The days of flats, skinnies and bits will soon be coming to an end in Wake's elementary schools.
As noted in today's article, a textbook selection committee of parents, teachers and principals has recommended using Math Expressions as the new K-5 math textbook. The committee didn't recommend using an updated version of the controversial Math Trailblazers textbook that introduced parents to terms such as flats and skinnies.
The new textbook is billed as offering a more traditional approach to teaching math while including some of the concepts of Trailblazers.
"Teachers will be satisfied that what was chosen will help students with algorithmic equations," said Cary parent Daniel Martone, a member of the textbook selection committee.
Martone said it required his active involvement to help his children make up for the deficiencies in Trailblazers.
“In Math Trailblazers, students weren’t taught how to do multiplication of multi-digit numbers by fifth grade,” Martone said. “That’s ridiculous. I was doing that in third-grade, 40 years ago.”
Since being adopted in 2004-05, Trailblazers has become a polarizing issue in the district. Supporters say it's helped kids learn how to apply information while critics say it's a case of "fuzzy math" that ignores the basics.
Click here for the justification Wake used in adopting the textbook back in 2004.
Even supporters of Trailblazers, such as school board member Eleanor Goettee, readily acknowledge that the textbook was unpopular with many teachers and parents.
Guess what was the first question from school board members when Christy Falba, senior director for elementary education, mentioned last week that Trailblazers would not be the new K-5 textbook?
Goettee and board member Beverley Clark simultaneously asked if it meant now that students would learn the multiplication tables.
Falba said the answer is yes. But she added that students should be learning the multiplication tables now under Trailblazers. She said that fact just might not have been conveyed clearly to teachers.
Falba said schools will now be required to use Math Expressions. This differs from Trailblazers, which Wake recommended but some schools chose not to use.
Falba said teachers can continue to use Trailblazers as a supplement. But considering how unpopular it is, don't look for it in the majority of classrooms this summer.