kitchen table math, the sequel: More Connected Math Woes, This Time in Pennsylvania

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More Connected Math Woes, This Time in Pennsylvania

The Riverview School District enrolls about 1,100 k-12 students in Oakmont and Verona Boroughs, Pennsylvania.

From an online news blog, the Plum-Oakmont Patch
The Riverview School Board meeting on Monday had the largest attendance in years, according to school board members. Parents filled the high school library, and in a citizen comment session that lasted two hours, they discussed their concerns about the middle school Connected Mathematics 2 program.

The parents had a lot of familiar things to say:

Among the parents' concerns were the group work involved, the participation aspect of the class, the frequency of testing and the combination of students at different math levels in the same classroom.

Parent Joseph Knapp said his son struggled in the class because of the way it was structured.

"I, unfortunately, found the Connected Math program to be an unorthodox way of teaching students," he said. "It seemed like the students taught themselves, in theory.

"They have groups where they figure out problems and are encouraged to come up with the ideas on their own. I thought that was ridiculous. In sixth and seventh grades, you need instruction."

Parent Tim Lazor said his son usually did very well in math class until he took the class this year. Lazor said he doesn't think the program has the support of the students or the teachers who are teaching it.

"I don't think the teachers bought into this," he said. "That's a critical component.
Eight years to find a new curriculum?

Superintendent Charles Erdeljac said district officials had been looking for a way to improve the math curriculum for about eight years. He said to participate in the Math and Science Partnership of Southwest Pennsylvania, the district would have to implement Connected Math 2 or MathScape—the only two programs with the National Science Foundation's "stamp of approval."
Scores declined?

When asked by parents about Pennsylvania System of School Assessment Scores, principal Jay Moser said the scores of last school year's seventh graders dropped by 9 percent, according to primary figures from the state department of education.
Hmmn I guess math is different in small-town Pennsylvania.

Erdeljac said district officials are going to continue to monitor the program and data associated with it to ensure it is a good fit for students.

"On the one hand, we have to have fidelity to the program as it's intended to be taught, but on the other hand, we're Riverview," he said. "We need to find out how this program can be most successful here at Riverview…we're still in the process of making this program Riverview's Connected Math program."

1 comment:

SteveH said...

In our town, what killed CMP was the simple fact that, content-wise, it didn't line up with high school math. At first, our middle school tried to add more real algebra to CMP, but they still didn't separate the kids by ability. They really, really didn't want to upset the differentiated instruction apple cart in K-8. They finally gave in because parents were really pissed off that their kids couldn't handle geometry as freshmen. The other issue was that kids were not ready for a second year language class as a freshman. There was a chink in the differentiated instruction armor.

They can get away with the math silliness in K-6, but it's harder to hide behind the curtain in seventh and eighth grades. As I've said before, nothing seems to be able to push higher expectations down into K-6.

This is what one of the board members said:

"I do believe in this program and I do believe that we can make this work," she said. "This is the future of education as it pertains to math."

Incredible. Riverview parents beware!