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Letter: Discussion on math text killed

Published 12:11 pm, Wednesday, January 30, 2013
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Last spring, five people took a half day reviewing the CPM Algebra 1 book, alongside several other books, and determined that the CPM book most closely aligned with the state's common-core standards.

However, at the time, most publishers had not aligned their texts with the state standards. The subsequent decision to use 850 students as guinea pigs for the CPM Algebra textbook was based solely on the opinions of these five people, not on any other data. On several occasions, I have asked the district for data to support the success of CPM (i.e. SAT scores) in districts similar to Fairfield and have been told none exist.

Why did we rush into a decision in May 2012 that impacted such a large number of students, when, according to the administration's April 2012 presentation on the third- to fifth-grade curriculum "it is premature to recommend a new resource ... as publishers are still working to align their texts with CCSS?"

I recently bumped into a parent who said he had purchased a book for his child directly from CPM, so his child could have a book at home. Another time, I bumped into another parent who, until she read newspaper articles in December, thought that her freshman child had been performing poorly in math simply because he was adjusting to the higher demands of high school. That parent has since hired a tutor for her son. Both parents are unhappy that the district chose to use their children as guinea pigs. Many other parents, including me, share the same sentiment.

Why did the Board of Education, at its last meeting, do nothing for these and the approximately 850 other students -- roughly equivalent to one-quarter of the town's high school enrollment -- already using and "persevering" with the unapproved CPM Algebra 1 book?

I disagree with the decision that allowed so many students to be used as guinea pigs for the CPM Algebra 1 textbook. In addition, since there is still no independent data supporting the use of the CPM book, I disagree with the decision by the BOE to end the discussion about the textbook and to allow the continued use of the CPM book in the district.

Susie Byrne

Fairfield