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Home : 2004 : Jan : 28

    Everyday math
    By Jackie

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    There may be waves at Hampton Beach, but there is a bigger wave of children within SAU21 being cheated out of a fundamental "basic" math education. As the K-5 children are being subjected to the current math curriculum in Hampton, not even 50% of the student population can meet the "proficient" (standard) of their grade level in a NH only test. And the numbers look worse if the Hampton children compete with MCAS standards and IOWA test standards. For those that are not aware of the poor K-5 math curriculum, check out the open letter to the secretary of education from 200 mathematicians, along with 7 Nobel prize winners, describing their rejection of the Everyday Math curriculum, a.k.a. Fuzzy Math, reform math, new math. Not for a minute could anyone refute their evidence based rejection of this curriculum. The research has been done, but the Hampton SAU21 administration team does not accept the reality. Read all about it at http://mathematicallycorrect.com or http://educationallycorrect.com. I would suggest a strong cup of coffee and phone in hand in order to reach your administration as soon as you have absorbed the frightening reality of today's Hampton curriculum, Everyday Math. We are using Project material that does not meet the grade. Refer to http://illinoisloop.org for the latest on Whole Math, Fuzzy Math, MTV Math, Rainforest Math, New-New Math, etc. are a few of the names. This site provides insight to the touchie-feelie psychobabble theories the Hampton children must endure gaining mastery of nothing to do with math computation in K-5. Don't forget to scroll down to the section on "specific math programs", read and weep the brutal reality of Everyday Math. Note, a recent, very interesting study on Saxon from Anne Arundel County in Maryland, where the 14 schools scoring lowest in math were switched from Everyday Math and Mathland(two fuzzy math programs) to Saxon Math. The results were striking. In ALL 14 schools performance jumped after only one year with Saxon, refer to chart at http://www.illinoisloop.org/math.html/. If that is not enough evidence, do what I did, pay for an independent research company to complete a study on the curriculum. Educational Research Analysts in Texas is a good resource. Send mail to infotextbookreviews.org and get your own research done as an independent parent. The current assistant superintendent professed to me, and other parents, of her personal support of the disturbing math curriculum. Note, she has no knowledge of the curriculum content. I wonder if she has even opened page 58, student reference book(SRB), describing and teaching my fifth grader about the "half baked idea" an analogy used to teach fractions. What does that phrase mean to you as parents? That is the most outrageous statement in any K-5 curriculum, let alone mathematics. Please review the SRB, if you can get your hands on one. It is rarely allowed to come home under the Everyday Math philosophy. In order to get one you have to purchase the SRB, but my property taxes don't count for this SRB access. Our administration is not subjected to this spiral program every night at the dining room table. The philosophy is to pass by the kids quickly and "maybe they will get it" next time. I have a house full of children and this generation will not come back to something later. Why not master it the first time around? And then move on and build on knowledge not guess work. The assistant superintendent does not have a fifth grader (any grader for that matter). I wonder if she understands the children are taught that the only way to complete a percentage is to have a quantity of 100 items. And the fifth graders also think that a fraction can't be computed as a decimal unless the denominator is 100. That is Everyday Math hard at work, while we continue to pay higher Hampton property taxes to support such mathematical lies and cheats. And as far as math facts, no one knows them unless Private, Kumon and Sylvan resources have been employed. They are making great profits off of Hampton children. The income stream at the local Private, Kumon and Sylvan learning centers is increasing, because Hampton parents must find other methods and philosophies in order to get the basic mathematics mastered. Children should come home with basic addition, subtraction, multiplication facts, but Everyday Math philosophy is that children don't really have to get the right answer. They can "guesstimate" their way to results when designing bridges, computers, rockets, and cars. Well, I benchmark with Ford, IBM, Compaq/HP, etc on a regular basis and no one is "hoping" or "guessing" that your car stereo might just fit in your dashboard or the replacement windshield might fit, but that day the glass cutter rounded up and the glass flew out of the car after installation. What is this math philosophy doing to exactness? Numbers do matter! If the eyeglass prescriptions that you wear were ALMOST fitting, wouldn't you see things a little fuzzy just like our math program, Fuzzy Math. The answers do matter. The precision of nano-technology requires this generation to be exact more than ever. And how about those DVD player designers? On the basis of Everyday Math our Friday night DVDs might not fit every time in the DVD machines. Some might fit and others may not. But we don't need to be exact? Did you know that there are no text books? There are messy journals, on paper that smudges when erasers are used, and the printed material does not have any examples for the children to study or learn outside of the classroom. The journals are not to come home, but this last week mad dash to fill in pages that were left undone, was startling. There must be a mid-year audit to support the Chicago project, or should we say fake it out. It is hard to believe that the Everyday Math "reference" book, has been read cover to cover by the curriculum coordinator. The K-5 math curriculum coordinator has expressed a personal discomfort to correlate fractions and decimals, yet another substandard leadership model in the K-5 program. Curriculum directors must be relied upon by taxpayers to be leaders, mentors and achievers of higher standards. The Chicago Math project is no challenge, no text, no long division, no decimal computation, therefore it makes everyone feel comfortable, as it does not teach anything. There are more written essay questions in the work than computational work. When my child is in math I want a flood of computation. They need practice. When my sixteen year old went to get his license he needed practice hours in the car, not at the desk. Same goes for math, they need computational practice time to master the exact output! The Spiral mentality is disturbing and the hopes that a child will catch it next round is insane teaching theory. There is never one method taught and mastered. All must use many methods to multiply, and avoid the traditional method at all costs. Do you know that the fifth graders are told not to add traditionally as well. As a result they master nothing. We give them nothing to master, so why are we surprised on the results. The fifth graders can not multiply more than two digits because the lattice multiplication carries children into two pages of lost numbers in the messy writing. So the project says don't teach it then, don't master it. The project avoids long division and avoids division of two digit numbers as well. Yet another flaw of the new algorithm theories. Get the basics then enrich our kids with new algorithms, but with less than 50% of the town meeting proficient at the basics we do have a long way to go before we add new algorithms. Why is meeting or below a standard the norm within Hampton Math leadership roles. Why doesn't Hampton have 80% of its students meeting proficient level for K-5 NHEIAP exams instead of less than 50%. That says that over half of the K-5 kids, in the schools all day, don't get the fundamentals. I have the exams, they are not hard, but yet the Everyday Math curriculum is coming up short even when trying to meet a low NHEIAP standard. The truth is that the administration has said we are meeting the NH standards (not the Tera Nova tests) so what's the issue. So if 25% of the NH population is passing and we are above that we should be happy. I don't think so. Well the issue is that the fifth grade class is not passing the basics. We are sending fifth graders onto the Junior High without any concept of fractions and decimals. The Junior High must re-teach the children. And they are not using Everyday Math Project. The Junior High leaves the Chicago project on the side of the road when the kids cross the street from fifth grade. Thank goodness for sound HAJH leadership decision making and ability to thwart off the sales reps and elementary curriculum nonsense. Keep it up, we are behind you! If the elementary school pushed to excel at the Singapore Math or Saxon Math level then our students could enter the Junior High at least two grades ahead of today's standards. Check it out yourself and take the benchmark tests on-line with your child. The Japanese children do not "just meet" NH standards. They are number one in the world, but remember the UChicago Project is not allowed in their educational systems. Singapore is the baseline program in other countries. Why do we expect so little of ourselves as parents, teachers as role models, and then of our state of NH. It is okay to want more for your children. Counting the windows in your house can not lead to algebraic best practices like Saxon can do for your child. Re-teach the basics at home using the home school materials from Singapore and Saxon and save the Hampton children. Let's produce children ready for Algebra in Junior High. At today's rate the children won't be graduating from High School with mastery in Algebra. Let's help the Junior High by sending children that have mastered elementary math so the first half of sixth grade they can teach sixth grade math, not K-5 mathematics. The curriculum report cards are public knowledge, but are not being used in Hampton to make critical decisions. Investments are required by the parents, teachers and administration to help the next generation. I have supplied the administration overwhelming independent analysis and data, which has not been responded to date. This issue has been open for years in Hampton. There are fifth grade classes in Hampton skipping math on a regular basis as the teachers say they don't have time to teach these pieces of paper they have to copy. Well, drop recess and get my kid educated. I spend 6 hours every night home schooling due to the inadequate K-5 curriculum. This is not fair to the children, but then again coming up last in the USA on a math standardized test would not be fair either. Seabrook parents should be enraged and not let this math debacle go on any longer. Everyday Math has enabled Seabrook students to be dead last in the rank order for the last three years in New Hampshire, yet again against a very low expectation/standard of curriculum metrics for starters. Read the numbers -Seabrook's ranked order is 131 out of 131 NH schools for Grade 3 Math. And Seabrook's ranked order for Grade 6 Math assessment is 125 out of 127 NH Schools. Something for the SAU21 administration and parents to be ashamed about. But watch out Hampton, that is the direction we are headed. Hampton endorse the same substandard, Everyday Math Project, just like Seabrook. The SAU21 math curriculum is leaving the entire population in Seabrook out in the cold and there appears to be no panic, no emergency and no care attitude. Doesn't anyone have a little bit of guilt for leaving an entire generation of children behind basic standards. SAU21 parents do expect more and the children rely upon us to fix this curriculum issue for them. The Project failed in Chicago and never made revenue release so why do we continue to torture our children. Is your child going to college? Not if Everyday Math is the standard on the Seacoast. We should get in line with Seabrook and be prepared to fight for the last spot in the rank-order list across New Hampshire. That is the Hampton new benchmark, how quickly can we reach the last spot in the state of New Hampshire. How would we do compared to MCAS over the boarder in MA. Hampton parents get engaged and call the SAU21 office and your school board members. We have requested this as an agenda item on the Hampton School Board since last November, but yet again the leadership does not think it is necessary. As a matter of fact the assistant superintendent said, " it is pointless", because she "endorses Everyday Math", but yet she has no experience with it. Well, I do as a parent of six children. I touch every school in Hampton and I know the truth behind the scenes. I know the truth that lies beneath. Let's help our teachers and youth and get this curriculum out of their rooms so they can teach 2+2, not fuzzy math.


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