From a parent: I would like to see the school committee and administration fix a math curriculum problem. Many of us (from all three middle schools) have heard the middle school math curriculum philosophy several times. We have gone to the presentations, coffees and had private meetings. We have given the program a chance. Unfortunately, the program claims have not panned out.
Andover middle schools don't have an advanced math program. When I discuss this with colleagues and friends in other towns, people are shocked. Andover's excellent school system has the potential to produce several outstanding engineers, scientists, and other math-based professionals. We have denied the classes of 2009 on, advanced math starting in the 7th grade. What is the cost? Kids are bored and "tune-out" from the subject. They have to wait to be consistently challenged until high school. Now, even the high school curriculum is changing.
We have heard the arguments of the administration for the last 4 years. We waited patiently to see if the "no-leveled" math strategy would work. By my view of the world, it has not. I spent the last 3 years volunteering at the Wood Hill Middle School teaching a subset of the students "advanced math". I heard many times "wow this is hard - it's never been hard for me before". The teachers told me they heard the same comments. It's a shame to have some segment of the student population LEFT BEHIND! I'd say it's 10-20% of the kids depending on the year/class. I understand that the philosophy of leaving the kids together and bringing them all along at their own rate. Nice idea, but it didn't work in practice (from the evidence I and others have seen).
Parents in other excellent school districts, like Boxford and Acton, would not allow advanced math to be eliminated. They fought with the schools to keep the advanced middle school math. Andover parents circulated a petition 3 years ago that had at least 300 parent signatures.
Many Andover parents and taxpayers would like the administration and the school committee to address this issue. We need to get beyond the philosophy of the current strategy and look at the reality that students are being left behind. Our society needs all the scientists and engineers we can get to keep our country strong. Please help fix this!