Testimony of Denise Haffenden

to Community School Board 2

January 30, 2001


Good evening.


My name is Denise Matava Haffenden.  Approximately 2 months ago I came to a school board meeting to make a statement regarding my dissatisfaction with the math curriculum in District 2.


I realize that the choice of math curriculum is just symptomatic of many other issues, such as parental involvement, curriculum choice and the roles the elected school board officials play in our childrens lives.


There are others here tonight who will comment, probably for the first time, about their concerns with the math curriculum in District 2.  I want to state my experience so far.


The District and the School Board is never willing to address parental concerns regarding this issue which is to say that parents are expected to rubber stamp decisions already made.  When parents question the implementation of this math curriculum are you saying the parents are upsetting a delicate balance that truly doesn't involve us


If the District and the School Board truly wants to address parental concerns, could you explain the rationalization for denying a math forum?  When board members, John Crossmans stated that he has faith in this board, yet his child is still being tutored, and Doug Robinson's stated that math was too academic and lofty a subject for the parents; why was the logical solution to shut down the forum, withholding information that might answer their questions.  .It seems the only answer we get is that it will be studied and looked into.  And unfortunately for us parents, time moves on.  It seems they've adopted the waiting game, our kids will move on and the next group of parents, who start to realize that their kids are deficient in math skills, will turn to this Board to get answers.  And do you know what will happen?  They will hear the myths of long ago, the ones you and I are being weaned on right now.  Such as:


Once upon a time there was a bad teacher who despite so much staff development couldn't teach the children math, or what about the other one, parents who didn't go to math night didn't get to hear the Gospel of TERC according to Lucy.  These parents will miss out on hearing the superstition that gets passed on from generation to generation:  Don't ever mix TERC with traditional math.  Your kids scores will go down!


Our kids have only one opportunity for their childhood experiences.  Based on what you know, do you really feel comfortable having your child's future depend on people who are not even willing to hear your concerns and delay and stall at every opportunity until we go away?


If the District is not willing or able to discuss math in a unified and open forum, then maybe parents and mathematicians should sponsor the math forum.  Maybe we should have a math committee to evaluate and research curriculum.  And maybe we should evaluate their roles as our representatives because we represent public education.