Math program set back North Penn students

Letters, The Philadelphia Inquirer
April 16, 2004

By Trish Gallagher

As a parent in the North Penn School District, I am all too familiar with the damaging effects of the Connected Math program, which F. Joseph Merlino proudly endorses in The Inquirer's April 2 article, "He enhances math by teaching the teachers."

Almost two years ago, our seventh graders who had been subjected to Connected Math turned in the lowest scores ever on a math test that the district had been administering for a decade. Obviously, Connected Math, Merlino's "integrated and memorable math," failed these children miserably. The program was promptly discontinued, but many of these former CMP students are still being tutored. Those who can't afford tutors are struggling in any way they can to try to catch up on the entire year of math education they missed because their teachers were told to act mainly as facilitators while students did group work in math.

Thankfully, the North Penn school board was astute and courageous enough to see the negative effects of Merlino's math curricula and discontinue the use of CMP. I hope that other school boards will learn from the actions of one of Pennsylvania's largest districts and ask for data-based evidence if any of Merlino's new grant money is offered to them. Better yet, dismiss these damaging programs before it is.

Trish Gallagher
Montgomery Township

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