Math by any other name will still be harder than math of old

A teacher takes me and the paper to task for failing to note that no matter what it is called, math in Georgia reflects far more demanding standards and will never be the math of old. (AP Images.)

A teacher takes me and the paper to task for failing to note that no matter what it is called, math in Georgia reflects far more demanding standards and will never be the math of old. (AP Images.)

Among the many comments to me about math is this detailed note from a teacher alarmed over the amount of misinformation in this discussion.

He criticizes me and other AJC writers and protesting parents for failing to understand that the standards in Georgia’s math program form the basis of the new Common Core standards and they are not going away, not matter what we call the courses.

I appreciate two elements of his comment. He did his due diligence and he makes it accessible:

I have taught math in high school and college.  I have taught methods classes and supervised student teachers as a college supervisor and as a classroom teacher.  I have been an assistant principal and principal. Dozens of people have visited my  classroom to observe my teaching.

The recent reporting done by the AJC on the “return” to traditional math in the state of Georgia is filled with inaccuracies and partial truths.  In short, you and other AJC article writers are killing those of us that are in this to teach math every day.  Instead of quoting people who clearly do not know what they are talking about, I would ask you to dig into the story and find out what is really going on.

If you and other AJC article writers persist in telling every one that schools in Georgia can “return” to Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2, we are going to have so many problems with parents so that neither pathway of teaching will work.  In an attempt to be helpful, I will give you a few hints from the inside so you can have the opportunity to right the ship.

There is no possibility of “return” to traditional math.  Please read Mr. Barge’s statement very carefully.  He said that school will have the option to use a traditional pathway or an integrated pathway to teach mathematics to maintain the rigor of the current GPS and upcoming Common Core standards.  THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE IN THE STANDARDS FOR THE TRADITIONAL PATHWAY OR THE INTEGRATED PATHWAY.  The content is the same that we have now for Math 1, Math 2, and Math 3.

In fact, several people on the precision review team looked at the GPS and the Common Core and found that the only difference between the traditional pathway and the integrated pathway was that two algebra units from Math 2 would move to the 9th grade class, and two geometry units from Math 1  would move to the 10th grade class.

In other words about 80 percent of the content is the SAME.  In either the integrated pathway or the traditional pathway, statistics is still INTEGRATED into each of the  classes for the first three years of high school.  THE ALGEBRA 1,  GEOMETRY, AND ALGEBRA 2 CLASSES ARE NOT THE CLASSES THAT YOU AND I  TOOK.

What has happened is that MANY people, obviously including the parent’s group that is quoted in every article about the “return” to  traditional math, have only read the titles of the classes in the Common Core.  If people would actually READ the Common Core curriculum,  they would find out that there is almost NO DIFFERENCE between the current GPS and the Common Core high school standards.  THEY HEAVILY  USED THE CURRENT GEORGIA GPS TO WRITE THE NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL MATH  COMMON CORE.

What Mr. Barge is offering is the possibility of calling the COMMON  CORE classes Math 1, Math 2, and Math 3, or Algebra 1, Geometry, and  Algebra 2.  Again, the only difference is the interchange of two units in the first two courses.  There is almost no difference between the current Math 3 and Algebra 2 as set in the Common Core.  I am sure you are beginning to see the same thing that the non-political teachers are seeing across the state.

Saying that we are “fixing” the problems everyone is complaining about by moving to “traditional” math is disingenuous and will lead to an even higher level of discontent.  I can only imagine the reaction of the parents group when they find out that there kids still have the same “hard” problems to work, but they are just in a slightly different order.  We were told that there is no wiggle room with the Common Core curriculum.

Since Georgia has already agreed to join the other 44 states in the Common Core, we must do ALL OF THE CURRICULUM AT THE INTENDED GRADE LEVEL.  Since Common Core is embedded with RTTT, no one can opt out of any part of the curriculum. Future standardized assessments will be matched to AYP and RTTT money.

Have you ever asked anyone from the parents group if they have actually read the curriculum for Math 1, 2, 3 or the Common Core Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2?  We have a couple of locals in that group, and I assure you, they have not read anything but the titles of the courses. I would also encourage you to read the curriculum.  Titles  and descriptions mean nothing.

The actual problems with Math 1, 2, 3, other than the terrible implementation, of course, are twofold.  One, there is too much content in each class to successfully master in one year, especially in the Accelerated classes.  Two, each class requires mastery of 100% of the material from 100% of the content of each previous class.  As you  can see, problem 1 and problem 2 create a “catch-22″ situation for every teacher in the state.

Now, here is the catch…….BOTH OF THESE PROBLEMS WILL STILL BE IN PLACE WITH EITHER THE TRADITIONAL OR INTEGRATED PATHWAYS OF THE COMMON CORE.  And, actually, the Common Core has even more content in most of the classes.  Anyone who thinks that a traditional pathway for the SAME material will solve the problems being felt across the state is seriously misinformed or very inexperienced.  Plus, it is still one size fits all.  ALL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WILL BE ON THE SAME CURRICULUM FOR AT LEAST THE FIRST THREE HIGH SCHOOL COURSES.

There will still be little in the way of materials for the classes called Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2, at least for next year. Many have told me that they were planning to pass out the old books they had in storage.  A book called Algebra 1 will not be a good fit for the class called Algebra 1 in the Common Core.  Ditto, Geometry and Algebra 2.  Many schools around here are opting to continue with Math 1, 2, 3 for the next school year for that reason.

None of us want to have to scrape for materials in yet another configuration. I assume there will be materials available the fall of 2012, but there is a possibility that the publishers will not be ready by then.  Besides, no one has extra money to get more math materials.

I began teaching algebra 1 and 2 in 1980.  I am amused at the comments of the detractors of integrated math about the way the curriculum jumps around, there is not enough time to fully learn anything, the problems are too hard, etc.  I have heard all of those same comments about algebra 1, algebra 2, and geometry classes as configured in what is obviously now seen as the “good old days.”  I have taught thousands of students, and I have yet to have a student fail a class that always gave me his/her best effort.  Most of the time complainers are the ones that do not put out, but they want the ultimate reward for actually little or no effort.

I could care less whether we have traditional or integrated curriculum. I can make either work.  I think the “compromise” is a bad one.  The very real problem of transfer in and out will only become worse if everyone can choose.  I think the state should go one way or the other and stick to it.  Regardless, I plan to teach math.

I hope I have given you enough background to successfully find the story and report what is going on accurately.  I am confident you will find out that I am correct, but be forewarned that not many people are versed at all in the true curriculum of the Common Core, and in fact, the final version is yet to be released.  I took an entire day to actually read all of the standards in the Common Core for Math 1-3 and for Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2.

By the way, Brad Findell was correct in his assessment of the EOCTs in Algebra 1, Geometry, Math 1, and Math 2.  We have found the same thing true in our school. Our Math 1 scores are far better that our old Algebra 1 scores.  The test for Math 1 is far more difficult than the Algebra 1 test.  And the test for Math 2 is even beyond that.  In fact, those tests and the new GHSGT are basically the same as the teacher certification test.  I know that the detractors do not want to go there, but facts are facts.

Thanks for “listening” to me.  I am passionate about teaching high school math, and I am very tired of all of the distractions of the past three years and of the distractions to come.  Accurate reporting by the AJC will help, I believe.

–By Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

85 comments Add your comment

MannyT

March 15th, 2011
12:41 am

This is scary from the perspective of a concerned parent. Will the teachers be ready to teach the appropriate math “system”? Will the materials be there for the students?

If the answer to both isn’t yes, I get the feeling that the school systems won’t be excited about teachers finding their own tools via the internet (even if they have the training & time to do so.)

The link from DOE looks like an oversimplification of the differences.
http://public.doe.k12.ga.us/DMGetDocument.aspx/GPS%20Math%20-%20Comparison%20of%20GPS%20QCC%20Course%20Content%20v12.3.07.pdf?p=6CC6799F8C1371F633B963F6D7119FC670C67F655C4058858D3174274B5BC0E6&Type=D

What actions can parents take to get the proper training & resources in place for whichever “system” a school uses? I’m most concerned about getting the right middle school math to be best prepared for the most rigorous math in high school.

ScienceTeacher671

March 15th, 2011
6:06 am

The only thing I would add is that parents need to be aware that students who fail the CRCT are usually still working at a primary school level, and students who just barely pass the CRCT are in no way ready to perform high school work without a great deal of effort, tutoring, and extra work.

keep it up

March 15th, 2011
6:10 am

I feel really sorry for this (and many other) math teachers whose views were simply ignored by those who make decisions. It further encourages them to simply ignore what the policy makers do – they will just say “this, too, shall pass” and keep doing whatever they have been doing. People seem to agree that there was not sufficient preparation for teachers, yet there is NO action on that front. I understand the DOE is going to provide all the training for the new CCSS curriculum, but they have maybe 2 people in downtown Atlanta who works in the math department (or whatever they call their office). I also hear that they are going to provide maybe 16 hours of training, much of it through video. If that level of preparation is sufficient, then we wouldn’t be in the current mess. What makes anyone think the DOE can do this (implementation of a new standard) right this time?

ScienceTeacher671

March 15th, 2011
6:10 am

How does allowing Math I Support and Math II Support to count as 2 math credits toward the 4 needed for graduation fit with the CCC? Students will not have mastered half of the CCC if they choose this path, right?

phil

March 15th, 2011
6:25 am

Very impressive article. If this writer is truthful about his background, I am more impressed. Anyone who returns back to the classroom from being an administer gets my attention. Keep writing your articles, because people will begin to listen.

Inman Park Boy

March 15th, 2011
6:30 am

Whenever I see writing un FULL CAPS I envisage someone who has totally lost control of themselve. Sorry, it hurts your argument for you to “scream” at me. Basically, higher math exists for the non-mathematician as an exercise in reasoning. My concern is the same old skills we are called upon to use almost daily: aritihmetic. If you can’t add, subtract, multiply and divide, you are at a real disadvantage. Insofar as higher math is concerned? Very few of us really need that to get along.

Martina

March 15th, 2011
6:45 am

He brings up an interesting point. I’ve taught elementary for 30 years now, and when I started we mainly focused on drilling on the facts and computation in 2nd and 3rd grades. Now we barely have time to introduce them in class because we have so many other math skills that we must teach. My 3rd grades have to be able to differentiate between equilateral, isosceles and scalene triangles, figure perimeter and area, and work multiple step word problems. Many of them are lacking in basic math computation because we just don’t have the time to really teach it well. A lot of children now are not getting the basic math skills they need because so much has been added to the math curriculum that they are not at the skill level to understand and master.

East Cobb Parent

March 15th, 2011
6:49 am

Many of us have read CCS and are aware that they closely mirror what GA already has. That in itself is a reason for many to be cautious about the adoption of CCS. Recent discussion with a teacher from another state – she felt they are being “brought down to GA’s level with the adoption of CCS” Her line not mine. I do feel that allowing counties to decide and group their math their way is a step in the correct direction. The Alg 1 concepts can be taught together by a teacher knowledgeable in Alg, the same for Geo – you get the idea less jumping around. While I feel the support class should be offered I am conflicted with it being a math credit. Obviously these kids were the test cases and we should make allowances. Going forward I think math support should be an elective, available if needed, but not a substitute for math. I feel math support should be there for any student that needs it regardless of the math class – ALG 1 or MATH 1.
The basics should be taught in ES; if the kids do not know them do not promote them. We have kids going to HS that do not know how to multiply or divide factions. We must stop all the social promotions. Notice I said the basics should be taught, not discovered.

HS Math Teacher

March 15th, 2011
6:57 am

As ScienceTeacher671 and I have pointed out numerous times, the troll under the bridge is the vast number of students coming to high school ill-prepared to do any type of math. I can teach ANY type of high school math you sling at me, and the kids who are reasonably prepared, and who can sit still and listen for more than half a class period, can learn the new standards. We have kids who enter ninth grade who have never passed a math course in middle school AND who have failed the CRCT’s.

I don’t have a problem with teaching the “integrated math”. It’s more like “cobbled-up math” if you ask me. It does have its strong points, and I can see some value in it.

HS Math Teacher

March 15th, 2011
7:16 am

To follow up: I realize the problem I presented above is system level, or more like building level; however, if the state doesn’t provide Promotion/Retention RULES instead of GUIDELINES, then we’re going to have to give these math-handicapped kids an alternate route for the LONG TERM. I am NOT of the opinion that ALL kids have to master the common core. I think some in state leadership worship GPS & CCC like it came down from Mount Sinai from Moses the Mathematician.

sigh...

March 15th, 2011
7:22 am

@ East Cobb,

What is your idea of “algebra 1″? Where do you find those concepts in the CCSS?

southern

March 15th, 2011
7:29 am

why do we teach math

March 15th, 2011
7:31 am

We should seriously think about this question. As Inman Park said, most of us do not use mathematics beyond elementary school arithmetic in our everyday life – and even that, we use electronic devices more and more, too. The argument about the dead batteries died with the solar powered calculator. Of course, how much of science, history, geography, literature, music, etc. do most of us actually use in our everyday life?

So, why do we teach mathematics? If the goal is to provide the basic skills, then why bother even having schools beyond elementary schools – for all subjects? Who cares if you can factor trinomials or use the Pythagorean Theorem to find the distance between two points on a coordinate plane? Why bother with writing a proof by induction, or understanding a logarithmic scale? A vast majority of would never use these ideas in our everyday life. Of course, we never use a lot of ideas we learn in our schools, period. So, why?

Is it possibly because we want students to learn to think? Think logically? Analyze complex everyday problems that do not come in with exactly the information we need – nothing more or nothing less – like most of problems we faced in our schools? Most of the problems I have to deal with in my life doesn’t come in a nice package with the label, Algebra, History, Biology, Literature, etc. I have to gather information, decide what are relevant and what are not, use my knowledge from a variety of fields and somehow device a possible solution to try out, etc. How do we prepare our students for such a reality in schools?

SACS

March 15th, 2011
7:36 am

Can the SACS just look at the whole state of Georgia instead of just looking at one system at a time???

Joy in Teaching

March 15th, 2011
7:37 am

@ HS Math Teacher When I taught high school, it was very easy to be resentful of the fact that kids were being passed on through the system who had never passed the CRCT or their basic classes. They arrived in high school with the attitude of “I is here! Pass me on through!” only to be hit with the reality of actually having to demonstrate knowledge and ability.

The problem is, elementary and middle schools practically have to pass an act of Congress in order to retain anyone. Two days before school started this year, the feeder elemtary school that feeds into my school suddenly “placed” over 70 students in the 6th grade who did not pass the CRCT and who did not pass their classes. All 70 of those students are struggling in the 6th grade. Five of them are in my homeroom. None of those 5 are passing Language Arts and Math. None of those 5 are doing well on the CRCT indicator tests. We’ve already started the paperwork and conferences to discuss retention, but the reality is that we *might* be able to retain one of those 5. Why? I have no idea. But, because I’m told I must, I have to pass them on through.

It’s a sad, sad thing.

From My Perspective

March 15th, 2011
8:06 am

I feel sorry for the teachers. They should anticipate chaos.

Dr NO...

March 15th, 2011
8:08 am

Sounds as if its so confusing “they” dont even know about what they speak. Leave to the Feds to take “Hamburger Prep Class” into “Concrete Mixing 101″. Neither of which they have clue.

AJinCobb

March 15th, 2011
8:14 am

That’s a great letter from the teacher and a good comment from “why do we teach math” at 7:31am.

Unfortunately, in this as in many areas, the AJC seems inclined to repeat falsehoods that are popularly believed, rather than insist on publishing the truth. I once complained about the paper printing a reader letter stating that Saddam Hussein masterminded 9/11, and the public editor replied that their intention was to print a representative variety of reader opinion, not to vet letters for factual accuracy.

As a very few of us have been saying on the blog, the content of Math 1, 2, 3 is just high school math. However, those who believe that because the names of the courses are different, the content is different, have been winning the day. (We’re no longer teaching algebra and geometry!)

Maureen Downey

March 15th, 2011
8:33 am

@Inman, I think he was “screaming” at me and the AJC, and I think it was in frustration. I asked him if I could share his letter here on the blog. He said I could in hopes of also clarifying some of the stuff he was seeing posted on the blog.
Maureen

Eric

March 15th, 2011
8:57 am

If there’s so little difference between the two approaches, why make all these fine distinctions and unnecessary labeling of minute differences. That is the problem with educational leadership today–trying to improve on something that already works well. I suspect in a few years, “Common Core” will be renamed to something else, then here we ago again. How complicated can we make it?

Dr NO...

March 15th, 2011
8:59 am

These lackluster education “leaders” have nothing better to do than feather their own nest. Thats precisely what is occurring here.

2 cents

March 15th, 2011
9:08 am

hmmm, doesn’t the CC allow for a work ready element in it?? most of the ppl on these blogs have been saying “the student needs more choices instead of a one size fits all approach”. Basically, CC will allow for different tracks from STEM to business math (which the state of GA thinks is a lowly math but start talking overhead, profit margin, etc… and most are lost).

not every child needs through Alg II; some would even argue that perhaps an entire semester could be used on determining measurement.

for some reason the framers of Math I, II,….. didnt find measurement very important but thought orthocenter, incenter, and contrapositives where more important.

mystery poster

March 15th, 2011
9:10 am

Excellent, well written letter. Hits the nail right on the head.

I was so mad at the Channel 11 news at 7 when Brenda Wood made these same misinformed comments about now we will be setting students up for success rather than failure. I mean, don’t journalists have to do research anymore?

I had to laugh when I heard the comment from the parent who said she had an engineering degree from Purdue but couldn’t help her kid with Math I. Really…?

AJinCobb

March 15th, 2011
9:44 am

@mystery poster

“I had to laugh when I heard the comment from the parent who said she had an engineering degree from Purdue but couldn’t help her kid with Math I. Really…?”

Yes! I had the same response. I have a master’s in computer science and I found accelerated math 1, 2 and 3 as presented to my child to all contain familiar high school algebra, geometry and trig – plus some probability and statistics, and some linear algebra that I learned in a college freshman course. I thought Purdue was a good university…!

Jackie T.

March 15th, 2011
9:44 am

@ 2 cents,

You are an example of those misinformed people the author of the letter talk about. Have you read the CCSS math standards? I seriously doubt it.

2 cents

March 15th, 2011
11:02 am

@Jackie

sorry to make you so angry; but yea I read them; I dont think you have.

hey jackie go ahead and run that mile in 4 minutes…. what you cant do it…. you fail

Teach2Learn

March 15th, 2011
11:07 am

The greatest math weakness is grades 4 – 6 where the curriculum depth and difficulty has rapidly increased w/o increasing the math knowledge base and teaching strategies of the non-math specialist (or math degree) teacher nor the daily time devoted to math instruction. Students without a strong foundation from these years will struggle all the way through higher level math courses.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

March 15th, 2011
11:22 am

What is the GDOE doing at the ES and MS levels to insure that our kids will have the Math knowledge and skills to succeed in Math at the HS- and college-levels as well as in the adult world?

William Casey

March 15th, 2011
11:37 am

@ Why Do We Teach Math: BRAVO! I realize that the improved thinking ability benefit of learning math is an “old school” concept. However, it is simply true! I’ve seen it in action. My son is currently a junior at Georgia Southern doing dual degrees in mathematics and philosophy. Most people see little “real life” utility in these disciplines. I beg to differ. I’ve watched in amazement as he has developed into one of the most rational, problem-solving individuals I’ve ever met. This isn’t simply a Dad bragging about his Son. I’ve watched him apply the same principals of inquiry to an analysis of basketball (I’m a coach) that he used in explaining “String Theory” math and parallel universes to me while we were watching a TV program on the subject last night. I’ve seen this phenomenon in such real-life situations as mortgage lending, automobile buying negotiations, insurance coverage, legal issues, family disputes and even grocery shopping. He’s what I call a “quick study.” He realizes what he doesn’t know and what he needs to know to solve a problem. What I’m getting at is: math training allows an individual to approach an unfamiliar problem in a systematic, solution-oriented manner. I’m sold.

Who made math

March 15th, 2011
12:42 pm

Math 1 & 2 is the hardest math ive taken. I failed math 2 twice and now have to take it over summer. i am a junior but not on track. I personally think they should take this math out of the ciriculum. they constantly see people failing but have not done anything about it.

Dream on

March 15th, 2011
1:47 pm

Do I understand the the letter writer correctly–the standards the math has to adhere to is a national standard–the Common Core? If so do we expect a nationwide adoption of this new math instruction? If so I have not heard such. I do know other states have tried the Integrated math approach and dumped it. I also know at Curriculum night this year my 10th graders math teacher said,” Welcome to Accelerated Math 2 or Accelerated Integrated Geometry. It says Geometry in the name but we really only cover Geometry for a few weeks. They added Geometry to the name satisfy parents.” When, how or how much Geometry will my daughter ever know? Who knows? I do know that I, as a person who disliked math, am able to tutor students in Geometry due to the great instruction in Geometry that I had in 10th grade. That is tutor students who are taking the SAT test where regular Geometry is a significant part of the test. I will see next Fall how prepared my daughter with Geometry when she takes the SAT then.

Top School

March 15th, 2011
2:01 pm

IF this is what OLD MATH produced…what will NEW MATH create?

“Fulton officials didn’t file a form that accurately reflected the enrollments of the city and county school systems, resulting in an overpayment to Atlanta from a 1-percent sales tax used for school capital needs.”

Atlanta Public Schools seems to have a double standard for Excellence in Education. The community establishes standards for teachers and students involving honesty and integrity in their schools, but the administration has modeled unethical and corrupt behaviors . We cannot allow APS administrators to cheat and falsify records in their assigned schools. Any allowance for these behaviors leaves room for doubt about any record within the public system. Scores, budgets, allocations, attendance, awards etc. should not be in the decision making hands of corrupt leadership.

Atlanta School Board Members and City Council Leaders that turn a “blind eye” to any possible reported corruption or criminal behavior should not be allowed to remain in leadership roles in our Atlanta community.

Community Leaders and APS Administration should PROTECT and SERVE with a commitment to model excellence. If we demand these qualities from our TOP STUDENTS, our leaders must set the example.

http://www.TopPublicSchoolCorruptionAtlanta.com

Sign the petition:

http://www.change.org/petitions/demand-excellence-in-the-administration-and-leadership-of-atlanta-public-schools-2#?opt_new=t

KMHSmom

March 15th, 2011
2:50 pm

@DreamOn- You are on to something. The SAT scores for this first bunch of guinea pigs (HS Juniors) are about to come in. Most take SAT in spring of JR year or Fall of SR year. This will be the first real “test” of how these new standards are being implemented and received by the students. My son is a HS JR. Thank goodness he has a math mind – scored 720. I dare say it is because I effectively home-schooled him in middle school on ALG I, ALG II and GEO.

Jackie T.

March 15th, 2011
3:05 pm

So, if your children do well on SAT math, it’s because the children were excellent or received very capable home support, but if they fail, it’s because of the program??? How convenient.

KMHSmom says, and I agree, that the results of the SAT scores of the first group will be interesting. Of course, the state board, just like their counter part in Cobb, decided to go ahead and change the program BEFORE they get the “first real test.” Amazing.

KMHSmom

March 15th, 2011
3:18 pm

@Jackie T- no, your first statement is not an accurate rephrasing of my comment. It was a written “sigh of relief” that my son dodged the bullet – unknown whether it was because of my involvement or not.

Proud Parent

March 15th, 2011
3:35 pm

My son scored a 2500 on the SAT. He finished the first three sections so quickly that the College Board gave him extra credit questions to complete while his idiot classmates were finishing their tests.

Top School

March 15th, 2011
3:44 pm

@ Proud Parent

Maybe he will one day be in charge of nuclear power plant!
Wow! He is super intelligent.

Top School

March 15th, 2011
3:55 pm

He can add those knots on Jethro Bodeens counting rope fast!
Human intelligence has brought us to this point…
having a human experience will be what saves us from our ignorance.

Is your son smart enough to figure out what the real problems in this world are all about?
This numerical intelligence without the ethical background to make success is what has brought us to the current disasters in this world.

These test numbers created the unethical leaders currently in positions of authority.
The score lacks any valid assurance of what he is capable of doing…rather it ranks him with those already doing ill deeds in our current world.

I respect the individual’s mind to spit out this score…but what he does with his mind can do damage or good to the future.

CONCERNED

March 15th, 2011
4:47 pm

Math may be getting harder but, from the way it is being taught in the Troup County School System the kids will never grasp the concept. The teachers spend about two days and half teach it and don’t even go over the answers when the kids miss the question. We spend most of our afternoon teaching our child what the teacher didn’t teach them. The sad part about it is, this is the simple math. If they can’t teach simple math, then why would they be able to teach the new math. Part of the problem is the teachers need to step up and do their jobs and stop just getting over.

Kat

March 15th, 2011
4:49 pm

Inman Park Boy: It seems that the author took the time to thoroughly and thoughtfully explain the situation and what might be the result. The ALL CAPS can be viewed as screaming, but it could also be taken in the context of “here is an important point/result in this long response, please pay close attention.”

John Konop

March 15th, 2011
4:53 pm

…… By the way, Brad Findell was correct in his assessment of the EOCTs in Algebra 1, Geometry, Math 1, and Math 2. We have found the same thing true in our school. Our Math 1 scores are far better that our old Algebra 1 scores. The test for Math 1 is far more difficult than the Algebra 1 test. And the test for Math 2 is even beyond that. In fact, those tests and the new GHSGT are basically the same as the teacher certification test. I know that the detractors do not want to go there, but facts are facts…..

You make many valid points, yet the above seems very illogical. The AJC last Monday ran an article about the alarmingly skyrocketing failure rate of math 1 and 2.

Obviously something does not add up with your conclusion when we know the above is happening. Please help us understand why think we can have failure rates jumping and your above conclusion could be correct?

BTW if we did not fix the transfer in and out issues that is travesty for the students.

Sally

March 15th, 2011
5:45 pm

@Teach2learn
6th grade is specialized…Elementary is not. Don’t include 6th grade teachers in your argument.

Math Momma

March 15th, 2011
6:06 pm

I hope in 3.75 years we all remember who ramrodded this through….Dr. John Barge. Make your voices known at the ballot box, folks. The students of Georgia will continue to suffer because adults didn’t get this right.

Susue

March 15th, 2011
6:28 pm

Is it possible, just ONE time, for the people in charge of designing, writing, creating–whatever the hell they call it—the math curriculum to listen to the math teachers who are good math teachers? And use their input on rewriting/writing curriculum? Nevermind the “experts” who are so clueless as to be unable to pour piss out of a boot with instructions written on the heel of said boot. Let good teachers develop good curriculum. Our middles school math students do multiplication as follows: 5 x 9 = ? Take a pencil and make 9 groups of 5 individual dots. Count all the dots. The answer is 45. Heaven forbid we be allowed to teach the times tables to mastery. I know about the calculators everywhere….I’m a techie. But damnn asking a child such a simple question and having the child be completely ignorant of an answer.

GAH!! Spare me from one more ignorant, clueless consultant! The best money saved would be the money from cutting ALL RESAs.

ScienceTeacher671

March 15th, 2011
6:31 pm

@Maureen – could you please ask your contacts at the GaDOE the question asked by Dr. Craig Spinks above?

What is the GDOE doing at the ES and MS levels to insure that our kids will have the Math knowledge and skills to succeed in Math at the HS- and college-levels as well as in the adult world?

Students who haven’t mastered the material don’t get meaningful remediation and they don’t get held back, and it apparently takes an act of God to get anyone tested for Special Ed anymore. I’ve had at least one student who had not passed a CRCT since 2nd grade, and had never been held back or tested. That student is now a drop-out, BTW.

justin

March 15th, 2011
6:34 pm

“Obviously something does not add up with your conclusion when we know the above is happening.”

Typical konop. He knows HIS conclusion, and HIS conclusion only, is correct, so if anything doesn’t match his conclusion, well, “something doesn’t add up with your conclusion.” It’s never HIS conclusion that doesn’t add up. Of course, he knows. The AJC knows. Never mind the actual data.

Well Said

March 15th, 2011
6:56 pm

I commend the teacher who wrote this letter. He eloquently expressed many of the frustrations I have felt while reading the AJC’s horrible, one-sides, misleading and uniformed coverage of our math curriculum and the debate surrounding it. I heartily second everything he wrote!

Article Author

March 15th, 2011
7:19 pm

Thanks for all of the comments today. One of my goals in allowing Maureen to post my thoughts was to cause people to think. That goal seems to have been reached.

@John Konop….I was refering to the scores from our school. Our Math 1 EOCT scores were a little above the state average. Our Algebra 1 scores were consistantly far lower. We are generally pleased with the way our students have performed in Math 1. I am not saying that everything is perfect, nor am I advocating any particular approach. As stated in the article, I am only interested in teaching math, not engaging in a political debate. I am confident that I can make any approach work.

joe, the teacher

March 15th, 2011
7:41 pm

The integrated sequence works! Let’s keep it, minus that Carnegie Learning crap.

John Konop

March 15th, 2011
7:42 pm

….@John Konop….I was refering to the scores from our school. Our Math 1 EOCT scores were a little above the state average. Our Algebra 1 scores were consistantly far lower. We are generally pleased with the way our students have performed in Math 1. I am not saying that everything is perfect, nor am I advocating any particular approach. As stated in the article, I am only interested in teaching math, not engaging in a political debate. I am confident that I can make any approach work…..

In all due respect with the failure rate out of control with math 1 and 2 it makes no logical sense that you compare results of a different class and come to any conclusion. In my world we would be very suspect of any findings knowing the above facts. And no one I know would put their name next to the Brad Findell study with as many issues with having real liabilities attached.

Also even if you can make the approach work on a personal level it is obvious to any objective person with the failure rate out of control this is not working on a macro basis. And in business you learn fairly quickly if you cannot easily replicate a process you do not have a product ready for wide distribution. And this is why after talking with Kathy Cox and her staff it was obvious to me they had no clue about basic quality control standards and processes before wide implementation. And Maureen can verify this was a major issue many of us brought up pre-implementation and it all went on death ears from KATHY COX and team.

Finally until the state fixes students ability to transfer in out of the state from different schools we do not have a solution. And I agree having both options only increases the problem for students moving within the state as well as out of state.