I was talking to lots of people today at Quarry Park's Calgary Public Library / Remington YMCA. We talked about many things. No surprise, math came up quite a bit!
People are hearing that knowledge of math facts isn't in the curriculum. I'm helping people to understand that isn't quite true. To solve the problem of kids not knowing math facts, candidates have to understand exactly where the problem lies! I do.
I'm sharing with people just how/where recall of math facts is explicitly stated in the curriculum. I'm also pointing out that if it's in the curriculum, teachers are expected to, and do teach it. I know plenty of teachers and I know that the great majority of them 'get it". They do think that knowing math facts is important. So what's the hold-up?
Well, it's in the curriculum, but it isn't carefully monitored. Trustee candidates will need some understanding of Board functioning if they hope to change how well children know math facts. I have this understanding!
Parents need reassurance that their child does have an automatic answer when asked what "6+9 is ...?" or "7X8 is ...?" They know intuitively that children need automatic recall to allow them to be good at problem solving and understanding higher math. Parents' intuition just happens to be consistent with scientific knowledge of how working memory and reasoning are both part of math success!
So, in my conversations with voters, I explain what it is that the Board of Trustees can do. We can dig deeper into what we expect for the monitoring of Math achievement. The Chief Superintendent can provide the public with the reassurance if the Board of Trustees asks for it. We can say that this is part of the curriculum which is a priority for our parents and we want to monitor it specifically. My understanding of how the governance and oversight systems work means we will have an effective Board. I also have expertise in assessment and measurement. So with me as a Trustee, we really can make a big difference.
When I'm elected, I'll work with my Board colleagues and the Chief Superintendent to make sure that kids learn the basics. I'm not talking "back to the basics" I'm talking "don't forget the basics"!
There's one more BIG thing the Board of Trustees can do about Math. And that's about the recently developed Math Strategy. But it's going to need a lengthy Blog post all of it's own. Watch for it here in the coming days, as the election progresses.
AND mark your calendar for October 16th (election day) or get out to vote in advance polls (October 4th to 11th - excluding Thanksgiving).