Dr. White's honeymoon is over. What must now come to an end is the "Schneider Era." If Dr. White is unwilling or unable to realize this, then perhaps his marriage with District 181 should end in a swift divorce. We urge Dr. White to read our concerns and act on them.
As our readers know, parents have been patiently waiting for the the Department of Learning, now led by Assistant Superintendent Kurt Schneider, to present a report to the Board of Education on this Fall's roll out of the 4 math pilot programs -- Agile Minds, Big Ideas, Investigations and Math in Focus.
Almost immediately after the Math Pilots started, we began hearing serious concerns parents and teachers have, in particular with two of them -- Agile Minds (HMS) and Investigations (Madison and Elm). Concerns included:
- disappointment in the administration for not better advertising the board meeting last Spring at which the Math Committee told the BOE what pilots had been selected,
- lack of information to the parents of students participating in the pilots (some parents didn't even know until yesterday that their children were involved in a math pilot),
- lack of data analysis to support any of the math programs (not just the pilots),
- a lack of differentiated instruction within the "inclusive classrooms" using the pilots,
- poor performance by students in pilots who last year did not have math performance issues,
- technical issues with computer based Agile Minds,
- non-alignment with Common Core standards,
- insufficient teacher training, and the list goes on.
Parents have repeatedly complained to teachers and administrators that the math needs of students in are not not being met, regardless of whether they are in the pilots or programs that continued from last year. In addition, information was provided to the Board last month that indicated that the Learning for All Plan's math component of acceleration for all is no longer going to be the norm, yet no data analysis has been presented to the board members explaining the rationale behind this change (which the BOE did not even approve). The administration's response to the parents' concerns and unanswered board member questions was to promise that a full report on the Math Pilot program would be presented to the board during the October 27 board meeting.
Imagine then, the growing concerns parents had yesterday, especially those at HMS, when they received a letter from Superintendent White -- not Dr. Schneider -- attaching a "Math Pilot Memo" that informed them them that a decision will most likely be made at the 10/27 board meeting to immediately discontinue Agile Minds at HMS, and that a similar decision might be made in the future regarding Investigations. No specific reasons were given for these proposed changes, nor was there any discussion on the possible negative impact on our students from these pilot(s) or the specific steps the administration will take to remediate the failure of the pilot(s). Instead parents were just told that a "materials transition plan" will be developed in the next "week or so" and discussed at the 10/27 Board meeting. (See copy of Dr. White's letter published at the end of this post, excludes the charts.)