Education

New California Math Curriculum Close to Implementation

By Robert Rothman — October 28, 1987 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

California’s new mathematics curriculum moved a step closer to implementation this month as the state department of education approved two more of the elementary-school textbook series revised to meet specific state standards.

The approval of series by Addison-Wesley Publishing Company Inc. and Silver Burdett & Ginn brings to six the number accepted since last year’s controversial decision by the California State Board of Education to reject all of the elementary-mathematics textbooks submitted to it for adoption.

If the board ratifies the department’s decision next month, officials said, the state can begin full implementation of its new curriculum, which stresses hands-on and cooperative learning over rote drill.

The board has already adopted revised series submitted by the Open Court Publishing Company; Holt, Rinehart & Winston Inc.; D.C. Heath and Company; and Scott, Foresman & Company.

“We have made good progress toward our long-term goal” of curriculum reform, said Francie Alexander, director of the department’s office of curriculum framework and textbook development. She called the books approved “a sharp departure from what is there presently.”

Ms. Alexander noted, however, that the curricular-reform effort had been hampered this past summer when Gov. George Deukmejian vetoed funds intended for use in staff-development programs to train teachers in the new math framework.

“That was a setback to our whole staff-development effort,” she said. “Everything is going to take longer.”

Some districts and publishers are conducting inservice workshops on the new program on their own, she said.

Process of Revision

Following the recommendation of its advisory commission on curriculum development, the state board in 1986 rejected all 14 of the K-8 math series submitted for adoption, and gave publishers one year to revise them. (See Education Week, Oct. 15, 1986.)

Over the past year, state officials have met with publishers to discuss changes needed to meet state curricular guidelines. During the course of these discussions, eight publishers decided not to go through the entire process. While reasons varied, industry officials said that many publishers had decided that the additional investment required for revisions--in some cases, up to $2 million--would not pay off.

“We were discouraging to some of them,” said Joan Akers, chairman of the math-subject-matter committee of the state’s curriculum commission.

“Some did not show much promise of succeeding.”

Those who stayed with the process had to make relatively few changes, Ms. Akers noted, but those that were required were substantive.

In most cases, she said, publishers had to include in student editions--not just in teacher’s guides--an indication of which materials could be used in certain lessons and the ways students could work together and discuss the problems.

“The books should not just present information,” Ms. Akers said. “They should get students involved in investigatory activities.”

Long-Term Effect

While California officials have touted their curriculum framework as a national model, it is unclear what effect their textbook-adoption process will have on the rest of the country.

Only two states--Mississippi and Oregon--are scheduled to adopt math textbooks in 1988. In the other 19 states that adopt texts statewide, schools must choose from among previously approved editions.

In the rest of the states, publishers of the six series approved in California can present districts with two editions--the one that was rejected by the California board in 1986, and the one that was accepted in 1987, noted Donald A. Eklund, vice president of the school division of the Association of American Publishers.

“Districts will look at their framework and decide which of the two series most closely matches it,” he said.

At least one publisher--Open Court--will sell only the edition the California board approved, according to Richard Leffingwell, director of math for the company.

Ms. Akers predicted that most educators will go along with the California board. “There is pretty much a national consensus that [the framework represents] what should be in a math program,” she said.

Shirley M. Frye, president-elect of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, agreed but also noted that math educators are studying the new textbooks to determine whether they actually reflect the framework.

“The California framework is an excellent, forward-looking document,” she said.

“But just having a document does not necessarily ensure that changes occur.”

A version of this article appeared in the October 28, 1987 edition of Education Week as New California Math Curriculum Close to Implementation

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Nearly a Million Kids Vaccinated in Week 1, White House Says
Experts say there are signs that it will be difficult to sustain the initial momentum.
4 min read
Leo Hahn, 11, gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Last week, U.S. health officials gave the final signoff to Pfizer's kid-size COVID-19 shot, a milestone that opened a major expansion of the nation's vaccination campaign to children as young as 5. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Education How Schools Are Getting Kids the COVID Shot, and Why Some Aren’t
Some district leaders say offering vaccine clinics, with the involvement of trusted school staff, is key to helping overcome hesitancy.
5 min read
A girl walks outside of a mobile vaccine unit after getting the first dose of her COVID-19 vaccine, outside P.S. 277, Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
Education Biden Administration Urges Schools to Provide COVID-19 Shots, Information for Kids
The Biden administration is encouraging local school districts to host vaccine clinics for kids and information on benefits of the shots.
2 min read
President Joe Biden, and first lady Jill Biden walk to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Biden is spending the weekend at his home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)