Sunday, July 30, 2006

Parents fight back

I came across this parent group site in Penfield. The parents are concerned about fuzzy math in their schools. This list of observations neatly encapsulates what's wrong with the fuzzy math plague:

Penfield parents have noticed several problems relative to the new math programs. Some of the most common problems and observations are noted below. Skip to the bottom of the list to see some of the more recent observations noted since parents have turned up the heat on the district:

Students are receiving high grades on their report cards, but they don't seem to exhibit appropriate math skills for their grade level.

Children are no longer being taught basic math facts. Students lack skills in division, multiplication, fractions etc...

Calculators are too widely used and kids are losing their ability to perform simple arithmetic without their calculators.

There is too much group work. Students no longer receive direct instruction. They may work for a long period of time on one question and never really learn the correct method to solve the problem.

There is no emphasis on finding the correct answer.

There are no reference materials. There is no textbook.

There is not enough practice so children do not retain the concepts.

Problems are very abstract and often frustrate the students, sometimes to tears.

Parents are concerned about the future of their children should they need to leave the district and relocate to a district using traditional math techniques. Their children will not know the math algorithms.

Many parents have placed their children in tutoring to compensate for the lack of instruction.

Several teachers have mentioned that they are unhappy with the programs, but they don't speak out for fear of retribution.

High school students who have experienced both math techniques have spoken out against the "reformed math".

Many universities have indicated that students from traditional math programs perform better in college math courses.

Children with learning disabilities, particularly those with reading/writing difficulties, are hurt by these programs.

Students are asked to solve problems using tools/algorithms that have not been taught.

The schools have taken away the ability for students to work independently. Parents are forced to teach math lessons at home.

Children no longer feel confident or successful. They hate math now.

There are big concerns about the way that standardized test scores are being interpreted by the school district administrators.

Complaints to teachers and counselors are not being addressed.

Core-Plus received a poor showing in the Michigan State University study by Hill and Parker.

The math materials don't match the NYS guidelines for the various grade level expectations.

High achievers are being held back.

Academic Intervention Services (AIS) are not effective.

The district has no plans in place to repair the damage done to students over the past few years.

They are experimenting with our kids again. This is another "Whole Language" fiasco, only now it's math.

There are inconsistencies in the implementation of the programs between schools and even within schools.

Students report that some science teachers are providing math instruction during/after science class due to missing math prerequisites.
I love this entry under more recent observations:

Traditional math worksheets coming home for homework just prior to standardized testing. Teaching to the test and cramming.
Looks like the fuzzies don't have full confidence in their crap programs. They want to have it both ways: Supplement with traditional math and attribute any success to their snake oil programs to keep the faith.

1 comment:

tin135 said...

Parents have the right to complain! After all, it's them who pays the tuition. If they are in the right position and have the reasons for their actions then the school has to be open for such.