PA Coalition for World Class Math

                                   Radnor parents protest Everyday Math 10/31/14

This Tuesday, Oct. 28, we are bringing a petition to the Radnor School Board that has been signed by 95 district parents and teachers representing hundreds of past, current and future Radnor students. The petition implores the Board to get started and get more serious about the review process for our current K-5 math curriculum, Everyday Math.

We believe the Board needs to raise the priority of this review immediately, and make a firm public commitment to teachers, students and parents about the process and the timeline.

Currently, the Board and Superintendent have said – in comments at a League of Women Voters election forum, in personal e-mail responses – ​that ​we have been “made aware” of the Board’s plans to review and choose which K-5 math program students will be using from 2017 onward. This is simply not good enough.

Parents are frustrated about K-5 math in Radnor as a whole, because the everyday reality of putting Everyday Math at its foundation is this: an egregious amount of tutoring, supplementation and remediation both during the elementary school years, and certainly after when students get to Algebra and higher math.

Parents are spending a small fortune on Kumon, on Mathnasium, and on math tutors that bill at $75-80 an hour. Parents who pay very high school property taxes leave for private and parochial schools citing their K-5 math experience in RTSD as a key reason.

Parents are being told to get their children online every night to practice math facts -- without any consideration to 1) learning quality in the 12th hour of a child’s day, 2) family down time, 3) the management of this with households of three and four children, 4) what else children see and find online, and 5) what pediatricians direct to parents on limiting screen time.

Read the petition here:

A sampling of ​parent and teacher ​comments: “Everyday Math is a train wreck.” “Get rid of it and fast. It’s too late for my kids, but….” “As a high school math teacher, I am spending too much time teaching basic topics that should have been covered in grade school.”

More troubling to us, many parents have voiced these very serious concerns to their child’s teachers, have told their building principals, have met individually with the ​revolving cast of ​administrators responsible for math curriculum​ in recent years​, have called and emailed their school board members, only to meet with comments like, “Oh my, you are the only one who has said anything.” This is categorically untrue.

Radnor has several supremely talented math students every year. These students dispense with Everyday Math in 3rd and 4th grade, or earlier, because it can’t take them where they are capable of going. Their parents see that they get better materials and many hours a week of additional math practice. We know many parents who say they​'ve spen​t two to three hours a night with their children, on math alone.

What about the vast middle of students? These students appear to be OK. They score well on the low bar that is math PSSAs. ​Wayne Elementary School even brought its 4th grade math ranking up from a low 476th in the state between 2012 and 2013, after a lot of hard work. ​ Students get As and Bs once they are in Radnor Middle School​ math classes and parents see grades for the first time​. But they reach for calculators (and are given them for tests), they count on their fingers, the do not show mastery of the basics, and they steer clear of math-intensive discussions, subjects and classes.

​T​hat is the insidious part about this program and Radnor’s approach. You don’t see its weaknesses right away, and​ sometimes for years.​ And, a weak math foundation hampers students for life.

We can do better. And Radnor parents are going to come before the board Tuesday and say so.


Bryan & Gale Morrison

Kelly Martin

Harry Huang

The Hillman family

The Hornbaker family

The Falquet family

The Bracaglia family

The Carey family

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