School board approves controversial math curriculum
March 26, 2010
By Chantelle Lusebrink
NEW — 4:54 p.m. March 26, 2010
After a nearly two-year process, Issaquah School Board members voted 4-1 Wednesday to adopt Key Curriculum Press’ Discovering Mathematics algebra and geometry books for high schoolers.
The only dissenting vote was board member Chad Magendanz, who said he felt the process used to select the materials by the district’s teacher-driven Math Adoption Committee could have been more thorough.
He also questioned meeting minutes of the Math Adoption Committee vote taken more than a year ago, where several teachers were split between two texts, and then all of them decided on one book with few notes entered into the minutes between the two votes.
Several parents, teachers and mathematics professionals spoke during a divisive public comment session. Many parents said they hoped district officials would reconsider the other considered textbook, Holt Mathematics, because they felt it took a more traditional approach.
However, the members of the adoption committee said the Discovering Mathematics series would best allow them to teach all students because it provides a balanced approach to teaching mathematics.
Teachers said that while it uses an inquiry-based approach that allows students to learn math using real-life applications and alternate ways to solve problems at times, it also has traditional mastery-based components, like examples and drills.
The books will replace the district’s aging College Prep Mathematics algebra and geometry books for high school students, which no longer align with state requirements for mathematics.
Teachers will begin intensive summer training sessions to learn how to work with the materials and they will be available for student use this fall.