Parents' demands should carry weight
Sue Sarhady is a Plano resident.
By SUE SARHADY
I am responding to Friday's opinion piece that alleged the Connected
Math flap is only about sour grapes. Well, it's never been about sour
grapes, but it has always been about the fundamental right of parents
(under federal and state statute) to direct the education of their
As to the assertion that parents had plenty of chances for input, I
submit the following: I went to three of the informational meetings held
by Plano Independent School District and never got "called on"
to share my input. The Citizen's Textbook Advisory Committee reviewed
all the math textbooks prior to adoption. Its report was never made
public. Well, guess what! The parents on that committee charged with
reviewing Connected Math came out squarely against it. The Blue Ribbon
Committee report was a propaganda ploy from the start. The members
already had been chosen before the formation of the committee was
announced. And if you read the whole report, you'll note they did not
endorse Connected Math. In fact, they had some very serious reservations
about the program.
I agree that the math program in use in our middle schools up until
Connected Math was chosen was not rigorous enough. But it is precisely
the same educational professionals who chose that one who have now
shoved Connected Math down our throats. Well, the educational
professionals in more than 1,000 districts in Texas must be misguided,
because they did not choose Connected Math. There is absolutely no
reputable research available that proves Connected Math is more
rigorous; to the contrary, the experience of Californians with programs
like Connected Math would seem to indicate the opposite.
The time for trusting the education elite is long gone. Open
classrooms, the "new math," whole language, invented spelling
and many more failed programs were proposed by the educational elite. I
resent the implication that, because I am just a parent, I cannot
possibly know what should be taught to my children. If the truth be
told, we must admit that the public education system as a whole, has
been a failure. America's students are no longer competitive in math and
science when compared to students from other industrialized nations. SAT
scores have actually been falling since the 1970s. Texas students rank
closer to the bottom than the top when compared with students across the
nation. And conveniently, PISD has done away with administering all but
a couple of national achievement tests, so comparing our district to
others across the nation is extremely difficult. In all sorts of places
across the country, schools systems are looking outside the educational
establishment for leadership because maintaining the status quo just
isn't working anymore.
Parents, it is time to get involved and demand accountability.
Accountability to the taxpayers. It is time to demand a vote in the
decision-making process. Our children are too important. Join me at the
next school board meeting, and the next and the next. We need to be
watching and asking questions.