Friday, March 27, 2009

Your Help Needed .. Write Now

Action Alert
Seattle School District High School Math Adoption

*** Please forward this to others who are passionate about math education ***

WE NEED YOUR HELP!!! The Seattle School District is on the verge of choosing High School math textbooks for the ENTIRE district. These materials will be in place for the next 5-10 years, so the wrong choice will be a backwards step for the next decade of students. Don’t let our district repeat the mistakes they made for Elementary program (Everyday Math), and Middle School (Connected Math Program - CMP2).

It is extremely urgent that you write to all the School Board Directors in the next week requesting that they do not endorse the district math staff’s current recommendation of Key Curriculum Press Discovering Algebra, Discovering Geometry Series. This curricula was found to be “mathematically unsound” by the Washington State Board of Education consultants, and has been removed from the State’s Recommended High School Programs List.

In contrast, the second place Prentice Hall program, which was favored by a minority of the committee (5 to 8 in committee vote), provides a balanced and content-rich resource for teachers, students, and parents to collaboratively support success. Prentice Hall teaches authentic algebra as recommended by the National Math Advisory Panel and does not include excessive calculator exercises.

Our district developed a textbook review process which included no mathematicians, and is relying on the decision of this limited group to choose the best program, even though it conflicts with state recommendations and key ideas presented by the National Math Advisory Panel. This is the same process which selected the current elementary and middle school programs, and they have not helped increase student achievement or reduce the achievement gap. Our school board directors are concerned that the district is headed down the same path that is producing lackluster student achievement, and heightened parent frustration. Help support them in voting down this mistake before it happens.

This will be an important vote even if your children are currently in elementary school. You can all make a difference by writing a short message of support to school board directors asking them to reject the district’s program recommendation. FINAL VOTE will be on April 22nd.

Possible talking points for letters listed below. Please add in your own experience with district math programs at any grade level.

- Prentice-Hall books are solid, well-organized, and mathematically sound. Computational algorithms and formulas are clearly stated and well motivated by examples and hands-on activities. These materials are family and student friendly.
- Discovering Algebra and Discovering Advanced Algebra (Key Curriculum Press) have too much verbiage, too little in the way of clearly stated mathematical principles. Definitions, computational algorithms, and formulas are vaguely stated if they are stated at all. The program does not include enough practice for mastery.
- Local and national mathematicians have expressed their written concerns about the soundness of these programs.
- Our kids should not be subject to this ongoing failed experiment.

Please do the right thing and choose Prentice Hall Mathematics over the Discovery series.

School Board Directors:
Michael DeBell -
Sherry Carr -
Harium Martin-Morris -
Peter Maier -
Cheryl Chow -
Steve Sundquist -
Mary Bass -

Math Underground Blog:

State Board of Education report:

Mathematician Reviews of Mathematics Curricula (scroll to bottom of page)

National Math Panel Final Report

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