But I would suggest an even more important vote will occur on Wednesday, one that will decide the future of tens or hundreds of thousands of Seattle students over the next decade: the Seattle School Board’s vote on the future elementary math curriculum.
As I have noted in previous blogs, Seattle Public Schools is now using a grossly inferior math curriculum, Everyday Math. Most school districts in the area (and around the country) have dropped it because it fails to provide basic competency in elementary-level mathematics, crippling students’ ability to learn algebra and higher mathematics later in their career. Everyday Math is a prime example of “fuzzy math,” with students spending much their their time inventing their own algorithms, writing long essays, using calculators, and doing group projects. Everyday Math is a wonderful example of the tendency to jump on the latest fad, which may sound good, but fails in the classroom.
So you would think the district would be doubly sure not to make a serious mistake again.
Last month, a committee established by the district provided their recommendation of a possible new curriculum. Their rankings were:
1. EnVision Math
2. Go Math!
3. Math in Focus (MIF), which is a U.S. version of Singapore Math.
As I explained in my last blog of the subject, their evaluation was a great disappointment. Math in Focus, based on the extraordinarily successful Singapore Math approach, was downgraded because it advanced student’s too rapidly (compared to the latest fad, the Common Core standards). Go Math! is glossy and weak. EnVision, their top choice, is glossy and full of excessive reading and writing, making it a poor choice for students who do not have strong English skills. But better than Everyday Math for sure.
Much more on Everyday Math, here.
Related: Math Forum audio/video.
Locally, Madison has also used Everyday Math.