## F. Joseph Merlino's Math Programs are Unproven

By Gregg Settle

Letters

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Posted on Wed, May. 26, 2004

An unproved approach to math is experimental

In Connie Langland's April 2 article, "He enhances math by teaching
the teachers," F. Joseph Merlino claims his new-age math is superior
to other approaches. It is therefore incumbent upon Merlino to
provide a conclusive body of scientifically valid studies published in
peer-reviewed journals to support his claim. However, it turns out
that there is no conclusive body of scientifically valid studies to
show the programs he pushes are even effective, much less superior to
world's best math curricula, the Singapore math curricula.

On May 18, a comprehensive report on the evaluation of mathematics
curricula was released; it considered evidence for the efficacy of 19
math curricula, including all of the math curricula that Mr. Merlino
pushes. Quoting from the summary on the National Academy of
SciencesWeb site (www.nas.edu), "Evaluations of mathematics curricula
provide important information for educators, parents, students and
curriculum developers, but those conducted to date on 19 specific
curricula fall short of the scientific standards necessary to gauge
overall effectiveness, says a new report from the National Academies'
Mathematical Sciences Education Board. The report recommends a
comprehensive, rigorous and scientifically valid evaluation strategy
to determine the effectiveness of K-12 mathematics curricula."

In other words, the math curricula that Mr. Merlino touts as superior
have not even been proved effective! If they have not been
conclusively demonstrated to be effective, they are, by definition,
experimental.

Should Mr. Merlino try to peddle his math curricula to your school,
just say, "No! We don't want our children experimented on!"

Gregg Settle

Philadelphia

(Original
here)

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