To: Chancellor Levy, Members of the Board of Education of the City of New York

Date: January 23, 2002


By E-Mail


I am the mother of a 3rd and 6th grader in the the NYC public schools and I urge you to write a report exposing this ghastly plan to waste over $9 million on the TERC and NCTM Standards-based math programs that have proven to be a disaster and universally condemned by math professionals.


  I have been tutoring my own children for about 3 years because I noticed that they were not getting math in school.  Their composition books labelled "Math" stay virtually empty for the whole year.  That is because they are too busy playing games made out of little pieces of paper.  They spend more time making the game pieces than learning math.  My children have learned more math from playing monopoly and cards than from the inane games they have had to play from 1st grade onwards.  There is little practice of addition, subtraction, multiplication or division.  The teachers spend very little time, if any, on telling time and using money. Instead, the teachers teach "concepts" like 36 = 3 tens + 6 ones for the entire year and then spend the next year reviewing last years' "concepts" and learning "new concepts" like 36 = 6 groups of 6's, but never learning multiplication tables unless someone outside of school teaches them. 


I feel that we are like the book people from Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (the temperature at which paper burns) who fled into the forests with their precious books to keep them from being destroyed by the government.  Here, in NYC, there are no math textbooks, only workbooks with hardly any numbers in them at all!  While my children occasionally have a teacher brave enough to "supplement" the NCTM and TERC methods they are ordered to teach with real math that will actually help them in real life and on real standardized tests, other teachers have actually expressed fear from diverting from the NCTM and TERC programs in any way.


 I sincerely hope you can help to expose the NCTM, TERC and other so-called "new math" programs for the shams that they are.  The $9 million would be more useful in supplying every public school child with an abacus combined with instruction in how to use it.




Diane Goldstein Temkin    

New York City