Material to be included in the Board package for the Jan. 19, 1998 meeting of the Okemos Board of Education

1. Summary of parents’ comments on the Connected Math Project

2. “The Second Great Math Rebellion” by Tom Loveless
 Oct. 15, 1997, Education Week

3. Supporting documents for the standardized test scores used in the Dec. letter to Okemos Board of Education
 3a. “Ames parents angry over drop in basic math skills”
  The Daily Tribune, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 1995
 3b. Stanford Achievement Test as reported to Palo Alto School Board
 world wide web: http:/

4. Letter from Prof. Wayne Bishop, Mathematics and Computer Science Professor, California State University, Los Angeles.
 4a. Explanation
 4b. Evaluation of one CMP assessment study titled “Effects of the  Connected Mathematics Project on Student Attainment”
 4c. New Math No Help by Wayne Bishop
  New York Times, Dec. 3, 1997
 4d. “Effects of the  Connected Mathematics Project on Student  Attainment” by Mark Hoover et al.
  Office of the Connected Math Project, MSU

Respectfully submitted by:

Betty Tsang & Bill Lynch
Ed & Merry Morash
Kate See
Pawel & Ewa Danielewicz
Debbie Isom
Paul Freddolino
Linda Koons

Summary of parents’ comments on the Connected Math Project

I. Traditional math works well at Okemos and the school district math test scores are one of the highest in the state:
==>What problems are we trying to fix by introducing the CMP program?
==>Is the CMP program appropriate for the Okemos School district?
==>Are we repeating the failed reforms of the new math in the 60’s?
==>Why are there differences in parents’ response to the Kinawa and Chippewa math programs?
==> How will CMP fit in with existing high school math curriculum especially with regard to the honors math classes and Advanced Placement classes?
==> How will CMP affect National standardized tests scores used for college admissions?

II. Different students learn differently
==> Some children learn well in traditional math but not in the CMP program.
==> Some good math students are frustrated by the CMP approach and don’t enjoy math anymore.

III. CMP philosophy
==> emphasizes verbal teaching methods
 may not be appropriate for some students who view math as a concise language
 equations are seldom used to summarize what have been learned
==> emphasizes group learning
 works well for some students but not for all
==> relies on discovery methods
 slow and frustrating with no systematic or clear explanations
==> tedious journal writings

IV. Textbooks
==> unstructured, confusing and frustrating to parents
 some parents need teacher’s guides to help their kids
==> only 3-4 books out of the expected 8 books were taught last year
==> there is not enough practice or examples to illustrate how problems are solved

V. Controversial program
==> There is no definitive proof of the effectiveness of such programs.
==> Leading educators and mathematicians are divided about such programs.
==> The California State Board of Education reversed its endorsement of the CMP type programs after 5 years of experimentation.

VI. Parents’ involvement
==> Parents are responsible for and should be partners in their own children’s education.
==> In CMP, parents’ involvement is excluded because the program and textbooks are confusing.
==> It is unrealistic to expect a large proportion of parents to learn a new approach to mathematics education so that they can participate in their children’s education.  Monthly math meetings can acquaint the parents with the new teaching approach, but will not enable all parents to be involved in their children’s learning.

VII. Give parents and students choices
==> Adopt a policy that allows some choice in math teaching approach, so that “traditional” math is  an alternative program in both Kinawa and Chippewa Middle Schools.
==> Adopt a policy of involving parents with teachers and students in the selection of the “best fit” math teaching approach for the child.
 Proposal for a math program permitting choice in Okemos Middle Schools

1. Beginning in the 1998-1999 school year, the traditional math program should be offered as an alternative to the CMP program in both Kinawa and Chippewa Middle Schools.

2. The traditional program should use non-CMP math texts and materials because:
 - they have already been proven to work effectively with some children; and
 - the teaching expertise for these materials already exists among middle school staff.

3. The traditional math program should make it possible for students to take the traditional Algebra I class in the eighth grade.
 - It should be noted that traditional Algebra is included in the curriculum of eighth grade students in all of the top ranking countries in international studies of mathematics.

4. Placement in these classes should be decided by teachers, students, and parents working together.

Providing CHOICE makes all children winners because it permits them to be engaged in learning mathematics in the way that maximizes their chances for success.