It's coincidental that on the same day that I get an email asking for help in tutoring a student in CPM (a horrid integrated math program), I read this article about Washington State schools and their tug-of-war over traditional vs. integrated math:
Bellevue PTSA organizers scrapped a parent math night, fearing it had been taken over by parents on only one side of the issue — those who want the district to adopt a traditional math approach.I honestly can't believe that this battle is still being fought.
Two recent state court decisions on high-school math textbooks have area school districts seeking legal advice as they try to settle on which books to choose.
Pick the wrong textbook, end up in court?
That's what worries area school districts which say a pair of recent state court decisions on high-school math textbooks have them seeking legal advice before they make their choice.
The two decisions appear to be big wins for parents who support traditional math instruction. But educators say the Seattle case, in particular, raises questions about a district's ability to pick its own curriculum materials without fearing legal action.
Several years ago, when I was doing some subcontract work for an underperforming school's "external evaluator", I was asked to match up the homework students were doing with the California K-12 math standards. Turns out CPM 1, which was supposed to be at the level of Algebra 1, in fact was teaching 5th-7th grade math standards with a smidgen of Algebra 1 thrown in. It's such a lousy program that it's no longer approved for use in California schools. I would guess that other "integrated math" programs, wherein students master nothing but get a smorgasbord of different math problems, are similar in nature.
It's taken some of the best minds the human race has to offer a couple millenia to come up with the algebra we use today. It seems silly, unreasonable, and sick to expect 13-16 year olds to discover and invent it on their own.
I have a belief as to why some teachers still like the CPM/integrated math approach, but I'll save that for a different post.