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Letter: No Data to Support Use of CPM Algebra Textbook

Letter-writer states she does not agree with school board's decision to 'end discussion' about the College Preparatory Math textbook.

Dear Editor,

I recently bumped into a parent who said that he had purchased a book for his child directly from College Preparatory Math, so his child could have a book at home. On a different occasion, I bumped into another parent who, until she read the newspaper articles in December, thought that her freshman child had been performing poorly in math simply because he was adjusting to the higher demands of high school. That parent has since hired a tutor for her son. 

Why did the Board of Education, at a recent meeting, do nothing for these and the approximately eight hundred and fifty other students, roughly equivalent to one quarter of the town’s high school population, already using, and “persevering” with, the unapproved CPM Algebra 1 book? 

Last spring, five people took a half a day reviewing the CPM Algebra 1 book, alongside several other books, and determined that the CPM book most closely aligned with Common Core State Standards. However, at the time, most publishers had not aligned their texts with the Common Core State Standards.  The subsequent decision to use eight hundred and fifty students as guinea pigs for the CPM Algebra textbook was based solely on the opinions of these five people, not on any other data. On several occasions, I have asked the district for data to support the success of CPM (i.e. SAT scores) in districts similar to Fairfield and have been told none exist.

Why did we rush into a decision in May 2012 that impacted such a large number of students, when, according to the administration’s April 2012 presentation on the 3-5th grade curriculum “it is premature to recommend a new resource…as publishers are still working to align their texts with Common Core State Standards?” 

I disagree with the decision that allowed so many students to be used as guinea pigs for the CPM Algebra 1 textbook. In addition, since there is still no independent data supporting the use of the CPM book, I disagree with the decision by the Board of Education to end the discussion about the textbook and to allow the continued use of the CPM book in the district.

Sincerely,

Susie Byrne

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