**My Turn: The answer to this math problem is multiple choice**

Washington County Weekly

by Carol Feng and Robin Gensler

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Math has been in the news a lot recently (”New math, new concerns,” Washington County Weekly, Jan. 15), and there seems to be many points of view. It is a polarizing and political issue, but why does it need to be? School districts, teachers and parents should have one primary goal, and that should be what is in the best interest of the students.

CPM (College Preparatory Math) was adopted and put into place last fall for sixth through 10th grades in the Tigard-Tualatin School District. This curriculum was widely used in California in the 1990s but was pretty much replaced by most school districts because of its less than stellar gains in math performance. One then must wonder how the Tigard-Tualatin district could select a curriculum that has been used unsuccessfully in another state? In fact, research shows huge controversies all across the country about reform math programs such as CPM.

Yes, many educators support CPM. However, many prominent engineers, scientists, mathematicians and educators have spoken out against these math programs, saying they are lacking in mathematical content and do not provide a solid foundation in mathematics.

The controversies are significant and cannot be ignored or downplayed. If one surgeon told you to have heart surgery to save your life, and another surgeon told you to change your diet to save your life, would you not want to be the one to decide?

Parents for Math Choice was formed in Tigard-Tualatin because parents were concerned about the curriculum and the controversies surrounding it. If the district is going to choose a new, highly controversial curriculum that has largely been unproven, parents should be given a choice. Should parents blindly agree to bank their children’s math education (and future for some) on a curriculum that has not previously been effective?

CPM’s research studies that say it improves math performance have been conducted by CPM. An exhaustive search has located no independent sources verifying performance increases.

Would you let your child take a new drug where the studies on its safety and effectiveness were done without oversight or independent verification? I would hope not, and the same should be said about CPM.

Parents for Math Choice strongly believes that CPM does not address the learning styles of many children. We have support from parents with all kinds of learners: those with learning difficulties, those who have children that have struggled with math in the past, those in standard math classes and those in advanced math classes.

Finally, we want the community to understand that we simply want the district to offer a choice in mathematics. Those parents who feel their children are being well-served by CPM can continue to go that route, but please give children who are not being adequately served a different math track that addresses their needs.

The district should be concerned for ALL students. Give us a choice.

Carol Feng and Robin Gensler, both of Tigard, are members of Parents for Math Choice.

Details: http://mathchoice.org

**Like Tigard, Fairfield wonders how and why administrators have selected a curriculum that has no proven track record of success!**

http://www.oregonlive.com/washingtoncounty/index.ssf/2009/02/my_turn_parents_group_seeks_ma.html

http://www.tigardtimes.com/opinion/story.php?story_id=123447899428830900

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