To: Board of Education of the City of New York
Date: January 24, 2002
We are a middle class family with one son left in the public school system. He is an 8th grader who last June scored 850 on a test in the new math you want to be taught everywhere through 12th grade. I can assure you this score did not impress us at all, a perfect score, because we both know that it is just one rather superficial program that would not help him do better than become a good shopkeeper of the 1930's who did not want to go to college to become an engineer, a nurse, a good physics teacher, a researcher in medicine, a good high middle school or high school teacher as they exist in France where I was born or in the rest of Europe or in Russia, Asia (India, etc...).
We notice that if left to think he could try for the best high schools of Science in the city, he would fail with just having had the new curriculum you want to expand to every corner of a city which has not realized that this program is just a shrunken version of what math is, that it will not help raise the level of math if it is not supplemented by CLASSIC MATH... What is funny in all this is that all the parents who have some knowledge of math and who want to see their kids get a chance at going to the best high schools in the city end up having to tutor or get a tutor for their kids no matter how good in the ARISE MATH, a FEEL GOOD MATH, INCOMPLETE, IMPROPER MATH, THESE KIDS ARE!
At a time when technology allows companies to get workers from anywhere on the globe, I can assure you that the children of New York City will not make it and will not get as many opportunities as they should and could if CLASSIC MATH does not replace the TERC AND ARISE PROGRAMS.
BUT, IT SEEMS POLITICALLY CORRECT, OR WHAT APPEARS POLITICALLY CORRECT HAS INSPIRED SOME PEOPLE TO THINK THAT MINORITY CHILDREN OF POOR FAMILIES ESPECIALLY, AFRICAN AMERICAN KIDS, LATINOS ESPECIALLY WOULD GREATLY BENEFIT FROM THIS NEW MATH. THIS AN ABSOLUTE FALLACY AND A DANGEROUS ONE. My advice to any minority leader, political leader who will have to vote on this amount of money would be well advised to read how THE NEW MATH IS PUTTING CHILDREN IN ANOTHER Ghetto WHERE ONLY LESS CHOICES WILL COME BECAUSE OF A LOW LEVEL OF (SPRINKLING OF KNOWLEDGE INSTEAD OF IN DEPTH OF ALL THE RULES THAT SHAPE MATH) UNDERSTANDING OF MATH.
UNLESS YOU WANT TO SEE A GENERATION OR GENERATIONS OF KIDS ALL GOING INTO THE ARTS AND HUMANITIES AND NOT TOWARD PROFESSIONS THAT WILL REQUIRE A GOOD OLD FASHIONED KNOWLEDGE OF MATH, WHERE CALCULUS, ADVANCED CALCULUS, PHYSICS WITH CALCULUS IS STUDIED BY THE SAME PERCENTAGE FOUND IN EUROPE, ASIA AND RUSSIA.
I urge you to ask why CALIFORNIA HAS REJECTED THE WHOLE PROGRAM SHORTLY AFTER IT WAS IMPLEMENTED, WHY TEXAS IS SUING AGAINST IT WHILE THAT STATE HAS A LOT OF POOR MINORITY CHILDREN, AND WHY PARENTS WHO CAN AFFORD To ARE TUTORING TO GIVE THEIR KIDS A CHANCE AT GETTING INTO A COLLEGE THAT WILL HELP THEM BECOME GOOD NURSES, PHYSICIANS, LAB. TECHNICIAN.
WHEN MATH WILL BE TAUGHT LIKE MUSIC WITH CLASSIC FOUNDATIONS AND NEW WAYS OF TEACHING TOGETHER AND STARTING IN 1ST GRADE, PERHAPS LIKE READING WITH PHONICS AND GLOBAL TOGETHER, WILL WE SEE THE LEVEL OF ALL STUDENTS, MINORITY OR NOT ,SUCCEED IN MATH AS NEVER SEEN BEFORE. In fact, if I were a person of African American or Latino descent I would be up in arms, and would really show to the creators and converted to Terc, Arise etc... how racist their vision and implementation of TERC and ARISE are! If I were Mr. Sharpton, Borough President Virginia Fields, Senator Olga Mendez, Mr.Ferrer, State Comptroller McCall, I would be looking for What it really means to use TERC AND ARISE. IT MEANS, APPROXIMATION INSTEAD OF TRUE FOUNDATION THAT CAN PREPARE KIDS TO BECOME BOROUGH PRESIDENT, STATE COMPTROLLER, engineers, DOCTORS, ETC... SCIENTISTS, HISTORIANS, STORE MANAGERS, WALL STREET INVESTORS, GENERALS, SENATORS, TEACHERS AS GOOD AS THE BEST FOUND IN EUROPE, AND ASIA.
New York City can only succeed as a unique, world class center of business and learning if the children who come out of its schools by the millions can handle the city themselves, instead of having to always depend on people from abroad or elsewhere getting the best opportunities.
Please, look at all the facts that have been presented to you before voting for the release of 9 million dollars that could be better used to train outstanding high school kids minority especially to teach Classic Math and Terc and Arise - as any musician learns to play an instrument by performing on an instrument and by learning how to read music, and write it and compose it.
Classic math should be seen as phonics and Tec as a kind of Global Method of reading. You need both to read correctly but more to the point if you know phonics and grammar of course, beside being able to read with the Global Method that limits your understanding of a written language no matter how smart you are, you will be a truly proficient reader and a better writer and a better thinker using a method that has an approximate approach and a very precise approach, through phonics and grammar.
Same for Math. You need solid foundations with rules that have to be learned, yes, even before they make sense, and the new approximation approach that gives concrete examples to kids who should get every approach to a crucial learning to understand and function well in the world we live in where math in fact is as present as reading is.
Please African American and Latinos do not be fooled by TERC and Arise, You need Classic Math to see your children succeed as you want them to aspire to be and they want for themselves. TERC AND ARISE ALONE WILL JUST CONFINE THEM TO LESS THAN WHAT YOU AND THEY ENVISION. THANK YOU TO HAVE READ THIS.
Respectfully Yours, a Worried parent for what could hurt as it is presented now and doom even the most hard working students to a submath level, meaning less, much less opportunities for millions of New Yorkers... And all this is being done with the best intentions I am sure, but we know that best intentions can also fail the ones they are supposed to help.
Thank You to have taken the time to read this message.
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