My DC is at a progressive K-8 and will be in 6th grade next year. She's doing well in school but I have always thought math was a particular weakness at this school. I went to school in a large public school system where they unapologetically tracked the kids, so advanced kids were taking algebra in 7th or 8th. Here, there is an de-emphasis on tracking (though in practice they do differentiate). The information on how they teach math is frustratingly vague as there is no class called "pre-Algebra" or "Algebra" -- it's all just Math 7 or 8. Some kids are more advanced than others and math is very much a subject which builds on itself -- how are they going to be ready for advance HS math if they don't get an explicit class in Algebra?

Yes, I could ask the school for more info on it, but I don't feel like getting into it with them right now. And the school tends to be in line with other somewhat progressive schools in the city in how they approach things, so I'm hoping people can provide info on the general progressive private approach.

I think nearly all schools do pre-algebra in 7 and algebra in 8. I'd bet your school is mostly doing that but calls it Math 7 and 8?

If you are in NYC there is no way that "Math 8" is not algebra, which means Math 7 is pre-algebra.

OP: Thanks, I think you are right based on this guidance and descriptions of topics from the school. Gah, why do they have to be so coy -- just call it what it is! I don't want to read your flowery descriptions of "Students will explore number theory and blah blah blah..." and "Students are challenged to explore their sense of numbers..." -- just tell me, this a standard Algebra I curriculum or not?

In this pandemic, my patience is less than it normally is, which is saying something. :)

I totally get it! I don't know why schools have to be so confusing about math. I sometimes go on the DCUrbanMom board and the INSANE names for the various math classes in Fairfax County middle schools are enough to give someone an aneurysm. I guess we're lucky? :D

OP: I think it's to confuse us so much that there is less pushback from the parents on what they are doing. : D Like how they teach math. I can't tell if my DC is ahead, behind or someplace out in left field because the curriculum is totally not in sync with how it was taught in my day. Like I was trying to help my DC out with a math problem the other day; I thought it required long division -- she had no idea of the algorithm we used to do long division, she had some other way suggested by the teacher and we both walked away totally confused by the other. That's one of getting parents off your back!

@Anonymous Did it involve drawing rectangles?