kitchen table math, the sequel: stakeholders

Sunday, August 2, 2009


To the Editor:

Your June 17, 2009, article on national standards discusses the virtual exclusion so far of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the International Reading Association from the Common Core State Standards Initiative. But the exclusion of other key stakeholders also must be addressed.

First is the exclusion of authentic subject-matter groups from the “Common Core” decisionmaking process that determines what is in the final document. Anyone proposing to create mathematics and English-language-arts standards must enlist and pay heed to the expertise of true subject-area experts. Members of the American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America, appropriate engineering societies, and the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics should be allowed to provide input.

In addition to being true experts in their fields, college and university professors are in the best position to inform standards-writing committees about what high school graduates need to know and be able to do for success in credit-bearing college-level courses. It is well documented that community colleges nationwide have freshman remediation rates of more than 70 percent in math and English. Clearly, the community college stakeholders must have a seat at the standards-writing table.

Tax-paying parents are another important stakeholder group absent from the Common Core project. Yet the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that children receive a proper education rests with them. It is they who must closely monitor the success of students and schools, and it is they who must pay the price—in dollars and in anguish—when inadequate standards leave children ill-prepared for college or the workplace. Dozens of grassroots parent groups have sprung up in the past decade to advocate for improvements in mathematics education in the public schools. Our group, the United States Coalition for World Class Math, is just one of these.

Before mathematics standards for K-12 are finalized, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers should make room at the table for one of the most important education constituencies in the country: the parents of children in our public schools.

Amy Flax
Westfield, N.J.
Jill Gladstone
Bridgewater, N.J.
Sarah-Kate Maskin
Ridgewood, N.J.
Renata Pestic
Oradell, N.J.
Timotha Trigg
Chadds Ford, Pa.

The writers are co-founders of the United States Coalition for World Class Math.

Vol. 28, Issue 36, Pages 26-27

CO Coalition for World Class Math
CT Coalition for World Class Math
NJ Coalition for World Class Math
PA coalition for World Class Math
United States Coalition for World Class Math
Parents' Group Wants to Shape Math Standards

Common Core Standards: Who Made the List?
Education Week coverage:
6.30.2009 Parents Group Wants to Shape Math Standards
7.1.2009 Common Core Standards: Who Made the List?
7.14.2009 ‘Common Core’ Initiative: Who’ll Make Decisions?
Transparency of Common-Standards Process at Issue

1.12.2007 how politics work


Anonymous said...

Who wants the National Council of Teachers of Math. They are dominated by the constructivists who brought us all the Reform math which has been the main problem over the last 20 years.

Barry Garelick said...

From the new TV animation special: "It's a Losing Battle, Charlie Brown"


Yes ma'am?

Mwah mwah MWAH mwah mwah

Yes, I've heard of the balanced approach.

Mwaa mwaaa

How do I feel about it? Well, ma'am, I uh...that is,

(Sound of children's laughter)


Go to the principal's office?


Yes ma'am.

Anonymous said...

I was going make the same comment about NCTM. I have no problem leaving them out, and their English counterparts too. They had their shot.


Catherine Johnson said...

I was reading Kerry Hempenstall's article on the history of the reading wars --- care to guess how long the edu-world has been fighting parents & everyone else over phonics?

170 years

Talk about it's always worse than you think.

Catherine Johnson said...

I was thinking we've had a century of ed wars: a hundred years' war.

Turns out we're coming up on 200.

Catherine Johnson said...

So, yeah.

They've all had their chance.

Centuries of it.