Tuesday, March 25, 2008

SPS Testimony for 3-26-2008 by Dan

Members of the Board, 3-26-2008

The National Math Panel report, released on March 13th, should have a major impact on this District.

Some of its recommendations:

+ A focused, coherent progression of mathematics learning, with an emphasis on proficiency with key topics, should become the norm.

+ Avoid approaches that revisit topics superficially, year after year without closure. (This means Everyday Math should be avoided, Please Buy more Singapore Math and this time open the boxes.)

Authentic Algebra

+ an analysis of high school mathematics suggests that high school students using an integrated approach to mathematics may find it more difficult to take advanced mathematics course work in their senior year than those completing an Algebra II course in their sophomore or junior years.

+ A basic math education that prepares more students than at present to enroll in Authentic Algebra by Grade 8.

+ The Major Topics of School Algebra should be the focus for Algebra I and Algebra II. (The leading finalists in the High School Math adoption do not have this focus – start looking elsewhere for Math texts)

+ Algebra II by Grade 11.


+ The Panel cautions that calculators impede the development of automaticity and adversely affect fluency in computation. (What can be the possible benefit to calculators prior to grade 6 vs. risks? It is time to box up the calculators and remove them from the elementary schools)

Notice that the last two math adoptions of Everyday Math at elementary and Connected Math at the middle school are not in alignment with the National Math Panel Recommendations – The odds are they won’t align with the new State Standards either.

Many socially promoted children with few math skills are entering high school totally unprepared for Authentic Algebra. What should be done???

This book – A Blueprint for the Foundations of Algebra - with its excellent companion software can be the essential corner stone in building successful students. It can be the anchor point for real Authentic Algebra and a successful High School math program.

It should also be used by many middle school 8th graders next year.

You will notice the book has many math diagrams and examples. It presents the learning of mathematics in a focused coherent way. If a child has A.D.D., this is the book for that child. Sorry, no color pictures of Penguins jumping off Ice Cliffs. This book and its software are designed for success with English Language learners. The software has an impressive record of success with disadvantaged learners. Please investigate this book for our struggling math students, which at this time comprise over 50% of our entering 9th graders.

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