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              Upper Arlington math progression retarded by Common Core (2/20/2012) OH

UA parents protest proposed math curriculum changes

By Kate Hetrick

ThisWeek Community Newspapers Monday February 20, 2012 3:54 PM

Some parents voiced their objections to proposed math course progression changes at the Feb. 13 meeting of the Upper Arlington Board of Education.

Mary Lynn Caswell, the mother of three children in the UA district, said the new course progression will funnel all seventh-grade students who are taking either Pre-Algebra or Math 7 into a class called Common Core 8

Under the proposed course progression, these students will take Algebra I in the ninth grade, Geometry in the tenth grade, Algebra II in the 11th grade and Pre-Calculus in the 12th grade.

Previously, seventh-grade Pre-Algebra students went on to take Algebra I in the eighth grade, advancing the course progression by one year.

“The problem is the new progression defers Algebra II until the junior year,” Caswell said. “The math portion of the SAT contains Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II. The vast majority of our seventh grade students will sit for the SAT and the ACT without completing Algebra II.”

Caswell said she has written to and met with school officials.

“The administration has been very polite, but they are not willing to offer high school Algebra I to current Pre-Algebra students,” she said. By delaying Algebra II until the junior year, Caswell said, the students will “necessarily be disadvantaged as compared to students who have had the opportunity to complete the course.”

Caswell's husband, Jeff, also addressed the board. The Caswells' daughter, Meredith, is a seventh-grader who is currently taking Pre-Algebra.

“I took the Common Core 8 standards and mapped them against the current Pre-Algebra book,” Jeff Caswell said. “It is my firm contention that (Meredith) will not be exposed to new concepts next year.”

Jeff Caswell said they are asking that these students be given the opportunity to take Algebra I in the eighth grade, but they will settle for students being offered Geometry.

Board president Robin Comfort thanked all the parents for their comments, and for taking the time to address the board. The board did not take any action on the proposed course progression changes at the Feb. 13 meeting.

For more of the discussion, see the Feb. 23 edition of Upper Arlington ThisWeek.