Thursday, November 10, 2011
Old math, new math, discrete math, math 1,2,3,4: imprudent math curriculum decisions?
What does this mean to your child? We see 3 big areas of impact:
EOCT: Your kid will take the discrete EOCT in May. This test has never been administered. Certainly, it does not need mentioning that the first administration of a new EOCT requires adjustment. The first classes to take them are guinea pigs. In 2009, the first Mathematics I EOCT was given and the state threw out all the scores. Students never even got score reports. With the graduation test going away and the EOCT coming in as the graduation test replacement, we are in no position to reduce a child's chances of graduating (because of something out of the kid's control).
Textbooks: The McDougal Littell textbooks that were already a poor match for the curriculum will be even worse matches, The spring curriculum is designed as a transition time, so your kid will be taking a blended integrated/discrete class (never to be taught again, presumably). The folks from the county are suggesting that teachers in a building swap books out as the discrete course moves from material in the Mathematics I book to material in the Mathematics II book. Until new resources are purchased or created (the state has produced a very excellent EOCT study guide for free -- no such guide exists for discrete courses yet), we are up the proverbial creek.
Teacher readiness: Teachers have zero planning days (and in fact, a furlough on Jan 3) to prepare for a new curriculum. A major complaint of the integrated curriculum was that teachers didn't have enough training in the teaching of GPS integrated material. Your child's teacher will have 0 training, 0 time to prepare, and 0 resources provided by the county. The official word is that teachers have to "help each other out".
The meeting this morning over at AIC stressed that this announcement is pending board approval. Is it a good idea to foist this change on teachers in November? A mid-year switch is HUGE. There is no planning time on the calendar. When are teachers supposed to get ready to teach a mostly-different set of topics in the spring? This would be hard enough for teachers on the block, but what about those that teach a 7-period day and therefore teach the same math course to the same students all year?
Should the board approve this idea to switch the math curriculum mid-year? Let's discuss and then we'll share our thoughts with the board.