Thursday, January 16, 2014

If This List Is Any Indication Of What We Can Expect From Textbooks Aligned To Common Core, It's All Over

Here's the opening of the press release from the California Dept. of Education announcing Common Core-aligned math textbooks:
School districts now have a list of more than 30 instructional materials to choose from that are aligned to the Common Core State Standards for mathematics, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today.
I don't know much about elementary school math programs but I'm more than a little familiar with algebra programs.  Since these texts are aligned to the CC standards they're new enough that I don't know many of them, but 2 jump out at me with flashing red lights and extremely loud klaxons.

The 4th text on the Algebra 1 list is from College Prep Math, CPM.  CPM published an integrated curriculum that was widely used in the 1990s; it was horrible.  I did some subcontract work when I was a relatively new teacher, and that work required me to match up CPM Course 1 to California's relatively newly-adopted math standards (adopted in 1997).  Turns out that what they claimed was an integrated Algebra 1 and Geometry program in CPM 1 aligned quite well not with Algebra 1 or Geometry, but with California's math standards for 5th, 6th, and 7th grades, and a smidgen of Algebra 1.  This program was so bad that it wasn't even submitted for adoption in California after the state adopted its 1997 standards.

Needless to say, I'm suspicious of anything put out by CPM.

Two down below it on the list is JRL Enterprises' I CAN Learn Algebra 1.  I've previously written about the crook John Lee and his ineffective I CAN Learn program; should you be interested, please click here.  Sadly, the link in that post to the Fort Worth Weekly article about JRL is no longer active, but you'll still get a sense of what I CAN Learn is all about--and now it's approved here in California.  I wonder who Lee bribed, and how much, to get his crap on the approved list.  But Darren, you say, that was 9 years ago; what if the product is improved now?  Read the link about how he got his crappy product approved, and tell me you think that he has any interest at all in mathematical education.  The word "shyster" comes to mind, and rightly so.

Needless to say, I'm suspicious of anything put out by JRL.

With these two organizations on California's approved list, watch out for a disaster in math education.


PeggyU said...

I'm with you on CPM. Just because they call it "college preparatory" doesn't make it so. :(

Unfortunately, our high school has abandoned some very good texts (Paul Foerster) in favor of CPM materials. It's a giant step backward, IMO.

Interestingly, they are still using Stewart Calculus. How they intend to bridge the gap between CPM precalc and Stewart, I have no idea.

maxutils said...

Having taught it for 4 years, I think I can say for certain ... CPM is a great math program if you already know how to do the math. Not so much if you're trying to learn it. I thought we'd already kicked it to the curb...

Auntie Ann said...

As usual, the clueless parents--most-likely to be low on the income scale--won't know enough to get help. Clued-in parents will be at Kumon, Mathnasium, A+ Math, Sylvan, etc., within the week.

If you want to design a system in which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, this would be a good place to start.

Auntie Ann said...

FYI. Is this the Fort Worth article that was de-linked:

KauaiMark said...

CPM was also the name of an obsolete operating system popular on portable PRO-10 computers that lost out to Microsoft's MS-DOS.

CPM should stay dead

Darren said...

Auntie Ann, that's it :) Thank you for the link.

Crimson Wife said...

[i]Math in Focus[/i] is an Americanization of Singapore [i}My Pals are Here Mathematics[/i]. I looked it over and thought it was a solid program, though the "Enrichment" book designed for bright students is less challenging than the Singapore [i]Primary Mathematics Intensive Practice[/i] book.

I am disappointed to see that the new Common Core edition of Singapore [i]Primary Mathematics[/i] was rejected.