We are deeply concerned that Fairfield will quickly adopt a new elementary and middle school math curriculum that we believe is contrary to the best interests of students, not in line with top performing schools, has no proven track record and is based on suspect research.
The controversial 20-year-old curriculum chosen for the secondary schools, called College Preparatory Mathematics or CPM, has been implemented in Fairfield’s eighth-grade algebra I and high school algebra classes this year without the benefit of a formal presentation to a curriculum committee, input from the community or presentation to the full Board of Education. If adopted, the curriculum will expand into secondary math classes and will be in place for a minimum of five years. Mansfield is the only other school system in the state using this curriculum. Mansfield School District has approximately five levels of math in 8th grade and 90 minute blocks for math. After Mansfield piloted CPM in Algebra I for the 8th graders, CMT Math scores % At/Above Goal dropped. Click here.
Scroll down to learn about the Elementary School Curriculum: a “patchwork” effect of reform math programs – Marilyn Burn, Catherine Fosnot, TERC Investigations, and Growing with Mathematics.
Parents in Fairfield want a proven math program such as Singapore Mathematics. This program was used to move Singapore from 16th place of 26 nations in 1984, to 1st place in 1995, 1999, 2003 in the TIMSS international math test. Instead of importing math texts from other countries, they created their own text/curriculum. The US, despite reforming their math teaching and standards, languishes at 25th, the lowest of all industrial nations. While many states have opted to adopt the new Common Core Standards for math, these standards are still less rigorous than the top performing nations.
You can Google information about districts currently using Singapore math and see if you like what you read (Scarsdale, NY; Westport, CT; Franklin Lakes,NJ; Brandywine School District, DE; Santa Catalina, CA; Schmitz Park Elementary, Seattle, WA; Sidwell Friends School, Washington, DC – where Pres. Obama sends his children, to name a few).
Read the latest CPM longitudinal study published by a Superintendent in Illinois: After two years of CPM instructional math, the percent of students meeting College Readiness Benchmarks dropped percipitously from 39.3% to 18.7% . The Statistical Analysis shows that CPM is detrimental to Students’ Learning! Click here. Will this year’s Algebra I students in the “piloted” textbook study be prepared for the Advanced High School Math Classes? Has the Fairfield District evaluated this “piloted” textbook using similar metrics?
1) the “student-centered” learning concept which has very little direct teacher instruction
2) the substantial group work and group grading (with randomized groupings)
3) the significant lack of math content and rigor throughout all texts
4) the spiraling instruction within/across the texts failing to provide closure
5) the rigidity of the curriculum not allowing for independent learning
6) the incompleteness of the text with too much reliance on on-line assistance and classroom work
7) the controversy surrounding CPM and the lack of data supporting performance results
Drawbacks of CPM Curriculum and Teaching Method:
- Lacks teacher support material
- Testing material is poorly organized
- Does not strengthen partnership between teacher and student
- Spiraling Teaching method is confusing
- CPM curriculum is impossible for differentiating lessons for IEP and 504 Students
- Relies too excessively on group work , “group think”, and group grades
- Relies too excessively on students teaching other students
- Relies too excessively on pure self-discovery and “guess and check”
- UNPROVEN METHOD OF TEACHING and CURRICULUM
- NO EVIDENCE OF IMPROVEMENT IN PERFORMANCE – SAT SCORES.
- STUDENTS NOT ADEQUATELY PREPARED FOR HIGER LEVEL MATH
Countless students across the country whose lack of basic math skills from reform math programs, like TERC, Fosnot, and CPM, may hurt their college career.
Reform Math is heavy on story problems and light on numbers, equations and practice sheets for kids. Reform Math is not teaching kids the BASICS!
Math is such a big deal- huge industry with money at stack, professional careers on the line, and pride of the school system on the line on the line.
In Ridgewood, parents claim the reform math has opened a market for math tutoring businesses: Kumon, Mathnesium, Scores…
Kids going to the Math Tutoring Centers are kids with average or Above average IQ.
They are there for the core skill and drill. They never really master a single subject or topic: multiplication, division, fractions…. These kids have a difficult time moving on to more advanced math material.
Drawbacks of CPM textbook:
- Incoherent and spirals around topics
- Content is inadequate
- Poor Reference Book
- Over use of group work and group grading
- Does not address differentiated learning styles
- Textbook is inconsistent with homework
WHAT IS CPM? Click here
Self-Discovery - CPM relies heavily on students discovering math concepts while working in groups of four rather than a more traditional teacher led discovery and instruction with group work as a secondary component.
“Guess and Check” - Students “guess and check” their answers until they discover what they believe is the right answer. Teachers cannot provide answers.
Students Learn in Student Led Groups - After a brief teacher led overview, students break into groups of four: facilitator, team captain, recorder and resource manager. Only the facilitator can ask questions. Only the recorder can take notes, etc.
Students Teach Other Students - Students are expected to teach each other concepts and cannot move on until all students in the group understand. Students receive group grades. Individual grades are often lower, according to parents.
WHY HAVE OTHER DISTRICTS FOUGHT AND ABANDONED CPM?
California implemented CPM in many school districts in the early 1990’s. After a decade of utilizing this curriculum, many California schools realized CPM was not working and decided to either reject the CPM curriculum altogether or offer an alternative traditional math track. - Click here to Learn More
Click here to Learn More About CPM
Is Algebra Necessary? Jo Boaler, one of the outspoken proponents behind the instructional method upon which CPM is based, states that algebra is too traumatizing for some students! See NBC’ s video on Algebra. NYTimes Opinion Article Sparks controversy about learning Algebra.
Psycho-babble education research & socio-engineering are really behind these changes! Click here to read more A Textbook Case in Textbook Adoption… “the success of any program depends on the teacher…textbooks don’t matter; teachers do… Fairfield Parents have been told the same thing… so “If textbooks do not matter and do not drive student achievement, then why didn’t our district disband the use of the CPM textbook for the remainder of the year?”
According to Dr. Title, “this [CPM] is not a done deal. We are committed to evaluating all available curriculums.” Read more…Click
BOE member, DeBell’s comment on Discovering Series, a constructivist math program. This is the third time he has gone through an math curriculum adoption as BOE member. Michael DeBell, Seattle School Board President, took the time to research the math curriculum recommendations in his district. He showed a great example of informed oversight and its importance. He did not vote in favor of the adoption of Discovering Series. Discovery Series Algebra and Geometry were the second choices for the FAIRFIELD SCHOOL DISTRICT ADMINISTRATORS click here!!!! We came out unscathed… but by a small margin!!!
Listen to why the Board member would not adopt Discovery Series!
Even the Pearle Vision Billboard in Fairfield is asking Fairfield residents to see clearly -
The billboard asks, “ YOU DON’T want your kids learning FUZZY MATH, Do you? “ … DO YOU KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT FUZZY MATH? To learn more click here
COLLEGE PREPARATORY MATHEMATICS (CPM) = FUZZY MATH. CLICK HERE to learn more
TERC INVESTIGATIONS NUMBERS, DATA, and SPACE MATH = FUZZY MATH. Click here , and Click here,to learn more.
While each of you may arrive at your own conclusion, Singapore Math Program seems to be the direction of surrounding towns like Westport, Wilton, Weston, Bridgeport, Farmington, and New Haven. Why isn’t it the Math program for Fairfield District? Click here for research on the four piloted programs in Fairfield District.
Singapore Math: Ending the Spiral of Non-Mastery
Singapore is a world leader in math education, but that wasn’t always the case. Starting in 1980, Singapore began to develop its own curriculum instead of importing textbooks from other countries with dramatic results. Singapore’s students skyrocketed from 16th of 26th in the Second International Science Study (SISS) rankings in 1984 to 1st in 1995. On theTrends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) undertaken in over 40 countries, Singapore has ranked 1st in three of the four administrations. The US has only ranked in the top 10 countries for math once.
The curriculum is not a secret, and many US schools have implemented the country’s math and science programs since Singapore Math Inc brought it to the US in 1989. STC School Harlem Academy implemented Singapore Math in 2008, the first school in Manhattan to do so. Head of School Vinny Dotoli said he saw “double-digit growth in students’ quantitative reasoning scores in a single year.”
The curriculum aligns with US standards, but there are major differences in the delivery compared to standard American teaching methods. Vinny Dotoli clued me in on the contrasts. Traditionally about 30 math concepts can be covered in one year using a spiral approach that introduces concepts and revisits them with added complexity. This method “does not expect mastery,” leaving some students bored when a concept is revisited, and moving on before it’s fully grasped by other students. If a concept is not fully internalized, it’s understandably difficult for a student (or his teacher) to pick up exactly where his progress last stood, also hindering teacher accountability for student performance.
In contrast, Singapore Math covers 10-14 concepts a year, stays with each 2-3 weeks, and expects mastery before introducing a new lesson.
While he says “teachers like it,” Vinny advises that Singapore Math teachers be equipped with a “strong math core” relevant to their instruction, because they “can’t teach [Singapore Math] on autopilot.” Harlem Academy’s teachers attend a minimum week long summer institute in preparation for the year, because they must be engaged and engaging. Should we expect anything less of teachers?
Harlem Academy has seen more than statistically significant differences in student performance after switching to Singapore Math. Anecdotally, Vinny reports “more positive engagement among students. Traditionally,” he explains, “kids who do well in math like math, and kids who struggle don’t like it.” With Singapore Math, all students are more interested. Because it’s frequently reported that boys perform better than girls in math, he’s seen the surprise on a visitor’s face when a female student names math as her favorite subject and the subsequent confusion of the student when her answer is greeted with exclamations of amazement. Click here for link.
Where do U.S. Students rank in Math and Science Globally? Click here
Visit the Singapore Math website for more.
Now listen to what and how students taught with TERC are learning. Is TERC really making our kids DEEP Mathematical THINKERS or will they be BEHIND in MATH versus other DISTRICTS? Parent speaks at public comment… to get her message across her district allows here more than 2 MINUTES…
The BOE meeting rescheduled for March 12 at 7:30pm. The text vote will be held April 9th at 7:30pm.
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Defining the new “College Preparatory Math” teaching method and related material.