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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673
802-496-3928
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‘Less than algebra’

To The Editor:

 

There is a significant amount of community interest building in the middle school math curriculum at Harwood and Crossett Brook Middle schools. The recent NECAP scores have highlighted a deficiency in the program, but small sample sizes can distort the real results. A March14 letter to the parents of next year’s eighth grade indicated the end of a classroom-based algebra program. Taken at face value, it looks to be a continuing step towards mediocrity. Parents are concerned; there were two letters on the subject in last week's Valley Reporter. In addition there is a Facebook page, Winning with Algebra, for more background.

The administration is proposing a mathematics information session. If you have a child you believe would be a candidate for taking algebra in the middle school, please come to the meeting being held in the Harwood High School library at 6 p.m. on May 3. Significant changes have been proposed to the eighth-grade algebra offering and this is your chance to find out more. An additional opportunity to express your concern is the regular Harwood school board meeting on April 18.

The eighth-grade algebra class is being replaced with a new program, Connected Math 2. As parents, we are being told that it is a rigorous and algebra-rich program. However, for students to get to the level of their predecessors by the end of the eighth grade, they would need to take an additional algebra class on their own time.

How can it be more rigorous and yet require an additional course to get to the same place? This doesn't seem to be following Governor Shumlin's and Education Commissioner Vilaseca's initiatives in mathematics to do more earlier. The last thing we should be doing is making changes that teach less.

There is no reason for any engaged student to accomplish less than algebra by the end of the eighth grade as part of the standard math curriculum.

As parents we have many questions, and we welcome the opportunity for answers. Please come to the May 3 meeting.

 

Mike Fennelly

Warren

 

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