The Fairfield Board of Education is scheduled to vote Tuesday on the elementary math curriculum (grades three to five), but a group of parents tasked with reviewing the proposed plan are asking that the board vote it down.
Instead the focus group would like to see the board choose a “stronger” curriculum “supported by a well-established text…and planned professional development,” according to resident and parent Susan Marcus, a member of the review group.
The problems with the current and proposed curriculums were summed up by members of the review group in a letter addressed to school board members. Those concerns are:
- The proposed curriculum is based on the Common Core Standards Initiative, which is meant to ready students for college and career but is “not internationally benchmarked,” according to the group’s letter. Further research brought forth by the focus group showed U.S. students are one to two years behind Asian students by sixth grade in mastery of basic facts and algorithms.
- The current textbooks and resources utilized in the curriculum are “poorly rated,” outdated, and teach “fuzzy math.”
- The focus group was given “insufficient lead time” to review the curriculum in depth. According to the document “Curriculum Development in the Fairfield Public Schools, Framework and Procedures” on the district’s website, residents may have input into the formation of the curriculum. The review group felt sufficient input was not granted.
The faction is also concerned with the results of the 2011 Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) math scores, Marcus said. In Fairfield, 69.9 percent of high school students met the state goal for mathematics, ranking fourth in the school system’s district reference group (DRG) towns. That DRG include Greenwich (71.9 percent), Monroe (72.4 percent), Newtown (68.5 percent), Trumbull (71.7 percent), West Hartford (62.4 percent).
Marcus contended that Fairfield should not only compare its pupils to within its DRG, but to neighboring towns’ students as well.
“We believe it is important to look not only at our DRG, but also neighboring towns that are successful so we can try to emulate their successes.”
New Canaan, Wilton, Ridgefield, Weston all saw more than 80 percent of students meet the state’s math goal. Ninety percent of Westport students satisfied the goal.
The group has proposed a first-step solution to addressing the issues they found with the curriculum. That step is to replace the textbooks used in grades 3-5. The text Singapore Math is one suggestion from the group: a textbook that aligns with the Common Core Standards and one the group feels is well established.
The Board of Education will meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Board of Education Conference Room (501 Kings Highway East).