About fifteen parents of Blaine County students, concerned about the new Math textbooks purchased by the BCSD Administration, attended tonight’s BCSD Board of Trustees Meeting. Not only did they attend, three of them spoke. Kathy Baker carried a letter addressed to the Board and signed by the parents in the room as she made her way to the podium.
“I am here to request that the Board of Trustees inquire into the process by which the Blaine County School District Administration chose Mathematics textbooks to be purchased. Specifically to inquire into its lack of compliance with District Policy Number 602.3 and Idaho Legal Code 33-118A,” stated Mrs. Baker. Previously this group requested the Board of Trustees review Idaho Statute Title 33 as it pertains to the math adoption process.
She continued on to refer to the letter in her hands. This letter concludes:
“This is a formal request that the Board of Trustees:
- Obtain independent legal review of the School District Administration’s compliance with Blaine County School District Policy Number 602.3 and Idaho Code 33-118A.
- Reinstate the 2005 Mathematics Curriculum, which is still active by default of no new mathematics curriculum in existence.
- Have a new Mathematics Curriculum written, the process of which follows BCSD District Policies and Idaho Legal Code.
- Submit their finding on the legality of the June 14, 2011 text book adoption to the public not later than the next School Board of Trustees meeting.”
Jamie Sharp and Dan Beste also spoke to the Board of Trustees. Mr. Sharp, through many examples, questioned the validity of teaching children Mathematical concepts prior to Mathematical facts. “Unfortunately the new Math Investigations curriculum is too heavily weighted toward the reform side to be effective,” he said. He made the case that Math facts create an internal mental framework upon which a student can then incorporate Math concepts to strengthen the frame.
Mr. Beste spoke after Mr. Sharp to summarize the sentiments of the group of parents in attendance. In his remarks, Mr. Beste expressed the groups concerns regarding the District implementing Investigations and Connected Mathematics 2 as core Math curricula textbooks. He made the point that the publisher’s claims of success has yet to be verified even “after 20 years by independent studies.” He requested that
- District Teachers have an anonymous forum in which to make their own assessment and suggestions regarding the current K-5 and 6-8 curricula.
- Visit BlaineParents.org and get better familiarized with the overwhelmingly negative reviews of the math curricula.
- A request for questions and concerns to be properly replied to by District Administration.