Friday, November 17, 2006

Can't get enough math

My favorite curriculum policy guru, Barry Garelick, just sent me a link to his latest article, "Two Countries, One School District." You may remember his article in Education Next, "Miracle Math," which looked at the Singapore Math program.

Garelick describes his latest article as "an endoscopic look at the colonic decision making process in the education bureaucracy for those who are brave enough to look." It would be hilarious, if it weren't such a sad example of how lame thinking, buck-passing, and lack of follow-through hurts living, breathing students who will have to suffer the effects of subpar math curricula for the rest of their lives. You can't get those elementary years back....

Garelick's new article, which appears in the Nonpartisan Education Review, unravels the
complexity of curriculum adoption -- and the pitfalls that face school districts when they forget that teachers are a critical component. It isn't enough simply to select the strongest program; schools need to consider how they will implement the program fully.

The article comes at a time when math is on front burner in education debate, spurred on by the National Council of Teachers of Math's new curriculum guidelines. Here's a sampling of what people are saying about the subject lately:


UPDATE (4:40 p.m.): Just received a note from Garelick explaining that he's giving his article a polishing-up, so it won't be available for a bit.... In the meantime, we'll have to wait on pins and needles for the final product. Hurry Barry!


At 9:33 PM, Anonymous Barry Garelick said...

I'm hurrying, I'm hurrying. I know that all of Jakarta is in a tizzy waiting for the final word about Montgomery County, MD!. Well, in the meantime, they can check out which is the new edition of Ed. Next, Letter's to the Editor in which Brian Edwards
Director, Public Information Office
Montgomery County Public Schools, writes to complain about "Miracle Math", which is the version of the article in last edition's Ed. Next. I respond in kind, building good warm relations between myself and the MCPS. In the meantime, I heard from John Hoven that College Gardens, the only school that continued to use Singapore Math, just dropped it.

At 10:13 PM, Blogger Cheryl van Tilburg said...

Thanks so much for keeping us posted, Barry! We may be far removed geographically from Montgomery County, but even in Jakarta, parents worry about the quality of their kids' math education! The situation at MCPS -- at least in terms of the decision-making process -- doesn't seem that foreign at all, so maybe their experience and your analysis will be instructive to us.

And that's too bad about the last school.... We're trying the US version of the Singapore Math books here at Casa van Tilburg. So far, so good.

Thanks again for the update. You rule!


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