NYC HOLD Honest Open Logical Debate On Math Reform

A Consortium of Concerned Parents, Educators, Mathematicians and Scientists

 

 

November 27, 2000

 

To:Harold O. Levy, Chancellor

††††††† Dr Judith Rizzo, Deputy Chancellor for Instruction

††††††† Burton Sacks, Chief Executive for Community School District Affairs

††††††† Dr Irving Hamer, Member, Board of Education, Manhattan Representative

††††††† Trudy Irwin, Director of Education, Office of the Manhattan Borough President

 

From: NYC HOLD, Steering Committee

 

Re: Community School Board 2 Calendar Meeting November 28, 2000

 

We respectfully invite you to attend the calendar meeting of Community School Board 2 in Manhattan scheduled for Tuesday November 28, beginning at 6:30 pm. During the public session the Board will hear comment on District 2ís K-12 math programs. Distinguished faculty of the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University and concerned parents plan to speak.

 

The Districtís mathematics reform is one component of the systemic instructional reform initiated by Anthony Alvarado in the previous decade. District 2 prides itself in beinga leader in education reform in New York City. Our District piloted the New Standards Performance Standards in Mathematics which were adopted city-wide last year.

 

The implications of the relative success of our Districtís math reform for the entire NYC school system should be evident.

 

In our District, parentconcern with their childrenís progress in mathematics is escalating; worries are being strongly voiced about aspects of the new math programs just as full implementation takes hold. School year 1999-2000 marked the first year the new K- 8 programs, Investigations in Number Data and Space (TERC) and Connected Mathematics Project (CMP) were mandated.

 

Parents are tutoring in record numbers. For many of their children, the new constructivist programs fail to provide a sound foundation in basic arithmetic. Parents recognize the value of the new programsí creative, hands-on classroom and homework activities. However, many question the extensive time devoted to such activities, ostensibly at the expense of explicit teaching of the standard procedures and practice of skills. The absence of textbooks has exacerbated the situation.

 

Concerned parents have reached out to the NYU mathematics community in District 2 for analysis and opinion of our programs in hopes of finding ways to amend or extend the implemented programs to reach a better balance in the math instruction.

 

There are clearly implications in the course the District 2 community takes

for the work of the newly appointed Commission on Mathematics Education to review math programs city-wide. We hope our experiences in District 2 can contribute to the assessment of the Committee.

 

Parents, teachers and administrators in District 2 share a well earned pride in our exemplary schools and strong educational community. Parents see on a daily basis, through their childrenís work and enthusiasm for learning, the results of the skill and commitment of the teaching staff and administrators in our schools. Parents appreciate the formidable challenges district administrators face in guiding systemic reform in a large and diverse community school district.

 

We look forward to an ongoing and meaningful partnership in District 2.

 

We sincerely hope you will take an interest in our concerns and efforts to advance the course of math education for our children.

 

Sincerely,

 

Steering Committee

NYC HOLD

Elizabeth Carson

Christine Larson

Garry Dobbins

Margaret Hunnewell

Mary Somoza, Member, CSB #2

Granville Leo Stevens, Esq

Maureen McAndrew, DDS

Michael Weinberg