Board Of Education Ignores Parent's and Mathematician's Pleas
Plans to Approve $9 Million to Fund Instructional and
Professional Development Supporting Fuzzy Math

NYC HOLD Press Release, January 22, 2002

January 22, 2002

Contact: Elizabeth Carson, Co-Founder, NYC HOLD
Phone: 212.529.1302; cell: 917.208.7153; E-mail:

At the next Calendar meeting, Wednesday evening, January 23, the NYC Board of Education will consider approval of two resolutions submitted by Chancellor Levy (agenda items #1 and #2 ) to approve over $9 million in contracts supporting the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Standards-based programs and professional development, known as "fuzzy" or "constructivist" math. One contract is a continuance of services provided by Technical Education Research Center (TERC), supporting the implementation of their own fuzzy math program, used in Districts #2, #10 and #15.

The programs have regularly come under fire by NYC parents and mathematicians over the past several years.

The proposed contracts are a slap in the face to every parent who has spent untold hours tutoring their child, or thousands of dollars on private or institutional tutoring. BOE expenditures on additional fuzzy math instruction and professional development is a blatant act of disregard for the concerns of the many parents who have taken the time to articulate their objections to these programs, to school, district and Central Board officials, who have pleaded for alternative more rigorous, skills based programs, who have made good faith attempts to work through the system to ensure their children receive quality mathematics instruction.

The Board's continued refusal to consider the expertise of distinguished NYC mathematicians and scientists, who have roundly denounced the programs, represents an incredible act of arrogance and flies in the face of reason. The Board has been given clear and compelling evidence of egregious flaws in NCTM Standards-based programs such as Investigations in Number, Data and Space (TERC), Everyday Math, Connected Mathematics Project (CMP), Math in Context, Mathematics Modeling Our World (ARISE), Interactive Mathematics Project (IMP), Math Trailblazers.

According to one report, the programs are now used in over 50% of NYC public schools.

The Chancellor and the members of the Central Board have received countless letters and heard compelling testimony from concerned parents, mathematicians and scientists. The Chancellor and Board members and top education officials have received numerous references with which to inform themselves of the controversial aspects of the NCTM Standards-based programs, the history of implementation, parental objections, and the program's ultimate failure in other communities across the country.

The Chancellor and the members of the Central Board have ignored repeated requests for their attendance to hear concerned parents' and mathematicians' testimony to the District 2 school board ,regarding TERC, CMP and ARISE. The Chancellor and the members of the Central Board chose to ignore invitations to attend the NYC HOLD Math Forum held at the NYU Law School last June. They turned down an opportunity to hear a panel of distinguished mathematicians and scientists from Harvard, NYU, CUNY and the University of Rochester present their critical analysis of the NTCM Standards-based programs and respond to questions and comments from an audience of over 300 concerned NYC parents.

The continuation of Central Board support for fuzzy math represents a complete and utter lack of responsiveness and accountability to the city schools community.


Regular Calendar Meeting of the NYC Board of Education Wednesday, January 23, 2001, 6:00 pm. Hall of the Board, 110 Livingston Street, Brooklyn

On Wednesday, the Board of Education will consider two important resolutions to approve a total allocation of $9,150,423 for instructional support and professional development in constructivist math. Several of the proposed Vendors with the largest contract amounts are closely associated with NCTM Standards-Based programs and teaching practices. The full agenda can be accessed at

The Chancellor presents for adoption:

[ITEM #1] to enter into agreements with vendors to provide approximately $9 million for instructional and professional development services in mathematics for a period commencing on July 1, 2002 through June 30, 2005. The estimated annual amount of $3,050,141, chargeable to appropriate tax levy and/or reimbursable budget codes, object code 689, contract code 24. Total allocation: $9,150,423

[ITEM #2] to enter into an agreement with TERC to provide professional development services in mathematics. Three districts have requested the additional support from TERC : Districts #2, #10 and #15. This agreement will serve as an extension of the current 3 year BOE contract with TERC for professional development services (RFP1B098- issues during 1998-99): "Investigation's Workshops for Transforming Mathematics" Total allocation: $280,000

Several of the Vendors who are set to provide instructional and professional development are directly connected with:

*NCTM standards-based program implementations (eg TERC, Everyday Math, CMP, Math in Context, ARISE, IMP, Math Connections. Math Trailblazers)) *support for the NYC Editions of the New Standards Performance Standards, which fully endorse NCTM standards-based programs * constructivist teacher training and research which supports the implementation of NCTM Standards-based programs

Below several of the Vendors are listed, who have worked closely with District 2 in the implementation of TERC, CMP and ARISE and New Standards development and adoption.

Marilyn Burns Education Associates, Inc. Proposed total amount of funding over 3 years: $770,000

Marilyn Burns is the author of the teacher resource manual, Writing in Math Class (Math Solutions Publications, 1995) She is named a partner on District 2's NSF 5 year $3.5 million teacher enhancement grant which supports the implementation of TERC and CMP in District 2 schools. Annual reports for 1999 and 2000 alone, indicate NSF grant dollars funded 3,840 hours of professional development, "Math Solutions" provided by Marilyn Burns Assoc. See

Mathematics in the City, CUNY proposed total amount of funding over 3 years: approx. $1.2 million

Catherine Fosnot is the director of Math in the City, a research and development project which provides teacher training in constructivist practice, aligned with the NCTM Standards. Catherine Fosnot is the Co-Principal Investigator on the District 2 NSF grant supporting TERC and CMP. Annual reports for 1999 and 2000 alone, indicate NSF grant dollars funded 7,8000 hours of constructivist teacher training in Fosnot's Math in the City and Summer Math in the City courses.

New Visions for Public Schools proposed total amount of funding over 3 years: approx. $1.2 million

New Visions has supported NYC school districts (including District #2)to align curriculum and practice to the NYC New Standards Performance Standards in Mathematics, which in turn are aligned with the NCTM Standards.

New Visions has developed teacher training programs to support the NCTM Standards-Based programs including the Real World Mathematics Summer Institute. New Visions is working with Districts 5,9,13 and 19 funded NSF grant to "transform middle school mathematics instruction.. from a traditional learn-by-rote model to an inquiry-based model." New Visions developed a video series, entitled "Approaching the Vision of NCTM Standards."

RFP TITLE: Instruction And Professional Development In Mathematics
PROPOSAL DUE DATE & TIME: November 2, 2001, @ 11:30 AM
PRE-BID CONFERENCE: October 4th, 2001 @ 10:30 AM
65 Court Street, 6th Floor Conference Room, Brooklyn, New York 11201

The New York City Board of Education (NYCBOE) Community School Districts, High School Superintendencies, District 75, the Chancellor's District, and all centrally reporting schools and offices is seeking proposals for requirements contracts from organizations such as accredited colleges, Universities and other organizations which are eligible to provide direct services to students and professional development services/courses to staff in the area of technology assisted mathematics curriculum, instruction and professional development services in a standard-based mathematics curriculum.

The RFP is no longer available on the Web. The contact to request the full text: Dolores Belvin 718.935.5569. The proposal outlined the kinds of professional development the BOE was soliciting:

Component 1 'Real World Mathematics' -professional development aligned with the NYC New Standards Performance Standards in Mathematics and the NCTM Standards; models and activities that support constructivism and real world applications, grades 5-12. opportunities to investigate National Science Foundation mathematics curricula. (note: the is no such thing, the NSF funds the development of NCTM Standards-based programs only, the NSF does not endorse nor do they own the math programs) Proposers must be able to offer the courses as designed by the Real World Math Advisory Council; -requires SELF monitoring and SELF evaluation!!!

Component 2: Technology Assisted Mathematics Curriculum

Component 3:Mathematics Professional Development Services Must be based on standards that include the NCTM Standards; must support a constructivist model,.. Must support schools or district's use of "NSF validated" mathematics curricula.*

*note: The National Science Foundation does not validate curricula.

Return to the NYC HOLD main page or the NYC HOLD News page.