Since we have a new GA State School Superintendent, I thought I would provide some information relative to potential changes to the integrated "fuzzy" math program in Georgia. Last November, the citizens in Georgia elected Dr. John Barge as the new GA State School Superintendent. During the election, Dr. Barge repeatedly promised to:
- Return control of local school districts to superintendents, their key staff, and local boards of education.
- SEEK input from and LISTEN to the local school districts of Georgia....citing that he witnessed first-hand the insistence by the GA DOE leadership to implement a math curriculum that local school teachers, districts, and even State Department of Education curriculum specialists pleaded with them not to implement.
- Support the elimination of Math I, Math II, Math III, and Math IV and the restoration of Algebra, Geometry, Statistics, Calculus, etc. to distinct courses.
I am pleased to report that at this time it appears that Dr. Barge is planning to follow through with his commitments to the citizens in GA. Some highlights of Dr. Barge's actions to date are as follows:
- December 2010 - Dr. Barge, then Superintendent Elect, formed a Transition Advisory Committee comprised of a diverse group of education professionals, business leaders, citizens, politicians, etc.
- Dr Barge was seeking a group of people who would actively engage in discussion and provide feedback to Dr. Barge and his leadership team.
- Dr. Barge asked this group to bring a list of their top goals for his first year in office. It was no surprise to see that addressing the failed math program was high on almost everyone's list!
- January 2011 - Dr. Barge conducted his first meeting of the Transition Advisory Committee after taking office.
- During this meeting, Dr. Barge demonstrated his ability to listen to committee members by announcing that addressing issues associated with GA's math program was one of his top priorities.
- Dr. Barge was aware of the trouble facing many of the "guinea pig year" students in 11th grade as they near graduation without the math skills necessary to successfully graduate.
- Dr. Barge energized his staff, many appear to be new and motivated, to "act with urgency" to generate a plan that helps the current 11th graders who are struggling to graduate. This is a nice change from the previous administration, where nobody seemed to understand that the math program was failing!
- Dr. Barge announced the formation of a Math Subcommittee. This Subcommittee is focused on the effort required to ensure retention of rigor while implementing a math program that can be successfully utilized by all school boards in GA.
- February 2011 - Dr. Barge held the first meeting of the Math Subcommittee
- Discussed details regarding the challenges facing many of our students in the "guinea pig year", namely our 11th graders.
- Requested feedback relative to his team's ideas to address the immediate problems facing the current 11th graders, as well as beginning to think about long term implementation for high school.
- Request feedback relative to plans to enable local school boards to utilize traditional Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II and Trigonometry to meet the "rigorous" standards in existence in GA.
I am pleased to note that I was invited to participate as a member of both the Transition Committee, as well as the Math Subcommittee. While Dr. Barge has only been in office for a couple of months, it appears that he is remaining true to his campaign promises to:
- Provide local school boards with the necessary control to enable them to choose what is right for the students within their district.
- Seek information from, and listen to, constituents and local school districts.
- Support the return of Algebra, Geometry, Statistics, and Calculus as distinct courses while retaining increased rigor.
- I acknowledge that we are early in Dr. Barge's term, and there is much work ahead of his team. But he appears to be moving in the right direction, including looking at data, asking for feedback prior to implementing changes, and most importantly...Acting with Urgency!!
I hope you find this information helpful. As we move forward in Dr. Barge's term, I will keep you informed of the changes. In terms of local action, now is a good time to rally the citizens in your community, and initiate discussions within your own school district and politicians, to ensure that your local school board, government leaders and Superintendent are aware of your expectations to move back toward traditional math programs while retaining the rigor that is in the best interest of the students in GA!!
Thank You for Your Continued Support!!
If you leave it to local school districts, what happens to children who move from a school with one method to another?
The state needs to make a decision on a matter as significant as that.
Oh, yes, our students did so well with the "old" Math way of teaching. Go back and look at the EOCT test scores prior to the "new" Math path. Those test scores were bad as well.
please note sarcasm)
While I fully support changing back to a "traditional" math track, my son, a sophomore, has done very well. He has a 99 average right now in Accelerated Math II. He is a totally natural math student and it comes very easily to him. There were huge problems in middle school (and not much better in high school) with his teachers not knowing what they heck they were doing which I blame mostly on the way DCSS rolled out the new track (but also on the state curriculum with its emphasis on group learning and kids teaching themselve/each other, which DOES NOT work and DOES NOT make sense and the including of language arts and writing in a math class (totally ridiculous in my opinion). In spite of this, he has done very well. If they did away with the integrated math, what would happen to the kids currently taking it?
DCSS rolled out the curriculum the way the state directed them to.
The was a failure at the state level.
There is nothing wrong with writing in math class, if you have to explain how you solved the problem. This is how the state test in PA (think CRCT, but PSSA in PA) is done. Being able to explain what you did and why you did it, shows a higher level of understanding on the part of the child.
The problem is that many of our children don't understand basic elementary math, so the higher level math is way beyond what they could imagine.
There is one thing wrong with writing in math class. A student who is very talented in math but is weak in writing could be routed into a lower-level math track if his math grades depend on writing ability.
I spent two of my middle school years in a foreign country, and when I arrived I didn't speak the language. (I well remember the spelling test I bombed my first week of school!) Was very glad that math class didn't require much language knowledge.
One of my children was very gifted in math but very weak in writing. Of course he had to learn how to write, but it would have been a shame to hold him back in math. Very grateful for the teachers who gave him a chance to develop his talent.
Comparing EOCT for traditional vs. new math is a poor measure of the success/failure of either curriculum. Why not look at PSAT, SAT, and SAT math subject test scores? The Georgia DOE needs to be looking outside of Georgia for guidance on curriculum and for assessment.
Won't Math change again in 3 years when Georgia along with other states adopts the common core curriculum?
I read the same thing in the AJC.
That should be considered in any decision.
I haven't seen a definitive answer, but it seems like Georgia is pretty much alone in this integrated math. I can't imagine the other 39 states involved changing to what Georgia is doing.
Writing in math is not a bad thing, even for kids who are weak writers. Grading for grammar/spelling in math class, that's an entirely different discussion. No way that a kid who is gifted in math should suffer because of weakness in language...the questions with language should support the mathematical work.
Wrong, Anon 11:50
No one told DeKalb not to train teachers in the new curriculum and not to order books that aligned with it. DCSS did this all on its own. Visit Forsyth County sometime. Their administrators took this transition seriously, trained teachers and did not have the disruption DeKalb did. Of course, they also took the lead in ensuring the move back to discrete math instruction.
Regarding writing in math. I'm not talking about writing to explain how a problem was solved. I'm talking about the Math Journals they had to write something about math several times a week. They could write stories about math, poems about math, my son often went on-line and Googled for a particular number and wrote about that number. All this while they virtually had NO math homework. I asked the teacher if she thought maybe worksheets and practice would be more meaningful, but the journals were not really her decision. It was nothing but a joke. They finally did away with them - maybe enough parents complained. And as several have mentioned, the student that is not proficient in English can still be proficient in math. Math is math, numbers are numbers. Why introduce Language Arts into Math?
I think math and language arts are separate subjects and should be taught that way. A student who is spending a lot of time writing in a journal is not practicing math. DCSS has a problem with the way math instruction is implemented. We introduce topics out-of-order and try to get students to deal with complex math problems when they don't understand the basics. This is a recipe for failure. There is a reason why math textbooks are organized the way they are. One skill builds on the other. When you are building a house you have to have a foundation before you can put up the walls.
It is so sad that Barge is already a lame duch State School Supt in name ONLY. Deal has replaced 6 of the Board Members so he can control Education by continously cutting funding, raising taxes, and telling seniors to "go to hell". He has already started the hiring of "Family First and Friends" next. I wish Barge all the luck he can muster.
My concern, in chief is the "here and now" -- I have an 8th grader in accelerated math 1 -- I should have a 10th grader in accelerated math 3 (he's private and in Algebra 2). They need to deal in the NOW. The 8th graders need to be immediately shifted to geometry so that they are absolutely up to speed and done with geometry by the end of the year and ready for Algebra 2 in the fall -- so they are ready for Calculus as Juniors as they bargained for on the accelerated track. 7th graders --need to immediately gunned in and have their algebra completed if they are enrolled in accelerated math so they may be enrolled in geometry in the fall to ensure the accelerated tracking they were promised (this is done in other systems). There needs to be something put in place -- immediately -- for any 7th grader who is ready for algebra in 8th grade -- not all 8th graders but for any 7th grader with appropriate 'readiness skills' for algebra 1 so that they may be eligible for calculus as seniors -- this is standard "gifted" tracking for math and it would be criminal to deprive those students (probably 25-30% of all 7th graders in a number of our middle schools) the opportunity to take 8th grade algebra. If these adjustments are not made -- immediately -- the kids will be harmed for the next 4-6 years as this is a "math track" that will be very hard to undo once the next math year begins.
"There needs to be something put in place -- immediately -- for any 7th grader who is ready for algebra in 8th grade -- not all 8th graders but for any 7th grader with appropriate 'readiness skills' for algebra 1 so that they may be eligible for calculus as seniors -- this is standard "gifted" tracking for math and it would be criminal to deprive those students (probably 25-30% of all 7th graders in a number of our middle schools) the opportunity to take 8th grade algebra."
This is very important. We should not be holding student back. If they are ready, they need to be provided with the opportunity to take Algebra I in 8th Grade.
If the middle school parents out there of 6th & 7th graders, especially not currently acclerated math, but bright, gifted kids, are not really careful, I think the "boat" may be missed for 8th grade algebra...
I have a child in 8th grade accelerated math and I am appalled at how inadequate the Math I curriculum is. I hope that they bring back the traditional discrete math with a path back for those students that have started down this craziness. I bought my own Algebra I, II, and Geometry books, so that I can teach my child they way I was taught. THIS will be the issue that ultimately drives me to put my kids in private school.
Per Interim Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Dr. Beasley, no curriculum revisions are being adopted for existing courses. We will offer the following accelerated proposals to accommodate the courses approved today by the Georgia Board of Education (BOE).
Proposed Accelerated Mathematics Options
Grade Level Proposed Option #1 Proposed Option #2 6th 6/7 GPS
(currently in effect) 6/7 GPS Mathematics
(currently in effect) 7th 7/8 GPS Mathematics
(currently in effect) 7/8 GPS Mathematics
(currently in effect) 8th GPS Algebra
(new course approved by BOE on 3/14) GPS Algebra
(new course approved by BOE on 3/14) 9th GPS Geometry
(new course approved by BOE on 3/14)GPS Geometry GPS Geometry and
GPS Advanced Algebra
(students will take both of these courses as ninth graders - both of these
are new courses approoved by the BOE on 3/14) 10th GPS Advanced Algebra
(new course approved by BOE on 3/14) GPS Pre-Calculus
(new course approved by BOE on 3/14) 11th GPS Pre-Calculus
(new course approved by BOE on 3/14) Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus
AB 12th Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus AB AP Calculus BC or
Multivariate Calc or
Joint/ Dual Enrollment
We appreciate your patience as we work through these proposals. We look forward to meeting you at the Parent Community meeting on March 24, 2011 at 6:30 pm in the AIC Auditorium.
I pulled private for middle son with the adoption of accelerated math 1 (he was year 1). No guinea pigs in my home.... Older son (3 years older) was year 2 or 3 of mandatory algebra and youngest son (currently in 8 and in acclerated math 1) will be the guinea pig for this change -- so, summary: 3 boys, 5 years from top to bottom, this is the 3rd shift in middle/high math since college freshman was in 6th grade -- that's a lot! Can we please pass a law requiring that GA follow something from a state that ranks in the top 5 nationally over the past 3-5 years in toto--no changes or modifications -- no guinea pigs in Georgia please (except for Georgia studies if we must -- as a quarter addition to US History, from something already working elsewhere).
Great explanation as to why the math you and I took is so vastly different than what our kids are taking:
8th grade gps parents beware -- if you aren't really careful and proactive, your child may be put on a path that precludes calculus as a HS senior, which may shut off a whole string of college options, including UGA and GA Tech. Beware .... (this applies to 7th grade parents too). The path to calculus may include doubling up on math in 9th or 10th grade -- it is going to sneak up on you and/or pass you by if you don't have your eyes wide open.
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