Parents Can Make Changes: But, Too Often it Requires a Law Suit
Parents in Plano, Texas have sued the school district to force the school to remove fuzzy math curriculum.
If it can happen in Plano, it can happen in any area with CSCOPE, which is a FUZZY, Incomplete, Incorrect K-12 Curriculum.
Facts about CSCOPE Fuzzy Science will be introduced to the Senate Education Committee on Jan. 31, 2013.
By Janice VanCleave
The following was sent by an anonymous educator.
A group of parents of middle school students, dissatisfied with what they consider a fuzzy math curriculum have sued to force the Plano Independent School District to offer a more traditional course.
The parents also allege they were illegally prevented from distributing in-formation about the course to other parents, that their right to direct their children’s education is being violated, and their children are subjects of an experimental program without parental consent.
At the center of the dispute is “Connected Math,” a course among those labeled “exemplary” by the U.S. Dept of Education but rejected by scholars and educators around the country.
Recently, Education Week reported a group of 192 mathematicians, physicists, and other scholars urged U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley to withdraw his department’s seal of approval from math programs for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. In a signed letter published as a full-page ad in The Washington Post the scholars asserted that some of the programs neglect to teach skills as basic as multiplying two-digit numbers or dividing fractions.
The group included David Klein, a mathematics professor at California State Univ.-Northridge, four Nobel laureates, Arizona’s state school Superintendent, a handful of prominent education researchers, and two holders of the Fields Medal, the top honor for mathematicians. The ad also complained that “active research mathematicians” were not consulted.
Mathematically Correct, an organization of scholars dedicated to maintaining high standards in teaching math, gave a Connected Math seventh grade textbook an overall rating of 1.7 on a scale of one (poor) to five (outstanding). Even that rating, the group said, is “deceptively high” since it was influenced by high scores in just two of the 14 categories. They refused to recommend a book with “so little content and an inefficient instructional method.” Connected Math was also rejected by California when mathematicians found it contained errors and omitted division of fractions and other concepts.
Mathematically Correct reports that the Texas State Board of Education rejected Connected Math for grades six and seven because it did not meet the criteria specified in the law. In addition, the board was told the program contained factual errors.
One parent, Alfred Kirke, has 30 hours of higher math education and has used math professionally for 30 years. He called Connected Math not relevant in a high-tech workplace. The parents contend Texas law gives them the right to request a traditional, math course and that the request “shall not be unreasonably denied.” Their complaint notes that Keith Sockwell, Deputy Superintendent of Plano ISD admitted as much while testifying before a legislative committee on March 30, 1999.
Rep. Paul Sadler chairman of the House Public Education Committee, asked Sockwell whether it is feasible to have an alternative class and text- book if the parents of 250 students ask for it. He replied, “Yes. It probably is feasible, you could do it. Is it the best? I don’t know.” Rep. Kent Grusendorf, reminding him it was the legislature’s in-tent that parents have this right to request a different course, asked, “do these parents have that right, even though you may disagree with them?” Sockwell said “certainly they may have that right.”
“It is abundantly clear” from this exchange, the complaint concludes, that since parents of over 520 students signed a petition requesting their rights showing sufficient interest, and since it is economically practical to offer a traditional math course, by refusing, the district is violating Texas law and their Constitutional right to direct the education and upbringing of their children.
The district is accused of violating parents’ First Amendment rights. On Aug. 25, 1998 Kirke came to a public meeting on Connected Math with copies of a Defense Dept. report on the program and a petition asking the district not to adopt it without pa-rental input. After some parents had picked up his fliers and signed his petition, he was ordered by Dr. James Wohlgehagen, Coordinator for Secondary Math, to remove his materials and leave. The next day assistant superintendent, Dr. James Davis, sent out a memo instructing school principals not to allow anyone to distribute anything about Connected Math on their campuses. The parents further charge their children are being used as subjects in an experimental project without parental consent. Connected Math, they said, was created at Michigan State Univ. with Federal funds and is an experimental program “unsupported by scientifically valid research studies or data.” In the Plano ISD it is “a research pilot project” and parents have not consented to their children being subjects in this project.
In addition to money damages, the parents are asking the court to order Plano ISD to notify middle school parents of their right to request an alternative math course and to provide a traditional math course in grades and at campuses at which the parents of 19 or more students request it.