z:\doc\web\2003\10\conmath.txt
Jeffrey O. newport
Don Saul; lkwashboard; Ravi Shahani; Judy Goldsmith
tim_soh##hotmail.com; sandylist; David Klein; educationloop; Arn-L; Wa-Ed; Judy Cook
Mr. Hu,
I did spend time yesterday preparing a response to your questions and
statements regarding math instruction. However, I've decided that, from
my perspective at least, a face-to-face conversation regarding this
issue would be of greater benefit than an electronic debate. I would be
happy to hear from you regarding your availability in that regard.
Please contact Madelyn Murray at 425-861-9854 to see if we can find a
mutually convenient time. This week may not work out well but we should
do our best to talk these issues through as soon as we're able.
Don Saul
-----Original Message-----
From: Arthur Hu
Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2003 12:20 PM
To: Saul, Don
Subject: RE: USELESS HOMEWORK: EMPORER'S NEW MATHEMATICS
Thanks for your response. Whether or not I get on the board,
we have to eliminate this utterly ridiculous "standards based"
mathematics that is based on destroying "standard arithmeic".
I am disappointed that I got no response from any board member.
This is the emporer's new math. The math simply isn't there,
and everyone is making a huge fuss about what a huge improvement
this is going to be.
It's bad enough it wastes valuable time and brain cycles only
to not teach any math that a standard book covers in 2 pages
and 1 day of instruction.
When are people going to have the guts to admit that we've been
had and made a terrible mistake?
CONNECTED MATH DOES NOT TEACH HOW TO COMPUTE ###$ AVERAGE???
To Eric's Teacher
Principal
School Board
I am shocked to realize that the Dale Seymour "Connected Mathematics"
is just as harmful for middle school as "Investigations" is for
elementary school. It carries on the tradition of nightly homework that
is
a) hard to figure out
b) takes forever to do once you figure it out
c) after you're done you haven't learned any useful math
d) it goes out of the way to make sure the #1 most important
method to know is not taught, or allowed.
The whole theme of ed reform seems to be "work harder and
learn less"
On page 39 of Grade 6, Data About Us
, students are asked to create a number of "stem and leaf"
plots, which I have NEVER seen used in work or college. Even "line
plots" are rarely used, and they are called "frequency histograms",
which are NOT used in business, or included in charting programs such
as "Excel". Line charts have nothing to do with these "line plots".
These take forever to do. I wrote a note that Eric should NOT do
these. I did one for laughs, and it took me 10 min to do just one of
these problems, and math homework is only supposed to take one half
hour, not counting the hour I'm taking to write this condemnation.
You've got sort out and write 50 items on a chart which takes up at
least an entire sheet of paper "back to back stem and leaf chart"
A) plot out 50 data items
Boys Girls
13852717781518 0 4
70116 1 37073
8906 2
37073035 3 5
270 4 58
...
30 0 1
B) to compare who did better, you have to know that
you can compare the median
C) count up boys = 37 , girls = 23 (I don't know if
I counted them right, it's very difficult to keep
straight)
D) Divide by two to get count to midpoint
E) Count up items from bottom to midpoint
OR..
You could compute the mean, but that's not until the last chapter.
WHAT THE !###$%% HAPPENED TO COMPUTING THE !###$% MEAN???
So I looked at the last chapter. It spends 11 pages on a very simple
concept, plus glossary. What's the most important thing to know about
computing mean on the 7th grade WASL and college SAT? According to the
EALRs, mean is the sum of the items divided by the number of items,
and that's what the SAT prep book also says. Guess what's NOT included
in this book?
It asks the student to come up with several different ways to compute
a mean, by moving blocks from different height towers around, or
moving around items on a line plot. But it does NOT give the simple
formula for average, and does not even go into decimal average values.
There is absolutely no use of decimals or fractions in this entire
statistics unit, even though 5th and 6th grade arithmetic is supposed
to cover both. Moving blocks around is useless for large numbers of
items, or fractions.
THE "EXPERT" WHO SELECTED THIS BOOK (JULIE GOLDSMITH) AND THE
"EXPERTS"
WHO APPROVED THIS TEXTBOOK SERIES (THE ENTIRE SCHOOL BOARD) AND
MOST OF THE TEACHERS DON'T REALIZE THAT KIDS ARE WASTING 2 MONTHS ON
A STATISTICS UNIT ON MEAN, MEDIAN AND MODE THAT DOESN'T EVEN TEACH HOW
TO SOLVE A 4TH GRADE WASL AVERAGE PROBLEM!
The 2002 WASL had a question which asked what the correct method
of computing an average was. That method does NOT appear in this
book (incidentally, the WASL rules prohibit asking students
precisely what the definition / method is, and OSPI agreed, and this
question was not repeated in 2003). The 2003 has a released problem
which does require computing an average (which also violates the
benchmark which puts this skill at grade 7)
This book does not prepare students for either the WASL or the SAT
(which, by the way, does NOT test for median, mode, or range)
I want a response from every one of you - teacher, principal,
superintendent, and school board how in the heck we got stuck with
a textbook that assigns homework that is difficult, time consuming,
and doesn't teach the most BASIC fact that should be covered at
grade level, and why I'm the only person in the entire district that
realizes that something is wrong? This is simply gross incompetence
and negligence.
I can't stand it.
2nd grade math that doesn't teach carry or borrow
4th grade math that doesn't teach long division or multiplication
5th grade fractions that doesn't teach least common denominator
6th grade average that doesn't teach how to compute an average
How can any of you -
Saul
Bob Hughes
Nancy Bernard
Eglinglton
Pendergrass
sit there and say with a straight face that you think this stands
for excellence in education???
Why in the world would anybody deliberately design mathematics
that omits the most basic skills and concepts???
Parents in Plano Texas are up in arms over this (Just google Plano,
Math and Connected Mathematics) and sueing the district.
See
http://cmpinpisd.freeservers.com/
Connected Mathematics
Disconnected Parents
tim_soh##hotmail.com
and
http://www.mathematicallycorrect.com/books.htm
Mathematically correct book review
You folks didn't believe me when I told you you picked the
worst possible math textbook, and just dismissed me as
"Nobody agrees with you Mr. Hu, you can't possibly be
right".
Just because only one guy in the entire district can
figure this out doens't mean I'm wrong. It shouldn't have
to take an MIT graduate to figure out it's wrong to leave
out teaching how to compute the average.
I am going to continue to opt my kids out of doing ANY
Dale Seymour homework unless it is completely sane, which it
almost never is. Thankfully Peter's teacher is not giving out
much of this homework.
If I end up winning a seat on the school board, it will be
because people are figuring out you folks who pick out texts
like this are completely incompetent, while bragging about
"excellence and high standards" when you're not even teaching
fundamental basics.