Concerns over Math Education at Beecher Road School
To: Woodbridge Board of Education and Superintendent Guy Stella An increasing number of parents in the Woodbridge School District are expressing concerns about the experimental math program, Kendall/Hunt Math Trailblazers, being used on our elementary school students. Math Trailblazers emphasizes self discovery over mathematical competency and teacher-led instruction. Renowned mathematicians, university professors, engineers, scientists, parents and individuals who use, advance, and rely upon mathematics in their careers and daily lives have condemned programs like Math Trailblazers which abandon teaching of proven math fundamentals to elementary school children. Therefore, we, the undersigned parents, would like to express our deep concern with the following issues and propose that the Woodbridge School District adopt the following goals: 1. The Woodbridge Board of Education should conduct a reassessment of its current Kendall/Hunt Math Trailblazers program to determine whether its curriculum is consistent with the March 13, 2008 recommendations published by the National Math Advisory Panel in a document entitled “Foundations for Success: The Final Report of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel” and to adopt a curriculum with long-term scientific evidence of achievement. 2. Protect the right of students to become computationally fluent in mathematics. We expect students to receive direct instruction in standard algorithms of all mathematical operations and laws of arithmetic so that they can master the skills that allow fast, accurate calculation of basic problems. A solid foundation in mathematics will help ensure that our children become globally competitive 21st century citizens. 3. Actively encourage participation from parents and other community members. Creating a more open process will result in a more robust math curriculum at Beecher. Outside perspectives will help guide the district as it sets standards and chooses curricula to successfully meet those standards. Possible participants include professional mathematicians, engineers, scientists and business leaders. Participants should have no vested interest in National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded math curricular programs. Parents and students should also have access to textbooks with substantive material to facilitate math study outside of class time. 4. Ensure that math instruction is flexible enough to allow for various learning styles and is age and grade-level appropriate. The math program should focus on math standards that will build a solid base of mathematical skills for all students and its curricula should allow teachers the flexibility to meet the needs of all types of learners.