According to the AJC:

*State Superintendent John Barge, responding to the ire of parents and the governors’ concerns about the graduation rate, introduced a plan Thursday to allow local school districts to choose how they will teach math giving students the same rigor, but different approaches to learning concepts.*

The plan allows districts to teach math in the traditional way and do away with the current integrated Math I, Math II and Math III courses, accelerated classes which have been criticized for being too fast-paced resulting in the failure of about 80,000 students statewide on final exams in math last May.

Or districts can choose to offer both traditional and integrated math consecutively. They’d also have the option of continuing as is with the challenging integrated approach.

The plan allows districts to teach math in the traditional way and do away with the current integrated Math I, Math II and Math III courses, accelerated classes which have been criticized for being too fast-paced resulting in the failure of about 80,000 students statewide on final exams in math last May.

Or districts can choose to offer both traditional and integrated math consecutively. They’d also have the option of continuing as is with the challenging integrated approach.

Aye yai yai

## 40 comments:

Has anyone bothered to evaluate under which curriculum, if taught well, by completent teachers, a student actually learns more material and more effectively? Which curriculum, if taught well, would lead to higher SAT scores, improved graduation rates, and enhanced college achievement? Maybe more kids are failing tests with the new curriculum because the teachers are not doing a good job of teaching the material. How will one ever know without a true evaluation???

straw poll -- who trusts DCSS to implement this new directive? Who is going to implement it? Who gets to choose? Are LHS and CHHS required to do the same thing as everyone else? If not, is the fact that they aren't going to be a bssis for someone else to transfer? To comment on any of the above, please see the recent post on what you can do to contact the state for help.... (anyone given any thought to what a college will do with Math 2 & precalculus on the same transcript... ) arghhhhh

@10:58

There is no data to evaluate the Ga curriculum as compared to the traditional math program. That is the problem- Kathy Cox forced this experimental curriculum upon every school system in the state without any pilot programs, testing, etc. Training and resources were non-existent. So the local systems had to waste all their resources to buy new books, train teachers, hire tutors to remediate the students, etc.

Now during the worst educational budget crisis in history, school systems have to decide whether they drop the new program and go back to the traditional program. But students in the current program have to finish it. So there could be two completly different programs being followed at the same time in a school system.

What a mess. Hug your poor math teachers and buy them a bottle of Advil (or scotch).

This year's juniors are the oldest grade to have had the math the longest. In 10th grade the PSAT scores actually dropped. The state DOE hemmed and hawed and moved on.

(Generally, the state doesn't release aggregate PSAT scores. The AJC forced the issue by requesting them publicly.)

We won't have an outside measure until the class of 2012 takes the SAT in their senior year. The College Board generally releases the aggregate scoress sometime in late summer of early Fall. By then, another school year will have begun.

Colleges have said that they really don't care what is on the transcript and the state did had the descriptive names to the Math titles.

Lynn D.

I have not been a fan of integrated math since before it was implemented. I spoke at several meetings with GA DOE officials about the fact that GA was one of the fastest growing states at the time and students move in and out and no other state was doing math this way. I was told that we couldn't worry about that.

Turns out, what I should have been asking about was implementation. Kathy Cox never had the funds nor the plan to do this correctly. You don't make a wholesale change in math without making sure that every teacher is going to be trained by the very best trainer, not just another classroom teacher.

It is hard to know if integrated math is the way to go. Because the implementation has been so poor.

I do think that it is notable that most states aren't doing math this way, especially in high school.

Lynn D.

Lynn D. The class of 2013 will be the first class to really watch. Many students, especially the accelerated students, were able to opt out of the integrated math program by taking both Geometry I and Algebra II in 9th grade. In my son's school almost a quarter of the students are not taking the integrated math. Since these are the accelerated students, they will do great on the SAT. But the class of 2013 had no way out.

Agree that the implementation has been absolutely awful.

Anon

I forgot about that option. I think in Cobb, Cherokee and Fulton there is a really high percentage of students who opted out.

Ugh. So an additional year to wait.

Great.

Lynn D.

This math program has done immeasurable damage to struggling math students. Perhaps those with strong math abilities can muddle through. My child is now more confused and demoralized about math than she ever has been. And since she is in ninth grade, there is no relief in sight. I pray we can make it through three more years of this. What a horrible disservice to our children.

The new math has done nothing more than to keep math tutors with a lot more students. Kids are so confused in part because they don't understand the basic math elements of elementary math and then are having to do complicated operations without a true number sense or basic understanding.

The entire math program from k-12 needs to be revamped. Can't remember where I read it, but maybe we should adopt the curriculum of one of the top states in math and see what happens.

People in Dekalb and GA keep wanting to reinvent the wheel. Doesn't make sense to me. If you know that someone else is more successful, why not do what they are doing?

Well, our State Superintendent was Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, so why should she bother with looking at other programs? She knew it all!

This math mess is unforgivable IMO. The state should have to pay for tutors to repair the damage.

In time it may be actually better. However, our high school students currently have had to met the brunt of being totally unprepared for the curriculum in high school. We give them another math support class to try to give them support so they can pass but this also has not been enough in some cases.

The problem actually is teaching college math in high school which is good. However, many students will not be going to college and do not need this math. Many students need more basis knowledge of how to balance their check books and how to find out how many yards of carpet they may need. For some students this is a better use of their math curriculum time. This is the problem I have with the curriculum. This math is not for all students and currently there is not option for students that this is inappropriate for as a special education teacher.

I really like the elementary math for my 99th percentile in math 4th grader. She is doing great. But she is exceptional in math.

Many, many of her smart friends are struggling.

And if a kid has a reading problem, forget about it. Way to much reading in the elementary math program.

The mantra that I have heard over and over from Math teachers (middle and high) is that "I don't have time to teach". Unfortunately what we have now is a bunch of Math teachers in DeKalb who can only repeat this, who take NO responsibility for the failing Math scores. If I hear one more time from a DeKalb teacher, the state requires it, I will Scream! Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett, APS...guess what, they have quietly gone back to the traditional mode. Why, decline in Math scores. Only our beloved DeKalb has chosen to stay the course.

Please, let's make DeKalb change now.

Nothing could be worse than each Math teacher chosing what and how they teach or don't teach a particular topic. They are not trained in curriculum design, but seem to have just taken over. They don't seem to know (other than by the performance standards) what was taught last year. There are no books, no place for students to find examples related to what is being taught, no responsibility on the teacher's part to evaluate readiness for a topic.

It's all about here's the topic, let's move on.

Do I sound bitter, sorry but I am. I have paid a ridiculous amount for tutors for one child and don't look forward to the same for the other.

Ramona, earn your raise, take some action!

my position has always been and remains (and I have kids who have done well in the accelerated program but I've pulled private for regular math) -- that GA needs to adopt (in toto) something working well elsewhere without tinkering -- take the number one program from somewhere else (perferably with a bad climate and take the teachers too) and use it -- completely -- without any tinkering!

the issue is really going to be staffing all of the "various" math curriculum around the county and then the testing. What's Beasly going to do with Benchmarks? What about the CRCT? What about EOCT? How do you implement a "do what you want" plan during a transition phase without data -- particularly in a county that is in the straights we're in with no teaching experience at the top and no math experience at the top? What is really going to happen when push comes to shove and the kids really need to learn the material? Who is thinking these issues through for the benefit of the kids (I was there many years ago when my eldest was the 2nd class of mandatory 8th grade algebra pleading for them not to do that... 75% of those kids failed algebra...by 9th grade, they still didn't know their multiplication tables... you can't do math without knowing basics cold -- math facts must be known cold to do upper level math and if you aren't headed to the "upper echelon colleges", I agree with Ella -- the kids need the "economics" math -- checkbooks, credit cards, mortgages -- life skills math -- still they need percentages, multiplication tables, addition and subtraction, they need to know it cold... this is actually missing from the current curriculum. Who is really looking out for the raw skill base for these kids?

The problem with the math curriculum goes all the way back to elementary school. The pacing is too fast and the students do not become competent in a skill before they move on. For example, the third graders do not spend enough time on multiplication. We all know that multiplication is very important for future skills. They were pushed rapidly through it and then made to go into long division with remainders. It is no wonder the benchmark scores in DeKalb are so bad. The teachers have been complaining, but unfortunately the people in the county office have not been responding to them. The students do not regularly use a textbook and they skip around with the skills. A lot of teachers in the elementary school are very frustrated. Someone should ask the county for the end of semester math benchmark scores for elementary and middle school students-I know they are terrible.

We have too many consultants - and not enough teachers in DeKalb.

Students need repetition on material to learn it and it sounds like they are not teaching mastery of the skills but only introducing many concepts in math.

The very bright child may be able to do fine but many students will be left way behind.

I think the whole problem with Dekalb's implementation of the new math curriculum lies in its being used as the primary method of instruction, rather than as a supplemental method of instruction.

The idea of learning to use math for pratical problem solving needs to be integrated into math education, but should not be done at the expense of math skills mastery.

Oops. Make that "practical".

Dekalb County has neither the prestige nor the moral standing to resist the flights of fancy of the Georgia Department of Education in the areas of math, sciences, world languages and so forth.

Other more prestigious (those with more qualified administrators and real curriculum experts) counties can opt out or co-opt the State.

I suspect that Dekalb's willingness to spearhead (or to pilot) so many programs has gotten it burned so frequently that one would think they have learned their lesson.

But having done it so often, now in Dekalb County, every echelon (school, area, county)act as if every silly demand from the above rung is a Tablet from Mt. Sinai that cannot be questioned or interpreted.

Check this out: in every school yesterday school choice brochure for 2011-2012 was handed out to students. Whether this is a County, State, or Federal policy punishable by death, why in the dickens would you give such a brochure to a class of 2011 student in the final semester of his schooling?

Check this out: in every school yesterday school choice brochure for 2011-2012 was handed out to students. Whether this is a County, State, or Federal policy punishable by death, why in the dickens would you give such a brochure to a class of 2011 student in the final semester of his schooling?

DO THEY THAT IN GWINNETT?

The biggest problem with math education is that many of the teachers, particularly at the high school level, do not have mastery of mathematics themselves. They learned math in discrete chunks - algebra, geometry, trig - so the new curriculum is as difficult for them as it is for the students. The new curriculum really requires one to understand mathematical concepts and theories and not just "plug and chug", rote problem solving.

The percent proficient in Math in grades 1-5 was 25.48 on the end of semester Benchmark.

So, I assume we will now be treated to a new line of charrettes, hosted by Morcease Beasely, asking the public's opinion on math curriculum.

They'll probably ask the parents long before they consider asking the teachers who are in the classroom dealing with this mess.

Heaven forbid Dr. Berry who runs the Office of School Improvement should put Title 1 math teachers into the classrooms directly instructing small groups of struggling math students. Much easier to pay $9,000,000 for 90 instructional coaches ($100,000 per coach) than hire Title 1 math teachers.

It's not just the math curriculum with problems. My 6th grader's Social Studies teacher has made 2 booklets to match the Social Studies curriculum because the current SS text book does not. In addition, every 6th grader in the school had to purchase the 6th grade SS Coach Book, because it covers the curriculum. Why doesn't the textbook cover the curriculum?

Parents should be up in arms. With the school year half way over-

ONLY AROUND 25% OF THE STUDENTS IN GRADES 1-8 PASSED THE END OF SEMESTER BENCHMARK IN MATH!!!

The curriculum and pacing is to blame-not the majority of teachers that have been complaining all year to the curriculum center. The math consultants no longer respond to teachers' concerns at the math curriculum site-and there have been MANY concerns expressed by teachers.

I can sympathise with the parents of the struggling kids, but please understand that most high school teachers are very competent in math--their certification demands it. They have to be able to do all math, including Calculus to be certified to teach high school math.

I am a high school math teacher here in DeKalb, but I have been told numerous times that we have to change our way of teaching and become more "student focused" (i.e. let the students learn for themselves) instead of "teacher focused" (i.e. direct instruction). Those of us who have been teaching for a while know that most students could use more direct instruction before moving on to the Learning Tasks and word problems, but our instructional coaches tell us we must be more student focused.

I believe there are very good topics being taught in the new curriculum--the current Math 3 contains material from the old Advanced Algebra 2 course. However, I agree with Ella Smith in that not all students will go to college and can learn the material. So we do the best we can.

For athe year of 2011, it is now time for Instructional Coaches to come into classrooms and pull out students in math or reading skills on a weekly basis.

These instructional coaches are really a joke on the south end of the county.

And please donot mention counselors. They remind me of ambulance chasers. They only show their face when an accident happens. No measures are in place to evaluate counselors. From what we know, their is a checklist that each counselor submits at the end of the year to the county listing activities that were actually done. If you ask the teachers, they could not justify one activity on the list because they never saw the school's counselor. Each school's conselor does thing his or her way with no consistency or guidelines. Who is over the counselors in DCSS?

Counselors could be put to work between schools. It's a piece of cake job with no papers to grade, work to take home, tests to worry about. Having one or two counselors especially in the elementary schools per school is a waste of money IMHO.

@ anonymous 11:33

"Counselors could be put to work between schools."

I agree.

DCSS has 267 counselors. Their compensation is $22,000,000 a year in salary and benefit cost (25%).

The average pay for a counselor is 82,397 a yer per counselor (about $15,000 more than the per teacher compensation).

The Parent Center employees (you know the one that employees former BOE member Ms. Roberts daughter as a coordinator) took on many of the counselor duties. The Prevention/Intervention Specialist are also performing redundant tasks that the counselors and Parent Center personnel are supposed to be preforming.

source: State of Ga. website:

http://www.open.georgia.gov/

Re: Counselors. The counselors at my child's school seem hardworking and overworked.

My impression is that they have so much paperwork that they have too little time to do the real counseling work.

That said, they have always made time to help my child with questions about which course to take and about college.

@ 9:08

"Re: Counselors. The counselors at my child's school seem hardworking and overworked."

The teachers are even more overworked. Lewis cut 275 teacher positions last year and Ms. Tyson cut 100 teacher positions this year so all the remaining teachers had to take on more students. On the other hand counselor positions were left untouched.

We can't keep cutting teachers and leaving all other positions intact. After all, someone does have to teach your child. Teachers should be the LAST personnel to be cut. They are the ONLY personnel the school system cannot live without and the only personnel who actually instruct the students.

@ 9:08

Did you have a counselor in elementary school? I didn't it became a fad while I was in high school. Counselors especially in elementary school and middle school could easily be spread around multiple schools and be just fine. As far as high school goes, why haven't they been touched, work loads increased?

Every one in DCSS and all public schools with funding shortages should be feeling the pinch. As with the children in DCSS so goes the jobs, of haves and have nots.

I have been saying it for the last 3 years, Stategy based math is not working. Teaching strategy, teaching critical thinking skills does not substitute itself for the wrote method or basal method as DCSS like to call it. Sometimes kids just need to learn it, point blank.

Math mountains, pick a strategy that works best for you...what kind of hogwash is this? First graders taught about sticks and stones, not the feelings but using "10 sticks" as a counting method. Give me a %$@#&@# break. Just teach them the operations, teach them over and over. Teaching a child to estimate while dividing? Just teach them to divide and eventually it just becomes second nature. Or was all that learning I did not good enough? Seems to me, when we had more kids, less crap in the classroom and taught basics, schools were better off. Lets get back to it.

And when I say "crap" I mean the reading corners, couches, feelings chairs, junk ALL over the walls about doing your best. The ethics propaganda is absolutely immeasurable. Classrooms are full with boxes of paperwork, old teaching books, old curriculum, every type of manipulative and carpet squares imaginable.

In the halls of the middle schools, I spotted constant reminders of what to bring to class, pencils, notebooks, etc. These kids will never learn to think for themselves.

Here's an interesting fact for you about Math III..... the teacher's resource box is full of Houghlin Mifflin Algebra 2 books - nothing mentioning Georgia Math III - every single thing is Algebra 2.

Anyone else getting anything similar? What about EOCTs? CRCTs? Accelerated Math 1 news? I'd love to see Acc. Math 1s move into just geometry..... please.....

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