How do we know Bridges is the best math curriculum for BCS?
By: Observer Editorial Team
The Beaufort County Board of Education voted recently to adopt a new math curriculum for Beaufort County schools. It passed 7-2 with all the incumbents voting yes and two newly elected conservatives voting no. Newly elected Gary Carlton voted yes.
We were disappointed that the Board of Education adopted the “Bridges” math curriculum, but even more disappointed that newly elected Gary Carlton voted for the motion.
There has been significant evidence produced that the Bridges program in infused with too much “wokeism.” To our knowledge it has not been field tested in any Beaufort County schools in a valid research framework. The board was told that a survey had been done but only anecdotal evidence was reported. The board should have asked for a research design to be developed by an outside party and then the data analyzed by an outside party to assess whether there were statistically differences in effectiveness in Bridges compared to other methods. That is true no matter what the subject matter is. This is entirely too much money to spend unless there is a significant improvement in student learning as measured by a standardized research model.
The Superintendent and staff made very weak presentations of the reasoning for picking this program over some of the others approved by the State Board of Education. Such decisions should be researched based and not simply because a particular group advocated for it. We wanted to see a comprehensive plan for improving student performance in math, including the curriculum, but also the relative cost of various programs, including the cost of staff development. Such was not presented by the Superintendent.
As an aside, our research into Bridges would raise serious questions about the opinion survey they used to validate their recommendation. Bridges is full of entertaining learning activities, including many “manipulatives.” It resonates well with some teachers and probably works well enough for visual learners. But none of this is documented by sound research presented to the board. The education landscape of the last two or three decades is littered with “pretty” entertaining toys that glittered like shinny objects with bells and whistles but produced little significant student learning. So we have to wonder if Bridges is yet another of these fads that is really designed to sell copyrighted goodies.
As is, they are proposing to spend nearly a half million dollars in PK-5 without a rational evaluation of how this program might be better in improving math scores in Beaufort County public schools than some other less expensive packages.
We really need a better curriculum review and adoption process. It is the duty of the Superintendent and his staff to develop this.
Therefore, we hope the board will reconsider its action which passed 7 to 2 and delay full implementation until some sound research is done.
The bottom line is that Bridges is another radical left-wing “wokeism” program that is loaded with CRT, social justice and ESL (emotional, social learning). Our school board should be vigilant to keep this wokeism out of our schools.
Right away, those of us with common sense could see a lot of red flags flying high.
We are talking about the teaching of mathematics in the public schools, grades one thru five. Let us distinguish between what public school students need for mathematics and that of a theoretical physicist. The skill set of mathematics required by the general public encompasses principles developed during the past 5,000 years. This does not include calculus, differential equations and math theory. These subjects are usually taught from the junior year of college thru the masters and PhD programs.
A well-educated public school graduate should be able to do addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions and percentages. The Real Basics. Unless mastered, or until mastered a student should not be “promoted” to the next level nor have their time consumed learning concepts other that the Basics. Those who demonstrate mastery of the basic concepts should then be exposed to algebra, plane geometry, trigonometry, and coordinate geometry. They could balance a check book and understand the benefits and downside of compound interest. The basics of these parts of mathematics have been in use for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
So, how do we get “intervention” into a math program? Why do we need intervention? The Bridges web site explains it. It says things like: “We need a framework for Equity in the Mathematics Classroom”. The words “equitable mathematics instruction” are used several times. Another statement used in the discussion by Bridges personnel includes ….systemic racism, systemic oppression and privilege, and ways in which mathematics can disrupt those systemic issues”. Talk like this has no place in mathematics education and no place in public K-12 education at all.
Back to everyday mathematics - if the basics of mathematics have been in place for hundreds of years, should not mathematics books for use in the public schools be useful and used until the covers fall off? It is incredible to us that no one asked, “What is wrong with the text books we are now using?” The same is true of grammar, history, art, biology and science books. We understand the argument about keeping up with the latest information. To that we say; Unless you know the basics and the history of the subject, the latest information has no intellectual value.
We believe there is no need for these canned curriculums in public school education. Any teacher should be able to prepare lessons to teach to the intent of the State Standard Course of Study within their major or minor course of study if they are competent to teach. Considering what the university systems are turning out and calling educated, there may be problems in the university system. It is the job of the principals and superintendents to make sure their teachers are competent.
With the time lost to Covid and the culture in each community, a one size fits all program is not likely to get the job done. There is not time for Woke indoctrination to be included in any class being taught today. If a teacher teaches ten minutes of “diversity” that is 10 minutes that can never be applied to basic understanding of fundamental math. In order to bring our students up to grade level, we will need basics taught that they can be built on, and math presented at a level that the parents can assist those that are behind. Common Core has proved to be a failure and the infiltration of Socialism and Gender neutrality has set our entire school system back several years. We need common sense leadership and this seems to be lacking on our school board and in our administration.
We’ll have more to say about this later, but it should be pointed out that in all these videos of board discussion we hear not one concern expressed about whether Bridges will challenge our best and brightest students more effectively than another approach. It is they (the best and brightest) that appear to be getting the short end of the stick in all these discussions. Again, more later on that point.
During the Board discussion it was admitted that there were elements of common core and critical race theory in the Bridges books. Some genius made the statement that teachers did not have to use these woke teachings, that they could just go around them. Sounds like eating road kill, just eat around the tire track.
The concept of canned curriculums in public education is a recent invention. It originated from the minds of those who want to dominate, control, and indoctrinate the public to socialism and communism. Canned curriculums did not come from open minded, free speech people who understand that the major part of education involves student exposure to principles, practices, and accurate history so he could analyze and question both his and other’s beliefs. Canned curriculums are full of woke teachings, that divide us as individuals. Canned curriculums force students to believe that “we are all NOT created equal”. This is precisely what the socialists and communists want us to believe. They, then, have an excuse for the government to address whatever the feeling of fake unfairness may be.
Gary Carlton’s vote is a disappointment and a setback to the conservative movement on the school board.
Several people testified that Carlton was firmly set to vote against the Bridges Intervention purchase up to two days before the School Board Meeting. Who got to him? Was he faking us out all the time? Is Gary Carlton one of those people who are influenced by the last person he talked to before he votes.
If Carlton made an honest mistake, he has a way to make things right. As a person who voted for the prevailing motion, he can make a motion for the issue to be voted again (Motion To Reconsider). He can then vote correctly and regain his reputation. The social studies curriculum is still on the table, awaiting some major decisions about that. You will see this disease of “wokeism” raise its ugly head in that debate. If you have contact with Mr. Carlton urge him to hold the line against wokeism and get our students focused on the basics. We offer him these facilities for him to explain his reasoning for his vote on Bridges. He voted contrary to the way an overwhelming majority of people who voted for him would have voted and he owes them an explanation.
There is a lot of work to be done in our public school system. To that end, people with strong character, a knowledge of the Constitution of the United States, the State of North Carolina and the Bill of Rights are needed to run for election in the 2024 elections. There are five seats open. We do not recommend approaching either the Democrat or Republican Parties about running for an office. It is better to approach a political figure you trust or the Beaufort County Conservative Club.
For far too long we have not had competitive elections for school board seats. Some of these board members are there simply because nobody ran against them. We need to change that in 2024.
Remember this vote on the math curriculum. Those who sold us out are: Gary Carlton, TW Allen, Eltha Booth, Carolyn Walker and Mac Hodges, Terry Williams, and Terry Draper. Allen, Booth, Walker, Hodges and Draper’s terms will expire in 2024.
To boil all this down, We The People are going to have to stand up to this wokeism nonsense. The most effective way to do this is to monitor how each board member votes. Those who do not have the character to fight it should be replaced in the next election. Folks, we do not want to be seen as radical alarmists, but it is clear to us that the future of our nation is at stake in this issue. Public schools are doing a less that satisfactory job of teaching the basic skills. Beaufort County has more students performing below grade level in the basic subjects. If we do not correct this now the problem will grow to the point of no return and we will not be able to stop it. Social theories are fine to be taught in a comparative process at the university level, but they have no place in K-12 public classrooms. This is an existential problem for our traditional culture.
It is time to put an immediate end to this nonsense and return our school curriculum back to the traditional basics in the core subjects. If we don’t do so, within a few years it will be too late.
John Steed said:
( May 14th, 2023 @ 3:53 pm )
The worst thing about Bridges is that it aligns with the failed Common Core math that has been dumbing down our students. Dr. Phillips told the School Board that Bridges was "not Common Core" but after citizens pointed out that Bridges own website boasted how Bridges aligned with Common Core, Phillips had to walk that back. Now the excuse was that teachers could just delete the Common Core aspects, but how realistic is that when the whole Bridges curricum is designed to be aligned to Common Core?
Our elected school board members need to stop funcionting as rubber stamps for the superintendant and start engaging on these issues to represent the parents and taxpayers who elected them.
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One of the main teachers in this Bridges Math Curriculum is:
Dr. Jenny Bay-Williams
Who is Dr Jenny you ask???
She is on the Education Advisory Board of Teacher2Teacher Global
Why should that concern you???
Teacher2Teacher Global is owned by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation!!!!