Ever since it became public several months that the school administration changed the math curriculum without consulting the Board of Education and without disclosing to parents, I, like many, have been silently fuming. I have no child in the public schools any longer, but when they were, I was involved deeply in town government.
This is not the way we do things in Fairfield. One of our strengths has always been the involvement of parents in their children's education. I applaud Dawn Llewelyn and her group for trying to bring accountability. The board should get behind this group and give their support. The administration's excuse that they simply forgot to inform the board and the public is a load of buffalo chips, obviously. Who are they fooling, besides themselves?
1. Many students don't do well studying in groups. I never did. Give me a book and a quiet room, and I'm fine. But guess what -- the book isn't allowed to go to home, compounding the problem.
2. Group problem-solving is only as good as the group you happen to be thrown into. If your group is marginal as far as math ability is concerned, you are left to flounder. Math is hard enough for some, and the teachers don't teach -- the curriculum is simply "you figure it out."
3. Our best math teachers may not stick around, but rather leave for better districts. If their calling is truly teaching, why would they prefer to be mere monitors in their classrooms?
4. Any program that suggests that one size fits all is doomed to failure. Some learn best quietly with a book, some learn best visually, some learn best in a group, etc. Our past curriculum as I recall it allowed for individual students to excel based on their talents.
To the Board of Education: I ask you to take control of this fiasco. You should have shut down this program months ago when the parents discovered what was happening in the classrooms. Make sure students are in an environment of learning, direct teachers to teach, and reach out to the parent groups to make sure they are satisfied. If it is advisable to introduce this method in the future, then you should study it, possibly reform it to your preferences, include the parents, and make sure the weakest student has a chance to benefit.
To the Board of Finance and RTM: I urge you to take away immediately the teacher retirement slush fund that arrives every year. Find out the average savings from teacher retirements over the past several years, and cut that number from the budget. There has to be a consequence. The parents are not wrong.