Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Results donít back up math

Like me, I'm sure most parents were thrilled to hear that the Blaine County School District had adopted a new math curriculum. The old one was mediocre at best. But please don't assume "new" is better. Parents, I urge you to look into your child's new math curriculum. Go grab his or her textbook, get the exact title and look into it yourself. This National Science Foundation curriculum is highly controversial with little or no support from outside the NSF umbrella. It is being blasted as some of the most damaging curriculum available and is being dropped all over the country.

The School District brought in Professor Jonathan Brendefur to speak and help parents understand this new curriculum. However, nowhere was his connection with the National Science Foundation disclosed. He helped write a middle-school textbook, "Mathematics in Context," with NSF funding and it is currently on the NSF curriculum lineup. How can he not be biased?

The one positive thing I am hearing is that the administrators are talking about the use of supplemental materials for this program. (Although seven weeks into the school year it hasn't happened yet.) But we should not have a curriculum that needs to be supplemented in the first place.

Again, please, don't just "drink the Kool-Aid." Go look into your child's curriculum (K-5: Investigations in Number, Data and Space. Middle school: Connected Math).

Once your research is done, are you asking the same question I'm asking? Why would our district implement a program that is among the most highly controversial, has caused so much community tension around the country and has left parents so mad they are hiring tutors or pulling their kids out of public school just to avoid it? You would think the district would have some extremely strong and compelling evidence to support this choice that it was producing results on par with Singapore Math or the like, but they don't! They have not produced one success story.

Alison Ruggeri


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