Below is a collection of items on Everyday Math: evaluations,
commentary, local experiences and news items, put together by a
concerned Texas parent.
- Elizabeth
*********************************************************************
"EVERYDAY MATH"/CHICAGO MATH
When schools are considering implementing a new math
program, they may receive a largely one-sided presentation from the
publisher which describes only "success stories." It is important
for school administrators, teachers and parents to understand that
there may be concerns about a program as well. This document
collects some of the concerns which have been expressed
about "Everyday Math."
EVALUATIONS OF "EVERYDAY MATH"
2nd grade -- Dr. Wayne Bishop, Professor of Mathematics, California
State University, Los Angles, prepared for the Core Knowledge
Foundation, May 1997 see
http://mathematicallycorrect.com/bishop4.htm
2nd grade Paul Clopton, Erica McKeown, Michael McKeown & Jamie
Clopton, prepared for Education Connection of Texas, 1999 see
http://mathematicallycorrect.com/books/htm
3rd grade Dr. David Klein, Professor of Mathematics, California
State University, Northridge, July 5, 1999 see
http://mathematicallycorrect.com/everyday.htm
3rd grade The Mel Gablers, Educational Research Analysts,
Longview, Texas, "3rd Grade Math Texts Submitted for 1999 Texas
Adoption," (Everyday Math rated "worst") see
www.textbookreviews.org
4th grade Dr. Wayne Bishop; see above
5th grade Dr. David Klein; see above
5th grade Clopton, McKeown, McKeown & Clopton; see above
David J. Hoff, "Reading Mastery is New Requisite for Solving Math,"
Education Week, 5-5-2001; access via
http://www.edweek.org/ew/ew_printstory.cfm?slug=14mathread.h21
STATE OF CALIFORNIA
"
there was a consensus among the State Board appointed evaluators
textbooks that EM 4-6 was so bad that statewide adoption for those
grades was out of the question. However, some people argued that
the K-3 program might be barely good enough for California schools.
The California Curriculum Commission and the California State Board
of Education eventually decided against adoption of Everyday Math at
any grade level in this latest adoption. Everyday Math K-6 has now
been twice rejected by the State of California, once in 1999, and
again in 2001. One of the reasons EM was rejected was that it would
not prepare students sufficiently well to learn algebra in grades 8
or 9." (Dr. David Klein, mathematics professor @ California State
University, in an e-mail to Concerned Parents of Bucks Co., Penn.,
2001).
"Bill Evers a Hoover Institute research fellow who served on the
California Standards Commission and sits on a panel that devises
math questions for the standards test taken by students every
spring said he receives at least one e-mail a week from parents
complaining about Everyday Math." ("Math Divides Folks in Rocklin,"
Sacramento Bee, 2-5-2002).
Professor Hung-His-Wu, Professor Mathematics at UC-Berkeley stated
that while he was not an expert on Everyday Math, he happened to
have dealt with it as a consequence of California's book adoption.
While he feels there is merit to the "mathematical reasoning" aspect
of the EM program, "Starting with Grade 3, and increasingly more
towards grade 6, the outright contempt of EM for standard algorithms
of addition, multiplication, etc. will handicap the learning of
mathematics in later grades. Proficiency in skills is an
indispensable component of mathematical knowledge. If a teacher is
truly mathematically knowledgeable (and of course this is a very
big "if"), he or she would be able to teach students how to think
abstractly using EM. One can argue that with the average students,
who have a shaky command of the basics, all the abstract reasoning
won't amount to much. Moreover, given that most elementary school
teachers won't be able to cope with the mathematical demands of EM,
bad learning would ensue." (e-mail to Concerned Parents of Central
Bucks Co., Penn., 2001).
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
"The elementary school teachers of San Antonio voted overwhelmingly
to drop EM because it didn't work for them nearly as well as what it
had replaced." (Web posting by Dr. Wayne Bishop of California State
University on Math Forum, 3-19-2001; http://www.math
forum.org/epig
/5.0.2.1.2.2001031913145.08d2e620@exchange.calstatela.
ed)
"San Antonio ISD dropped EM after several years and in spite of
rising test scores. Why were the scores rising? Because most
schools and individual teachers were learning to leave EM on the
shelf and do their own thing with whatever materials they could
scrounge while EM took the credit." (Web posting by Dr. Wayne
Bishop on Math Forum, 11-8-2001;
http://www.mathforum.org/epi
/5.1.0.14.20011108171602.033c9ec0@exchan
ge.calstatela.ed)
READING, MASS.
"Reading's math performance was in the 80 percentiles in the years
1993-1995. A downward trend appears in 1996 and 1997. The first
students utilizing the "Chicago Math" program were tested in 1997
with the Stanford 9. This downward trend continues in the Chicago
Math program with computational skills dipping to 67% in 1997 and
Total Math dropping to 73%. The same group of 1997 students were re-
tested in 1998 and the data shows a continuing drop in computational
skills." (Dr. Robert Mandell, Concerned Parents of Reading, 2-13-
2000 @ http://mathematicallycorrect.com/cpr.htm).
"Our parent group was interested in one outcome only, the effective
use of a program that stresses both concepts and computational
skills. It was our experience that your program [EM] as used in the
Reading Schools did not give the computational skill work
There
are over 100 Reading students being tutored in math at a nearby
learning center
" (e-mail by Dr. R. L. Mandell to Everyday Math, 11-
20-2000).
"In reality, the school administrators overruled the elementary math
selection committee who preferred another more traditional program.
An anonymous teacher survey revealed that 84% of our teachers had
reservations concerning the program. Ask for a copy of the survey
from our Administration and read for yourself the 87 surveys
Please note that our group only asked for computational skills to be
supplemented
" (e-mail by Dr. R. L. Mandell, 2002)
See web site of Concerned Parents of Reading
@http://members.aol.com/rlmandell/CPR/ start.html
* * *
"A battle over math that began in Reading five years ago still
simmers
Reading School Committee member John F. Russo, citing test
results and a belief that "computational skills should not be
sacrificed," wants a review of the math program." ("Old School
Arithmetic Returns to Classroom," Boston Globe, 4-7-2002 & web
posting on Math Forum by Dr. Wayne Bishop, 4-7-2002; access via
http://www.mathforum.org/epi
/5.1.0.14.2.
20020407083043.0392d0@exchange.calstatela.ed).
FLORIDA
Florida Dept. of Education, Math Textbook Adoption Committee, 1997-
1998 Rankings of "Everyday Math" program out of 13 programs
evaluated:
Broward Co.: EM ranked 9 out of 13
Clay Co.: 10 out of 13
Dade Co.: 10
Duval Co.: 10
Gadsen Co.: 3
Hamilton Co.: 10
Okaloosa Co.: 8
Pinellas Co.: 5
Polk Co.: 12
St. John Co.: 4
FSU: 11
FCTM: 10
Broward Co. Comments on weaknesses of EM:
Limited use of tables, charts and illustrations
Performance tasks not authentic
Did not see any linkage to other curriculum areas
Would like to see fractions presented earlier in the 4th
grade
There may be parental sensitivity to the use of playing cards
Limited or nonexistence of potential of racial & cultural
diversity
Did not line the use of * rather than x for multiplication
symbol in grade 4
See http://www.browardgifted.org/resources/mathadoption.htm
BROWARD CO., FLA.
"Unconventional Math Book Divides Educators," Miami Herald, 1-13-
2002; http://cgi.
Herald.com/cgi-bin/rc_emailfriend.cgi?
mode=print&doc=http://www.Miami.com.he..)
"Till Fears Math Text a Poor Fit," Miami Herald, 1-21-2002; same
access
* * *
"The controversial elementary textbook Everyday Mathematics has
gotten a thumbs down from Broward Schools Superintendent Frank
Till. Till told principals
that the book was not suitable as a
primary text for gifted students
"I think it could still be used
as a supplement," said Till, a former math teacher, "but I don't
think it should be used as a basic text. "Paula Niedorf, a co-
chairman of the gifted advisory committee
has vigorously fought
the book [EM] for more than a year
The school district's own
textbook adoption committee ranked it [EM] ninth out of 13 books in
1997-1998." ("School Chief: Unconventional Math Book Is Not
Suitable," Miami Herald, 2-8-2002; same access).
"Dr. Till has reviewed Everyday Math due to the concerns
His
background is in math and he began looking at the program and call
[ing] friends around the country who[m] he highly respects in
curriculum
Looking at it from a math point of view, he realized
that there are teachers who can teach EM very well. His friends
liked EM, but they said it's like whole language, not every teacher
can pull all the necessary concepts out of EM
he had drawn the
same conclusions as well. Not every teacher would be able to teach
EM well. This does not reflect whether a teacher was a "good"
teacher, but that it did not reflect their teaching style. He can
see where parents would complain that they were unable to help
children with their homework because of the set-up of the book."
(Minutes of the Broward County Gifted Advisory Board, 2-5-2002 @
http://www. browardgifted. org/ minutearchives/Feb2002.htm
"Last year the only core text recommended for gifted elementary math
was a program called Everyday Math. Due to documented concerns
about Everyday Math from the Math Subcommittee of Gifted Advisory,
this year schools may choose from any of the district-approved
programs
" (Gifted Advisory Committee of Broward County Schools
News @ http://www.browardgifted.org.news.html).
PITTSBURGH
"EM has been implemented district-wide since the 1993-1994 school
year
Results from the 5th and 8th-grade level PSSAs show that only
37% of district 5th-grade students and a meager 28% of its 8th-grade
students could demonstrate math proficiency at these grade levels
last year
It's clear that the math programs in the Pittsburgh
Public Schools have woefully failed to prepare many of its children
in mathematics for years
Although the board majority has raised
this issue, the district's administrators refuse to address it.
They continue to rely on a large-scale experiment called Everyday
Math." ("By The Numbers," by Adele Hlasnik, Parent Key Communicator
to Supt. John Thompson, in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 6-2-2002;
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/trubine-review/
opinion/s_74236.html).
FAYETTE CO., GA.
"Mom of 3 Leads a Math Revolt," Fayette Citizen, 6-24-1998; http://
www.thecitizennews. com/main/archive-980624/news/fp07.html
"The recent stream of letters from parents regarding the concern
about Everyday Math has made me realize that I may have some useful
things to say although I am a grandparent, rather than a parent, of
several Fayette County pupils. I am a retired Ph.D physicist
My
(almost daily) observations tell me that, except for students for
whom math comes easily, it [EM] is worse than a failure; it
frustrates and angers children for whom it does not "click.""
("Physicist: Everyday Math Frustrates, Angers Many Kids," Fayette
Citizen, 6-10-1998; access via
http://www.k12.vt.us/fis/school.wide/99-00/everyday/ concerned.htm).
"Math Parents Shouldn't Be Considered Curriculum Censors, Enemies of
Teachers," Fayette Citizen, 7-1-1998; access via
www.thecitizennews.com/main/archive
"Textbook Case: Good Student Falls Behind With Chicago Math,"
Fayette Co. Citizen, 8-26-1998;
http://www.thecitizennews.com/main/archive-980826/opinion/op-ltr-
09.html
"One of [parent Amy] Riley's concerns with Chicago math is the lack
of consistency in the way it is taught. She claims some classrooms
are heavily supplemented for basics and computation while others are
hardly supplemented at all. Linda Sutton, a parent who sits on the
math task force committee, supported Riley's claims
"When my child
was in 6th grade transition math, my husband spent two to three
hours a night with him, just working on math. They are real
issues," she added, referring to Riley's claims. "There are
children who are losing out."" ("Chicago Math = Pluses, Minuses,"
Fayette Co. Citizen, 9-23-98;
http://www.thecitizennews.com/main/archive-980923/news/fp-01.shtml).
"Many Kids Can't Handle "Teach Yourself" Programs Under Chicago
Math," Fayette Co. Citizen, 9-23-1998;
http://www.thecitizennews.com/main/archive-980923/opinion/op-ltr-
06.shtml
"No Need to Circle the Wagons on Math," Fayette Citizen, 9-30-1998;
http://www.thecitizensnews.com/main/archive-980903/opinion/op-ltr-
02.shtml
"Math Task Force Comes Up With Plans," Fayette Co. Citizen, 2-17-
1999; http://www. Thecitizennews.com/main/archive-990217/opinion/op-
ltr-06.shtml
"Time to Get Involved in Textbook Selection," Fayette Co. Citizen,
12-13-2000; http://www. The citizennews.com/main/archive-
001213/opinion/op-02.html
"The "New-New Math Has Arrived," Jackson Herald, 9-5-2001 (reports
that Fayette Co., Ga. dropped EM in 2001). See
http://www.mainstreetnews.com/Arch/01/0905/ JackOpinion.html
OMAHA, NEB.
"Fran Carr, Westside's director of elementary education, said
teachers use alternative methods, such as flashcards and drills, to
help students who aren't making progress with the regular
curriculum. Westside parent Eadie Tsabari is one who thinks the
program doesn't teach basics well enough. "Doggone it, you ought to
know what 7 times 3 is," said Tsabari, the mother of a 5th-grader.
Tsabari bought flashcards to help her daughter master math facts and
her husband provides extra help. Other parents, she said, are
sending their children to after-school math tutoring programs that
emphasize drills to build computational skills. "I question why so
many people have had to go for extra help after school," she said.
("Westside District Defends "Everyday" Approach," Omaha World-
Herald, 3-3-2002; http://www.omaha.com/story_printer.php?
u_sid=328864&u_brow=
Internet+Explorer&u_ver=5).
""["Everyday Math"] is a drastic change from what everyone is used
to seeing," said Jim Harrington, math supervisor in the Omaha Public
Schools, which reviewed the program but chose another." (Same
article as above).
STONEHAM, MASS.
"As far as the nation-wide Iowa testing system is concerned,
Stoneham students in grades 3, 5 and 7 are at the 35 percentile when
it comes to math computation, announced Michael Kennedy, program
supervisor of mathematics
" ("Calculators Add Up Trouble,"
Stoneham Sun, 11-3-1999).
"In Stoneham, Michael Kennedy, program supervisor for math in
grades 6-12, said they're replacing the more exploratory University
of Chicago math program with "more of a meat and potatoes, more
drill and practice" texts. ("Old Arithmetic Returns to Classroom,"
Boston Globe, April 7, 2002).
ROCKLIN, CALIF.
Rocklin has been listed as a "success story" by EM. However, the
School Board voted to discontinue EM in February 2002. ("Math
Divides Folks in Rocklin," Sacramento Bee, 2-5-2002;
http://www.sacbee.com/content/news/story/1584075p-1660349c.html).
PRINCETON, N.J.
"It was the introduction of EM into Princeton (Regional) School
District which led to the parental revolt in Princeton. This led to
the involvement of a number of faculty members in both mathematics
and physics at Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced
Study in Princeton in trying to reform mathematics teaching in the
district
" (Testimony of Dr. James Milgram of Stanford University
to a United States congressional committee, 4-2-2000;
http://www.princeton.edu/pr/news/00/c/0209.htm).
CHATANOOGA (HAMILTON CO.), TENN.
"Julianne Dyer, a 15-year tutor, said her private school students
are floundering with everyday math. "If this method is put in, it
will be terrible for the students
It's harmful to them,
confusing. The parents, most of them, will not be able to help them
with it." Mrs. Dyar said the method ignores math basics, which are
what the students are struggling with. Parents will be at a loss to
help students, because the everyday math is so different from what
the parents have learned, she said." ("Everyday Math Text Kindles
Debate," Chattanooga Times & Free Press, 5-9-1999;
http://www.timesfreepress.com/1999/may/
09may99/mathgradesdebated.html).
"School officials acknowledge that new "Everyday Math" has proven a
difficult adjustment for some teachers and parents
Parents also
voiced some concern over the county's new math textbooks. They said
a lack of instructions and example problems have made it difficult
for them to help their children with homework. "I'm a college
graduate and I still don't know what to tell my child," said one
frustrated parent." ("Mountain Oaks Fate in Limbo," Times & Free
Press, 11-6-1999; http://www.timesfreepress.com/1999/nov/
06nov99/news1006nov,html).
"Dr. Eugene Schlereth, a math professor at the University of
Tennessee at Chattanooga and father of a Thrasher Elementary 6th-
grader, said the curriculum neglects teaching basics. Many people
can't help their children with the complicated new calculating
methods, he said
Mr. Schlereth said the new curriculum does not
stress basics such as memorizing multiplication tables, and it
doesn't set a sound foundation for algebra and calculus." ("Debate
on New Math Divides Teachers," Times & Free Press, 12-9-1999).
"Kim Sheperd, whose first-grade son, Jake, attends Wallace A. Smith
Elementary, said, "If this goes on, we're just going to spend hours
and hours every night doing math homework, and that's not including
the other subjects."" (Same article as above).
"Dr. Albert Piatt, who recently announced he would retire his
teaching post at Brown Middle School because of the new math, said
the math curriculum is dangerous to young minds. He said that
Every/Connected Math has been shown to work well, but only with
students who already had the basic skills to handle math that
stresses that students "discover" the match concepts themselves.
Dr. Piatt said his students are at a 48% to 52% failure rate after
nine months with the new math. "Last year, I had knocked my failure
rate down to 15%," he said." ("Math Protest Meet Draws 50,
Response," Times & Free Press, 5-5-2000;
http://www.timesfreepress.com/2000/MAY/05MAY00/NEWS1205 MAY. html).
"There is a widespread lack of confidence among teachers in several
aspects of the Hamilton County Schools' math curriculum that was
adopted last year, according to recently released survey results.
In one survey, given to elementary school teachers by Hamilton
County Education Association, 67% of the respondents said they do
not feel the Everyday/Connected Math program prepares students for
standardized tests. 72% of respondents said the new math program
was inappropriately implemented, while about half said teachers have
inadequate training in the curriculum
Another 74% said they are
frustrated because parents don't understand the new program and
can't help their children at home or support teachers' efforts. The
Boaard polled both elementary and middle school math teachers
"
("Teacher Survey Exposes Frustration With New Math," Times & Free
Press, 11-25-2000; http://www.timesfreepress.com/2000/nov/25nov00/
surveys.html).
"The 2000 math scores dropped slightly from the year before, but
Hamilton County Superintendent Jesse Register said such drops are
customary in the first year of a curriculum change
" ("Schools
Seek More Modern Strategies," Times & Free Press, 2-5-2001;
http://www.timesfreepress.com/2001/feb/05feb01/webcurriculuma1.html).
"Hamilton County's ranking for math improved in grades 4, 5, 6 and 7
most math scores were above the national average
Despite some
gains, Hamilton County pupils scored lower on the standardized
math tests than students in surrounding counties and across the
state. They fared better than those in comparable metro areas such
as Davidson County and Memphis city schools." ("County Pupils'
Math Grades Up," Times & Free Press, 7-21-2001;
http://www.timesfreepress.com/2001/jul/21jul01/webtcap.html).
"While scores in
math
are rising for local students in grades 3-
8, all are in the neighborhood of 50%, a little lower than the
national average and schools throughout the nation are not doing
well. The national average is low." ("Cheer School Progress, While
," Times & Free Press, 6-27-2002;
http://www.timesfreepress.com/2002/jun/27jun02/
fplcheersschoolprogress.html).
"the bad news is that the national average is not impressive, with
the state average slightly higher than the national average, and
Hamilton County's scores are lower than the state average." ("Good
and Bad Test-Score News," Times & Free Press, 6-27-2002;
http://www.timesfreepress.com/2002/jul/27jul02/fpedit1.html).
KINGSPORT, TENN.
"Myself and two colleagues are now elected school board members
because our district had "Everyday Math" for 6 years; that's also
part of the reason we are getting ready to hire a new
superintendent. It took 4 years, but the community was finally
outraged. Parents got no straight answers
Students who have an
engineering bent and who already know the multiplication tables will
do ok with EM; most others will fail miserably." ("David Coffey:
Everyday Mathematics, Fad or the Future," Oak Ridger Online, 4-6-
2001;
http://www.oakridger.com/ns~search/stories/040601/op
/aaaa007659a013f
&NS-doc-offset=2)
FAIRFAX CO., VA.
"How Math is Taught Has Fairfax Squabbling," Washington Post, 5-14-
2001; http://www. Washingtonp
/wp-dyn?
pagename=article&node=&contented=A22841-2001May1
"Board Deadlocks on Fairfax Math Texts," Washington Post, 12-8-2001;
access via Washington Post web archives)
* * *
"I hold a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and did graduate work
in structural engineering, both at the University of Pittsburgh. My
children were introduced to EM at a private Episcopal school in
Maryland
Addition and subtraction facts were not emphasized
properly. Fractions in the 5th grade were glossed over. I spent
summers with the oldest (who had the program for six years) doing
remedial work and trying to make the basics of math more automatic
so that she would be successful with algebra
Some children will
appear to do well with the program either because they have mothers
like me or because their parents send them to Kumon or Score
although the children at Kumon and Score would much rather be
enjoying their brief childhood." (e-mail from Karen Jones-Budd,
parent)
CHICAGO
"Math-Education Techniques Has Divided Parents," Chicago Sun-Times,
8-16-1998
MUNDELEIN ELEMENTARY DISTRICT 75 (Chicago area)
"After using the EM program for five years, Mundelein Elementary
District 75 has decided not to use it once school starts this
fall .. Forty-five teachers voted in favor of using Houghton-
Mifflin, while only four voted for EM. "I personally feel EM is a
good program. It really stretches the kids," said {Susan] Herington
[a teacher & member of the math review team]." "But it's
scattered. There's not a good sequence for (learning) skills."
Herington said the EM program also fails to stress computation.
While she feels the program does a good job introducing students to
algebra and geometry, it can be difficult to teach. Teachers often
had to supplement the program. Herington said a few teachers
were "closet" teachers, placing the EM program on the shelf and
teaching math in other ways." ("District 75 Drops Everyday Math,"
Libertyville Review, 7-13-2000; http://
archives.pioneerlocal.com/cgi-bin/ppo-story/archives/localnews/2
/07-
13-00-28932.htm).
"While some teachers liked the program, others found the program to
be time-consuming
[Another curriculum] stresses aspects which EM
lacked, including computation
The EM program used homework
assignments called "homelinks"
However, some parents found the
assignments to be confusing and difficult." (Mundelein Review, 9-21-
2000).
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, ILL. (Chicago area)
"In a recent study of the [EM] program done by a consultant, nearly
30% of parents of 3rd, 4th and 5th-grades said they were concerned
their children were not learning basic computational skills such as
multiplication and division tables." ("District 54 Board to Review
Six New Math Curriculums," Elk Grove Times, 1-7-1999).
"EM is still controversial among parents. In particular, parents
have objected to the nontraditional teaching methods and the use of
calculators in the classroom." (Arlington Heights Post, April 22,
1999, posted @ http://www.illinoisloop.org/chimath/html).
DISTRICT 109 (Chicago area)
School math committee voted to drop EM in fall 2001. "District 109
officials found that the Everyday Math spiral was steep. "One of
our biggest concerns was that spiral," [Ina] Kerrigan [assistant
superintendent for curriculum and instruction] said." ("Committee
Proposes New Math Program, Deerfield Review, 5-10-2001).
BARRINGTON, ILL. UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT 220 (Chicago area)
"Barrington Unit School District 220 took some heat from parents and
teachers last year, who felt the EM program didn't spend enough time
on basic computational skills." ("New Math Designed to Make Kids
Competitive," Elk Grove Times, 1-14-1999; http://archives.
Pioneerlocal.com/cgi-bin/ppo-story/archives/localnews/1
/01-14-99-
25322.htm).
According to Jennifer Hay, staff development/mathematics
coordinator: "One of the things that the teachers like about
Addison-Wesley is it covers computation very well. That's one of
the drawbacks to the University of Chicago program." (from Pioneer
Press, posted @ http://www.illinoisloop.org/chimath.html).
HINSDALE, ILL. DISTRICT 181 (Chicago area)
"My kids go to Illinois District 181 and they use EM from K-5 and
UCSMP Transition Math from 6-8
more than 40% of parents pay tutors
up to $50/hour to teach their kids properly." (Letter from parent
posted @ http.//www.illinoisloop.org/chimath.html).
CHEROKEE SCHOOL, ILLINOIS (Chicago area)
"Since the UCMP emphasizes higher level thinking skills, it has
become clear that children's computational skills have suffered.
The district plans to provide additional help to children in grades
2-4 through after-school math clubs for remedial work, and
recommendations of computer programs and other resources. Dr.
Griffith stated that reinforcement of "math facts" by parents or
other programs (i.e., Kumon, SCORE, tutoring) would be extremely
helpful." (Minutes of the Cherokee APT Meeting, 2-21-2001;
http://www.lfelem.lfc.edu/schools/apt/chaptmin2-2l.html)
ST. CHARLES, ILL. DISTRICT 303 (Chicago area)
Parent group opposed EM. See web-site @
http://members.aol.com/edu4kids/
School board voted to stop using EM in 2-2000. (reported at
http://www.illinoisloop.org/chimath.html).
BATAVIA, ILL. (Chicago area)
"Fuzzy Grades for Fuzzy Math," by Terry Todd (parent), 10-26-2000
http://www.bataviaschoolswatchdog.org/fuzzy.html
Letter from Janet Carpenter (parent), 8-25-2001
http://www.bataviaschoolswatchdog.org/archives/msg00353.html
And see http.//www.illinoisloop.org/chimsth.html
ELMHURST, ILL. DISTRICT 205 (Chicago area)
"If Math Were a Color
," by Marcia Tsicouris (parent), in Elmhurst
Press, 1-14-2000 http://www.illinoisloop.org/ifmathwereacolor.html
GRAYSLAKE DISTRICT 46 (Chicago area)
Parent opposition to EM. ("Critical of Everyday Math," The News-
Sun, 3-1-2002).
GOWER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT 62, BURR RIDGE (Chicago area)
School dropped EM after two years. "When teachers started to review
the materials from EM, they felt [another text] provided more
practice and drill." ("District 204 Launches New Math Text, Sun
Publications, 3-8-2002).
CHICAGO "FIRST IN THE WORLD CONSORTIUM"
"[Advocates of EM] point to success stories like the First in the
World Consortium, a group of suburban Chicago school districts that
outscored the rest of the nation and most other nations in the 3rd
International Math & Science Study (TIMMS) this year
But the
consortium's president, Paul Kimmelman, cautioned districts against
putting too much stock in Everyday Math or any one program. It's
good, he said, but it's not the reason the test scores soared. The
quality of teachers is far more important. "Most of the teachers in
our district are certificated in their area and majored in it," he
said. "The most important component is the teachers." With
national shortages of teachers certified in science and high-level
math, other districts may have trouble duplicating his district's
success. Kimmelman said. EM also requires extensive staff
development. His district failed to do that at first and paid for
it. It had to hire private consultants to work along with teachers
for two years. It also modified the program to focus more on basic
computation skills." ("Plan to Revamp Elementary Math Study Divides
Ken-Ton," Buffalo News, 5-31-1998; access via
http://nl3.newsbank.com/nl~search/we/Archives?_action=doc&p_docid=
0EAF9AEBCA8
)
* * *
"It's the "First in the World Consortium" schools that use EM, north
and northwest suburban schools that were academically first-rate
when I taught high school in the area too many decades ago.
Compensation for EM's shortcomings in these schools (Sylvan
Learning, Kumon, home Saxon and the like) is rampant." (web posting
by Wayne Bishop on Math Forum, 11-8-2001).
BUFFALO, NY
"EM will keep me in business forever," said Dawn Douds, Kumon's
director [in Buffalo]. "It's a very good program, for what it is.
But computation seems to be the one skill it's lacking. Mrs. Douds
said the number of her students from Williamsville schools increased
after EM was instituted this year. That is also true of students
from Ken-Ton
EM supporters say the program blends both critical
thinking and the basics. But that is not what Mrs. Douds has seen.
Her EM students have trouble with the basics, like addition,
subtraction and multiplication. "I can't tell you how often I've
heard parents say, `I kept waiting for it to click. The teachers
said it was supposed to click. And then it didn't,'"she said."
("Everyday Math a Boon to Some Tutors," Buffalo News, 6-7-1998;
access via Buffalo News archives;
http://nl3newsbank.com/nl~search/we/Archives).
"The debate surfaced in Ken-Ton in early May when a handful of
teachers asked the School Board to reject a proposal by the
Elementary Math Curriculum Committee to expand EM to all elementary
schools
"EM is not in the majority" of programs favored by Ken-Ton
teachers, one teacher told the board in a meeting that drew
impassioned pleas both pro and con." ("Plan to Revamp Elementary
Math Divides Ken-Ton," Buffalo News, 5-31-1998;
http://n13.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=
OEAF9AEF835
).
"A proposal to put the program in all elementary schools caused a
huge flap in the district. Some teachers raved about it; others
said it failed to give children the basics, like adding, subtracting
and multiplication. Parents also seemed torn, with some saying
their children loved the new style, and others saying their children
were baffled and frustrated." ("Ken-Ton Board Votes to Widen Use of
Everyday Math," Buffalo News, 6-9-1998; same access).
"David Hughes, a parent, lambasted the [EM] method as failing to
teach pupils basic tasks such as multiplication and
division. "There are hundreds of parents in this district teaching
children math because this program doesn't teach them math," he
said." ("Williamsville to Expand Everyday Math," Buffalo News, 1-14-
1999; same access).
"I believe buying into EM will prove to be a big mistake," warned
Richard Escobales, a Canisius College math professor. He said some
of the program's features are positive, but that it does not
sufficiently drill students on basics. The treatment of long
division is "downright awful," he said. Like other critics of the
new-style math, Escobales also blasted the use of calculators at a
young age, saying it will lead to "calculator-assisted mathematical
incompetence." ("Ken-Ton Board Votes to Widen Use of EM," Buffalo
News, Buffalo News, 6-9-1998; same access).
"What has happened to the Kenmore School System? Our children are
being swarmed with information because years ago the system bought
into a new method teaching whole language and everyday math
The
main concern for teachers right now is to get through the
curriculum. They do not have the time to be an educator
Whole
language and everyday math left holes in the educational process
that our teachers do not have the time to fill. Our children are
terrible spellers and do not know the concepts behind the formulae
in math
What is the district's proactive plan? Currently, it is
to give struggling children extra homework. Is this fair? Is it
fair to expect the children of these parents to seek private
tutors? Some teachers suggest testing the child for a learning
disability. For a child who has a learning disability, this is an
excellent solution. But when the problem is due to negligence on
the part of the schools for failing to cover the necessary
groundwork, how can we blame it on a learning disability?" (Renea
J. Laduca, Kenmore parent, "Sink-or-Swim Attitude Could Be
Disastrous," Buffalo News, 1-7-2000; http://nl3.newsbank.com/nl-
search/we/Archives?p_action=doc&p_docid=OEAF9C6134CF
).
"Trustee Richard Foley, who thinks the program {EM] has as many foes
as it has supporters, again asked that second curriculum be piloted
[Trustee Deborah] Simme
added that she saw as many negative
comments [from teachers] as positive ones." ("Board Adopts New
Program to Teach Math," Buffalo News, 2-29-2000;
http://nl12.newsbank.com /nl-search/we/Archives?
p_action=doc&p_docid=OEAF9C73E74
).
"How effective EM has been is hard to determine. Most schools in
Erie County, like those in the rest of the state, posted lower math
scores in last year's 4th-grade math assessments
Richard Foley, a
member of the Lancaster School Board, is less certain. He says the
best-scoring elementary school in his district in 2000 John A.
Sciole was not using EM at that point. "As far as I'm concerned,
the jury is still out on Everyday Math," he said." ("A Generation
Gap Over Everyday Math," Buffalo News, 1-28-2001; same access).
NYC DISTRICT 11 PS 153
"this week, a group of parents in NYC school district 11 signed a
petition demanding the replacement of Everyday Math and an end to
the need to tutor their children outside of school to make up for
the program's deficiencies." (Elizabeth Carson, posted on
MathForum, 1-15-2002; http://www.mathforum.org/epigone/math-
teac
/000201c
19e49$e5fc4140$7f741d18@nyc.rr.co).
"Mary Heath runs a youth group next to the school located on
Baychester Avenue. It offers a free after-school study program for
children in the local community
"It's sad that there pushing this
on our kids," said Heath. "The children that come to our program
are not functioning or learning anything from this new curriculum.
They don't understand its concepts and they get extremely frustrated
with it. I have had children come to me for help crying."
("District Calls on Book Salesmen to Defend "Fuzzy Math" to
Parents," Riverdale Review, 1-31/2-6-2002;
http://www.riverdalereview.com/1-31-02 news.html)
"Among the critics [of the constructivist math programs] is Prof.
Stanley Ocken, Professor of Mathematics at City College. It is the
mathematics teachers at the colleges who are most upset
It is
their contention that the programs, which downplay actual
calculation, preclude many gifted math students from moving ahead to
advanced algebra, calculus and Advanced Placement courses in math,
physics and other math-dependent disciplines." (Same article,
Riverdale Review, 1-31/2-6-2002).
KALAMAZOO, MICH.
Kalamazoo has been listed as a "success story" by EM.
"'My primary source was quite reluctant to "go public," being within
the system and given the local political tilt toward EM, in part
because of the big bucks that the NSF [National Science Foundation]
has used to support Core Plus (same publisher) that originated and
is centered there at Western Michigan University. Incidentally,
that source was not part of the Saxon pilots, but is an experienced
teacher within the district and well aware of the scuttlebutt around
the district, but some of her information would be hearsay. She is,
however, appalled at how much worse-prepared the students are that
she now gets versus the pre-EM years. Only a couple come in working
at grade-level so much of her year is spent making up for missing
standard mathematics preparation." (Dr. Wayne Bishop, "EM in
Kalamazoo and Texas," posted on MathForum, 5-23-2001;
http://mathforum.com/
epigo
/5.1.0.14.2.20010523064604.03ad2b20@exchangecalstatela.ed).
PORTAGE, WISC.
Implementation story for EM reported @ ARC Center, Consortium for
Mathematics and its Applications, "Everyday Mathematics, Portage,
Wi;" http://www.comap.com/
elementary/projects/arc/stories/portage.htm
""We're really excited about it," said [the] principal of Portage
rural schools, about the new Everyday Math series introduced in
kindergarten through 8th grade this year." ("Hooray for New Math,"
Portage Daily Register, 9-24-1999; http://portage.scwn.com/archives/
index.inn?loc=detail&doc=/1999/Septem
/24-1191-newsl.tx).
"While students in the Portage School District are still scoring
above peers nationwide, they fell below the state average in
mathematics during the last school year
Portage performed 3-5%
below the state average in mathematics. Performance in the four
other test areas, however, exceeded state averages." ("Portage
Students Test Well Against Peers," Portage Daily Register, 6-29-
2001; http://portage.scwn.com/archives/index.inn?loc=
detail&doc=/2001/June29-1167-news2txt).
EDISON SCHOOLS
"Edison Schools Inc.
has published test results revealing that
elementary school math scores declined at an extraordinary number of
the company's schools from 2000 to 2001
Chicago Math, the program
used by Edison, has drawn criticism from activists who deride it
as "fuzzy math.
-- 2nd grade math scores declined at 5 of 23 schools (21.7%);
-- 3rd grade math scores declined at 12 of 28 schools
(42.8%);
-- 4th grade scores declined at 16 of 49 schools (32.6%);
-- 5th grade scores declined at 6 of 41 schools (14.6%);
-- 6th grade scores declined at 4 of 21 schools (19%)."
(Press release from "Parents Advocating School Accountability," San
Francisco, 11-7-2001, and web posting on Math Forum by Dr. Wayne
Bishop, 11-7-2001; http://www.mathforum.
Org/epi
/5.1.0.14.2.20011107200211.0315d1f0@exchange.calstatela.ed).
WICHITA, KANSAS
Dodge-Edison School has been listed as a "success story" by EM on
its website.
"At Dodge-Edison
math performance is below the average for
comparable schools and shows no progress since 1996." ("American
Federation of Teachers Study of Edison Schools Shows Mixed Results,"
AFT press release, 10-19-2000. See http://www.aft.org/
press/2000/101900.html).
COMPARISONS WITH ASIAN CURRICULA
It has been contended that "Lessons in the EM curriculum are similar
to Japanese lessons, focusing on student's mathematical solutions
and the examination of alternative strategies." (William Carroll,
UCSMP Elementary Component, "An Analysis of Everyday Mathematics in
Light of the Third International Mathematics and Science Study
[TIMMS]," May 1998.
Contra: "In the Japanese and Singaporean materials (and I have much
of each), presentation of the standard algorithms of arithmetic is
very explicit. This is not the case in EM, and by design. The
Japanese and Singaporean-oriented explorations are in the
application, not in basic mechanical competence. I see no evidence
of student-invented algorithms, let alone use of calculators to
replace them entirely as is standard fare in EM." (Dr. Wayne
Bishop, "EM in Kalamazoo and Texas," posted on MathForum, 5-23-2001;
http ://mathforum.com/epigo
/5.1.0.14.2.20010523064604.03ad2b20@excha
ngecalstatela.ed)