The Opt in Proposal

Mr Trenum has proposed an Opt In for Traditional Math to the school board.

The Proposal

That the Prince William County School Board approve:

That, every parent, upon enrollment of their children in elementary school, will be notified of and given an opportunity to select the mathematics instructional model that they prefer for their children: a classical model based on a traditional math curriculum, a reform-based model based on the Math Investigations curriculum or No Preference. Any children whose parents do not select an option will be considered to be No Preference.

Students whose parents respond that they prefer a particular program will be enrolled in that program. Students whose parents select No Preference will be assigned to an instructional program by the principal as necessary to balance out class sizes.

Students whose parents choose either the classical instructional model or the reform-based instructional model are expected to remain in that program until they complete elementary school or transfer out of the PWCS system. Once a choice is made, re-enrollment each subsequent year will not be required.

Transferring from one program to another will be approved by the principal and will only be permitted if good cause is demonstrated. No Preference students will be given one opportunity to transfer from their assigned program without demonstrating cause. Parents who wish to transfer from one program to the other must notify their school in writing before the end of the current school year. Transfers will normally be effective at the start of the following school year, and will only be permitted in the middle of the school year if adequate space exists in the desired program to accommodate the additional students.

Students who enroll in the classical mathematics course of instruction will be provided with traditional textbooks, either from existing inventories or newly purchased if necessary. Schools will be permitted to select instructional materials for the classical program that they believe best meet their students needs from the list of VA DOE approved textbooks.

Commentary
The only possible negative with this proposal is that it creates two instructional programs in PWC schools. Unfortunately, given central office staff’s complete commitment to and belief in the Investigations approach, I tend to think that any approach which leaves central office staff in control of instructional content will further the mandate to adhere to Investigations. This approach allows central office to mandate content in the Investigations program, grants teachers the flexibility to develop programs they believe will meet their students needs, and allows parents to choose which approach they believe will best meet their children’s needs.

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