There are a number of points in the Summary of Administrative Response to MMSD Mathematics Task Force Recommendations which should be made. As a mathematician, let me just comment on comments on Recommendation 11. There are other comments which could be made, but I have a limited amount of time at present.
The first question I have is in the first paragraph. “One aspect of the balanced approach is represented in the four block approach to structuring mathematics lessons. The four blocks include Problem Solving, Number Work, Fluency and Maintenance and Inspecting Equations.” There is a missing comma, since it is not clear whether Maintenance goes with the previous word or the last two. However, in either case, “Inspecting Equations” is a strange phrase to use. I am not sure what it means, and when a mathematician who has read extensively in school mathematics does not understand a phrase, something is wrong. You might ask Brian Sniff, who seems to have written this report based on one comment he made at the Monday meeting, what he means by this.
In the next paragraph, there are the following statements about the math program used in MMSD. “The new edition [of Connected Math Project] includes a greater emphasis on practice problems similar to those in traditional middle and high school textbooks. The new edition still remains focused on problem-centered instruction that promotes deep conceptual understanding.” First, I dislike inflated language. It usually is an illustration of a lack of knowledge. We cannot hope for “deep conceptual understanding”, in school mathematics, and Connected Math falls far short of what we want students to learn and understand in many ways. There are many examples which could be given and a few are mentioned in a letter I sent to the chair of a committee which gave an award to two of the developers of Connected Mathematics Project. Much of my letter to Phil Daro is given below.

I have pointed out errors and omissions in Connected Mathematics and Discovering Advanced Algebra to Sniff, and suggested that teachers be informed about these problems and given suggestions for how to work around them. You might ask him what has been sent to teachers about rational numbers and repeating decimals in Connected Math and the geometric series in Discovering Advanced Algebra. I wrote the principal author of Connected Math about their treatment of repeating decimals in the first edition, in 2000 and 2002. Nothing was changed in the second version. It is still a very poor treatment. I will send separately a paper I gave at a meeting in Lisbon last November. It deals with the help teachers should be given, and how inadequate it frequently is.
The National Mathematics Advisory Panel recommended that the geometric series should be done in first year algebra, since it is not hard to derive the sum of a finite geometric series and it has many interesting applications. In Discovering Advanced Geometry, the sum of this series is stated but not derived. What understanding is this giving students?
There never has been a serious public discussion about the direction of mathematics education in the Madison Schools. There should be. There was a committee set up to report and the part which surprised me most was the survey of elementary school teachers, who reported that most of them did not use a textbook as a primary resource. Decades ago my daughter went through a year at Cherokee with a teacher developed program in math. It was a disaster. I wonder about the results mentioned in a Capital Times article on the charter school Nuestro Mundo. Here are the result on WKCE Third Grade tests.

 Total White Hispanic Nuestro Mundo 70 74 46 Madison School District 72 88 47

Percentage scoring proficient or advanced in math

 Total White Hispanic Nuestro Mundo 49 63 15 Madison School District 72 87 52

Both the reading and math tests were given in English. In every other study I have seen about schools like Nuestro Mundo, the math score relative to the district score is much closer than the reading score is to the district average. Does the math staff at MMSD have an explanation for this dramatic difference?
Here is most of my letter to Phil Daro mentioned above. If you have any questions about what I have written, please feel free to contact me. My phone number is 233-7900.