Re: Math Adds Up At CCNY Teacher Training Program

Letter to the Editor
Education News Update
September 5, 2002

(Published here)

To The Editor:

Your article which highlighted Professor Fosnot and Mathematics in the City neglects to mention what parents and many mathematicians already know - that this program is a wasteland of mathematical content.

In the last few weeks, District 10 (Riverdale) rejected the exact programs being fostered by Professor Fosnot and instituted exclusively in District 2 in Manhattan without parents permission. Your own paper currently runs over 15 advertisements for math tutoring. Parents are investing in traditional math tutoring to teach their children what is not being taught in school.

Professor Fosnot talks about "real world problems, like the swimmers that might have been hit by the boat". Those swimmers must be so happy seeing their "rescuers" discussing and exploring the different options for their safety under the guidance of the well-intentioned, barefoot Professor Fosnot. But there is something to be said about the person who uses well-earned safety skills and just throws a life preserver overboard.

Our students have no one throwing them that life preserver. They are being asked to do math without learning the tools of the trade or the commonly accepted language of the rest of the world that communicates mathematically. I work for the Board of Education and see the damage everyday. Highlighting "Captain" Fosnot is similar to talking about what a great cruise you had on the Titanic. But our students are not surviving this boat ride.

Denise Matava Haffenden
Educational Evaluator/Elementary Teacher
Parent of an Ex-Public School Student
New York City

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