Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Choosing The Right Math Program or Textbook

According to their website, The Ridgewood Public Schools in New Jersey,  has made a commitment to select an elementary mathematics textbook and/or program for use in all Ridgewood schools. A professional development and implementation roll-out is planned for 2009-2010.

Ridgewood Math is more of a Hot Button Topic than the Upcoming Obama-McCain Debate.

Just mentioning the words TERC , Everyday Math or Connected Math will surely illicit a strong opinion – either pro or con. There are not many Ridgewood Residents sitting on the fence when it comes to what has become known as the “Ridgewood Math Wars“. This new announcement seems to address what I see as a major issue and that is that there are several different Math programs being taught here in Ridgewood. Some elementary schools have a traditional program while others use different versions of Reform Math.

The Ridgewood Public Schools currently uses a variety of elementary mathematics textbooks and materials. In 2007, some parents expressed concern about this, with a portion of our parents feeling that mathematics materials and instructional methods needed to reflect a more traditional approach. Later that year, focus groups were conducted for the purpose of soliciting a broad range of parents’ perspectives. There were six meetings, and those unable to attend were provided with email access to the facilitator. Subsequent to that, the Ridgewood Public Schools made a commitment to select an elementary mathematics textbook or program for use in all schools.

There is no cookie cutter solution for teaching children math or for that matter any subject.  Children have different abilities and learning styles. So, it seems to me that Ridgewood Schools are moving in the right direction. Administrators, teachers, curriculum specialist, and parents must all be involved and informed whenever a new program or textbooks is going to be adopted. There a millions of dollars that go to textbook companies and programs, and it is extremely important to adopt the right one for your school system.  It is too late to complain after the fact and the textbooks are already in the classrooms.


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