Math in Schools
by Jerrold Ross, Ph.D.
and private college and university mathematics educators gathered
recently to establish a city-wide consortium on improving the
teaching of math in New York City’s schools. The group
called for a number of reforms, including:
complete review of math curricula, matching only prescribed
textbooks in use with more teacher selection to meet the needs
of their students.
reliance on “one-model” curricula and teacher guides
currently in use in many of the City’s schools and more
reliance on teacher’s own understanding of math.
time in the school day for teachers to share successful lessons
with each other.
in the school program to enable new teachers to engage in more
discussions of exemplary practices throughout the grades, not
just in 4th and 8th grades.
professional development in math content, math pedagogy, and
management of math classrooms both for teachers and for administrators
who are not prepared to evaluate math teaching.
primary focus on middle schools where most students are lost,
not neglecting a strong elementary school foundation to build
initial math learning skills.
A change in the current proscriptive certification regulations
to enable more rapid induction of new teachers, including expansion
of the recently approved “math immersion” programs.
Finally, a city-wide Master Plan linking higher education institutions
with their neighboring school districts. Consortium members
insisted that…“inspiration be kept alive”...by
means of a city-wide K-16 plan involving all public and private
Ross is Dean of the School of Education at St. John’s
University. Participants of the consortium included: Professors
Bruce Vogeli (Teacher’s College); David Foys and Rosamond
Welchman (Brooklyn College); Judith McVarnish, Kenneth Goldberg
and Joseph Porzio(NYU); Leonard Ciaccio (College of Staten Island);
Deborah Jensen (Wagner College); Rowland Hughs (Fordham); Regina
Mistretta and Barbara Signer(St. John’s); Ruth Pagerey
and Roseanne DeFabio (NYS Education Dept.); Carol Gresser (former
President, NYC BOE).
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