PA Coalition for World Class Math

                     Everyday and Connected Math under fire in Medford (NJ) 2/2/2012

LETTER: Why do Medford school children need math tutors?

Is your elementary school child confused with choosing an addition or multiplication method because there are so many methods from which to choose? Is your middle school child forced to take a pre-math class before they get to their actual math class? Is your high school child struggling in math after years of A’s and B’s in elementary and middle school? Is math tutoring a part of living in Medford? Are you angry that you pay for tutoring in addition to paying costly school taxes?

The inadequacies of the Everyday Math and Connected Math programs used in the Medford school district, have been highly criticized among both educators and parents nationwide for 20 years. This “new math” was developed in an attempt to improve math education, but has been proven to only make matters worse. In Medford, many parents have recognized the failings of the curriculum since it was implemented six years ago.

I’ve been to board of education meetings to address these issues and have been told that “test scores are high, so it can’t be that bad.” I’ve pointed out to the board that the test scores are directly related to the amount of tutoring, and parental supplementation that students receive. The board recognized that students are tutored, but they refused to acknowledge tutoring is needed because our math program is inadequate. It was implied that Medford parents want their kids tutored, not that the kids have to be tutored due to an ineffective math program. I wanted to help the district conduct a survey of parent opinion to find out the reason why so many kids are tutored or are given supplemental instruction at home. However, the board refused my assistance.

Public schools have an obligation to address the concerns of parents through parent questionnaires. Shouldn’t parent opinion matter? After all, the board members are elected officials working on our behalf to provide the best education possible to our children. If tutors are a necessity to raise the district test scores then something is not working and our tax dollars are being wasted.

Nik Stouffer