A) A Choice or None
Although there are parents who
advocate choice in terms of offering two different math curriculums, I believe that is the
worst option. It will continue to polarize the issue and make objective assessment even
more difficult. Just imagine administrators and teachers pitted against parents for years
to come trying to prove each other wrong. Any comparison of results will be clouded by
recriminations of unfairness because the playing field will never be level. I beseech
parents proposing choice to consider how harmful that will be to their children. Innocent
children becoming our pawns in a prolonged struggle where victory may be Pyrrhic. Our
children may emulate more of our nastiness than our righteous zeal.
To my comrades across the aisle,
please seek to build consensus rather than widen the chasm. Too many curriculum choices
have been made under an "either-or" framework. Either understanding or drilling,
discovery or rote memory, there is a place of "both-and" too. In the real world,
it is tough to find a totally balanced curriculum. Our responsibility is to recognize the
weaknesses and take concrete steps to address those areas in the selected curriculum.
Certain supplementary materials should be mandatory, others can be left to teachers'
B) A Voice or None
Before selecting any curriculum, it will be good for the school district
to engage parents in dialogue to find out what their perspectives are in regards to math
in schools. Examples of some of such questions are in Appendix E.
There are common grounds that we share and these are the building blocks for developing
consensus. There may be areas where the school need to articulate clearly so that parents
can understand the differences. Concerned parents can be allies even though coalition
members may not see eye-to-eye all the time.
Evaluate the many alternatives out there and see which ones comes closest
to our shared values and requires minimal supplementary work. I have found a host of
alternatives in websites such as:
Many of these have already done pilot projects and whose results we can
analyze instead of spending time doing it ourselves.
Since CMP originated from the concern of poor Algebra 1 performances, did
it ever occur to anyone that perhaps we should review the high school text used?
Mathematically Correct website have done reviews of several Algebra 1 textbooks including
Glencoe's, they can be found at:
It is interesting to find two other A-rated textbooks over Glencoe's B-rating. The two
A-rated text are:
- Algebra 1: Expressions, Equations and Applications by Paul Foerster, Addison-Wesley
- Algebra: Structure and Method - Book 1 by Richard G. Brown, Mary P. Dolciani, Robert H.
Sorgenfrey, et al., McDougall Littell/Houghton Mifflin
I sincerely believe that there needs to be a more holistic approach in reviewing math
education in PISD instead of just piecemeal revision. It is my desire to see a more
cooperative atmosphere between educators and parents. I hope that this report will
contribute to developing that consensus for the future of our children.