Daily Herald | Posted: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 12:30 am | (11) Comments
Math is still causing headaches for Alpine School District.
Because the state has mandated a new core curriculum, on Tuesday, Mark Clement, the district's newest board member, said he felt it would be a good time to review how the district approaches math. Predictably, the issue was a hot potato, and the sole topic of the 90-minute meeting.
"I feel uncomfortable with my kids in investigations math," Clement said.
Wendy Hart and Paula Hill, who were both voted into office in the most recent election, said they would like to see teachers spell out their individual method for teaching math, and then let parents decide who should teach their children.
Board chairwoman Debbie Taylor and board member JoDee Sundberg said that is not necessary because parents can already go to the principal and request their child be transferred to a different teacher if they don't like the teacher's approach to math.
Hart said she recently heard from a parent who said they had tried to do just that, but were told that "every teacher teaches a balanced approach" to math and the request to move the student was denied.
Several board members said they wanted to send a message to administrators "to be more flexible" in dealing with parent requests to move a child.
"I keep hearing that teachers feel they can't teach traditional math because investigations math is mandated by the district," Clement said.
Taylor and Sundberg vehemently denied this, saying teachers are instructed to take "a balanced approach."
"A balanced approach could mean anything," Clement said.
Hart said that ordering a "balanced approach" implies, if not mandates, that teachers are expected to teach at least some investigations math. If teachers disclosed to parents whether they were using Saxon or investigations or Singapore math, then parents could choose and everyone would be happy.
But asking teachers to label their method does not represent the reality in the classroom, said Taylor and Sundberg. A teacher may use one method most of the time, but use another for a particular student who is struggling. Or they may use parts of all three methods. Or, based on discussions with other teachers, they may shift methods.
Taylor said the district's goal now is to "get rid of the emotional language" in discussing math with the public, and to refrain from using labels like investigations, Saxon, Singapore or traditional and deconstructed math. She noted that the board agreed that administrators should be flexible in dealing with requests from parents to move a student. But she drew a line when it came to asking teachers to reveal their teaching method. Taylor said this was because only two board members -- Hart and Hill -- seemed in favor of that option, so the proposal did not enjoy majority support. Clement said he did not support the idea.
11. Bug said on: October 7, 2011, 6:37 pm
10. My Kids' Dad said on: October 7, 2011, 11:24 am
9. FortifyingOurFamilies dot org said on: October 7, 2011, 11:12 am
8. oak said on: October 1, 2011, 8:33 am
7. Sir John the Heretic said on: September 29, 2011, 11:14 am
6. Professor said on: September 29, 2011, 10:39 am
5. Sir John the Heretic said on: September 29, 2011, 8:44 am
4. Jorgy said on: September 29, 2011, 7:32 am
3. Professor said on: September 28, 2011, 11:33 pm
2 bbmoe said on: September 28, 2011, 10:38 pm
1. oak said on: September 28, 2011, 10:21 pm
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