OBJECTIVE 1. Commence the K-12 curriculum review this year, so that we are not behind in 2014 when the new state standards impact the Connecticut Mastery Test, and Greenwich's results dive, along with our housing prices (longer term).
UPDATE: Our current curriculum is built around the old CT standard, which was given a grade of “D” in one study. Given the major changes as a result of the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, an immediate review is required to ensure our students are prepared for the future (and not just the new standardized tests).The administration has verbally committed to determining whether a review can be accelerated from 2014-15, in view of other competing priorities. I am still waiting to see that commitment in writing.
The Board of Education accepted the 2011 Math Monitoring Report, which purports to depict the state of math education in our schools. As detailed extensively here, the original report was full of errors and omissions (some of which were corrected after my input). The data in some areas is still incomplete, and is therefore misleading. The analysis and conclusions are uninformative on numerous points. The report thus fails to provide an accurate picture for the Board, which needs to have good information in establishing priorities and programs.
The Math Monitoring Report, when viewed critically, paints a distressing picture of the math situation in the Greenwich Public Schools, especially in the elementary and high schools. Growth in performance on the CMT’s and CAPT’s at meaningful achievement levels (i.e., Goal and Advanced, as Proficient means nothing) is stagnant at best. Greenwich’s performance contrasted with comparable districts is poor, and the gap to these districts is getting wider.
OBJECTIVE 2. Get Everyday Math changed (i.e., get it out of our schools). It is great that some parents (me included) are in a position to instruct our children each night to make up for Everyday Math’s deficiencies, but what about kids where both parents work, and/or don't speak English well, and/or can’t afford a tutor.
UPDATE: The administration is putting together a transition curriculum (to get us to 2014-15 and beyond) based on Everyday Math. Given the vast amount of change in philosophy, structure and content required to make Everyday Math compatible with the Common Core Standards, this will only lead to a program less coherent than the current version of Everyday Math (which already lacks coherency). The publishing director charged with developing a Common Core version of Everyday Math said, “The number of changes we have made in EM to better align it with CCSS is quite large. Our planning documents for these revisions ran to hundreds of pages.” But the administration expects to do this in-house. Welcome to Fantasy Island!
The main selling points of Everyday Math have been disavowed by the National Math Advisory Panel and, to a large extent, rejected by CCSS (spiraling, lack of coherence, lack of focus, lack of practice of basic facts and standard algorithms, calculator use as early as Kindergarten). Is this the foundation we should be using?
The Board of Education and the school administration is aware of this campaign, but the administration is dragging its feet. Time to turn up the heat.