Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Disconnected Mathematics - Northshore School Board

This can be used in Seattle, Lake Washington and other districts
that use connected math. To my knowledge, both Seattle and Lake
Washington still use the first version where the kids spend an entire
month of measures of centrality, but aren't taught the standard
definition of mean, adding numbers up and dividing by how many numbers. This emphasizes just one of the many reasons students raised
on Fuzzy Math won't be ready for college when key concepts were
removed so that "all students including women and minorities" will
succeed. Interestingly, my 1965 math book called it least common
denominator in 6th grade, but Saxon doesn't call it that by name
either, it just tells you to use least common multiple for a
denominator, which is the same thing. Connected does include a
couple of problems that uses a least common multiple, but does not
include it in the main lesson.

While I'm here, I just saw the unit in Core Plus about all sorts
of wacky nontraditional voting models, taking class time to do a
vote on somebody's favorite brand name of something, and how the
New Hampshire primary works. A lot of content I'd expect to see
in social studies, not mathematics.


Disconnected Mathematics

You've had an earful about how awful Everyday Mathematics and Core Plus are.

But do a web search and you'll find nearly as many people angry about Connected Mathematics.

Is there anyone who does not know how to compute an average? The first version of CM we had in Lake Washington spent an entire statistics unit leading up to, but NOT telling you how to add the items and divide. Thank goodness, it's in the 2nd version.

I looked through Henry's 6th grade book on fractions. Is there anyone in the room who has never heard of the Lowest Common Denominator? Is there anyone who thinks you can take freshman calculus in college and not know how to find the lowest common denominator? Is there anyone who thinks you can take freshman literature and not know what the lowest common denominator is? Is there anyone here who thinks anybody would be stupid enough to adopt a textbook for middle grades that does NOT have the lowest common denominator?

Well guess what's NOT in Connected Math? LCD isn't even in the index. I sent an email to Elizabeth at the Connected Math Project, and asked where and when they cover LCD. She said that researchers who reviewed felt that LCD was not neccesary as long as some kind of common denominator is used. But for comparing fractions, they're supposed to cut a paper strip and fold it into 7ths or use 1/2 or 3/4 as benchmarks, which will NOT work in college, and they don't even use any kind of common denominator.

Guess what Saxon says about comparing and addiing fractions. Use the least common multiple to find the lowest common denomintor, add, subtract or compare, and then simplify. I challenge anybody to find this simple bit of information ANYWHERE in connected math.

Now Henry DID get supplemental worksheets from the teacher, but that's because we are misusing the curriculum. Seattle is rolling out Everyday Math with Fidelity of Implementation. Your math crew says all we have to do is supplement because no math book is perfect. But EM and CM say they are complete, and some federal contracts specify that you CAN NOT add additional material, especially if the textbook specifcally states it is NOT supposed to be used with additional materials.

It is a massive scam when our children are given math books for higher achievement in which the most important math is consistently missing because somebody figured that the bad old math is not suitable for girls or minorities.

We think all children should be givent the opportunity to learn real math. We need to get rid of EM, CM and Core Plus as soon as possible, and the first step is to recognize how awful and harmful these texts are.

Arthur Hu

Jan 8, 2008

3521 214th pl SE
bothell WA 98021

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