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Invitation to Math Chat…

>Friends and neighbors please join us for a Math Chat on Thursday, August 9th at 7:30 P.M. at The Unitarian Society of Ridgewood. Over the past several months, parents have been expressing their concerns over the math programs in our village schools to educational administrators and the Board of Education. This issue is an old one for Travell School. Parents have been voicing their concerns since the inception of TERC Investigations more than 5 years ago. What is new is an organization of parents called VORMATH who are providing an opportunity for parents of school age children and concerned tax- payers to be involved in an open forum discussion. Did you know…
· The 6 elementary schools in Ridgewood use 3 different math programs.
· Four of the six schools use reform math- also known as fuzzy math, constructivist based math, or standards based math.
· These reform math programs have been abandoned by hundreds of school districts across the nation because they fail to prepare our children for math at the high school and college level
· Over 200 math professors, 4 Nobel Laureates and 2 Fields Medal winners signed a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education back in 1999 asking the government to remove these reform math programs from their list of exemplary programs
· A Stanford mathematician stated that TERC Investigations is the “2nd most mathematically illiterate program” he has ever seen. TERC Investigations is the program currently used at Travell and Orchard Schools.
· The district just purchased the newest version of the Investigations program for both Travell and Orchard.
· Benjamin Franklin Middle School has averaged a rank of 21 out of over 200 middle schools in mathematics statewide for the past 7 years using traditional math.
· CMP2 (another reform math program for middle schools that is controversial) has been implemented for 6th graders last year and will follow them into 7th grade this September; why change a math program that has proven itself a success for the students?
There is substantial information available for concerned parents to read. How the math issue affects all taxpayers is simple. Sixty-six percent of every tax dollar feeds into Ridgewood’s $82,000,000 school budget. Are we getting a good return of our investment? Ridgewood’s reputation for excellent schools has kept the value of our homes high. There must be fiscal responsibility and sound choices made for educating all the children in our village. We love Ridgewood and want to keep it the wonderful community that it has been for many generations.
There will be a presentation followed by a Q & A period. Hope you can make it and take advantage of the opportunity to share your concerns and thoughts. TOGETHER WE ADD UP!

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6 thoughts on “Invitation to Math Chat…

  1. >We need to train the finest minds to become future engineers. They must repair and replace our nation’s infrastructure, including our bridges.

    They need real math.

  2. >I meant to add…our future engineers must be disciplined mathematicians.

    Sadly, and as many of us saw and read, our BOE has been publicly advised by an expert that “disciplined mathematicians” is not a goal.

  3. >For parents wanting to know how to get started, read Coping with Math Reform, written by a math professor.

  4. >The Ridgewood School System has gone the way of school systems throughout the country. The more the federal government pushes for measurement and accountability, the more the teachers unions and educational academia push for programs that cannot be measured (are “fuzzy”). If you can’t measure success or failure, then no one is responsible. The children don’t get it because they are, well, “discovering” themselves at their own pace. The teachers aren’t responsible because you can measure anyone discovering themselves because this is wholely subjective. This causes more grant money to get poured into academia who will then publish more stop gap clap trap to make the publishers and consultants rich. All this is going on while our children are spinning in their desks not knowing what is going on and , the worst part, blaming themselves for being dumb.

    As a previous writter stated , this is not only a math problem. The English side of the house is in such a mess on a par with the math side except it has no spokes- persons as passionate and knowledgeable as the math moms. Take a look at the entire K8 in Ridgewood. You’ll think you’re in Hollywood. All trendy flash and no substance. There is, “a sucker born every minute.”, and we are it.

  5. >In 1991 a group of about 250 parents of school children in Princeton, New Jersey petitioned the board of education for a more systematic and challenging math program. They found the one in use to be vague and weak. Many of the teachers did not even use textbooks. When parents asked about what was being taught in the classrooms, they were told that the curriculum was not very important, that “one size does not fit all,” and, repeating the dictum of 1930s Progressivists, that the teachers were there to “teach children, not curricula.” When parents complained of deficiencies in what little curriculum even existed, they were treated as if their cases were new and unrelated to other complaints. These responses have been reported by parents in many other school districts as well.

    Test scores in Princeton were among the highest in the state, but that was not the result of a well designed academic program. Many highly educated parents, including Princeton University faculty, were providing tutoring and enrichment for their own children. Other children with limited resources in the Princeton Regional School system did not fare well in this highly progressivist environment.

    Finding their requests ignored, the “Curriculumists,” those parents favoring an organized coherent curriculum for all students, concentrated on winning school board seats. One of them, Chiara Nappi, a theoretical physicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, won a seat in 1993. By 1994 the Curriculumists held a majority of positions on the school board.

    However, even with formal political power, the Curriculumists were unable to make substantive changes in the district. They eventually turned their attention to creating a charter school for grades K-8 whose focus would be the fundamental academic disciplines, and which would provide an atmosphere that affirmed academic achievement. However, even this effort was resisted by Progressivists in the district. Nevertheless, after considerable effort, the Princeton Charter School came into existence in 1997 and provided a genuine alternative to the educational philosophy of the school district.

    Any one want to start a Charter School for traditional education. How embarassed would the BOE be then?

  6. >Math moms spoke of this piece of history and how that school is a blue ribbon school and uses traditional math

    seems pretty elementary what has to be done in travell and orchard

    (remove the reform math principals – you’d be considered shining stars for doing so)

    move beyond reform

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