State math supervisors: Don’t change. Maintain integrated math.

Here is another warning from mathematicians, the Georgia Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, about the state plan to revert to traditional math in view of  high numbers of failing students.

Their members maintain that the state will make a mistake offering two math programs, saying  that Georgia has made real progress in math and the plan is “alarming and place this trajectory of success at risk.” The statement includes supporting data charts, which I will try and post in a Google doc later today.

To Whom It May Concern:

As members of the Georgia Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (GSCM), we would like to extend our support and commitment to the implementation of the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS). We strongly believe that ALL students can learn mathematics, and we applaud the state’s commitment to implementing the rigorous Common Core State Standards.

Georgia has earned national recognition for establishing high academic standards in mathematics with the implementation of the Georgia Performance Standards, earning a prestigious A- score from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, one of only eight states earning this esteemed score.

Although the implementation of the GPS in Mathematics only started in 2005-2006, the state is already seeing success as evidenced by:

-Increase in 8th grade NAEP scores (21% scoring at Proficient and above in 2003 compared to 26% in 2009; percent of students scoring Below Basic decreased from 41% in 2003 to 33% in 2009)

-Closing of achievement gap – CRCT 8th grade.

-Gains on more rigorous tests based on more rigorous curriculum

- Overall CRCT score improvements (6th, 7th, and 8th 2010 scores higher than any QCC year)

-Pass rates increased for typical 9th grade state assessments (56% pass rate on 2007-2008 Algebra 1 EOCT compared to 64% pass rate on 2009-2010 Math I EOCT….no useable scores for 2008-2009)

- Pass rates for typical 10th grade state assessments (49% pass rate on 2008-2009 Geometry EOCT compared to 54% pass rate on 2009-2010 Math II EOCT)

These data suggest that Georgia’s approach to raising expectations and achievement of ALL students in mathematics is ‘on track’. Recent discussions about altering Georgia’s current approach are alarming and place this trajectory of success at risk and also jeopardize the upcoming transition to the CCGPS.

We envision that the proposed change to allow multiple pathways in the high school mathematics curriculum will require the GADOE and school districts to support Georgia’s teachers in two major changes in the next 18 months. The first change would be to teach the reshuffled GPS into traditional (domain specific) courses for 2011-2012 and another change occurring in 2012-2013 with full implementation of CCGPS. Additionally, we foresee challenges regarding:

- Capacity to support two pathways in high school mathematics (i.e. resources, funding, scheduling)

- Capacity to reorganize the GPS into traditional/domain specific courses in a timely manner

-Capacity to provide appropriate resources for a traditional/domain specific pathway

-Capacity to create and support tests for two pathways (i.e. resources, funding)

-Diversion of attention and resources which will be needed to prepare for CCGPS implementation

Based on the data, the GCSM supports full and quality implementation of the CCGPS and recommends that the GADOE maintain the current integrated courses pathway without the diversion and distraction of an additional pathway. We respectfully offer our full support to help the GADOE accomplish this ambitious and global endeavor to prepare our students and our state for leadership in education and industry in the 21st century.

Respectfully,

Membership of the Georgia Council of Supervisors of Mathematics

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

55 comments Add your comment

lulu

February 22nd, 2011
8:42 am

Having worked with kids on all levels of the integrated math, I can see how well it fits together and how much better it is than the old system. The issue was in the implementation, but it’s too late to do anything about that now and it no longer matters anyway as kids are growing up with the new math rather than switching from one system to another. I won’t get all up on my soapbox (gotta get to work) right off the bat, but integrated math is not the problem with bad math grades and scores.

V for Vendetta

February 22nd, 2011
8:43 am

This battle over mathematics makes me laugh. Do people not see the bigger picture? This is indicative of how ALL education is run. Whatever cure du jour is proposed, it is abandoned at the first sign of hardship or controversey. In this case, it might be to the detriment of the students as the new integrated Math seems to be working in many cases. However, it is really moot point. With proper discipline and accountability, ANY student can achieve in ANY subject.

Funny. That’s a timeless truth, yet no one wants to push for more student discipline and accountability. They just want the next cure du jour.

Ch

February 22nd, 2011
8:43 am

Why? Doesn’t anyone listen to the experts before making changes to our education system? Just frustrating to be a parent in Georgia.

Dream on

February 22nd, 2011
8:45 am

When this math program was implemented I did a copious amount of research on other states that had used this “integrated math” . It was a total failure and was dumped after several years in each of the states that had tried it. Please google and do the research. This is a foolish way to teach math. It is like learning 3 languages in one year and the next year picking up and learning the next level of that language. All that was learned, say, in the algebra portion during freshman year, is long forgotten by the time sophomore year rolls around and the next level of algebra is built upon. My favorite examples of this math program occurred when my daughter (who is now a sophomore in high school) was in middle school in a pilot program for this “math” and had to write an essay on why the number 22 was special as well as when she was marked off for spelling errors on the essay portion of the math test (this is the God’s honest truth!). Get rid of it and bring back traditional math.

john konop

February 22nd, 2011
8:50 am

It has been brought up on this blog numerous times that Kathy Cox lowered the cut scores to inflate the pass rate on the CRCT. Also the state used lower level questions as well. What disturbs me about this process is how the people making the recommendation for teaching math miss use statistics to make their point.

If you are purposely misleading people and or just do not understand the basic principals behind statistics either way should make everyone very skeptical of what you write.

JacobLocke

February 22nd, 2011
8:52 am

Here’s my question: Do they use this method in the colleges and universities? Is this just a change in curriculum or is a change in pedagogy. If the latter, are students in the Math 123 curriculum going to know what to make of the more traditional pedagogy in our institutions of higher learning?

Just a bit of anecdotal nonsense: when I was in HS, math teachers were really “high” on the technological advancement in calculators – graphing calculators were all the rage. The Ti-85 was the math teacher’s new friend. My HS bought a ton of them and we spent the better part of Geometry, Trig, and Calc I learning how to use the things for those respective courses. Well, when I got to my first college math class I was met with an old-school hardnose who announced on the first day of class, “We don’t use calculators in this class.” That was Calculus I. You better believe my jaw dropped as did those of my classmates. Only 12 out of the initial 35 students stuck with it. I’m forever indebted to that professor (Dr. Nichols at YHC), but it was the most challenging mathematics course I’ve ever taken and I took my share.

joyce

February 22nd, 2011
8:52 am

Talk to teachers in the classroom, on level students and the honor students suffering through this debacle. There is no deep understanding of the multiple math concepts thrown at the students each day. The teachers only have time to briefly introduce daily new math concepts because they are forced to move on to another concept because of the mandated crazy schedule. There is no reason to throw in statistics, geometry, etc into a 9th grade algebra class. Stick to Algebra I, then Algebra II. The only math teachers happy about this are those booked with paid math tutoring. Just ask the parents how hard it was to find an available math tutor this year.

missionary

February 22nd, 2011
8:53 am

Reading this article and the rates is NOT indicative of a program that is “on track” to me. The idea that Ga is making great progress in math based on the numbers projected in this article over a 3-4 yr period is not indicative of great progress. We are still 2 states from being @ the bottom of the list in education!!! The math requirements for our students have changed midstream in recent years and 4 our children and it has put them at a disadvtanged. I say this because of the change in midstream there was no bridge to make the connection between the math students had been previously taught to the introduction of the new model. Speaking as a parent and someone w/experience in the education field, while the powers that be continue to make changes (no doubt in an attempt to better education for this state) our children are the pawns in the experiment. ITS NOT WORKING!!! Stick to the program and build a bridge to make it work for ALL CHILDREN!!! Hire quality teachers that can successfully implement the program, to where children are LEARNING and not just “passing tests”!!!!

Bobby

February 22nd, 2011
8:58 am

I think removing the CCGPS program is taking a step backwards. But given this backwards @$$ state, what’s new?

barbara

February 22nd, 2011
8:59 am

This math sucks please stop making excuses it doesn’t make sense and how kids are going to use it. They move to fast for students and it’s not right for the kids with learning disability’s to move so fast also. Not all teachers care some just want a paycheck and don’t care what they teach and if the child learns it or not.

Dr. John Trotter

February 22nd, 2011
9:01 am

Maureen: V for Vendetta has hit the nail on the head.

I freely admit that math is not a strong point with me. But, I can observe that all of this Math 1, 2, 3, & 4 approach with the integration and synthesis is probably right on target for 10% to 20% of our student population in Georgia, but it has contributed greatly to many low-performing students dropping out of school all together. Can we say “Talented Tenth,” to borrow a phrase from W. E. B. DuBois?

Most students simply need the basics of math (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, percentages). If you are not worried about your scores on the ACT or SAT, then this new math is highly irrelevant for most students.

Bring back vocational education. Not just the new technology education, but the old vocational courses (wood shop, auto shop, sheet metal shop, electrical shop, plumbing shop, etc.) too. Quit trying to make all students scholars. It’s not going to happen. Hey, wake up! It’s not going to happen, and it is unconscionable to force such stupid curricula on the backs of unwilling and/or incapable students. Is this blunt enough? I write so as not to be misunderstood. © MACE, February 22, 2011.

UGA Teacner

February 22nd, 2011
9:04 am

As a high school math teacher, I can honestly say that the past 3 years of my 24 year teaching career has been total agony. This new math is HORRIBLE… Let these “supervisors of math” try teaching this fabulous curriculum of theirs. You seriously want me to teach ninth graders combinations and permutations when we don’t normally teach that until the Spring of 11th grade????? This is a JOKE, and I can’t wait to get rid of it. Oh, and check out the SAT scores of these children…. they are tanking.

UGA Teacner

February 22nd, 2011
9:05 am

“has” should’ve been have….

Tychus Findlay

February 22nd, 2011
9:13 am

This “integrated” math is a a joke. It’s small wonder that such a large number of HOPE recipients have to take remedial classes prior to the start of their collegiate career. When I graduated in the 90’s, all students took 9th grade geometry, 10th grade Algebra 2, 11th grade trig, and seniors could take Calculus AB, BC or Stats. It worked, none of us had to go to summer school to catch up on classes that our scholarships alleged we had certain math skills.

JacobLocke

February 22nd, 2011
9:15 am

Dr. Trotter and I agree for once. I graduated with both a Vocational and College Prep seal on my diploma. Many of my classmates in the Vocational track were not “scholars,” but they were brilliant mechanics, welders and carpenters. A few of them – the ones I see from time to time when I visit my folks – are successful business owners or have good jobs with local businesses. They make a good living for their family and are good at what they do. They couldn’t explicate a poem or graph a parabola, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t intelligent, hardworking people.

That system was a success for them and many others. It’s when our “education” administrators got caught up in standardized tests and scrapping over federal grant dollars that our public education started truly failing the majority of our students. The “everybody should go to college” crowd bought into the myth and perpetuate that myth – a myth that has simultaneously hurt our students in the public schools AND dumbed-down our colleges and universities. This new math just may be the death blow to our public education system.

stubioge

February 22nd, 2011
9:29 am

I wholly agree that a new emphasis on technical schools is the right way to go – but the idea is thwarted by a president who continues to tell everyone that they should expect to be college graduates. As for math education in Georgia – I think we should check and make sure that the teachers teaching math are actually proficient in math. All of us know math teachers that are struggling to keep a few days ahead of their students – so how can we expect implementation to succeed? Let’s evaluate the program using math teachers that can teach math and then determine if the program is feasible.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dr Math E Matics, Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: State math supervisors: Don’t change. Maintain integrated math. http://bit.ly/efLrab [...]

Walt Simmons

February 22nd, 2011
9:33 am

I believe that the real problem with the Integrated Math Program (as it is with our reading programs) are the social promotion policies that seem to be widespread across Georgia. Students in lower grades do not always learn the necessary reading or math skills due to immaturity, processing problems, or the environment that they come from. By the end of the second grade, students not making satisfactory progress in reading and/or math should be placed into an intensive program that diagnoses the student’s specific problems, uses techniques that specifically address and remediate those problems, and constantly monitors the progress of the student. This would not be a “one size fits all” program and would be expensive. Therefore, such an intensive program is not implemented and the administration sends the student on to third grade because “he will learn to read next year”.

The student is not stupid–he just has a problem learning to read or do math. He figures out that he doesn’t have to meet expectations, so in middle grades he fails three or four of his four core subjects and can’t do math problems because he does not know his basic math facts but he is sent on to next grade anyway. This continues until the student hits high school and can’t earn enough credits to progress. Then he is on his own because the system can no longer cover his lack of progress. So, he drops out.

The Integrated Math Program is a step in the right direction but the state is already trying to weaken its effects and go back to the old social promotion system. I have never met a teacher that is in favor of social promotion.

john konop

February 22nd, 2011
9:36 am

JacobLocke,

I 100% agree and you find this study from Harvard interesting.

Harvard Study Questions Lack of Vocational Education
http://headlinesfortoday.com/harvard-study-questions-lack-of-vocational-education-1199.html

… That system was a success for them and many others. It’s when our “education” administrators got caught up in standardized tests and scrapping over federal grant dollars that our public education started truly failing the majority of our students. The “everybody should go to college” crowd bought into the myth and perpetuate that myth – a myth that has simultaneously hurt our students in the public schools AND dumbed-down our colleges and universities. This new math just may be the death blow to our public education system….

Tychus Findlay

February 22nd, 2011
9:38 am

Stubioge is correct, our President is telling the masses that they should EXPECT to go to college and graduate with a degree. This creates two problems-

1) we are experiencing a massive decline in the laboring/middle class, blue collars folks that master a trade to make a living e.g. mechanics/electricians/plumbers etc.

2) young adults are assuming massive amounts of debt that they cannot afford to bear to fund college to get a degree that really doesn’t qualify them to do much aside from hard science majors.

The net takeaway is that we are creating successive generations of debt-laden, relatively unskilled “scholars” that aren’t able to find employment or pay into the tax base.

JacobLocke

February 22nd, 2011
9:43 am

John Konop – Well, I can tell you this. Speaking with some folks in Deal’s offices, the Governor is already talking to people about how that system, or some form of it, can be re-implemented into our schools. I imagine we’ll be hearing something soon – possibly this summer. Whatever the case, the Governor is a “friendly” on this issue and will start greasing the wheels this year.

jm

February 22nd, 2011
9:43 am

If the kids can’t cut the mustard, then they don’t belong in school. Americans need to wake up to the fact that if they don’t learn something in school, get a good education, and work hard, then they’re going to be in a world of hurt. Grade inflation will not solve the problem.

Jackie T.

February 22nd, 2011
9:47 am

As someone else mentioned, these discussions are meaningless because people use words with no clear definitions – definitely antithetical to mathematics. For example, what do people mean by “integrated math”? What is the “program”? The State of Georgia has established a set of learning expectations for our students in each course (MATH I, II, III, and IV, along with the accelerated version that gets done in 3 years). In each course, there are some ideas about algebra, some about geometry, and some about statistics. The document does not specify how those ideas are to be taught or how they are to be sequenced. I suspect many people who complain are referring to the Math Frameworks, but mainline publishers’ textbooks are still organized in units that focus on one of the strands at a time.

V says the integrated approach is learning 3 languages at the same time and it is foolish. But why is it any less foolish to study one language for one year, then go to another language next year, only to come back to the first language the following year?

Mr. Konop claims that the cut scores for the EOCT was deliberately set low so that the number of failing students will be lowered. Yet, many other (and maybe Mr. Konop, too) are complaing about a much larger number of students who are failing these courses.

Some say they only care about the nationally normed tests and want to know how the group under the new program is doing on SAT/ACT. Well, the first group is about to take those test. In other words, we are making judgment based on no data. This is like Cobb dropping the balanced calendar a half way into the first year of 3-year experiment and declare that the experiment was failure before getting any data.

But, the bottom line is, why do we teach mathematics in schools? What’s the point of schooling? I believe it is to help students become better thinkers. We are not trying to create “walking encyclopedia” since most of us won’t be anywhere near the poorest encyclopedia available in a corner bookstore. We want students who can think – think mathematically, in this case. Yes, specific contents/knowledge is important but if they have to ask someone else what operation to perform to solve a problem,then, they are useless – knowing which operatin to perform isn’t good enough, either, if they can’t actually perform the operation. We need both. I don’t care how the topics are put together – as long as there is a logical sequence to it – IF we are teaching in such a way that we are fostering students’ ability to think better than what they could do when they started.

john konop

February 22nd, 2011
9:48 am

JacobLocke,

Happy to help anyway I can. BTW Senator Fran Miller is also very knowledgably and supports the concept.

Jackie T.

February 22nd, 2011
9:49 am

@ UGA Teacher,

So, can you share with us their SAT scores – you must know it, why are you hiding them?

In many Asian countries, permutation and combination are Grade 6 topics, by the way. What’s so difficult about it?

mom2boys

February 22nd, 2011
9:50 am

Actually, the data in this article sort of proves the point — the reason there is no useable data for 2008-2009 Math I EOCT is because so many students failed THEY THREW IT OUT! Just wait until results are in for the graduation test in math for this class. That and the SAT scores should be telling.

As I said yesterday, maybe the ones starting this program in elementary school will do just fine. Maybe it’s a great program. But for the majority of freshmen in 2008-2009 who should graduate in 2012, it has been a colossal failure and caused great damage to their college expectations.

Marie

February 22nd, 2011
9:50 am

As a parent of an 9th grader who was part of the new math curriculum experiment since the 6th grade – it has been a mess since day one. My son going prior to the new math was one of the better math students – but since the 6th grade it’s been a struggle. The biggest problem is the extreme fast pace that the teachers have to teach the concepts to meet the state’s requirements – it’s unreal. For those people that say, well the students just need to work harder or get a tutor – that is not a realistic answer – the pace is way to fast for students to get a handle on it. I also agree with other posts that 9th graders are working on concepts that weren’t being taught before until the 11th grade – and a high level 11th grade math class at that. As for the so called Georgia state math supervisors – you seem to be more concerned about being recognized by this association or that association – not for what is happening to our state’s students. BTW – I’m not just a whiney mother because my child is struggling – he actually received the math student of the year award in the 6th grade and continued to do well in math but with an unrealistic extensive amount of work and I am grateful that he has a gift for math – what about students who don’t?

DeKalb parent

February 22nd, 2011
9:52 am

Who belongs to the “Georgia Council of Supervisors of Math?” Are these math teachers, or math administrators?

Also, the letter seems to be under the misimpression that the entire math program is being changed. It is not – only the high school courses are affected. Rigor, practical application, high expectations, and high standards are needed whether high school math is taught in an integrated manner or using the traditional courses.

BTW, the top private schools seem to be graduating students who ace the math portions of the SAT and ACT and perform quite well in highly competitive universities. Same with high achieving public schools.

Just Wondering

February 22nd, 2011
10:03 am

Wow, when 45% of the people speak we should change direction of what we are doing. Backwards is not forward and the traditional math is a cop out to get “better scores” for the schools who aren’t meeting the standard.

In defense of the schools, integrated math was rolled out with little training, professional development, and support. We left our teachers (most of whom are not mathematicians) flapping in the wind to try to teach it. Until we fix the problem of throwing curriculum at teachers without the professional development and support to effectively use them, we’ll always have the urge to go back to yesterday.

Concerned Parent

February 22nd, 2011
10:04 am

@Dream On,,,@Joyce…@UGA Teacher..and the like….Thank goodness for your comments! Those of us who have had to deal with this fiasco of a program, either as a parent, a student, or a Teacher, know what a mess it truly is ! For those out there who just love to say unbelievable things like the kids need to work harder or talk about grade inflation, or say the kids need to just get used to the rigor…need to get a grip on reality! I have a student who is an extremely hard worker, a classified gifted student, who never before got anything less than an A (not because of grade inflation, but because of hard work)…when she entered this new math in high school she could not do well no matter how hard she tried….in our county we are on the block schedule….so her Math course was crammed into a semester….it was absolutely unbelievable how the topic of study changed every single day with no mastering of anything! The teacher even told me that when the children failed the tests (and believe me they failed in great numbers) she could not go over it to help them learn it…it was not in the pacing of the course…she had to move on to another topic. For those of you who still keep saying work harder…listen up- my child stayed up till 2AM most nights working math problems over and over again….went to tutoring with the teacher after school….worked with me for hours on end going over the problems….did all her homework-always…..and still would fail test after test….because sadly she had not mastered all the different information that she was being inundated with…and this was a previously high achieving student…what about an average student, or an already struggling student? I would definitely rather that a struggling student absolutely master Algebra 1, than be exposed to Trignometry and master nothing.
The saddest part of this for me is that my child actually learned very little math…she may have been taught every topic under the clear sun over the last few years, but she has not learned. Her brain is a messed up jumble of ideas on how to solve problems. She in no way has the basics ingrained in her brain like I still do from my high school math education.
What has been done to these students is a crime….it has affected all their futures….and most of all their self-esteems.

john konop

February 22nd, 2011
10:07 am

Jackie T,

The below happens when you teach toward the middle. The reason I got involved is in Cherokee county my son was in a national ranked math program that started advance math students in 7th grade in algebra 1 when Kathy Cox forced the change years ago. The program yielded tremendous results and students like my son will graduate with 6 AP math and science classes that directly correlate with the University system. We fought Kathy Cox very hard to grandfather my son’s class and won.

My son tutors fellow students in physics at his school. What he found out is fellow classmates he helps had a common problem of not having the proper math knowledge for the class who took math 123 rathet than his track; he also saw the same problem last year with chemistry with students he was helping.

I than starting asking different math and science teachers and they confirmed the problem. That is just 1 example of many how the below is happening. And we have not even gotten into the kids not math oriented forced into this mass confusion style of teaching math.

…. Mr. Konop claims that the cut scores for the EOCT was deliberately set low so that the number of failing students will be lowered. Yet, many other (and maybe Mr. Konop, too) are complaing about a much larger number of students who are failing these courses…..

Attentive Parent

February 22nd, 2011
10:09 am

GCSM is the group of math administrators who are against the transmission curriculum because academic content creates unequal outcomes and that’s unacceptable. Its national parent, NCSM, functions as the industry cartel pushing math as a socialization activity and the importance of group work so everyone will recognize their interdependence. Academic knowledge and skills developed independently encourages individuality and that’s not acceptable in the utopian world they want to create.

NCSM and NCTM push the constructivist approach on schools, publishers, prof devt, etc. in the same way that the International Reading Association serves as the cartel to make sure everyone adopts Whole Language techniques in fact using its various names of the moment. Currently it is Balanced Literacy and Guided Reading.

What GCSM, NCTM, NCSM, and IRA do is use the monopoly power given to them effectively through government to push political theories about how to restructure the American economy and society through changing the nature of its future citizens through the schools, both K-12 and higher ed.

It was always about the learning tasks and activities and group work and never the content. The content only exists as a tool for political support and to get at the kids socially and emotionally.

Except with Common Core they will now have control over the assessments which will only measure what they want to be doing in the classroom. That’s why Race to the Top was so critical. To bribe the states into adopting Common Core so they would turn over prof devt and assessments so that academic knowledge and content could be gutted overtime without there being a mechanism to catch the change in K-12 nationally.

Paulding Step-Parent

February 22nd, 2011
10:09 am

I love this math system and grading that goes on in Paulding School District. Kids are not help accountable for the tests that matter.

My step-daughter’s (an 11th grader) first three 71% grades were F,B,F and after she took the 29% cumlative test they were CHANGED to A, higher B, A. because she showed mastery of the material.

When did this crap start? If you tell kids that this test is over written by that one they will NEVER study for the first test and only study for the one that really matters.

Can not wait for her to get to college and completely fail because of the bs the the high school is teaching them.

Jay

February 22nd, 2011
10:19 am

“Young adults are assuming massive amounts of debt that they cannot afford to bear to fund college to get a degree that really doesn’t qualify them to do much aside from hard science majors.”

What does a hard-science bachelor’s degree qualify one to do?

Dream on

February 22nd, 2011
10:24 am

Thank you@attentive parent for that information. Why am I not surprised?

Tychus Findlay

February 22nd, 2011
10:33 am

@Jay

There is still considerable demand for engineers(of virtually any sort) and medical professionals, because these courses of study teach employable skills. I recently interviewed candidates for a technically oriented sales position. The kid with the philosophy degree had no relevant experience. The young lady that was a music (wtf?) major didn’t understand the product. The gentleman with a background in computer science not only understood the industry vernacular, but could explain it in layman’s terms as well.

Out of the three, two had virtually no useful skill sets and the third was very employable.

Jay

February 22nd, 2011
10:52 am

@Tychus

Engineering isn’t really a hard science. I’m talking about biology, chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, etc. These majors are no more practical than art history or comparative literature. Regarding your interview story, I’d expect someone so keen on science to use more than a single, anecdotal example to draw a conclusion about the relative values of different degrees.

Lynn

February 22nd, 2011
10:52 am

@V for Vendetta, your comments are misinformed. The comments here and the results of the CRCT tests across the state demonstrate the failure of this program. Students are trying. If they succeed and excel in other subjects, but fail this Math “experiment” the students are not unmotivated. Look at the evidence, we will have a drastic decline in graduation rates for the class of 2012 and in turn they will have learned little from their High School Math program. Students who attend before and after school tutoring, have private tutors and spend hours each night struggling with this Math approach are not unmotivated. These students have been failed by our state.

The

Teacher Reader

February 22nd, 2011
11:35 am

Until students are held accountable for mastering each level of math skills, our students will never be able to do the integrated math or truly understand high school math in general. We have kids that barely have a number sense, understand basic concepts, how do we expect these kids to apply anything. We also have math teachers who don’t understand these concepts very well themselves, as they weren’t math majors and then earned their teaching certification. How many of these people received enough training to teach the math curriculum well? It’s easy to say get rid of the new math program, but if people looked into the issue deeper, they would see that there are many layers to this problem and that they each contribute to the poor understanding and reception of the new math program.

HS Math Teacher

February 22nd, 2011
11:50 am

These Common Core Cheerleaders are workshop divas who haven’t taught a lower-level math class since Clinton was re-elected. They’re trying to press down on this mis-shapened lid, knowing it’s catching the fingers and toes of those lower kids, but they don’t care – the ends (dubious results) justify the means. They never cared about the “laggard group”, nor the people who have to teach to them.

Failing 50% or more of your students trying to learn college prep math is no fun. Trying to maintain classroom discipline to a bunch of johnny gym rats in Math 1 (second tour of duty) is no fun. Let those divas with the pedigrees, pedicures, and poodle-like manners come shovel some manure for a change.

atlmom

February 22nd, 2011
12:17 pm

Jay you are completely out of the loop. I have a degree in Math. I also have a master’s in applied math. What do I do? Well, I’ve done many things.
Worked writing software, doing implementations. Doing statistics analysis for an energy company. Worked doing more analysis for a hotel company.
Statistics and analysis are VERY popular these days. Even when I’ve been out of the workforce (having kids) when I start sending out resumes, I get tons of phone calls. Because I’ve done a lot and clearly can learn quickly, and clearly understand statistics and numbers and software, etc, and can also explain it to people with a diff. background.
Physics – well, wall street firms are still hiring them.
chemistry – go check out job sites, companies hire them quite a bit (bio engineering, medical, etc). Biology – same thing.
Tons of jobs out there for those with the right degree. There are tons of people with liberal arts degrees, not as many jobs for them out there.

atlmom

February 22nd, 2011
12:19 pm

and my kids are in elementary school, but i’ve been working with the math curriculum for the high school – and as I said, I have advanced math degrees…and wow. I can’t see how anyone learns from those curriculum.

Jay

February 22nd, 2011
1:01 pm

@atlmom

Math isn’t a hard science, it’s a liberal art. Tychus said only hard science degrees are useful. Quants working in (legitimate) finance rarely have just a bachelor’s degrees in physics, and those who do hold only a B.S. almost invariably hail from top-ten colleges, where humanities majors, too, land jobs on Wall Street. In other words, Goldman Sachs is far more likely to hire a history major from Princeton than a physics major from UGA, or even Georgia Tech. Similarly, a bachelor’s in chemistry alone might get you a lab tech or pharma sales position, but not much more.

East Cobb Parent

February 22nd, 2011
1:47 pm

As many have stated prior, this math debacle starts in ES. We have third graders that are struggling and told that memorization of math facts is not necessary. Only today I received an email from a frustrated Sope Creek parent asking what to do for her child. I don’t care who you march out for the Dog and Pony show to show support for the integrated approach GA adopted for ALL GRADES; it isn’t working. The discovery method, what a waste of time. The problem is so huge in HS because the students have years of non-mastery and then are thrown into the incredible fast pace dictated for Math 1, 2, 3, 4. While the current HS students started in 6th grade, the current MS students started in ES. Wait until you see that train wreck. Don’t try and sell the “more rigor”; those of us with a math background are not buying it. I’ve looked it over, I’ve seen what is happening in the classrooms, math is to be experienced and enjoyed. Children should be entertained. REALLY? We’ve got first and second graders that cannot count money, cannot tell you that two quarters equal $.50, yet peek in the classroom, students are engaged but they are not learning. Return to the basics of memorization of math facts, build at a reasonable pace, group by ability – at least the kids will learn. Parents are spending a small fortune subsidizing their child’s math education. I’ve often wondered if Kathy Cox was a silent partner in all the tutoring centers that are in each shopping center. I can’t imagine anyone really buying that this math is better.

What Goes Around Comes Around

February 22nd, 2011
1:47 pm

I agree with Dr. Trotter: “Bring back vocational education. Not just the new technology education, but the old vocational courses (wood shop, auto shop, sheet metal shop, electrical shop, plumbing shop, etc.) too. Quit trying to make all students scholars. It’s not going to happen.”

I took typing in High School and because I took typing I have had some wonderful jobs. I worked for the Dept. of Justice (under J. Edgar Hoover), Boeing Airlines (Apollo 15 spacecraft project), a university (biophysics research))and in education.

In the sixties we had basic math (Algebra I, II, Geometry, physics) and we did okay in our careers.

atlmom

February 22nd, 2011
1:56 pm

well, EC parent: you have elementary school teachers who have no idea how to teach math. Many of them ‘hate math’ too – and those are the people teaching our kids. *sigh*

HS Math Teacher

February 22nd, 2011
2:03 pm

Career Clusters are fine and dandy; however, when your school can’t afford extra desks (due to social promotion from middle school – no filter, mind you), then you’re going to be hamstrung; you will not have many choices. I do believe strongly in a good, vocational education for those students who don’t look out of windows and see $400,000 houses next to theirs. Give them basic Algebra & basic Geometry, and maybe a 3rd year of …..YES….consumer math, and send them out into this world. They’ll be happy as Irishmen on St. Pat’s Day, and will probably make more money than most starting math teachers.

East Cobb Parent

February 22nd, 2011
2:15 pm

At atlmom, if I had a $1 for every time I’ve heard a teacher explain that they never liked math so now they teach math this way….well I could vacation anywhere I wanted. I’m so tired of it, if you don’t like math then let someone who does and understands it teach math. I do wonder if Cobb County scripted that line for all ES teachers. I will say I’ve been fortunate that my children had math teachers that shut the door and taught ignoring the instructions by central. My children did timed math addition and subtraction tests in first grade even when the other classes did not. The same is true of multiplication in 3rd. My youngest no longer attends public, it became too much of a struggle to try and teach every afternoon after a full day at “school”.

I do think all students should take a consumer math course that covers the basics of budgets, checkbooks, credit cards etc. I don’t think it would be a year long course.

atlmom

February 22nd, 2011
2:51 pm

@EC parent: it’s so terrible. Many people who go into elementary ed love kids, but don’t like math. So kids get hamstrung from the very beginning. And they learn to ‘hate’ math -without really knowing anything about it. Or they say: oh, it’s too HARD.
MY kid’s doing fine – I *know* it’s easy for him, it wouldn’t matter how much wasn’t taught…and he has two parents who could teach it to him if he couldn’t understand it. Not all kids pick it up that quickly. In teaching/tutoring math, I have found that most people learn math differently (from each other, also from me, but I’m not talking about that) – so math *does* need to be taught in different ways. Which is why each math curriculum fails – and why we keep changing it from decade to decade (or every few years). In middle school, they weren’t sure that I was going to be able to cut it in advanced math. Crazy.
The people in charge don’t seem to know what’s going on – the state just hands down a curriculum, and the schools jump.

FBT

February 22nd, 2011
2:54 pm

I am tired of my seven year old being expected to add 12 + 8 three different ways and explain her answer. Grocery store math isn’t what will get the child through calculus.
At my house it’s flash cards and drill baby drill.