PA Coalition for World Class Math

             Sask. government requests input from parents on math curriculum (2/17/2012)

 
Click here to find out more! Sask. government wants to hear from parents on math curriculum
 
FILE: The province is asking for parents' input on Saskatchewan's math curriculum.
The province is asking for parents' input on Saskatchewan's math curriculum.

Photograph by: Nick Brancaccio , The Windsor Star

REGINA — Saskatchewan’s Education Ministry is requesting feedback from parents about the controversial new math curriculum being taught in provincial schools.

“Because there has been some public awareness to this issue and to this concern, I have received some — but not a flood of — correspondence from parents who have raised concerns,” Education Minister Donna Harpauer said Monday. “And I think it would only be useful if I opened up the forum so that parents could contact us.”

Concerns about the recently introduced math curriculum, which is consistent among western provinces and territories, have been raised by university professors, including in Saskatchewan, Harpauer said.

“I thought it was worth our while to see if there were indeed reasons to be concerned with the new curriculum, or not as much with the curriculum itself, but in what supports we have for the curriculum,” she said. “What can we do better if there are problems?”

The intent behind the new math curriculum is to “capture the diverse abilities of our learners,” Harpauer said. The worry is that the basics are no longer taught, but she said “in going through a text book myself, I didn’t find that to be the case.

“The philosophy behind the new curriculum is to allow for different learning abilities or different learning methods,” she said. “I know that I have that with my own daughters — one was exceptionally good at memorization; another, you had to step her through the process, and then she would get it. That is the intent behind this new curriculum; it isn’t just memorization, it’s understanding how you get the answers.”

The ministry recently held eight meetings in different areas across Saskatchewan with both classroom teachers and school board chairs and directors. The meetings, led by Regina MLAs Russ Marchuk and Gene Makowsky, wrapped up Feb. 16 and the findings are being prepared for the minister.

“It sounds like there is a lot of support for the curriculum, but there will also be, I think, some very good suggestions on what we can do better in supporting the curriculum,” Harpauer said about early indications she has received from educators.

Now, the province is asking parents to visit the Ministry of Education website and click on the feature titled “Math Feedback.” The link for math feedback will be active throughout the month of March.

jcouture@thestarphoenix.com