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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 24, 2014 at 6:02 AM

When School Board ignores textbook recommendations, it undermines staff and community

When the Seattle School Board adopted Math in Focus it overstepped its bounds and cast aside its responsibility [“Seattle School Board must find extra cash after it picks pricier textbook,” Local News, June 10]. School boards set policy and procedures and are responsible for fiscal soundness.

The professional staff and community members make their adoption recommendation, in this case EnVision. When the Board ignores professional recommendations without data to support their decision they undermine the staff and community. This leads to staff morale issues and a less adequate instructional experience for students. Also, the Board’s decision will cost twice as much, money the Board admits it doesn’t have.

As a community volunteer, I spent more than 12 hours comparing fourth-grade materials. I focused on fourth grade because that is the make-or-break year for math learning. Students leaving fourth grade without deep understanding of number sense and computation will not be successful in secondary mathematics. Every EnVision chapter focuses on specific critical core concepts. Math In Focus squanders two chapters, one on tessellations and one on symmetry.

EnVision costs less because from third- to fifth-grade students work with textbooks. Not only does this save money on workbooks, but students practice skills needed in middle school — the ability to transcribe problems to their own paper.

I encourage parents to request the Board take a second look at their decision.

Sandra Burroughs, Auburn

Comments | More in Education, Math | Topics: EnVision, Math in Focus, Sandra Burroughs

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