Sunday, November 28, 2010

Math Rocks Proves Connected Math is a Failure

The Plano Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, November 2, 2010, proved that Connected Math is a failure. There was a presentation that night by a Plano Math teacher on the Math Rocks program that Plano has created as a "super honors" class. The students in the Math Rocks program were described as being years ahead of their grade level. The presentation also mentioned that the students in the Math Rocks program have received math instruction outside of the Plano schools. This is the key point!

One of the unspoken secrets to success in Plano is the need to hire tutors for your children. Besides private tutors, there are a number of programs that provide traditional math classes in the evenings or on the weekends. A traditional math class rests on two principles: instruction in solving specific types of math problems and homework to drill the students.

So students who receive traditional math instruction end up being years ahead of their classmates who are stuck with Connected Math and the "discovery learning" theory of teaching.

Instead of saying, "Wow! Traditional math instruction is much better than Connected Math, let's cancel Connected Math and let everyone have a good math education!", the PISD administration says, "Let's permit the clearly better trained students skip out of Connected Math, but let's give them more of the discovery method!"

What we were shown at the Board of Trustees' meeting were film clips of children in small groups debating how to solve the problems they were assigned. The teacher making the presentation was very excited by film of students talking. I would have been impressed by film of a teacher providing instruction. But alas, the parents need to continue paying for tutors to provide the instruction that the PISD refuses to provide.

It is sad to see that the Plano ISD administration is incapable of learning from its mistakes. It is sad to see our students stuck in a failed program year after year.

Robert Canright