Addressing Math Misplacement

On October 5, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law California Senate Bill 359, a bill to address the persistent but previously little-known problem of “math misplacement.” The legislation, authored by Senator Holly J. Mitchell and sponsored by Silicon Valley Community Foundation, marked the first time SVCF has sponsored state legislation. 

Math misplacement occurs when students are held back in math even though objective measures such as grades and test scores indicate they should advance to the next course. When this happens, students are frequently derailed from being able to complete all the courses they need to be competitive applicants for California colleges and universities during four years of high school. This hurts the state’s ability to close the academic achievement gap, which is critical to developing a highly-skilled, diverse and educated workforce that can keep California competitive in a global economy.

By sponsoring SB 359, SVCF led the charge to address math misplacement by making sure all California school districts adopt fair and transparent math placement policies that take multiple objective measures into consideration. Accurate placement is essential to preparing students for a college track and/or readiness for growing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).


California Mathematics Placement Act of 2015 (SB 359) Supporters

State Government

  • Senator Holly Mitchell (Author)
  • California Legislative Black Caucus (Caucus Endorsement and Priority)
  • Assembly Member Reginald Jones-Sawyer (Co-Author)
  • Senator Jim Beall (Co-Author)
  • Senator Loni Hancock (Co-Author)

Education Leadership

  • The Foundation for Hispanic Education
  • ALearn
  • Breakthrough Silicon Valley
  • Trash for Teaching
  • Innovate Public Schools
  • California School Boards Association (CSBA)
  • Association of California School Administrators (ACSA)
  • California Parents and Teachers Association (CA PTA)
  • Sixth District Parents and Teachers Association
  • California STEM Learning Network
  • Education Trust-West
  • Children Now
  • Silicon Valley Education Foundation
  • Asian Pacific Islander School Board Members
  • San Mateo County Office of Education
  • Inyo County Office of Education
  • Ventura County Office of Education
  • Santa Barbara County Education Office
  • Kern County Office of Education
  • Orange County Office of Education
  • San Francisco Unified School District
  • South San Francisco Unified School District
  • Moreno Valley Unified School District
  • Campbell Union High School District
  • Campbell Union School District
  • Brisbane and Bayshore School Districts
  • Jefferson Elementary School District
  • Orchard School District

Business Groups

  • San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce
  • Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG)
  • Orange County Business Council
  • Bay Area Council
  • Bayer Corporation
  • Seagate Technology
  • Progress Investment Management Company, LLC
  • TechNet
  • REAL Coalition
  • TMR Consulting Services, LLC

Civil Rights Groups

  • California National Association of Colored People (CA NAACP) (Co-Sponsor)
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
  • Equal Justice Society
  • Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights of the Bay Area (LCCR)
  • Public Advocates
  • Alliance for Boys and Men of Color

Higher Education

  • University of California
  • Association of Hispanic Colleges and Universities


  • Silicon Valley Community Foundation (Sponsor)
  • League of California Community Foundations
  • Community Foundation for San Benito County
  • Community Foundation Santa Cruz County
  • Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley
  • Chamberlin Family Foundation
  • Marin Community Foundation
  • The Sobrato Family Foundation
  • Real Medicine Foundation
  • Pan-African Women’s Philanthropy Network (PAWPNet)

Faith Based

  • St. James Community Foundation
  • Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County

Individuals and Organizations

  • Barry Lawson Williams
  • Ironbox Education
  • California Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
  • Pacific Islander Community Partnership
  • Pacific Gas & Electric Company
  • Darryl Adams
  • Gloria Adams
  • Gary Waddell
  • Anne Macdonald
  • Julie Miraglia Kwon
  • PolicyLink
  • Ravenswood Family Health Center
  • Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula
  • Old Black Guys
  • Julie Miraglia Kwon
  • CS Park
  • Gordon Yamate
  • Tobi Sondgroth Becerra
  • Dennis Robinson
  • Jessica Belsky
  • Rebecca Dupras
  • Michelle Fries
  • Remy Goldsmith
  • Alison Elliott
  • Jill Rademacher
  • Misti Sangani
  • Claudia Kelly
  • Vu-Bang Nguyen
  • Claire Verrot
  • Allan Ocon
  • Walter Moore
  • Harvey Schloss
  • Gabrielle and Jeffery Miller
  • Silvia Villa

Learn More

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights - Held Back Report
Noyce Foundation - Pathways Report:Dead Ends and Wrong Turns on the Path Through Algebra
SVCF - Getting it Right Toolkit
SVCF - Sample School District Math Placement Policy
Senate, California Legislature - California State Resolution No. 60