Bronx Teachers' Lesson

Letters, The Philadelphia Inquirer
April 14, 2004

By Elizabeth Carson

In her April 2 article, "He enhances math by teaching the teachers," Connie Langland neglected to mention why some districts have discontinued using F. Joseph Merlino's program, the Interactive Mathematics Project, and his associated "memorable math teaching approach."

Merlino's Greater Philadelphia Secondary Mathematics Project Web site (forerunner of the Philadelphia Regional IMP) posts a list of school districts still active in the project as well as those that have discontinued its use. Included on the "discontinued" list are most of the Bronx high schools in New York City, where at one time Merlino trained hundreds of math teachers to use IMP.

During the 2000-01 school year, Bronx high school math teachers organized an appeal to halt a districtwide IMP implementation. The teachers argued that IMP, a program originally chosen without their consultation or approval, was fundamentally deficient in preparing their students for the State Regents Math A exit exam, or optional, more advanced high school math courses. The superintendent eventually granted their request to develop an alternative math curriculum. By school year 2002-03, eight of the 12 schools had switched programs.

The Bronx history is one sad example of the terrible waste, mismanagement and irreparable damage to children's educations associated with ill-informed adoptions of integrated math, which was indeed a "memorable math teaching approach" for Bronx teachers and administrators, who now know better.

Elizabeth Carson
Co-Founder, NYC HOLD
New York, N.Y.

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