“Mathematical knowledge adds vigor to the mind, frees it from prejudice, credulity, and superstition.” – John Arbuthnot, 1667-1735
Let’s set the record straight about the 3rd Grade Math Book! Elementary math books were approved in November by the SBOE, with the exception of a 3rd Grade Math Book in an elementary series called Everyday Math. Seven board members voted (one member absent) to reject the book saying, “I do not have to give a reason.” (see attachment)
• At least thirteen schools in my district are using Everyday Math with success.
• Dallas ISD piloted the books in 1996, and fully implemented the series in 2002.
• Their results: From 2003-07, Grade 3 improved 11.1 percent, Grade 4 improved 31.7 percent, and Grade 5 improved 41.9 percent.
• Another school found that Saxon Math books were not showing the results they wanted. Everyday Math books were piloted and are currently being implemented.
• Everyday Math Grade 3 and its series were recommended by the State Math review panel because it met 100 percent of the TEKS curriculum, accuracy and binding requirements.
• The Commissioner of Education recommended all the math books in his letter to the Board (including Everyday Math books).
• Several outstanding private schools in my area use the books with success.
• Teachers and students report that calculators are not used (only introduced).
• Multiplication tables go up as high as 1,000.
• Approximately 60 school districts in Texas use the books.
Because there was no reason given for rejecting the book, the six members voting for the book requested a minority report to be put into the minutes of the November 2007 meeting. Regretfully, at the January meeting, this majority voting block of members decided to expunge the report from our public minutes. Many felt this was an unusual action and a form of “censorship.” Therefore, the following is the minority report from our November meeting:
“The Board on November 16 voted on the Everyday Math, Grade 3 textbook with one member absent, one abstaining – 7-6. The six members that voted for the book requested a minority report to be put in the minutes. These members believe Everyday Math, Grade 3 meets all requirements to be eligible for the conforming list of math books. The publisher agreed to add and correct all concerns the board had requested. The six also believe this action and failure to follow the law was unprecedented. The Everyday Math, Grade 3 book should have been on the conforming list because it meets 100 percent of the curriculum standards. Regretfully, the prevailing side refused to give a reason for their vote to reject, saying: “I don’t need to give an explanation.” The members had received messages from school districts that were using Everyday Math requesting the board to adopt the book. The six members urged the Board to support the book, especially since the publisher was willing to add and correct and work with the Board to meet their concerns. The result was to reject with no reason by 7-6.”
Traditionally, the SBOE knows the importance of allowing maximum choice in providing districts and teachers with tools to reach all kinds of children, while also providing information about whether a textbook covers the curriculum. Therefore, school boards are encouraged to ask the Commissioner of Education to use his waiver authority for the 3rd Grade Everyday Math book.
Email: TEAINFO@tea.state.tx.us or (512) 463-8985.
Please feel free to call me if you have any questions…I remain,
Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, SBOE, Dist. 12
Member since 1984, Chair from 2003-07
The Board has seldom rejected a book.
Example: In 2001, the SBOE rejected an environmental science book. The publisher would not add and correct concerns of the Board, such as blaming the Industrial Age and Christianity for the problems with the environment. When the Board asked them to give balance to this claim with another opinion, they refused. This was the reason the Board voted to reject. A lawsuit was brought against the Board that later failed.