By E-Mail

Honorable Members of the
Board of Education,

Please vote against the
Resolutions which would provide a total allocation of approximately $9,330,423
relating to instructional and professional development services in mathematics. The one, for a total of $9,150,423 (annual
allocation of $3,050,141 for each of the fiscal years 2003, 2004 and 2005)
appears to provide funding for instructional support in curricula often
referred to as "fuzzy math" courses.
One of the proposed questionable contracts is with Marilyn Burns
Education Associates, Inc. who once wrote the following in an article entitled
"Arithmetic: The Last Holdout:"

"I am a teacher who has
embraced the call for change completely.
I've made shifts in my teaching so that helping children learn to think,
reason, and solve problems has become the primary objective of my math
instruction...I do not give timed tests on basic facts. I make calculators available for students to
use at all times. I incorporate a
variety of manipulative materials into my instruction. I do not rely on textbooks because textbooks,
for the most part, encourage 'doing the page' rather than 'doing
mathematics'."

This approach to math may be
fine for "math appreciation" or, even, "math
enrichment," but it is not fine for the development of math knowledge and
skills - as my children have had to learn the hard way: through having to use
what they consider their precious free time to learn math with supplemental
materials at home and in tutoring sessions.
My children have had the dubious privelege of attending PS234 in CSD#2
which piloted use of Marilyn Burns materials and
instructional strategies prior to implementation of TERC (i.e.,
"Investigations in Number, Data & Space") as an elementary school
mathematics curricula. They have then
had to suffer through the mind-numbing exercises in CMP (Connected Mathematics
Program) in CSD#2 middle schools.

Fortunately for my children
and their future opportunities in the world (and despite their resentment of
continuous usurpation of their free time), their parents have had the financial
wherewithal to afford supplementation and educational intervention. Unfortunately, this kind of support and
supplementation of math education by parents in CSD#2 (and CSD#15) -
particularly in neighborhoods such as PS234's - has kept math scores as high as
they are in this district and led to the misapprehension that such performances
are due to these questionable curricula and "math staff development"
in these curricula. (Though,
interestingly, there has been substantial drop in the numbers of children
scoring in the highest level, level 4, in CSD#2 the longer these programs are
in place.)

While I wholeheartedly
support instructional support for teachers - particularly in the area of
mathematics - I am adamantly against the implementation and promulgation of the
curricula and programs these allocations would provide support for.

I strongly urge you to vote
against these Resolutions.

Kind Regards,

Christine Larson

CSD#2 Parent