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School Administration Seeks Feedback for Secondary Math Curriculum

Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Title said the public will be given 'unprecedented access' to the textbooks that are under consideration for the secondary math curriculum, which will be voted on in the spring.

Textbooks under consideration for secondary math classes will be made available for public review and feedback before a new curriculum is adopted in the spring, Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Title said at Tuesday's school board meeting.

The books include the College Preparatory Math (CPM) Core Connections text currently being piloted in the district's algebra classes. Parents have come before the board in the past few months and complained about the use of the book -- which was not approved by the Board of Education -- and the implementation of CPM's instructional method.

Parents have voiced concern that the administration was already committed to the adoption of this textbook and curriculum for the secondary math classes, which include grades six through 10. They have objected to the method of students learning through group work instead of teacher instruction and to the fact that students cannot take the CPM book home for assignments.

But according to Title, "this is not a done deal. We are committed to evaluating all available curriculums."

In response to the concern surrounding curriculum, Title said that the district give the public "unprecedented access to the textbooks under consideration."

The public will be notified of when they can come to the Central Office to review the books and offer feedback to the administration before the curriculum is presented in April and the board votes on it in May.

"Our goal is to improve student performance in math -- there is not other agenda," Title said. "We can't continue to do everything we've always done and expect kids to handle the challenge of rigorous assessments."

In addition to providing feedback, parents will be part of the committee to review the curriculum. Letters have already gone out to various PTAs asking for nominations to the committee.

Board member John Convertito asked that the board make sure that those parents who have spoken out about CPM aren't banned from participating in the review committee.

Resident Kelly Crisp agreed.

"Those parents who have taken an active interest in the curriculum not be excluded or penalized for that interest," she said.

Jennifer Maxon Kennelly and fellow board member Perry Liu noted that the parents who brought their concerns to the attention of the board "deserve praise."

"We owe parents thanks for bringing this to the board's attention," Liu said. "If they hadn't, no matter what you think about the math program, the community wouldn't have known about it."

He added that should the board decide that CPM isn't the right program for Fairfield, the members and administration must consider how much of the school year has been lost to the curriculum.

Jessica Gerber, the board's secretary, agreed.

"We still have half of this school year left. I hope students have whatever support is needed so that this isn't a lost year for them, and they can transition smoothly into the next year of their math careers."

A group of parents known as the Fairfield Math Advocates have called for the board to suspend the use of the textbook, a motion that was put forward by Kennelly at the Dec. 11 meeting and later withdrawn due to lack of notice to the public.

BobRyffel January 17, 2013 at 07:38 PM
This is a rather telling statement; parents will have "unprecedented access to the textbooks under consideration.". Why is allowing parents to read the textbooks unprecedented? Shouldn't they be involved in every part of the process? It seems Fairfield has never allowed parents and other concerned people to even look at the course materials purchased - until their kids come home with them.
Walter Donne January 17, 2013 at 07:54 PM
Just because the few loudest appear to speak for many, that is not the case. I am in favor of the new math text and curriculum Thank you Walter Donne
Mom January 18, 2013 at 02:11 AM
"The public will be notified of when they can come to the Central Office to review the books..." they will need to get some in order for this to happen unless parents are coming in to log on to a computer. My daughter has no physical book - the only book they gave her a few weeks ago was last years Algebra 1 which doesn't coincide with the curriculum.
lbh January 18, 2013 at 02:59 PM
Last night my son was preparing for a math test, he looked at me a said "I hate math." I was shocked. This is a child used to do his sister's math problems and she is 3 years ahead of him. I replied, "Really? I thought you loved math." Well he used to. I purchased my own math books so that when this year is over he will still be able to do the basics. Once I brought those books to our table, he looked them over and pointed to material they had not done yet. He asked me if we could go over it because he really wanted to know how to solve the problem. In 4 and half months I have seen my child go from being confident and enthusiastic about math to a child who is frustrated and second-guessing himself. How can this new curriculum be a positive thing?
Sandra January 18, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Walter-Is your child in favor of the new curriculum?
Ajack January 22, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Ah, the Fairfield School Administration , which always knows best, is at it again . Your kids are at stake here folks. Their future is at stake. Parents know best when it comes to kids. Take charge of your kid's future......before it's too late.
Brian January 23, 2013 at 12:23 AM
Ajack, I've met plenty of parents who didn't know a square root from a square peg and frankly, couldn't be bothered. Don't generalize with the "wisdom" parenthood brings. Does having a child make them at expert at education because they went to school? I think part of the textbook adoption process involves a review period. Now if administrators want to spin about pilot programs and evaluation of a program, that's their lingo. Has anyone else gone on line to check out the help sections available with the new problem solving approach? What did you think?
Ajack January 23, 2013 at 03:21 PM
Brian, Parents should be spending a great deal of time with what their children are learning, what's in the books, the opinions of their teachers. It's their responsibility! They have ceded their education responsibilities to the State. Down the line, we may rue the day that we have allowed this to be done to us. Over site by the public is what is needed for any school system lots. Put huge amounts of money into the equation and what you get is purposeful directive for what is being taught to our children.There's an agenda at all levels. Our school system in this country, it's origins, has the same origins that the German National Socialist movement had. The whole point behind this 'government' school system that we have adopted, as was the intent in Germany, was to manufacture good, obedient, students and eventually,citizens. Where do a large proportion of our leaders send their kids,private schools.The 5% rule the 95%. It's fostered by a school system that has,at it's core function, this latent German National Socialism. That got the world two wars and the Nazi movement! No wonder our school systems fight like heck anyone who challenges how they do things. If new ideas on how to implement a public education, we might get too much free wheeling thinking.How about a free market system for our education system? Want to see us flourish as a country? The best schools get supported,by the end consumers, the public and the worst schools are left to fail as they should.

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