Thursday, November 13, 2008

Some Things To Think About....

I had a long conversation last night with a math teacher from Columbia (where TERC Math and Everyday Math was just dropped in grades k-8 due to years of bad test scores). She is a passionate educator who loves her students and, like so many of our teachers, is called to do what she does. When discussing this new math we are looking at, she brought up several thoughts that she, as a junior high school teacher, noticed with the curriculum.
***First: She did point out that there is some good in some of the concepts. This is a truth that many teachers will agree on. There are some good points that come from this math that do allow children to see a problem with a different set of eyes now and then. However, she is a firm believer that it should never be allowed as the core curriculum with no supplementation (as is being done in Hawthorn). She is a believer that every child learns differently and to offer this program as a "one size fits all" approach will only yield disastrous consequences.

***Due to the fact there are no textbooks, and very little way that we the parents can help our children any more if they are going to get the answers counted right (because remember, it is more about the process at this point than the answer itself), if a child misses a few days of school there is no way that the parent can help their child get caught up. The child and the teacher have to be absolutely devoted to making sure that student "gets it" or everything they missed will be lost to them and it is very hard for them to get caught back up if at all.

***READING, READING, READING...For those of you who have talked to me personally or were at the school board meeting you know that I am going to harp on the reading. As so many of our teachers put it "Our reading is in CRISIS". They are right!! The statistics will alarm you. Our reading scores have been on a downward spiral for the past 5 years and well over 100 students in Hawthorn are reading 1-2 grade levels below the national average. You may ask "So, what does the reading have to do with math?" Well...EVERYTHING!!! With this math curriculum you may have noticed that our children deal very little with numbers and very much with word problems and writing their answers in sentence form. WHERE ARE THE NUMBERS???? Therefore, if your child has difficulty reading, this new math will not be their friend! As the math teacher from Columbia put it; "It is sad, because if your child maybe is not a great reader, if letters are not his/her thing, maybe numbers are. However, with this program it is almost impossible to know that because if they have trouble reading it is almost a guarantee that they will have trouble with math, too."

I will talk about all of these things and much, much more at the forum. Please show up! Again, DO NOT BE APATHETIC ABOUT YOUR CHILD"S EDUCATION. BE AN INFORMED PARENT!
I do not want for my child or yours to be an experiment. I do not want for our administration to have to see bad scores for several years in a row to realize they have made a mistake. That won't help my child then, he/she will have already lost these very important formative years. If you share these same concerns be at the forum. You need to hear what is going on.