Thursday, January 7, 2010
So, Shayna was right!
Fulton educators are waffling on the new math. As reported recently in NorthFulton.com, "It’s out with the new and in with the old for 2010 as the Fulton County School System prepares to dump the controversial math curriculum in favor of back-to-the-basics traditional math."
Shayna kindly wrote an article for this blog back in July, called, "All About Math" in which she made an incredibly cogent argument for holding off on the wholesale implementation of the new Georgia math curriculum. Shayna researched the topic diligently and came to the conclusion that, while the curriculum is a good one at it's core, it is very difficult to teach and requires an incredible amount of teacher training. She further noted that although Cobb and Gwinnett chose to layer the new curriculum over the old a piece at a time, DeKalb instead chose to go in "whole hog". Her findings were very interesting and although she shared a copy of her article with each board member and appealed to them as a speaker at a board meeting, the program was implemented - "all in" - anyway.
Now comes Fulton County, reporting, "“While students were certainly challenged with [the new standards], the way of teaching with the discovery or inquiry method was confusing to some students, teachers and parents,” said Loe.
The system also began to see fewer students being accelerated or advanced, and students not working to their full potential, noted Loe. More significantly, high school math teachers began seeing students who lacked basic computation skills and math scores on nationally-normed tests began flat-lining or dropping."
Fulton leaders also tell us, "In coming to the decision to dump Investigations and Connections, Loe and her staff looked at the results of a recent book which summarized 50,000 studies of student achievement to determine which practices actually correlate to higher achievement. What the study found was direct instruction far exceeded results over inquiry-based learning."
This could be bad. Are there math teachers out there or parents who would like to share their experiences with DeKalb's new math? We really need to keep our eyes on the math ball -- even as our administration continues to distract us with all kinds of irrelevant emergencies.