A Call to Fluency: Speak Up and Be Heard

Here’s a letter I sent to over 100 of my closest friends.  I just wanted to make sure I included YOU…because I know you care!


Good Morning Dear Friends and Math Leaders,

As many of you are aware the Revised Mathematics Standards have been posted for the next 57 days and are open for review and comment.  Our students need your voice to be heard.  The proposed standard changes can be found here.  Please pay close attention to page 3 where is states:

“Fluency expectations (including the memorization of basic math facts and multiplication tables) made explicit, grades K-5

​I am extremely fortunate and thankful to be part of the working committee that prepared and revised these standards. Throughout our work over the past 2 months, the thought of including “the memorization of basic facts and times tables” was never discussed or proposed. So how did it get included and who made the decision for its inclusion?

I am incensed and truly disappointed in “trusting the process”, by what has transpired.

This statement has been included as an after-fact and is not supported by the working committee, research or the math education community.  The inclusion of memorization will undo all the hard work we have accomplished over the past 4 years. ​In addition, it will completely undermine the work of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Common Core State Standards writers, the educators who worked so hard on our Instruction Frameworks each summer, the Georgia Mathematics Advisory Council, the Georgia Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics, and frankly, anyone involved in mathematics reform.

Districts, states, and countries are continuing to look towards Georgia for leadership in the field of mathematics education.  Our actions within the next 57 days will resonate far beyond our borders and for years beyond today.  We cannot and must not go backwards.

​In reviewing the executive summary you will find the following statement:

“A Working Committee representing K-12 Georgia public school teachers, post-secondary staff, parents, and instructional leaders from across the state made revisions to the standards based on public feedback and recommendations from survey results for standards with less than 90% approval”. 

What’s not known, but present in the data posted on the Georgia Department of Education website:

  • The 90% approval rate means 10% did not approve.
  • Who are the 10%?
  • They are 1/10 of a percent (0.01) of the 107,000 teachers currently teaching in Georgia.  This means that 0.01% of teachers will make the rest of us change what we know is best for students. Sadly, 110 teachers’ voices can have that much power. My concern is that they don’t represent the voice of you, me, or the other 107,000 teachers across our state or beyond.

Your call to action…Please take 5 minutes and complete the following survey.  In the comment box please voice your disapproval in the memorization of basic facts and multiplication tables.​

http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1867786/Math-Standards-Review-Survey

Our voices must be heard and our students need us more than ever.  Collectively we will be heard!  All of us are stronger than one of us.

​Much love my friends!​

Graham​

ps. Please feel free to pass this on to help promote best practice and reasoning in mathematics.

About gfletchy

K-8 math consumer trying to listen and learn each day. Stay thirsty my friends!
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7 Responses to A Call to Fluency: Speak Up and Be Heard

  1. Cleargrace says:

    Just yesterday I participated in an activity to review Algebra II SPGs for next year. It is interesting to me how one strong voice – even if it is not the voice of majority, or consensus – can influence the outcome of the group. There was a time that I felt memorized facts were critical to fluency as students moved they math. No more! Fluency comes from understanding. Flexibility and innovation comes from understanding – not rote memorization. The other important thing I now realize is the memorization is not possible for many students for many reasons, so they must understand – it’s the only way they can remember! Thanks for being a rational thinking being in the process!

    • gfletchy says:

      Thanks for sharing Cleargrace!!! As always, I really appreciate and respect your high school perspective on things. You really help solidify my belief that there is no upper level or lower level math…math is math! You’ve brought up a really interesting point here, which is that we might be asking students to do something that are unable to do…memorize.
      I can’t help but think about the lasting impact this decision will have on your students when they get to you. You see and live the negative effects of procedural thinking in GA. My hope is that this time…majority rules. Or at least the majority’s voice is heard.

  2. jenisesexton says:

    Reblogged this on Elementary Teacher in Middle School and commented:
    Standing with you Graham and everyone else for what’s best for kids!

  3. turtletoms says:

    Thanks, Graham, for sharing your voice. When you take the survey, you can agree with adoption of proposed standards and all that goes along with that, or you can disagree and state that you are quite happy with the standards as they have been and would prefer that they not be changed. Enough said.

  4. Joe Schwartz says:

    Will they accept input from out of state?

  5. Beth Tuck says:

    Shocking!

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