TUSD teachers compromise on math textbooks
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Feb 28, 2014 | 2548 views | 2 2 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A compromise between Tracy Unified School District officials and math department heads resulted in the unanimous approval of new math textbooks for every student.

The board voted unanimously, without debate, to adopt the textbooks for kindergarten through eighth grade using My Math and Digits, but questions had been raised about the books for the high school level.

During the regular meeting of the board Jan. 28, a group of teachers voiced objections to the textbooks.

“The pilot teachers do not recommend this adoption,” Dean Medek, math chair at Kimball High, said at the time.

Medek, who was a pilot teacher, explained that the book couldn’t be used electronically, which would be consistent with the adoption of the Common Core State Standards next year, and that the paper version was heavy and cumbersome for the students to carry.

West High math teacher Eric Keating and Tracy High math chair Richard Newton told the board the proposed program was “insufficient.”

During the Jan. 28 meeting, not everyone spoke against the proposed textbooks.

Stein High math teacher Mark Duncan and Hirsch Elementary School math teacher Rechelle Pearlman said they liked the textbooks for their grade levels.

In a letter to the board presented Tuesday, the math department chairs at Tracy, West, Kimball and Stein high schools agreed to support the new textbooks, but only on a temporary basis.

The educators did not explain what had changed between Jan. 28 and Tuesday. The letter stated that the staff would monitor and evaluate the proposed programs throughout the 2014-15 school year to get input from teachers, students and administrators.

Department chairs recommended deciding by March 1, 2015, to either vote to keep the books or consider other available programs.

On Tuesday, Trustee Kelly Lewis said the board should honor that proposal.

“I think this is a fair compromise,” he said.

The board unanimously to approve the adoption of Bridge to Algebra, Algebra 1 and 2 and Geometry textbooks for a year.

If educators choose to seek a different program, the letter Tuesday suggested having all the math teachers, not a selected few, try out two programs during the 2015-16 school year. The final adoption vote would take place no later than April 1, 2016, based on a majority vote by educators.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
March 03, 2014
Interesting to try to understand: so textbooks are being purchased for only 1 year at the high school level? This is not explained in the article. If so, can TUSD afford to purchase all new textbooks after only a year of use? Thank you.
March 19, 2014
The books are consumable so a student will use the Geometry book and write in it throughout the year and then the district will buy a new book the following year for a new student.

The advantage to a system based on consumables is that students aren't charged for damaged or lost books, materials can be updated by the publisher from year to year and those changes go out to students and teachers, and, like in cases like this, adoptions can be done for a single year rather than 7-13 years.

There are downsides too like a huge amount of paper being used.

I'm not sure which way is more expensive.

Hope that helps.

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