HomeTop StoriesA petition is circulating to recall Troy's school administrators following the math...

A petition is circulating to recall Troy’s school administrators following the math restructuring

TROY, Michigan (CBS DETROIT) – Members of the Troy school board are facing recalls from community members after the school board’s May vote to restructure math courses.

A stream of disagreement came from the parents at that meeting and at other meetings leading up to that vote. A parent from the school district tells CBS News Detroit that an alumnus of the district has started a petition and groups of volunteers are now seeking 8,000 signatures in hopes of recalling the board members who voted yes in the May vote.

“Show us the data. We never see strong data, unfortunately, never any real research. They cited a study somewhere, but we provided them with plenty of other studies to show the benefits of having honors classes,” says Yawen Li, one of the parent volunteers. She has two sons in the ward and is a teacher herself.

CBS News Detroit reached out to Karl Schmidt, president of the Troy school board, who sent a lengthy and detailed response:

“The four board members at risk of recall are disappointed in a small group of community members who have decided that the best way to deal with a board decision they disagree with is to demand that board members be removed from office. In this case, the Troy Board of Education voted to approve a university-developed, highly acclaimed high school math curriculum that has been used in other districts across the U.S. for the past three years. This new curriculum shifts our focus from pure math classrooms to deeper learning and the connection of math concepts and theory with real-world applications. Our new classroom environments also provide opportunities for collaborative problem solving. We have been exploring this shift in math curriculum for more than 3 years, including pilot classes in all our high school buildings, with half of our high school teaching staff already testing lesson plans using the new materials. I’ve personally seen this new approach in action, and it’s exciting to see how engaged and excited our high school students are as they delve into complex real-world dilemmas rather than sitting in rows of desks tasked with solving equations by heart.

“Our new math classes are now workplace environments, where children can move at different speeds and expand into more complex challenges when they are ready. In this environment, our teachers can provide differentiated learning for children with a wide range of abilities. It increases the rigor of math in grades 6 and 7 for ALL of our students, not just those who would historically have taken an honors track. higher level math in later grades. It’s a very good change for our kids. We’re now in a world where AI programs like ChatGPT can solve complex equations in seconds, which means it’s critical that we focus our kids’ energy more on building strong theoretical knowledge and a solid connection to applied situations so they know the right math approaches needed to solve a problem. It quickly becomes less valuable to focus on quickly solving worksheets full of equations by hand.

“Historically, our students were either placed in an accelerated honors track in math in grades 6 and 7 based on standardized testing and teacher recommendation. Children in the honors track were then placed in Honors Algebra I in grade 8. Students placed in the standard math track were not allowed access to Algebra I until grade 9. Under the new program, ALL students will be able to access Honors Algebra I in grade 8 if they and their parents choose that path. The district will no longer predicting a student’s math proficiency in 8th grade two years earlier at the end of 5th grade. This change means that more children will choose Honors Algebra I in 8th grade, opening up our highest AP high school maths tracks to more students. I also think it’s important to point out that this is not a “one size fits all” approach either. Our very advanced math students can still test 6th grade math at the end of 5th grade and take 7th grade math as a 6 th grade, then Honors Algebra I as a 7th grader, and Geometry in 8th grade. I can’t say it clearly enough: no student will have fewer opportunities for advanced math in Troy as a result of this change.

“Our new math curriculum received the approval of the vast majority of 5th grade parents when we introduced it to them during the spring high school curriculums. When a small group of parents raised objections at our board meetings, we spoke with them to address their concerns. We provided evidence and details of our rationale for change and our implementation plan. They simply chose not to accept our explanation. That doesn’t make the evidence or plan any less compelling. My most memorable exchanges, I spent an hour with Professor Brian Conrad, a professor at Stanford University whose research area is K-12 math education. He reaffirmed the value of our chosen curriculum and endorsed our decision to focus on depth rather than acceleration in high school. He said the biggest frustration among his peers who teach freshman STEM courses in chemistry, biology, and physics is that the students don’t know how to apply math to real-world scenarios. Those STEM professors want us to teach younger students better how to make those connections. His view was consistent with a recent study by the ACT, which found that the best predictor of strong performance in college STEM programs was not students’ early acceleration into advanced math courses, but rather a deeper foundation in pre-Algebra math concepts in high school.

“The Troy School District prides itself on making research-based decisions to improve the quality and depth of learning for all of our students. The new high school math curriculum may have upset a small group of community members, but it is the right thing to do for our children – which is why the board stands by its decision to adopt it. It is also why we are confident that our wider community will not support a recall in this situation.

“To this end, we’ve created an informational website for voters trying to decide whether or not to sign a recall. We’re not providing advice on the site because we’re confident Troy voters won’t support this effort once they understand what the curriculum shift was really about.”

There will be a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. at the Troy Community Center regarding the recall discussion.

See also  Preparing for winter: Massachusetts is now hiring snow plow drivers

- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments