School district math plan doesn’t add up

Print Article

I am a concerned parent who recently served on the Coeur díAlene School Districtís Ad Hoc Math Committee. My Idaho roots, background teaching in Minnesota, and a strong desire to better education for local children, led me to join the committee, which was primarily made up of school district employees and a few community members. The purpose of the committee was to make a recommendation to the school board about ways to address failing high school standardized math scores. At the last meeting on Feb. 22, the committee voted on a plan to be presented to the board on Monday, March 5.

The district is pursuing a plan it has created in which students will take Math 1, 2 and 3 instead of the traditional Algebra, Geometry and Algebra II classes. They are calling this an integrated path. Integrated math programs are used throughout the country, but I have never heard of a school district using traditional books to come up with its own plan and then labeling it ďintegrated.Ē

Here are the major problems I have with the districtís plan and some of the reasons I am urging the board to vote against it.

First, the district invented this approach instead of utilizing a research-based curriculum or plan. Since district employees wrote this plan, there is no evidence to support it. Integrated math has been researched. The plan Coeur díAlene has come up with on its own has not been researched.

Second, Coeur díAlene High School is already running what it calls a ďpilotĒ of this program with its freshman class. Hundreds of students are being experimented on without board approval. As a committee member, I asked for results from the pilot. I still have not seen any. The district wants the boardís go-ahead to expand a program that doesnít have any data to back it or to prove its success.

Third, the plan is designed to teach to the test. It was written around the frequency of math concepts as they appear on the SAT. Instead of focusing on giving kids a solid foundation in problem solving through math, the focus is on what is currently tested on the SAT.

Finally, and most concerning, is how quickly the district is trying to push this through before our new superintendent assumes his position in a few months. It was the expressed intent of those leading the committee to get this passed before new leadership arrives.

The board needs to take a hard look at the districtís approach to math, but gambling with our kids is no way to turn failure into excellence.

Katrina Zepeda has a Master of Arts in Teaching and lives in Coeur díAlene.

Print Article

Read More My Turn

Opinion - Carlson: To merge or not? Thatís the question

June 20, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Donít look now but a huge fly just landed in the middle of the mud that has dogged Avista Utilitiesí proposed sale to the Canadian-owned and operated HydroOne headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. The ...

Comments

Read More

50: Yes, itís a big deal

June 16, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press So whatís up with the number 50? Have you ever contemplated that question? Am I the only person quirky enough to consider this? It is sort of a cool number. Did you know that 50 is the sum of three...

Comments

Read More

When police cross the line

June 15, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press When I was a little girl, I can remember my kindergarten teacher telling us that if we were ever lost or afraid to ďgo find a police officer and they will help you.Ē Indeed, I taught my children the ...

Comments

Read More

Call for better markets before fire season hits

June 13, 2018 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Before another wildfire season heats up, I hope Senators Risch and Crapo, and Representatives Simpson and Labrador, donít miss an opportunity in the Farm Bill to address some of the challenges forest...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2018 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X