From the News & Messenger we see a letter to the editor demonstrating that the fight over the “Math Investigations” program isn’t over yet. Now that statistics are beginning to emerge demonstrating the value, or lack thereof, of the program, they’re fueling a renewed debate over whether the school board is making the right decision for our children.
Prince William County Schools (PWCS) has issued the Year 3 Evaluation Report (Y3R) for its elementary math program. Last year’s report was presented to the public in September of 2008, but Y3R was not available until 2010, and it has yet to be presented to the public. That is unacceptable.
It appears that PWCS is striving to be average.
Our Standards of Learning (SOL) scores are average in the State and region. Prior to PWCS’ Math Investigations’ (MI) mandate, our test scores were rising and our schools were among the best in the State. Since MI was mandated in 2006, our pass rates are unchanged but our performance relative to the other districts in the State has fallen sharply. PWCS Grade 3 students’ pass rates have dropped from the 77th to the 47th percentile while advanced rates have dropped from the 83rd to the 55th percentile in the State. For more details, see http://pwceducationreform.wordpress.com.
Every instructional program has strengths and weaknesses. The difference between getting by and excelling is whether you’re willing to identify weaknesses and adapt accordingly. The data demonstrate that our children are struggling in many areas, yet little has changed.
If we want an exceptional instructional program we need to be willing to adapt and change the practices we employ in the classroom as our children’s needs demand. The question is whether the School Board will be willing to demand those changes or continue to celebrate mediocrity.
Greg Barlow, Dumfries
Jackie Hargenrader, Bristow
Ed Page, Haymarket
Kim Simons, Bristow
On behalf of PWC Education Reform
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