kitchen table math, the sequel: Prince William County , Virginia votes to keep Investigations

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Prince William County , Virginia votes to keep Investigations

Sad news from PWC, VA. The school board voted to keep Investigations, though that's not how they phrased it. They voted for a "blended approach". Which means Investigations. An excellent summary of the night's events can be found here.

The parents have not given up, however, and school board elections are not far away. There are many disgruntled parents there.

1 comment:

SteveH said...

"The motion does compel Principals to work with parents to develop their site-based plan for implementing a balanced approach to math and gives teachers the authority to select whatever materials they want."

Balance is a way for them to maintain control. Balance is always good, right? Argue with generalities to get everyone to go away, and then decide on all of the details.

I noticed another trick being used. They get to decide on the curriculum using whatever harebrained studies or reasons they want, but then demand research-based proof for a change.

Schools must work with parents, and teachers can select whatever materials they want. Unfortunately, a great fifth grade teacher with good material and proper balance might still be stuck with remediating four years of bad balance.

It also takes more than just dropping in traditional math textbooks. It takes a change of expectations. Schools have to accept responsibility for ensuring that kids master the basics in each grade before moving on to the next grade. Can you imagine a balance of tradititonal math and social promotion due to full-inclusion?

Proper math instruction and full-inclusion are incompatible, but Everyday Math is built around the idea that this is possible. Kids are allowed to achieve mastery on their own schedule. EM uses Math Boxes to get this to work. It doesn't, but by sixth grade, it's too easy to blame the student. And after sixth grade, the tracking is done and the damage becomes permanent.

The separate math tracks with parental choice is a good position to take. I couldn't tell how they brushed that off so easily.