To me, the ignorant statements are the ones made by math committee members who suggested that parents obtained their information on the two math programs under consideration by "googling" it. An incredibly high number of parents in this district have graduate degrees; we might actually know something or have something to offer this process. While I appreciate that three parents (and more -- some teachers are also district parents) sat on the selection committee, no one put out a poll to the community to see who of us might have experience with these programs beyond a brief trial period. As a new member of the community, I couldn't have sat on the formal committee, but I have some feedback on Everyday Math that I'd like to feel was heard and respected.
I am an educator (my graduate degree is from Columbia's Teachers College) and a mother who suffered -- and I do mean to say suffered -- through Everyday Math with my daughter for three years prior to moving to Palo Alto. I chose where to live because of the excellence of the school districts, but I verified their excellence by making sure that they did not teach Everyday Math. Obviously, I feel strongly about this program in a negative way. I know that I will have to return to the days of homeschooling my very intelligent daughter in math -- something I have not had to do at all this year. Neither of us enjoyed that supplementation, but it was necessary -- as our teachers admit it will be necessary for our students. (That's a problem, don't you think -- the suggestion that "gaps will be filled" -- ?)
Our specific problems with Everyday Math far exceed the different language -- the whole "spiraling" approach to learning, where components of the curriculum are not mastered before moving on, is problematic; it has come under scrutiny in the education community for its inefficiency, especially because students need to re-learn concepts before advancing again on the spiral. I can't see how "mastery of concepts" is a high priority in Everyday Math, yet it was on many of the parents' priority lists at the community meeting. And that is just one example.
At the end of the day, not enough parents know enough about this program and just how funky it is -- and I think that if they did, there would be even greater concern. If parents can't make it to the PAUSD offices to review the materials like I did, what can they do? (Google it! Or nothing.) And for those of us who actually attended the meeting, what information did we get about the two programs? (Little.)
Look, all things considered, I am really happy with our teachers and the school district, but I think the superintendent is right on the money in expecting trouble over this decision. I know that our teachers will "fill in the gaps," but, quite frankly, I'd rather NEVER hear those words in terms of my kids' education. Shouldn't we be reaching rather than bending, here?
ignoring parents in Palo Alto
welcome to the Grand Canyon
a teacher-mom on Everyday Math
the plot thickens
Steven H on Everyday Math in Palo Alto
where parents get their information
"reality" in Palo Alto