PA Coalition for World Class Math

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Quote of the Month: 

"A study by the state

Office of Superintendent of 
Public Instruction has labeled the Discovering series as
'mathematically unsound'
but concluded it aligned with
the state's educational
standards."

 

                      Everyday Math Woes in Pottstown, PA 10/05/15

Excerpt: "he effectiveness of Everyday Math, a multi-grade mathematics curriculum into which the Pottsgrove School District invested more than $309,000 during mid-2013, is now being questioned by not only Pottsgrove officials but those in five other area districts as well, the Board of School Directors heard Tuesday (Sept. 29, 2015).... Due in part to declining scores on state standardized tests, Pottsgrove administrators acknowledged in August they were re-evaluating how well Everyday Math worked. They’ve since found they are not alone." The full article is here.

             11 West Virginia counties dump integrated math 6/18/2015

Excerpt: "it was announced during a West Virginia Board of Education meeting that 11 county school districts had completed waivers to opt out of the new integrated course curriculum in favor of returning to the traditional math course curriculum." The full story is here.

         B. C. Parents want direct instruction in math 2/5/2015 (British Columbia)

Excerpt: "She believes new learning methods don't stand up to research that supports explicit, direct instruction and memorization, adding that the U.K. and Australia had abandoned the new methods since adopting them."  The full story is here.

                   Winnetka parents petition board to dump Investigations 12/9/2014 (IL)

Excerpt: "Alarmed that 34 percent of the third-graders at Winnetka Public Schools District 36 did not meet state standards in mathematics on the 2014 ISAT tests, some residents are raising alarms about the test scores.Dozens of residents signed a petition and letter, presented to the school board at a November meeting, asking that the district replace its math curriculum materials, TERC Investigations, which is now taught to students in kindergarten through 5th g rade."  The full story is here.

                                 Radnor parents protest Everyday Math 10/28/14

Excerpt:  "This Tuesday, Oct. 28, we are bringing a petition to the Radnor School Board that has been signed by 95 district parents and teachers representing hundreds of past, current and future Radnor students. The petition implores the Board to get started and get more serious about the review process for our current K-5 math curriculum, Everyday Math....

"Parents are frustrated about K-5 math in Radnor as a whole, because the everyday reality of putting Everyday Math at its foundation is this: an egregious amount of tutoring, supplementation and remediation both during the elementary school years, and certainly after when students get to Algebra and higher math.

"Parents are spending a small fortune on Kumon, on Mathnasium, and on math tutors that bill at $75-80 an hour. Parents who pay very high school property taxes leave for private and parochial schools citing their K-5 math experience in RTSD as a key reason.

"Parents are being told to get their children online every night to practice math facts -- without any consideration to 1) learning quality in the 12th hour of a child’s day, 2) family down time, 3) the management of this with households of three and four children, 4) what else children see and find online, and 5) what pediatricians direct to parents on limiting screen time.

Read the petition here:

https://www.change.org/p/radnor-township-school-board-directors-superintendent-michael-kelly-and-his-staff-change-the-rtsd-k-5-math-textbook-and-curriculum-to-something-better-than-everyday-math-implement-it-for-fall-2016

A sampling of ​parent and teacher ​comments: “Everyday Math is a train wreck.” “Get rid of it and fast. It’s too late for my kids, but….” “As a high school math teacher, I am spending too much time teaching basic topics that should have been covered in grade school.”"

The full letter is here.

                Pelham adopts Math in Focus to replace Investigations 6/24/2014 (NY)

Excerpt: "The Pelham Board of Education has approved the use of the book "Math in Focus: Singapore Math" by Marshall Cavendish as the new textbook series starting in grades three-five for the 2014-15 school year. " The full article is here.

                          Seattle dumps Everyday Math; Adopts Math in Focus 6/9/2014 

Excerpt: "Critics said Everyday Mathematics was especially difficult for struggling readers and English language learners. Parents and teachers said it was tough for kids to understand and skipped quickly between topics, without ensuring mastery."  The full story is here.

                   Ithaca dumps Everyday Math, adopts Singapore math 10/23/2013 (NY)

Excerpt: "Talcott recalled the recent history of elementary math at ICSD, starting with the election of Jane Koestler to Elementary Math Curriculum Chair in the 2011-2012 school year. Upon election Koestler restarted the defunct math committee, bringing together teachers and administrators to meet and talk about math. During these meetings it became clear the math program ICSD was using, “Everyday Math,” was not meeting the needs of teachers and students.

During these meetings it became clear the math program ICSD was using, “Everyday Math,” was not meeting the needs of teachers and students. 'Everyday Math is a program with a spiral or cyclical format,' Talcott explained, 'the idea was as kids spiral through the program—learning coins today, for example, and coming back to it in a couple of weeks—they’ll master certain concepts. We found that wasn’t the case.' . . . . We went on site visits to check out the top two programs and landed on “Singapore Math,”  ... said Talcott, who was a first grade teacher at the time.  Specifically, they chose the Primary Mathematics program, a version of Singapore Math, which Talcott described as 'very well-sequenced; the concepts build on one another. The program is a three-step process focused on taking mathematical concepts from the concrete to the pictorial and then the abstract.” The full article is here.

                   Everyday controversy continues in Three Village NY 10/16/2013

Excerpt: "During the board meeting, Erickson, a third-grade teacher in Port Jefferson, also shared her reservations about the Everyday Math program. 'It's not aligned with the Common Core Learning Standards,' she said. Her concerns were compounded by the fact that students were without their math workbooks weeks after the start of the new school year.  'We are aware that it doesn't align with the core,' said Kevin Scanlon, assistant superintendent for educational services."  The full article is here.

                                   Anchorage dumps Everyday Math 8/20/2013

Excerpt: "Anchorage elementary and middle school students will start the school year with a new, more traditional math curriculum that emphasizes learning addition, subtraction and other basic math skills one at a time.... Critics, including some in Alaska, say Common Core Standards amount to a sneaky federal takeover of education. Some 45 states have adopted the standards. Alaska has not adopted them, but the Anchorage district voted to in 2012.... It's a departure from "Everyday Math," .... Parents complained that they didn't get it and couldn't help their kids with homework.  Kids were "discombobulated" by the approach, said Karla Scherbaum, who has been teaching math in the district for 19 years and currently teaches sixth grade math at Begich Middle School. The district began looking for a new math textbook after a 2011 review of K-8 math recommended ditching Everyday Math."  The full article is here.

Compliance with Common Core reduces number of students taking calculus in high school Reading, MA 8/15/13

Excerpt:"Reading is one of the first districts statewide to redesign its math curriculum to align with the Common Core State Standards Initiative, preparation for national English and math tests for public school students. However, the change has drawn protests from a number of parents.... The district has adopted a new sequence that leaves more than 80 percent of eighth-graders without a direct path to a high school calculus course. Only 18 percent will be enrolled in algebra 1, compared with 60 percent to 65 percent in previous years, according to Craig Martin, Reading’s assistant superintendent for learning and teaching."

The full article is here.

                            Giving kids iPads won't solve the education challenge  8/9/2013

Excerpt: "You've no doubt read the news that Los Angeles is distributing 640,000 iPads to K-12 students, which is a big win for Apple and yet another sign that the PC is in decline. .... However, technology doesn't teach -- and it often doesn't help teach, either.

"I've been in the business of covering technology since 1982, back when the IBM PC was new and the Apple IIe was the great hope for schools. ..

"Regardless of the device or platform, it hasn't worked, has it? In fact, a ton of research shows the lack of correlation between computers and learning....

T"echnophiles see the world through the lens of technology, so of course they propose technology solutions to nearly every problem. Vendors are happy to profit from that, and frustrated parents and politicians are happy to stop thinking and just buy a silver bullet."

The full piece is here.

                         Great Valley SD adopts Singapore Math 8/7/13 (PA)

Excerpt: "Great Valley School District is implementing a new elementary math curriculum [Math in Focus] or the 2013-14 school year....The changes are being made to help the district align better with the new Pennsylvania Common Core Standards, Beck said."

The full article is here.

                                      Haverford SD dumps EM; adopts Singapore Math

Excerpt: "The School District of Haverford Township is pleased to announce the implementation over the next two years of a new math curriculum, Math In Focus (Singapore Math) for grades 3-6 this school year (2013-14) and grades K-2 next school year (2014-15).  After a year of research including significant teacher analysis and discussions, two public presentations to the Board of School Directors, full consideration of building and central staff administration and the thoughtful oversight of the Board Curriculum leadership, a consensus emerged that Math In Focus is the superior math curriculum and program.  The Math In Focus curriculum is better organized and provides the depth and repetition needed for mastery of required skills." More information is here

                        Unionville-Chadds Ford SD adopts Singapore Math (PA) (7/10/13)

Excerpt: "In the upcoming school year, students in kindergarten through sixth grade in the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District will be facing some changes. The district is implementing the Math in Focus-Singapore Math curriculum to align with the new Pennsylvania Common Core standards." The full article is here.

                                              EM woes in Haverford SD (PA) (6/5/13)

Excerpt: "Our elementary teachers have been examining the current math program since summer 2012.The current math program is EDM (Everyday Math) 2007 edition...."The outcome of the lengthy face to face meeting was that our staff felt that EDM 2012 did not address their concerns, and that in EDM’s attempt to prepare for the impending Common Core and to make more resources available online EDM had become very challenging to implement well in the classroom. For example, for teachers seeking to differentiate for students based on their specific needs, materials were scattered and not readily accessible.

"We have surveyed our teachers and based on their experience with EDM there is overwhelming support for change: 108 teachers were surveyed (included all that presently use the EDM program); 100 teachers responded. Results: 65% recommended “change to another program;” 9% stay with EDM 2007; 9% change to EDM 2012; remaining responses included 'change to a specifically named program; “I need more information,' etc.
The full article is here.

                            Settlement reached in CPM "Algebra" dispute (Fairfield 7/25/13)

Excerpt: "The five parents who filed the complaint with state education officials over use of the CPM Algebra 1 book during the last academic year have agreed to withdraw their complaint against Fairfield school officials, and the state's Board of Education and commissioner will not require or ask for any further action by the local board.

The Board of Education unanimously approved the settlement terms in a closed-door session Wednesday. The agreement states the board does not "in any way admit" the complaint has merit or that the board violated policy, while the parents do no admit that entering into the agreement means their complaint had no merit." The full article is here.

                               Hooksett Dumps Everyday Math (5/8/2013) (NH)

Excerpt: "After testing several programs, the Hooksett School Board voted May 7 to adopt Math In Focus, a program Superintendent Dr. Charles P. Littlefield described as a "world class mathematics program," as the district's new math program, replacing the controversial Everyday Math program that is currently used." The full article is here.

    PS 150 rebels; uses PTA money to replace Investigations with Math in Focus 6/3/2013 (NY)

Excerpt: "With the backing of the PTA, the school’s new principal, Jenny Bon­net, is dumping a math program that has long been a staple of PS 150 and other Down­town elementary schools. Parents recently voted to spend $15,000 of PTA money for a more traditional program for the school. It is mo­deled after a method used in Sing­a­pore that is popular among homeschoolers and that several PS 150 parents al­ready use to supplement their children’s learning. The program they have rejected, In­vest­igations, is a product of TERC, an education re­search organization. The method got an early start in the 1990s at Tribeca’s PS 234, a pioneer in progressive math instruction. - See more at: http://www.tribecatrib.com/content/ps-150-becomes-math-rebel-among-progressive-downtown-schools#sthash.EheZVHFC.dpuf" The full story is here.

                        South Orange-Maplewood dumps Everyday Math 10/8/2012  (NJ)

Excerpt: "The district announced the new program to the community last year. It replaces the former curriculum, Everyday Math. Math in Focus will be implemented in grades 3-5 in the 2013-2014 school year"  The full article is here.

                      Wallingford-Swarthmore dumps Everyday Math (PA) (6/30/2012)

Excerpt: "Capping off a review begun last year, a team of district math educators presented its recommendations for a new program during the most recent school board meeting. The team proposed switching from “Everyday Math” curriculum to one called “Math in Focus.” ... Team leader and Strath Haven High School Math Department Chair Cathy Stambaugh said the new direction would entail a move away from the “mile-wide, inch-deep” approach and allow for a more solid understanding of math concepts. " The full article is here.

      Montgomery County parents concerned about CC math curriculum changes (6/20/2012)

Excerpt: "Some feel needs of advanced students have been ‘abandoned’ .... In a school system in which excelling in math has come to mean skipping a grade level or two, members of the Montgomery County Board of Education say some parents are having a hard time accepting that their students will do anything less." The full article is here.

                            West Yellowstone SD dumps Everyday Math (6/19/2012)

Excerpt:  “'There’s unity in the decision,' superintendent Calton said of the math teachers’ recommendation [to replace Everyday Math]. The new curriculum was piloted in the first, fourth and fifth grades this past year, she said, and there are too many discrepancies and holes in the Everyday Math that we were teaching.  ''The staff is really interested in trying to shore this up,' Calton said, 'because we don’t want to admire this problem. We want to attack it and we want to make sure we’re doing the best that we can for our students.'”  The article is here.

  Google donates $1 million to local schools to support Explicit Direct Instruction (6/14/2012)

Excerpt: "The grant -- earmarked to support the implementation of a program known as "Explicit Direct Instruction," or EDI, and the introduction of high-tech teaching methods to help socioeconomically challenged students -- is the second $1 million donation the locally based search giant has awarded the district in as many years, and comes in response to the success of last year's grant, a Google official said."  The full story is here.

           Students attending Manhattan's progressive "Blue School" can't read (6/13/2012)

Excerpt: "Parents are stunned to find that their children can’t read after enrolling them in the 'progressive' Blue School of Manhattan, founded by Blue Man Group performers and their wives.  Costing close to $32,000 a year, the exclusive school– which has been featured by CNN and the New York Times– describes its mission as being 'to cultivate creative, joyful and passionate inquirers who use courageous and innovative thinking to build a harmonious and sustainable world.'  ... Now, the New York Post reports, parents are withdrawing their children in droves and teachers are leaving en masse." The full article is here.

                            Hudson dumps Connected Math (OH) (6/6/2012)

                                Medford dumps Everyday Math (NJ) (5/30/2012)

Excerpt: "Thomas Olson, administrative director of programming and planning, spoke at length about the need for an adoption of a new program more in line with the Common Core Standards.... The current plan, Everyday Math 2007, isn’t meeting the needs of the common core, says Olson.... Costs for the new program will be less than the current one, officials said, particularly on-going costs, and the new program reportedly gives the teachers who piloted it the confidence that there will be less of the student struggles that they sometimes see with the current program." The full article is here.

                                Texas standards: no calculators K-5 (4/19/2012)

Excerpt: "Texas school children should not use calculators until they learn to work through math problems the old-fashioned way — on paper, State Board of Education members said Thursday.  The board on Thursday tentatively approved new math curriculum standards designed to add rigor while encouraging students from kindergarten through fifth grade to learn basic math without the aid of calculators." The full story is here.

Bedford Central dumps Math Trailblazers; adopts Math in Focus (3/23/2012) NY

Excerpt: "Math in Focus, which is published by Houghton Mufflin, will replace Math Trailblazers, which the district has used for a decade, according to Patrick.  Feedback was gathered from parents and staff had a role in shaping the process leading to the selection, Patrick explained." The full story is here.

                               Everyday Math under fire in Medford, NJ (3/22/2012)

Excerpt: "Everyday Math does not prepare students for middle school math, just ask any math or science teacher at Memorial or Haines. There is a huge disconnect between Everyday Math and the rest of your child’s academic career." The full piece is here.

      Sask. province requests parent feedback on controversial math curiculum (2/27/2012)

Excerpt: "Saskatchewan’s Education Ministry is requesting feedback from parents about the controversial new math curriculum being taught in provincial schools. 'Because there has been some public awareness to this issue and to this concern, I have received some — but not a flood of — correspondence from parents who have raised concerns,'  Education Minister Donna Harpauer said Monday. 'And I think it would only be useful if I opened up the forum so that parents could contact us.' Concerns about the recently introduced math curriculum, which is consistent among western provinces and territories, have been raised by university professors, including in Saskatchewan, Harpauer said."  The full article is here.

                             NYC releases data on teacher performance (2/24/2012)

Excerpt: "After a long legal battle and amid much anguish by teachers and other educators, the New York City Education Department released individual performance rankings of 18,000 public school teachers on Friday, while admonishing the news media not to use the scores to label or pillory teachers." The full article is here.

                          Indiana senate to study impact of Common Core Standards

Excerpt: "Members of the Senate Committee on Education today unanimously approved a resolution authored by Sen. Scott Schneider (R-Indianapolis) urging a more in-depth study on Common Core State Standards and the impact on Indiana's nationally recognized education benchmarks. 'Indiana has long been acknowledged nationally for having high education standards and many are concerned that moving to Common Core State Standards would be a significant step away from the expectations we currently have in math and English," Schneider said. "It's my hope the study committee will thoroughly examine national standards compared to locally developed state standards to ensure we are not going backwards' " The full article is here.

              Upper Arlington math retarded by Common Core standards? (2/20/2012) OH

Excerpt: "Some parents voiced their objections to proposed math course progression changes at the Feb. 13 meeting of the Upper Arlington Board of Education. Mary Lynn Caswell, the mother of three children in the UA district, said the new course progression will funnel all seventh-grade students who are taking either Pre-Algebra or Math 7 into a class called Common Core 8. Under the proposed course progression, these students will take Algebra I in the ninth grade, Geometry in the tenth grade, Algebra II in the 11th grade and Pre-Calculus in the 12th grade. Previously, seventh-grade Pre-Algebra students went on to take Algebra I in the eighth grade, advancing the course progression by one year. 'The problem is the new progression defers Algebra II until the junior year,' Caswell said. 'The math portion of the SAT contains Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II. The vast majority of our seventh grade students will sit for the SAT and the ACT without completing Algebra II.'" The full article is here.

                             Everyday Math under fire in Berkeley, WV (2/18/2012)

Excerpt: "The fact remains that the county has introduced a highly controversial math curriculum with vital flaws in its methodology. Parents, mathematicians, and scientists all over the country have been calling this program 'weak' for over a decade. Leading mathematicians and scientists call this program 'fuzzy' and 'contructivist" math.'  The full piece is here.

              Former textbook writer and editor raises alarm about quality (2/17/2012)

Excerpt: "There may be a reason you can’t figure out some of those math problems in your son or daughter’s math text and it might have nothing at all to do with you. That math homework you're trying to help your child muddle through might include problems with no possible solution. It could be that key information or steps are missing, that the problem involves a concept your child hasn’t yet been introduced to, or that the math problem is structurally unsound for a host of other reasons. I have worked for over 20 years in educational publishing as a product developer, writer, and editor of curriculum materials for grades K-8. I’ve worked directly for textbook publishers and supplemental publishers (supplemental being those books that are adjuncts to the text), start-ups and large publishing houses. I’ve attended countless sales meetings, product meetings, and planning sessions, seen and taken part in the inner workings of a successful textbook from inception to completion. Over the course of my career, I’ve had the privilege of working with publishers dedicated to producing the best materials possible. Because of them, I was able to produce several successful reading, math, and assessment programs and make a darn good living doing it.  Best of all, I was able to feel proud of those books to which my name was attached. But there are no longer many projects that allow such a feeling to take hold. Why? Because the “new normal” among too many publishers is a severe lack of oversight in the quality of curriculum being produced, and a frightening prevalence of apathy to do anything about it." The full piece is here.

          Pelham parents launch YouTube channel to oppose Investigations (2/16/2012) NY

Excerpt: "The Pelham Math Committee, a local organization looking to replace the current mathematics curriculum in the public schools, has started a YouTube channel to spread its message to more residents. The first videos, a total of nine, are from the committee’s Jan. 24 Community Math Night, which was well attended by concerned Pelham parents and three experts in mathematics education. The night focused on why the current math curriculum in Pelham, “Investigations,” is detrimental to a child’s education as they advance into high school and college." The full article is here.

                Opposition to Everyday and Connected Math in Medford, NJ (2/15/2012)

                               Parents Union, Students First join forces (2/14/12) CT

                                   Teacher ratings to go public in NYC (2/14/2012)

Excerpt: "New York City has been cleared to release performance reports for thousands of teachers after a state court on Tuesday declined to hear a final appeal from the city’s teachers union to keep the information private. The reports, which rate teachers against their peers, were created in 2008 under former Chancellor Joel Klein as part of a push to evaluate educators using student test scores. They use a complex formula to try to isolate each individual teacher’s effect on their students’ performance, adjusting for factors such as poverty, class size and absenteeism." The full article is here.

                 Parents oppose block scheduling in Arlington, VA (2/12/12) Wash. Post

Excerpt: "Few [schools] had adopted block scheduling in recent years until Arlington County sparked a parent rebellion this year with a plan to install block scheduling in all five county middle schools." The full article is here.

          Integrated Math out; Algebra in at Greencastle-Antrim High School (PA) 2/09/2012

Excerpt: "The math department will eliminate Integrated Math courses, which carried a certain stigma for students. Instead, struggling students will take Elements of Algebra, followed by Algebra I in ninth-grade. The next year they will take Elements of Geometry and Geometry. In both cases, students would be ready for the spring Keystone Exams." The full article is here.

        PA among 11 states declining to apply for NCLB waiver for now (Wash Post 2/8/2011)

Excerpt: " Some of the nation’s largest states are questioning whether the Obama administration’s offer to let them escape certain mandates of the No Child Left Behind law is a helping hand to improve education or a means to impose more federal control. . . . California, Pennsylvania, and Texas are among 11 states that haven’t asked for a waiver, although they could apply later. Pennsylvania’s top educator said the offer doesn’t make sense, in part because of political realities." The full article is here.

             Pioneer Institute's white paper raises concerns about Common Core (Feb 2012)

PI's new white paper is here.

                             CVCC's new remedial math: Not one size fits all (2/03/12) VA

                 "integrated Math" out; Algebra in at Greencastle (PA) (2/02/2012)

Excerpt: "'As you are aware, (the high school) is on a warning list this year because of our PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment) math scores,' [Principal] Rife said . . . For those struggling in math, Rife recommended eliminating integrated math courses, and adding a full year of algebra and a full-year of geometry." The full article is here.

                    Everyday and Connected Math under fire in Medford (NJ) (2/02/2012)

Excerpt: "The inadequacies of the Everyday Math and Connected Math programs used in the Medford school district, have been highly criticized among both educators and parents nationwide for 20 years. This 'new math' was developed in an attempt to improve math education, but has been proven to only make matters worse. In Medford, many parents have recognized the failings of the curriculum since it was implemented six years ago." The full letter is here.

  National Council on Teacher Quality: D+ for PA in 2011 (slight improvement from D in 2009)

Delivering Well Prepared Teachers 2011: C; 2009: D+                                                                                                                      Expanding the Teaching Pool  2011: C; 2009 C-                                                                                                                             Identifying Effective Teachers 2011 D+; 2009: D                                                                                                                               Retaining Effective Teachers 2011 D+; 2009 D+                                                                                                                                     Exiting Ineffective Teachers 2011 F; 2009 D-

The full report is here.

http://www.nctq.org/stpy11/reports/stpy11_pennsylvania_report.pdf

                    Pennsylvania Science Standards receive "D" from Fordham (1/31/2012)

Excerpt:"Overall, the Pennsylvania science standards are inadequate and earn a dismal average score of two out of seven for content and rigor."  The full report is here.

Everyday Math out; Algebra in 8th grade in at Rye Middle School (Greenwich, CT) (1/30/2012)

Excerpt: "It is a shocking statistic: Barely half of the 2004 Greenwich High School graduates who went on to college received their degrees, according to a report requested by the state Board of Regents of Higher Education released in late December. That places Greenwich 41st among Connecticut public high schools -- not a place we should be comfortable given all this town can offer students. Of course, everyone wants to know why the graduation rate is only 53 percent, and more important, what can be done to significantly improve that percentage. Fortunately, there is an easily understood and widely accepted leading indicator for college graduation: successful completion of algebra by the eighth grade....To see how dramatic, wholesale change can be achieved, the Board of Education should take a field trip to Rye Middle School, where an educator from Greenwich is achieving what in the business world would be described as a Big Hairy Goal: 100 percent of eighth-graders taking Algebra 1....Making every eighth-grader take Algebra 1 would be simple: Just throw them all into Algebra 1 and let the X's and Y's fall where they may. But remember: Passing Algebra 1, not just taking it, is the indicator of college success. 'Schools that don't plan run into trouble,' explained Rye Middle School Principal Ann Edwards. 'We've been planning this for several years. We told this year's seventh-graders when they were in fourth grade that they all would be taking algebra in the eighth grade.' When those students started fifth grade, they were the first Rye students to use a new math curriculum based on the widely praised Singapore approach to math. Called Expressions, the curriculum replaced Everyday Math, the same curriculum used today in Greenwich." The full article is here.

                      Singapore Math for Winona Area Catholic Schools (MN) (1/29/2012)                  

Excerpt: "Math in the youngest grades at St. Stanislaus School looks different this year. More time is spent on fewer units. The textbooks have been replaced with thinner ones chock full of bright pictures. And students are raising their hands like never before. Winona Area Catholic Schools is part of a growing number of districts and school systems across the country hoping to emulate the mathematical success of Singapore, where students have ranked at or near the top on international math exams since the 1990s, by implementing the system developed in the small Asian island country." The full article is here.

                      "Investigations" creating controversy in Waterloo, IO (1/26/2012)

Excerp: "Waterloo Community Schools officials admit a new elementary math curriculum has been a struggle for some teachers to implement. . . . He noted conversations with parents who believe their children's learning is not progressing because of the new curriculum. Young said the district's emphasis has to be to help educate parents about the new curriculum 'and also correct problems in the implementation.'" The full article is here.

            Mathematicians join battle against "investigations" in Pelham (NY) (1/24/2012)

Excerpt: "Three professors, who are considered experts in math education, spoke to numerous parents of children in elementary and high school Tuesday night at the Daronco Town House about what they said were necessary skills for students to learn in order to prepare themselves for college level mathematics. The first annual Pelham Community Math Night was hosted by the Pelham Math Committee and featured Alan Siegel of New York University and Stanley Ocken and Ethan Akin of City College of the City University of New York. The Pelham Math Committee was founded in December by a group of Pelham parents looking to improve math education in Pelham schools because they consider the elementary education curriculum, called 'Investigations,' to be inadequate. The group started a petition to have Investigations removed from the schools." The full article is here.

                                 Fuzzy math under fire in Hudson (OH) (12/19/2012)

Excerpt: "Cal State University professor David Klein's 2007 editorial in The American Journal of Physics put it this way, 'The National Science Foundation logo, prominently displayed on promotional materials for its math programs, has become a warning symbol for parents of school children. It identifies programs that are best avoided, much like the skull-and-cross-bones symbol on poisons.' The current middle school text, Connected Math 2, is a NSF funded textbooks and a newer version is being considered." The full letter is here.

                                               Fuzzy Math in Malta (1/19/2012)

Excerpt: "Children are no longer being taught the traditionally 'efficient' way to calculate maths problems in primary schools, but the 'new' Abacus system has led parents and teachers to grumble about the lengthened process for pupils to be taught how to work out a simple addition sum. " The full article is here.

                                 Extreme measures in New Hampshire (1/16/2012)

Excerpt: "The tea party and Free-Staters in the New Hampshire Legislature . . . pushed through a poorly thought-out bill (HB 542) that gave parents the right to force schools to change any lesson for any student within a class if the parent found it objectionable. As stated by Bill Duncan in the Portsmouth Herald, a teacher at a committee meeting on the bill said members 'specifically mentioned Everyday Math. They did not like Everyday Math, because parents didn't understand it.'" The full letter is here.

        Edgemont (NY) "ditches" Everyday Math; adopts Singapore Math in Focus (1/11/2012)

Excerpt: "The district ditched Everyday Math for Math In Focus this year as it searched for a kindergarten-through-fifth-grade course that would better prepare students for the rigors of high school math, according to Gerry Stoughton, board of education president." The full article is here.

                       "Big Study Links Good Teachers to Lasting Gains" NYT 1/6/2012

Excerpt: "Elementary- and middle-school teachers who help raise their students’ standardized-test scores seem to have a wide-ranging, lasting positive effect on those students’ lives beyond academics, including lower teenage-pregnancy rates and greater college matriculation and adult earnings, according to a new study that tracked 2.5 million students over 20 years. The paper, by Raj Chetty and John N. Friedman of Harvard and Jonah E. Rockoff of Columbia, all economists, examines a larger number of students over a longer period of time with more in-depth data than many earlier studies, allowing for a deeper look at how much the quality of individual teachers matters over the long term. . . . Replacing a poor teacher with an average one would raise a single classroom’s lifetime earnings by about $266,000, the economists estimate. Multiply that by a career’s worth of classrooms. 'If you leave a low value-added teacher in your school for 10 years, rather than replacing him with an average teacher, you are hypothetically talking about $2.5 million in lost income,' said Professor Friedman, one of the coauthors. " The full article is here.

                         New problems with "integrated" math in Georgia (1/6/2012)

Excerpt: "Several Gwinnett parents contacted Channel 2 Action News in outrage after their children brought home a math assignment that referenced slavery and beatings. . . . [One] question was a word problem that said, 'Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?' Another math problem said, 'If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in 1 one week?'  [District spokesperson] Roach explained the teachers were trying to incorporate social studies lessons into the math problems, which is something the school district encourages." The full article is here.

Opposition to Everyday Math cited as among reasons for NH curriculum law (1/6/2012)

Excerpt: "Overriding a veto, New Hampshire's Republican-led legislature this week approved a measure requiring school districts to give parents the opportunity to seek alternatives to any aspect of the school curriculum they find objectionable. . . . In an interview with the Huffington Post, the bill's lead sponsor, Rep. J.R. Hoell, emphasized that the new law permits parents to address both moral and academic objections to the curriculum. The Republican lawmaker said he could imagine the provision being used by parents who disagree with the 'whole language' approach to reading instruction or the Everyday Mathematics program. " The full entry is here.

                                  Singapore Math gaining ground in U. S. (1/5/2012)

Excerpt: "Memorizing times tables may be a way of the past. A new method of teaching math in elementary school, called Singapore math, has become increasingly popular with teachers. . . . The Saginaw Township Community Schools district in Saginaw, Mich. has implemented the program into all five of its elementary schools, and is looking to implement it into its middle schools as well. . . . In 1992, the second edition [of Singapore Math] was created that placed an even stronger focus on problem solving using model drawing as a method for problem solving. Once the Southeast Asian country began leading the world in elementary math education in 1995, other countries began to take notice and import their math books. Part of the draw of this teaching method is that it slows down the learning process, allowing students to learn at their own pace. This allows the student to build a solid foundation in basic math skills to move on toward more complex problems. It also allows the pace to be accelerated by the fourth and fifth grade as comprehension of complex concepts is increased. 'Our old program, Everyday Math, did not do that,' Danielle Santoro, assistant principal of Public School 132 in Brooklyn, N.Y. that introduced Singapore math last year, said to The New York Times. "One day it could be money, the next day it could be time, and you would not get back to those concepts until a week later.' Teachers and principals, who have switched to the Singapore method, are finding that the hands-on method of learning has students picking up on concepts quicker, and increasing their comprehension and problem solving. For example, Rosalie Carr, a first grade teacher in New Haven, Conn., has found great success as she has implemented the program into her curriculum." The full article is here.

                        "Teachers Resist High-Tech Push in Idaho Schools" NYT 1/4/2012

Excerpt: "Last year, the [Idaho] state legislature overwhelmingly passed a law that requires all high school students to take some online classes tograduate, and that the students and their teachers be given laptops or tablets. The idea was to establish Idaho's schools as a high-tech vanguard. . . . This change is part of a broader shift that is creating tension - a tension that is especially visible in Idaho but is playing out across the country. Some teachers, even though they may embrace classroom technology, feel policy makers are thrusting computers into classrooms without their input or proper training. And some say they are opposed to shifting money to online classes and other teaching methods whose benefits remain unproved. . . .In Idaho, teachers have been in open revolt. They marched on the capital last spring, when the legislation was under consideration. They complain that lawmakers listened less to them than to heavy lobbying by technology companies, including Intel and Apple. Teacher and parent groups gathered 75,000 verified signatures, more than was needed, to put a referendum on the ballot next November that could overturn the law. " The full article is here.

                  Traditional math pitched for Rochester's magnet school (NH) 1/4/2012

Excerpt: "Everyday Math was a key discussion point at Tuesday night's magnet school steering committee meeting, where ideas brought up at a local community forum were the focus.... Whether a more traditional math curriculum should be used there, instead of Everyday Math, currently used at elementary schools throughout the district, were two key talking points throughout the planning process for the school and at a community focus group held Dec. 19.... Everyday Math has been used in the district for several years, but has long been questioned by parents who themselves often have a hard time understanding the program, and therefore struggle to help their children with their homework." The full story is here.

                   Singapore Math success in San Diego Hebrew Day School (12/31/2011)

Excerpt: "Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School is the latest school to join the ranks of prestigious private schools to adopt Singapore’s national math curriculum, and the Orthodox Jewish day school has already seen incredible results. In fact, in the school’s first year under the new curriculum (last year, almost all teachers chose to switch to the new curriculum, this year, Singapore math was rolled out to the entire elementary school, grades K-5) standardized test scores soared, and reaction from students and teachers was just as positive. 'I was stunned that six and eight weeks into the school year, teachers were at my door telling me how much they loved the program,' Director of Studies Allison Gardenswartz says. 'I have never seen a response like that in all the years and programs I’ve brought on.'" The full article is here.

           Garden Road school - run by parents - opts for Singapore Math (NY) (12/31/2011)

Excerpt: "Students at the independent school learn math and reading in a different way and from a variety of instructors.... parents are heavily involved in their children’s education. The school was founded 10 years ago in Croton-on-Hudson by a small group of parents....'We use the Singapore method to teach math. We teach the concept, rather than rote learning,' ... Giammarco said." The full article is here.

            Opposition to Everyday Math makes "top 10" list in Three Village (12/29/2011)

Excerpt: "Whether a public school issue or a development at Stony Brook University, this year yielded a number of hot issues on the schools beat in the Three Village community. Here's a look back at ten of the most-read education stories. . . . Parents in the Three Village Central School District grilled administrators over the implementation of the "Everyday Math" curriculum in the elementary schools, with some saying it is ineffective and confusing, and others willing to take a wait-and-see approach. " The full article is here.

                                Recovering from TERC in Frederick, MD (12/29/2011)              

Excerpt: "After years of public complaints against the controversial TERC elementary math textbook, the school board this year decided to replace the materials with more traditional textbooks. . . . The task force reported in May that students were not learning enough about traditional math operations, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division — a top concern of TERC math critics. The task force recommended the school system adopt two new textbooks — Harcourt's "Go Math!" for kindergarten through second grade and Houghton Mifflin's Math 2007 for third through fifth grades. The recommended texts focus on the practice of math operations, unlike the TERC textbook — which was criticized for not teaching standard math algorithms. Students began using the new textbooks, which cost $958,000, in August. It was a major victory for parents and critics who have questioned the elementary math program since 2008, when the school board spent $2.1 million on "Investigations in Number, Data and Space," a textbook by the Technical Education Research Center (TERC) in Massachusetts. Critics fought the decision, saying the book didn't challenge students or teach basic algorithms. But it was not until December 2010 that newly-elected school board members removed the book from elementary classrooms." The full article is here.

                Pelham parents seek removal of Math Investigations program (12/28/2011)

Excerpt: "A group of parents, concerned their children are falling behind in basic arithmetic, are pushing the Pelham school district to re-examine the way it teaches math in elementary school. They have organized themselves under the banner the Pelham Math Committee and their target is Math Investigations, a math curriculum used to varying degrees by schools around the country." The full article is here.

                                Core Plus eliminated in Beaver Dam (WI) (12/20/11)

Excerpt: "The Beaver Dam Unified School District board of education unanimously approved eliminating the two tracks of Core-Plus math currently offered in order to adopt the state's standards for math during its meeting on Monday.  The board is following a recommendation by a committee of educators and parents who met to discuss the district's math requirements. The committee agreed that the traditional path used by the schools should be followed by students and the core path should be eliminated." The full article is here.

                     Saskatchewan (Canada) orders math education review (12/19/2011)

Excerpt: "The Saskatchewan government has launched a review of the province's math curriculum, following concerns that have been raised about how math is being taught.  Critics of Saskatchewan's current model of math education say it abandons teaching math basics in favour of new discovery-based instructional techniques, producing graduates with abysmal math skills as a result." The full article is here.

                                  New Haven adopts Singapore Math (12/19/2011)

Excerpt: "The new tools emerged as Carr and other elementary teachers try out a new method called Singapore math. In effort to get New Haven kids up to speed with their international counterparts, and in stride with a national Common Core State Standards initiative, the city is rolling out Singapore math to all classrooms in grades K to 5, starting this year with grades K to 2." The full article is here.

         Saginaw Township (MI) dumps Everyday Math; adopts Singamore Math (12/12/2011)

Excerpt: "Elementary school students in Saginaw Township Community Schools are learning math the Singapore way.  The district this year implemented a program called “Math in Focus” for kindergarten through fifth grade students at its five elementary schools: Arrowwood, Hemmeter, Sherwood, Weiss and Westdale." The full article is here.

          Seattle's Math Secret: Saxon and Singapore Math in successful schools (12/6/2011)

Excerpts from Cliff Mass's blog: "A few weeks ago I was sworn to secrecy by a Seattle School Board member after he/she revealed an extraordinary fact:  one of Seattle’s middle schools has had an extraordinary, if not meteoric, rise in student math performance.  A middle school with very high levels of underprivileged kids–Mercer Middle School–had student math scores equal to the best in the city.  And he/she had found out why:  without permission from the district, the school’s teachers had ditched the district’s official curricula (Connected Math), a very poor “discovery” program, for the excellent, and far more traditional Saxon Math series.  That school board member asked me and others to keep quiet about it, because if it got out the District administration (headed by Superintendent Susan Enfield) might well end the experiment.

Well, today the secret was revealed thanks to a front page Seattle Times article by Brian Rosenthal. As noted by Seattle School Director Kay Smith Blum: 'They did it sort of undercover.'

 How good are the results at Mercer?  How many ways can you say spectacular?  To start, here is a graphic from the Seattle Times for the percentage of 7th Grade students passing the state  math exam. ...

 

But folks, this underground experiment is not the only in the city.  Two schools in the city: Schmitz Park and North Beach Elementary have gotten permission for limited periods to use non-discovery, more traditional math books.   The result:  HUGE increases in learning and performance of their students.    For example, Schmitz Park Elementary got permission to try Singapore Math textbooks in 2007 (traditional direct instruction).  Its students’ math scores soared: in 2010 the 5th graders had the third highest passing rate in the state on the state test, even though the school has no gifted magnet program.

In some of my previous blogs, I have also described what has happened in other districts when Discovery Math has been replaced by excellent curricula such as Saxon or Singapore.  Scores have jumped substantially in math."

The full post is here.

        Pelham (NJ) Math Committee concerned about objectivity of evauation (12/19/2011)

Excerpt: "The newly formed Pelham Math Committee urges the Pelham Union Free School District Board of Education to undertake an objective evaluation of the district’s K-5 math curriculum. The committee does not believe the Rutgers University math education group identified for the project will conduct an unbiased evaluation of the effectiveness of the program, Investigations, and asks the board to reconsider its plans to approve a contract with Rutgers.  If the school board does go ahead and hires Rutgers, the committee calls on the district to make parent and teacher views a significant component in the evaluation process." The full article is here.

                    Clearfield (PA) students struggling with Chicago Math (12/6/2011)

Excerpt: "The Clearfield Area School District continues to work for ways to improve the transition into its new math curriculum. At its special meeting on Monday the school board voted to create two after-school math tutoring positions to assist the high school math program and one after-school math tutor for the middle school. . . .  This year the school district switched to the Chicago Math curriculum for its middle school students and high school algebra and geometry students. The Chicago Math system is similar to the Everyday Math curriculum the district uses in its elementary schools.
However, parents have voiced complaints to the school board over the last several months that their children are struggling under the math program.
" The full articles (2 of them) are here.

             Scores up; Connected Math down at Mercer Middle School (WA) (12/4/2011)

Excerpt: "The most talked-about aspect of Mercer's success is its decision to essentially form its own math curriculum. While the district requires middle schools to use Connected Mathematics Project textbooks, Mercer decided those books were too reading-intensive for its large number of students whose native language isn't English. So school officials decided to supplement the district model with whatever resources they thought would best help students meet state standards. 'We didn't scrap it entirely,' said Chris Eide, who taught math at Mercer last year, noting the district books were still used when deemed valuable. The central administration was largely unaware of Mercer's approach, School Board member Kay Smith-Blum said. 'They did it sort of undercover,' she said. 'They just did what their kids needed.' The results were clear: The number of students passing the state math tests more than doubled, to 70.8 percent, during Lutz's tenure. The full article is here.

                                            Calculator ban in UK? (12/2/2011)

Excerpt: "Pupils are set to be banned from using calculators in primary schools amid fears a ‘sat-nav’ generation of children are growing up with poor maths skills. Schools minister Nick Gibb said pupils should not ‘reach for a gadget every time they need to do a simple sum.’ It is understood that in future, teachers could be told to stop allowing children aged under nine to use calculators in state schools. Maths exams taken by 11-year-olds are also likely to be reformed – scrapping an existing section that allows pupils to use calculators. The move comes after a recent survey revealed that Britain was falling behind its international rivals in league tables rating children’s mathematics skills. British teenagers are now ranked 28th among peers in developed nations after slumping dramatically in the last decade, while Singapore, which has virtually no calculator use for 10-year-olds, was second." The full article is here.

                     Professors in Canada urge more traditional approach to math (11/29/2011)

Excerpt: "Several university professors in Saskatchewan and Manitoba have banded together, believing there really is strength in numbers, to lobby education ministers to move away from a new style of math education that eschews rote-learning. The professors, from the Universities of Regina, Manitoba and Winnipeg believe the quality of math instruction is deteriorating and point to poorly trained teachers and a confusing math curriculum." The full article is here.

            "Math without facts" (Everyday Math) under fire in Hingham (MA) (11/28/2011)

Excerpt: "The problem with Everyday Mathematics is that it is not based on the premise that intensive work is worth doing. Here’s a quote from the teacher’s manual about division: 'The authors of Everyday Mathematics do not believe it is worth student’s time and effort to fully develop highly efficient paper and pencil algorithms for all possible whole number, fraction and decimal division problems…The mathematical payoff is not worth the cost, particularly because quotients can be found quickly and accurately with a calculator.' " The full article is here.

                Concern about middle level students in District 17 (Canada) (11/26/2011)

Excerpt: "District 17's director of education said based on the latest round of literacy and numeracy scores he's concerned about how students are being taught at the middle level. . . . 'Our district improvement plan is focusing on the whole child. We're really into the whole child thing. So it's having those kids be happier kids in middle level. A happier student is more willing to do better in school, working on the whole health issues there, exercise, understanding them better, not just the academics, working on the whole package.'" The full article is here.

                          Parents Still Disapprove of Chicago Math in Clearfield (PA) (11/25/2011)

Excerpt: "'We didn’t foresee this frustration and don’t want our children to feel defeated,' Superintendent Otto said." The full article is here.

   New math course doesn't add up for British Columbia apprenticeship training  (11/23/2011)

Excerpt: "Several construction trades in British Columbia have concerns about a new high school math course after it was developed without industry consultation and fails to qualify students for entry into some apprenticeship training programs. . . . Cleven expressed concern about the math course because the minimum prerequisites for entry-level training with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 213 is precalculus 11. Entry directly into apprenticeship training requires precalculus 12. . . . 'The math requirements for this apprenticeship training are too low,' said Matt Buss, director of training with the Refrigeration Workers’ Union Local 516. 'We spend far too much time doing basic math with our students. I don’t know what they are doing before they get here, but our students lack basic math skills.'"  The full article is here.

                      Pelham (NY) parents anxious to dump Investigations (11/21/2011)

Excerpt: "Although the Pelham school district has agreed to review its elementary school math curriculum, some parents still have concerns about the way school officials will handle the process. Many district parents believe that the curriculum is too abstract and doesn’t place enough emphasis on a traditional, systematic algorithm-based learning and homework. The concerns have been shared by parents and educators across the nation. Slatterly and Luba Chernov, another Pelham parent, sent the district an e-mail containing a list of articles and research that questioned the effectiveness of Investigations. The e-mail is one of the things that pushed the district to look into the math program. Slattery said she has been in contact with a more than 100 or so parents who share the same concerns regarding Investigations. Slatterly is glad that the district is looking into the program. But she wonders if it’s necessary for the district to spend additional time, money and other resources determining if Investigations is viable. Slattery said there is already enough research available to show that Investigations isn’t viable. 'Our kids can’t afford to wait another year,' she said." The full article is here.

   More than half of community college students surveyed felt unprepared for college (11/21/2011)

Excerpt: "More than half of community college students surveyed said they felt unprepared for college-level work, according to a new study by nonprofit Pearson Foundation and Harris Interactive. . . . About 71 percent of recent high school graduates surveyed as part of the national Pearson Foundation Community College Student Survey said they are working harder in community college than in high school, while saying their high schools should have put a premium on more challenging courses (48 percent)." THe full article is here.

                                   Beaver Dam (WI) to dump Core Plus (11/21/2011)

Excerpt: "A committee of 15 people, including school district administration, school board members, teachers and parents, met recently to discuss the math requirements for the district. Director of teaching and learning Sandra Garbowicz said the committee worked at aligning the math classes being offered by the district. The district is focused on creating more rigorous course offerings for the students. The committee agreed that the Core math path would be eliminated and a more traditional path would be followed by the students. The full story is here.

                                 Trailblazers math concerns in Portland (11/21/2011)

                      Everyday Math doesn't add up - Courier Times Op-Ed (11/18/2011)

Excerpt: "We have to recognize that the Everyday Mathematics program is failing us and our children and if we don’t replace it with a better program, and if we don’t do it sooner rather than later, our children and grandchildren will live in a world where they will have a hard time competing for jobs." The full op-ed is here.

                              Everyday Math causes discord in Oswego (11/17/2011)

Excerpt: "Some members of the School Board have made it clear they have no love for Everyday Math, the program that was brought into the district in 2008. Board President Bill Walsh has said, 'I don’t get it,' and board member Alison Swanson, herself a science teacher at West Aurora High School, thinks it's time for a change in direction. 'I have deep concerns about Everyday Math on several levels. It spirals around concepts instead on focusing in-depth on mastery (multiplication and long division),' Swanson wrote in response to emailed questions. 'When we ask students to apply it in later grades (high school physics for example) and they need a calculator to divide 54 by 9, it's a sign of a disconnect in mastery.' The full article is here.

                      Op-Ed: Methods of math destruction in Las Cruces (11/15/2011)

Excerpt: "Despite the outcry of many parents and teachers, the Las Cruces Public Schools district (LCPS) went ahead with implementing Investigations Math curriculum in 2007 (buttered by a hefty grant to support its use). At the same time in February 2007, the Utah Board of Education banned Investigations for use as their primary curriculum. California dropped the same math program eight years before. After seven years of use, California went from one of the top in the nation to the third lowest in math proficiency. Furthermore, many other schools dropped Investigations after a year or two, citing that it did not meet the state's curriculum standards." The full op-ed piece is here.

Blaine County School District violates its own policy; adopts Investigations math (11/11/2011)

Excerpt: "The Blaine County School District has acknowledged that it violated its own policy in adopting a new mathematics textbook series this year, but also defended the selection Tuesday as the best choice to help students learn '21st-century' math skills. District Director of Curriculum Patricia McLean spent more than an hour at Tuesday's school board meeting explaining and defending selection of 'Investigations in Number, Data and Space' as the new textbook series for grades K-12. Parental complaints, publicly aired first at an Oct. 18 school board meeting, continued Tuesday during the public comment portion of the meeting." The full article is here.

                     Math controversy at Haverford school board meeting (11/4/2011)

Excerpt: "Several Haverford High School parents and students went before the Haverford Township Board of School Directors on Thursday night, with some of them asking the board to replace the school district’s College Preparatory Math (CPM) program with a more “traditional” math program, and others praising the CPM program. The parents and students went before the school board during the public comment portion of the board meeting. Parents and students who were opposed to CPM said they do not think the program is effective because CPM’s group learning approach (in which students in the classroom work in groups to solve math problems) does not meet all students’ learning styles." The full article is here.

   Georgia State School Superintendent: Continuing with integrated math "risky" (10/27/2011)

Excerpt: "State School Superintendent John Barge said a majority of the other Common Core states are planning next year to offer discrete math, a more traditional approach that largely focuses on a single discipline, such as algebra or geometry. It only makes sense that Georgia would do the same, he said. 'If we are not going to be in step with the rest of the country, why did we adopt the Common Core?' Barge said. He stopped short of saying local school systems must switch to the more traditional method of teaching math. But he said school systems that continue with integrated math could find that 'risky,' once states start testing on the Common Core." The full article is here.

                                   Math controversy heats up in Pelham (11/4/2011)

Excerpt: "When I wrote a column on Pelham’s elementary math curriculum seven weeks ago, I did so with some trepidation. I wasn’t afraid of controversy or outrage. Hardly. I felt the greatest of all writer anxieties: I’d be ignored. The words “math” and “curriculum” in the headline? Instant turn-offs, right? Boy was I wrong. By the rough measures I have available, the column on Investigations in Number, Data, and Space was the most popular I’ve written. It’s had the greatest number of reader comments, the second highest number of Facebook recommends, and I’m pretty sure it lasted at the top of Pelham Patch’s Most Popular Articles box longer than any other I’ve done.

                       Letter to the editor: Everyday Math in Sycamore (10/18/2011)

Excerpt: "I applaud Ms. Winters’ recent field trip to Jewel-Osco with her third-grade class. The glowing reviews certainly are heartwarming. Asking her students to determine cost on a price-per-pound basis would be admirable if they could do it without the aid of calculators. The picture that accompanied the article, of those eager students holding their calculators up for approval, is silent testimony to the argument my wife, members of the community and I have been making: Everyday Math fails to develop proficiency in basic math skills." The full letter is here.

                                           West Milford (NJ) math petition (10/14/2011)

We want our children to achieve at the highest possible level.

Is the Connected Math program the best way to do that?
Petition:
 
In June of 2011, the West Milford school district promised to provide pre-Algebra in 7th grade. This promise was a compromise, in response to parents' concerns about the lack of rigor in the "Connected Math" program.

We do not believe that the school district has honored it's promise. There is no class in pre-Algebra available to 7th graders and practically no pre-Algebra has been added to the existing Connected Math program. We urge the school district to honor it's promise and provide a class in pre-Algebra, as promised, no later than the third marking period of the 2011-2012 year.

These petitions were posted by Barbara Carter. The questions are my own and do not represent the school board as a whole.

                  Pennsbury School District to parents: Teach math yourself (10/20/2011)

Ezcerpt: "The elementary school just sent a letter home saying I need to teach my child math." The full article is here.

                                              Math problem for Portland (10/4/2011)

Excerpt: "[A]s Portland begins to implement the new University of Chicago Mathematics program in all three of its middle schools, parents, teachers and math experts around the region are questioning whether the program's goals add up." The full article is here.

                                  Everyday Math under fire in Ancorage (9/30/2011)

Excerpt: "Anchorage school administrators are recommending a months-long, in-depth review of the district's kindergarten-through-eighth-grade math curriculum amid continuing agitation over the Everyday Mathematics program. A long-running debate over Everyday Math, the program used in most Anchorage elementary schools, was reignited this summer when the district received a consultant's report on how to improve student math skills." The full article is here.

      South Orange Maplewood (NJ) dumps Everyday Math; adopts math in Focus (9/20/2011)

Escerpt: "Changes are ahead for math curriculum and instruction. . . . This change means that 'spiraling' will be replaced by 'mastery.'In grades K-5, the program Math in Focus is proposed for implementation next school year. It will replace Everyday Math in K-5. Everyday Math uses a 'spiraling' approach to teaching, where a given topic is covered year after year, in more depth each time. Math in Focus, said Wilson, looks to 'mastery,' where students consider a topic for a longer period." The full article is here.

                          Parents protest Everyday Math in Three Village (9/27/2011)

Excerpt: "A new math program being implemented on the elementary level in the Three Village Central School District is adding up to controversy among local parents. More than 100 parents showed up at an open presentation on Thursday, many of whom grilled the district on its new Everyday Mathematics curriculum, which diverges from the traditional ways students are taught the basics." The full article is here.

            Scarborough (ME) dumps Everyday Math for the Singapore approach (9/1/2011)

Excerpt: "Scarborough [ME] students in kindergarten to fifth grade can look forward to a new and engaging way to learn mathematics this year. The Scarborough School Department now uses Math in Focus: The Singapore Approach. The new curriculum provides students with a balanced, research-based curriculum that emphasizes mastery and understanding of mathematical skills to develop critical and creative thinking, said Monique Culbertson, the department’s director of curriculum and assessment." The full article is here.

                                             State College (PA) Dumps TERC Investigations

Excerpt: "State College Area elementary students will have a new main math program this fall. . . . The State College Area school board earlier this month approved purchasing the materials for the new program, Math Expressions, which educators have described as having a more balanced approach than the previous curriculum, Investigations in Number, Data and Space." The full article is here.

                                            Math controversy heats up in Alpine

Excerpt: "Because the state has mandated a new core curriculum, on Tuesday, Mark Clement, the district's newest board member, said he felt it would be a good time to review how the district approaches math. Predictably, the issue was a hot potato, and the sole topic of the 90-minute meeting. 'I feel uncomfortable with my kids in investigations math,' Clement said." The full article is here.

       Riverview (PA) parents turn out en masse against Connected Mathematics (6/28/2011)

Excerpt: "The Riverview School Board meeting on Monday had the largest attendance in years, according to school board members. Parents filled the high school library, and in a citizen comment session that lasted two hours, they discussed their concerns about the middle school Connected Mathematics 2 program. . . . Among the parents' concerns were the group work involved, the participation aspect of the class, the frequency of testing and the combination of students at different math levels in the same classroom.  Parent Joseph Knapp said his son struggled in the class because of the way it was structured. 'I, unfortunately, found the Connected Math program to be an unorthodox way of teaching students,' he said. 'It seemed like the students taught themselves, in theory. They have groups where they figure out problems and are encouraged to come up with the ideas on their own. I thought that was ridiculous. In sixth and seventh grades, you need instruction.' Parent Tim Lazor said his son usually did very well in math class until he took the class this year. Lazor said he doesn't think the program has the support of the students or the teachers who are teaching it. . . . Superintendent Charles Erdeljac said district officials had been looking for a way to improve the math curriculum for about eight years. He said to participate in the Math and Science Partnership of Southwest Pennsylvania, the district would have to implement Connected Math 2 or MathScape—the only two programs with the National Science Foundation's 'stamp of approval.' The full article is here.

                                        Update on Palo Alto math wars (7/27/2011)

Excerpt: "Parents in Palo Alto led a huge fight against the adoption of EDM [Everyday Math] a few years back during which parents collected and put out tons of information. Included was the experiences of schools which dropped EDM (posted yesterday). . . . The “data and details” registered with 2 of our board members who voted no. What seemed to get the other 3′s attention (though did not persuade them) was a petition opposing EDM signed by 700 parents (aka potential re-election voters). BTW- In sharp contrast to the district’s enthusiasm about EDM pre-adoption, the district’s post-adoption EDM updates have been somber. Please click here for the rest of the story..

                              Brandywine School District (DE) adopts Singapore Math

Excerpt: "Over the past four years, the Brandywine School District has been examining research-based math curricula aligned to the new Common Core standards that have been designed to prepare students for a global economy. This year, Brandywine is proud to announce that we have adopted the curriculum commonly called Singapore Math." Click here for full article.

            Willoughby-Eastlake Schools’ Everyday Math continues to draw ire (5/10/2011)

Excerpt: "The Willoughby-Eastlake School Board continues to take heat for its current math curriculum which utilizes the program known as Everyday Math. At Monday’s school board meeting, Tim O’Keeffe, a parent of three students in the district and a strong opponent of the program, brought up concerns that Everyday Math and similar math programs might not fall in line with new state standards. 'What I want the board to understand is that Everyday Math, and all constructivist math, by their very nature, are at odds with the new common core state standards,' O’Keeffe said." The full article is here.

                                        Frederick, MD dumps TERC Investigations

Excerpt: "The citizens of Frederick MD just voted in a new school board.  During their campaigns elected members promised to change the way the school district operates.  In their first meeting as new members they demonstrated that they meant to keep their campaign promises, and they eliminated TERC Investigations as the school district’s math program." The full article is here

                  Concern about Chicago Math in Philipsburg-Osceola (PA) (10/26/2010)

Excerpt: "Parents concerned with Philipsburg-Osceola's piloted math curriculum continue to demand answers from the P-O school board.
Last night, several district parents wanted to know why many students are receiving failing grades in the new program. Connie Bainey presented facts she obtained from the district that showed 130 high school students have failing grades in the University of Chicago piloted math program. She told the board she didn't understand how they could "sit there and say there's not a problem."
Bainey went on to explain that several parents havExcerpt: e hired math tutors for their students in order to help them understand the material. Some also said that students received homework for material that had not even been covered in class.
Another parent, Karen Walker, told the board she wanted to withdraw her child from the University of Chicago math program at the high school.
"You put her in a study without my consent, without her volunteering," Walker said. "This is causing her harm."
Board President Robert Selfridge explained that the program was not an experiment; it is the curriculum.
Tom Cochran, a concerned parent, presented facts that showed how grades have fluctuated and declined at the elementary level since Everyday Math, the program piloted in the elementaries, was introduced. He said he wasn't saying that the program was all bad or all good, but wanted to see how the data could help change the teaching mechanisms. Many parents also questioned how and why the new math curriculum was even chosen." The full article is here.

                             "Integrated" math no longer mandatory in Georgia?

Excerpt: "Some school systems invested millions of dollars in the new and soon-to-be-optional integrated math curriculum for high schools, a survey of metro districts by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed." Click here for full article.

                               3 Reasons that NCTM supports Singapore Math

Excerpt: "Math education in U.S. schools has been broken for many years but now a fix is available." Click here for full article.

                                              NY test scores plummet (NYT 8/1/10)

Excerpt: "There were large drops in passing rates across New York, reflecting new requirements intended to correct for years of inflated results. The exams, state education officials said, had become too easy to pass, their definition of proficiency no longer meaningful. Citywide, the proficiency rate in English fell to 42 percent, from 69 percent last year; 54 percent reached grade level in math, down from 82 percent." Click here for full article.

                           Judge rejects Seattle's high school (Discovery) math program

Seattle's so-called "Discovery" math curriculum doesn't add up for a King County Superior Court judge, who rejected the style of instruction Thursday and ordered the district to try again.

Last May, the School board implemented a district-wide math curriculum called Discovering Math. The curriculum was part of a five-year strategic plan that Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson created.

But Judge Julie Spector ruled Thursday that the board's decision to use the Discovering series was arbitrary and capricious. She ordered the board to reconsider the matter.

"The court find, based upon a review of the entire administrative record, that there is insufficient evidence for any reasonable member to approve selection of the Discovering series."

Click here for full article (2/4/10)

     Only 16 percent of Michigan high school graduates "college-ready" -Kalamazoo Gazette

Excerpt: Only one in six -- 16 percent of the new graduates -- have a strong probability of obtaining a "C" or better in college English, social studies, algebra and biology, according to an analysis posted on a Michigan Department of Education Web site.  The full article is here. 8-9-09 Kalamazoo Gazette

Most Palo Alto parents supplement kids' math . . . too easy -Mercury News 6-19-09

"Proposed controversial textbooks could start math wars in Highline (WA) schools"  5/21/09

Excerpts: "Highline School District may have entered the "math wars" as administrators recommended on May 13 adoption of a new algebra curriculum that would include textbooks from the controversial "Discovering Mathematics" series". . . .  "The Discovering series emphasizes allowing students to find math concepts on their own--often working in groups" . . . . "A study by the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has labeled the Discovering series as "mathematically unsound" but concluded it aligned with the state's educational standards. "   - Eric Mathison, Highline Times   The full article is here.

                     Six Hour School Board Meeting; 10 Math Motions; No Decisions 5/6/09

Excerpt: "A May 6 School Board meeting went on for almost six hours and saw 10 motions surface about the math issue, minutes show. The only one that passed was to delay action." The full article is here.

Nontraditional math decried as 'fluff' in Frederick (MD) -Baltimore Sun, May 17, 2009

Excerpt: [I]n Frederick County, the introduction of a new math textbook has caused a minor revolt by county residents, 600 of whom have signed a petition to persuade the county school board to return to a more traditional approach.

Full article

                      Greece Central School District (NY) Replaces "Reform" Curriculum

Excerpts from New Democrat 3/23/09 article:

The Greece Central School District is dropping an elementary school math program that's been the center of a decade-long national controversy over how children should learn mathematics.

At issue has been whether memorization of math facts and algorithms should be de-emphasized in favor of letting children explore math concepts without the strict boundaries of traditional math teaching methods.

Across the country, communities have been at odds with school leaders over so-called "reform math" approaches that critics deride as "fuzzy." They say the method leaves students unprepared for algebra, dependent on calculators and never provides a foundation in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Reform supporters say nontraditional approaches to math make learning easier and more enjoyable for students who are then better able to remember and apply math concepts....

Come September, Greece students will be getting there with a program called Math Expressions, which a February report from the U.S. Institute of Education Sciences said resulted in greater math achievement than the program the school district has been using since 2000.

Nearly 10 years ago, the Greece Central School District adopted a reform math program called Investigations in Number, Data and Space, said Mariano. The district's current program — introduced nationally over the past 20 years and locally over the past 10 — has long been derided by critics as fuzzy math because of its nontraditional approach to instruction. Children are encouraged to use hands-on methods to solve problems and are not required to memorize math facts and algorithms.

Reform math and its most popular textbooks — Investigations for elementary schoolers, Connected Mathematics for middle-schoolers and Core-Plus Mathematics for high schools — generated parent outcry from Washington to Maine, and even sparked a group of Penfield parents to protest their district's introduction of the program....

For the full article, click here.

http://paworldclassmath.webs.com/greesecentralsd.htm

Controversial math program rejected (River Dell NJ) 3/17/09

Controversial math program rejected
Tuesday, March 17, 2009

BY DEENA YELLIN
NorthJersey.com
STAFF WRITER

After a vociferous outcry from parents against what they called a controversial math program, the River Dell Regional Board of Education opted not to adopt Connected Mathematics.

The decision last night was in response to a request from the Tri-District Math Committee, which had asked the superintendents of Oradell, River Dell and River Edge to use Connected Mathematics alongside the traditional math curriculum in Grade 7.

“I remain hopeful that the three districts will come together in order to present a unified curriculum for our students so that they can be successful in their future endeavors,” River Dell Superintendent Patrick Fletcher said.

He acknowledged that the board may eventually reconsider. “We’re trying to take our time,” he said. “I hope that this shows to people that we are considering the comments that have been raised by the members of the public.”

The board in River Edge, one of two elementary districts that send students to the regional middle school and high school, approved using Connected Mathematics in the sixth grade. The other district, Oradell, rejected it for sixth-graders in a unanimous vote last week.

Connected Mathematics attempts to foster a deeper understanding of math principles and problem solving, but some parents expressed concerns that the program doesn't focus enough on basic math. Parents who were already on edge about Everyday Mathematics, a similar program for elementary school students used in River Edge and Oradell, were particularly concerned.

Among the numerous parents who complained was Jane Daly, whose fifth-grader started Everyday Mathematics at Roosevelt School in River Edge this year.

“It’s been a lost year for these guys,” Daly said at a meeting for parents at River Dell Middle School last week. “I don’t think my kids are going to have what they need to get good SAT scores.”

Fletcher had said Connected Math would not replace traditional teaching methods, but that apparently did not calm anxious parents.

“I think the basic impression everyone has is that we’re going to throw out every single textbook that we have and throw out every single aspect of the curriculum that’s working now,” Fletcher said at a math forum held at the middle school last week. “That’s not true.”

Fletcher argued that Connected Mathematics would allow students to get a more in-depth understanding of math concepts.

The evidence that Connected Mathematics improves students’ abilities is inconclusive, according to the federal Department of Education. Only one of three studies showed positive results. Two others were inconclusive.

E-mail: yellin@northjersey.com

http://www.northjersey.com/education/Controversial_math_program_rejected.html

Proof of Anaheim teacher's skills in in the students' test scores - LAT - 3/08/09

"The former engineer has won a national honor for his energetic commitment in the classroom. Last year his young charges, who think he may be the best math teacher anywhere, aced the AP calculus test."

The full story is here.