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>New Math Program

>I have read the responses to the new math program with great interest. I had expected to log on and see rejoicing since it was clear to anyone familiar with the process that Regina Botsford did not get her first choice, which was Everyday Math. As little as a few weeks ago, it seemed inevitable to most around the district that Regina was going to ignore the feedback given by the teachers and community and opt with the math program that came the closest to mirroring the one adopted by the middle school. In fact, someone “in the know” all but admitted that there was little chance of going with the more traditional Envision program.

You probably paused for a moment when you saw the words “traditional” and “Envision” used in the same sentence. I would have paused too if I had first seen the video presented on your site or read the comments left by others on the blog. The fact is, though, that anyone familiar with the program and its text (which is the main component that the district is adopting) can see that it is just a new version of your traditional Scott Foresman text. The lessons introduce traditional algorithms and give the student ample opportunity to practice them. Everything else consists of bells and whistles. In the highly competitive text marketplace, these companies include technology-based add-ons and other features that appeal to boards of education looking for the latest buzzwords. But in the end, the residents and teachers are getting what they asked for – a textbook that looks and functions like a traditional text. It is very close to what even the board of education’s biggest detractors called for, and it is definitely not what Regina would have chosen had she been able to choose on her own. In fact, there is very little about it that would appeal to her, or anyone else who leans heavily towards programs such as Everyday Math and TERC.

My first thought when I read the responses was that any program chosen by the board would have been ripped apart by your blog’s readers simply because board approval suggests that the program was endorsed by Regina. I think people who feel that way have to open their eyes a bit and realize that Dan Fishbein has greater control over these decisions than his predecessors. As someone more familiar with this situation than most of the people who have expressed displeasure, I can assure you that this is a bigger victory for those people than they currently realize.

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