework at this month’s meeting. However, Board President Linda Darling-Hammond kicked off the item by addressing what she termed the three main areas of misinformation (listed below) and language in the framework which she believed countered the concerns raised.


Three Areas of Misinformation


  1. The Framework eliminates the ability of students to access an accelerated pathway to reach calculus by 12thgrade
  2. The Framework abandons “math facts” in favor of “inquiries”
  3. The Framework encourages students to take courses in high school that will not prepare them for a career in STEM


Reflecting just how intensely debated this Framework adoption had become, the item included a two-hour presentation by CDE, along with a number of guest speakers, and an additional 2 hours of public comment. Despite President Darling-Hammond’s opening remarks, a number of public comments again reiterated concerns that the Framework disincentivizes students from pursuing accelerated math pathways and pushed them towards courses that would not prepare them for higher education. Supporters of the adoption, however, praised the way the Framework wasn’t one-size-fits-all and how it approached math instruction through a more equitable and diverse lens. During the Board’s discussion, Member Cynthia Glover Woods, one of the SBE Liaisons to the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC), emphasized that the Framework is guidance and that LEAs should use it to develop the coursework that best fits their students’ needs.


Additional Information



With this adoption, work can now begin in earnest on the adoption of instructional materials that align with the new Framework. The IQC will develop an instructional materials adoption timeline and CDE will bring that timeline to the Board for approval early next year.


California’s Bipartisan Safer Communities Act Stronger Connections Grant (Item 12)


The federal Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) provided $1 billion for states, through the Stronger Connections Grant (SCG), for competitive grants for high-need LEAs to establish safer and healthier learning environments. The state educational agency (for California, this is the SBE) must define “high-need” LEA for purposes of eligibility for the grant.


California’s portion of the BSCA-SCG is $119 million. $113 million of the grant will be awarded to LEAs through a competitive process. Funding under the SCG is prioritized for:


  • Social Emotional Learning programs/practices
  • Trauma informed practices/identification and referral
  • Initiatives that reduce exclusionary discipline approaches such as restorative practices
  • Systemic efforts to transform school climate by reducing punitive school discipline practices and increasing support for pro-social behaviors


Proposed definition of “high need”:


LEAs with a concentration of 80 percent or above of students from low-income families, English learners, and students in foster care, plus one or more of the following characteristics:


  • A chronic absenteeism rate higher than the state average
  • An exclusionary discipline (in and out of school suspension) rate higher than the state average
  • A state stability rate lower than the state average
  • A dropout rate higher than the state average


Under the proposed definition, 624 LEAs are eligible. 522 of these LEAs are small school districts (fewer than 2500 students.) Within the eligible LEAs there are 3,228 schools. The eligible LEAs will apply on behalf of their selected schools and will receive between $150,000 and $400,000 for each schoolsite. Allocation is based on school enrollment.


At the July hearing, the Board approved the proposed definition, with one request to staff: “to enable consideration of gun-related violence reporting metrics to be included as plausible.”


The request for applications should be going out around the end of the month with a potential deadline for submission of September 8, 2023.


Discussion of Potential Changes to the Chronic Absenteeism Indicator (Item 02)


An update on the accountability system is generally provided at every SBE meeting. We usually cover the item in “other items” and have done so in this update as well. However, at the July meeting, the item also provided an overview of the Chronic Absenteeism Indicator definitions and methodology used for the California School Dahboard to which we wanted to bring specific attention.


At the March 2022 SBE hearing, in the aftermath of COVID, CDE staff requested guidance from the Board on whether there was interest in adjusting the cut scores in preparation for a Status only Dashboard. The Board ultimately did not adjust the cut scores for any state indicators and with the pre-pandemic cut scores in place, 617 LEAs were determined to be eligible for differentiated assistance and over 7,000 schools were eligible for assistance under the Every Student Succeeds Act requirements based on the 2022 Dashboard results.


Consequently, during the March 2023 SBE meeting, the Board discussed the high rates of absenteeism (an increase from a statewide average of 14.3 percent in 2020-21 to 30 percent in 2021-22) and its subsequent impact on assistance eligibility under state and federal accountability requirements. And, at the May 2023 meeting, the SBE directed CDE to bring this issue back for discussion and to reopen the 2023 accountability workplan.


CDE’s annual workplan reviews the state and local indicators and performance standards and addresses suggested revisions or updates in the workplan each March.


CDE provided the following short-term and long-term options for the Board’s consideration in July.


Short-term modifications (for implementation on the 2023 Dashboard)


Modify the:

  • Option 1a: Cut Points for Status and/or Change Levels, or
  • Option 1b: Performance Level Color Scheme for Five-by-Five Colored Grid, or
  • Option 1c: Chronically Absent Student Calculation Methodology


Long-term modifications (for implementation beyond the 2023 Dashboard)


  • Option 2a: Modify the granularity of information collected around student absences
  • Option 2b: Replace the Chronic Absenteeism Indicator from the Dashboard for accountability purposes


Due to the timing of the request for this item, these options have not been vetted through the CDE’s technical or policy work groups, so this item was for information only. While the Board acknowledged that there was not enough time to make changes in time for the 2023 Dashboard, multiple Members did express interest in having CDE explore Option 2a more as well as looking at other ways LEAs may be able to recapture attendance. The Board will continue to provide guidance and direction for any changes they would like to see explored for the Chronic absenteeism Indicator as part of the 2023 accountability workplan.


Other Items & Waivers


There were a number of other items heard at the July 2023 meeting. Information on those items can be found in other items In addition, there were several waivers discussed at the hearing.


Please let us know if you would like any additional information on any of the items above. 



Lee Angela Reid & Caitlin Jung

Capitol Advisors Group