Email to Dr. Clifford B. Janey
Superintendent, District of Columbia Public Schools
Cc: Members of the Board of Education
Dear Sir: I am a long time professor of mathematics here at the University of Rochester, and in my retirement have been active in matters of school mathematics as a consultant, writer of Standards and statewide examinations and so on. I have a friend in Washington -- several, in fact, for I have written monographs for Chester Finn at the Fordham Foundation -- who has given me a list of school textbooks considered for adoption in the District of Columbia.
Among these candidates there are some bad ones that I know by reputation, but I will not caution you against them because my information is by hearsay. There are two, however, that I know pretty well, programs or books that simply do not accord with your recently adopted Standards for k-12 mathematics (or with the Massachusetts or California standards):
At the elementary level, I advise against "Everyday Mathematics".
At the middle school level, I advise against "Connected Mathematics", known as CMP.
Students who follow these programs, unless they have outside tutoring, will not be prepared for high school mathematics. In my experience with districts afflicted with these programs, affluent parents have sent their children to private schools or hired tutors, while the less privileged, even if they "succeeded" in these programs, were forever cut off from any further progress in mathematics or scientific professional education. Once finished with 'CMP', remediation becomes impossibly difficult, except by private tutoring.
Please do not adopt either of these programs. They look attractive, but so does *Amanita Muscaria* in the forest.
Ralph A. Raimi
Dept. of Mathematics
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627-0138
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