CSD # 2 PARENT QUESTIONS
AND COMMENTS

CUllED FROM PARENT SURVEY AND
COMMUNITY SCHOOL BOARD 2 TESTIMONY

2000-2001

K – 5 (school not identified)

Why is it that my son comes home with
no idea on how to go about solving the night’s math problem? I’ve also heard
the same from other parents.

Why is there not assigned intense
practice of any given topic?

Parents have no way of
gauging the child’s progress. We need a math glossary/ vocabulary and a set of
written strategies so parents can know the students are learning…The curriculum
seems very fragmented

May sound premature for a
fifth grader’s parent, but as the world gets “smaller” how does TERC fit in
with what other countries are using?

Some school’s tests
scores seem (unexpectedly) wildly different from some others that seem on the
same “level” – why?

I complained about the math programs to
my children’s teachers, principals and math staff developers. Some acknowledge
the shortcomings of TERC but say their hands are tied. What you are doing isn’t
working !!!

Why not give
parents a choice between the progressive program and a more traditional one.

I would like to know if grant money was
a major impetus behind the implementation of TERC and CMP

I would like to know if
District 2 will address the fact that prominent mathematicians and scientists
feel TERC and CMP are bad programs! These programs are at the very heart of the
“math wars” and were removed from both

Can you tell me how much time on
average do children require playing specifically which games before they can
reasonably be expected to master the ‘facts” of multiplication? How does this compare with the time
taken to gain mastery when taught by means of rote memorization?

At what stages in a child’s career is she , or he, expected to have acquired mastery of basic
skills?

Are the teachers responsible for
teaching basics – adding, subtracting, multiplication
and division facts? Or, are we as parents supposed to provide that for our
children?

I just want the teaching of algorithms
to be part of the curriculum. My daughter used to say she wanted to be a
mathematician when she grew up. She struggled on the NYS test because she
didn’t know the standard procedures. Now she thinks
she’s a failure at math. Last year, 50% of the students in the T & G
program didn’t make the District 2 cut-off for the SP middle school programs.
The directors of eight private schools told me kids from District 2 schools are
far behind in math.

I’ve been a math room volunteer for the
last eight years. Contrary to popular belief, kids enjoy working with numbers.
My heart breaks for the hundreds of kids who fall farther behind each year; the
kids who in the words of student teacher, “can explain anything to death, but
can’t get the right answer.” For the sake of our children, please let District
2 use math curricula that teach them math.

My daughter, a bright verbal child is
completely baffled by the abstract side of TERC. She doesn’t “get it” and has
had weekly private tutoring for a year. She needs rules and alternative ways to
do math. She needs memorization and rote learning. How does your method address
this kind of
child’ needs.

My son has been seeing a
tutor. He is an above average student, but it was never noticed by the school
that he was not understanding the process of TERC. All
children can not be expected to learn through one system. Hey, it doesn’t hurt
to do some memorization and traditional methods along the way.

Many parents are upset
and frustrated that TERC is the sole means of learning. It must be taught and
or supplemented by other methods. In particular CALCULATION LIKE THE REST OF
THE WORLD ! Take a look at national standards, private
schools, other public schools ! This is a huge and
troubling issue which needs immediate attention.

There seems to be
enormous disparities between the math curriculum as it
is delivered in different schools.

Math is a gut – it’s
kindergarten level. They do their math homework in less than 1 minute. Our
teacher says the lesson plans are set by the district and she has little
flexibility. Her solution was to suggest that the parents can tutor their child
in math fundamental at home. Please help a poor parent understand why this
policy is in place. When will out children learn the basics that they need to
function in high tech world. Why is math give such a low priority?

I have been concerned about my child’s
math for some time. He seems to be involved in activities that make no sense,
such as the estimation of simple addition problems. Why is he spending so much
time cutting out “measurement rods” of paper?..he
would loose them.. he never understood what function
was served by these little pieces of paper.

Our child seems very under-challenged
in math. The homework seems very simple. What can be done in 5^{th}
grade to keep them motivated and challenged.

My son’s math curriculum is very
confusing. He is not learning the basics and yet he is being taught concepts
which have no meaning without a sound foundation. The result is that he is
confused and demoralized. We have been forced to hire a math tutor to cover
just the basics, and after only a few lessons he is happy again with mat. He
tackles the tutor’s assignments with an eagerness I never see for his regular
school math homework. We are loosing the clarity of thought that is the hallmark of math
understanding.. I need not add that our children suffer for it, not the parents
and not the teachers.

Math, like music, is a
process that requires repeated practice , memorization
and deeper understanding. Just as it would make no sense to teach a child how
to play piano by just teaching music theory, it makes no sense to teach math
without utilizing some degree or repetition and practice.

TERC was not recommended
by the US DOE’s “Expert Panel for Mathematics.” (Textbooks are)among those qualities that the Panel and the NCTM identify as necessary in a
math curriculum: “A good mathematics textbook is almost always an essential
element in implementing the curriculum.” TERC has no textbook.

The NCTM advises there
should be an ongoing system of assessment, including regular written tests. AS
far as I know there is no such system in TERC If a student is absent or doesn’t
grasp the material, there is no way of recognizing the gaps in his/her
knowledge to address them.

The methods used
exclusively in TERC are so time-consuming and take so many steps…There should
be a balance between the use of standard algorithms and other strategies to
solutions.

At what point if ever will algorithms
be taught?

When are kids allowed to
use algorithms? How are they prepared for this (middle school)after
TERC math ?

Why does the policy
regarding teaching standard algorithms change year-to-year and from
class-to-class? A few years ago we were __absolutely__ discouraged from
teaching our children the standard procedures (we were told it would confuse
our children, and impede their progress). Now it appears some teachers are
saying they’re important to know. And if that is true, ie that standard
algorithms are important to know, why are parents responsible for teaching
them?

If we teach only the TERC
method our children won’t be prepared for Hunter, Lab, etc. We have seen
several kids (very bright) come from PS 234 requiring math tutoring to
understand middle school math.

Math is a language and
its ability to be understood is based on the algorithms the district seems to
de-emphasize. Shouldn’t this language be taught early and practice repeatedly?

My son is in first grade. My son enjoys
math but often feels that “it is too easy for him.”

What is the evidence that TERC plus the
teaching of standard
computational methods does not benefit students?

Why are noted mathematics
professors in the NYC area so against TERC ?

Why don’t the children have math
workbooks with instruction and some kind of guided examples? Our 5^{th}
grader explains that her teacher goes over the homework in class, but since
nothing is written by the teacher to refer to later, she frequently doesn't
remember. Take the mystery out of this curriculum

We have watched our daughter work on
problems, decide correctly which function to use and end up with the wrong
answer because she was trying to count out 4 X 5 (for example) instead of
knowing “by heart” the solution is 20.

TERC is appropriate for K-3 but
woefully insufficient without supplementation. From what we’ve observed CMP is
no better. We are leaving CSD #2 in large part because of extreme
dissatisfaction with the math curriculum.

Too many parents have pulled their
children out of public school in this district and moved them into other
districts or private school; or as in our case pay for private tutoring to
catch them up with basic skills they should get in elementary school. TERC
needs some work!

In TERC, algorithms and practice are
discouraged. As any good mathematician or math teacher knows, one first teaches
a concept, and once that’s understood, an algorithm is developed to enable one
to perform the desired operation. How could a responsible educator say that if
a student is unable to multiply or divide large numbers its ok because he or
she can use a calculator to find the answer?

I am concerned about the lack of basic
computation skills in my child. I also question the effectiveness of
student-centered heterogeneous math groups in middle school.

**Upper
Lab**

Will the mastery of efficient
problem-solving techniques ever be emphasized /promoted alongside an
understanding of process?

**ESMS**

Does the district realize the number of
parents seeking private tutoring ?

As a parents of one daughter who has
recently started middle school with a very shaky foundation in basic math – not
due to her ability – but most definitely due to the TERC - “count your beans”
method; we have a suggestion. We agree that understanding the concepts of each
basic function is key, but it needs to be coupled with
the ability to have, at their fingertips, the answers to these basic functions,
ie coupled with rote memorization.

My child is in 7^{th} grade.
His class is currently working in the third of eight booklets in the 7^{th}
grade CMP program. (April) This concerns me.

I often do not understand the math
instruction my children receive. If they ask for help, I show them my way of
dealing with a problem , which is not what their
teachers explain.

Sixth graders are asked to find the
median of data by folding strips of graph paper.

Last year a group of
sixth graders discussed writing to the district o complain that math had
been turned into Language Arts 2.