After reading, "Is Integrated Math Right for Your Child?" in the Sun Sailor, I felt compelled to write and give you a student's input. I graduated from Wayzata High School in 2002. While I attended East Middle School, I loved math, did very well, and received mostly A's. During my freshman year at the high school that changed drastically. We were one of the first classes that integrated math was introduced to. If you were lucky enough to have taken advance math in 8th grade, then you could move on to regular math courses in 9th grade. Unfortunately, many of us were not that lucky. The majority of us, me included, were forced into taking integrated math.
From the very first day I walked into math class, I knew I was in trouble. The teachers were very nice, do not get me wrong, but they thought the books would teach us and the books thought the teacher would teach us. The result of this was, we did not get taught! This is when my grades in math took a nose dive. I struggled with math for three years. The only way I passed was by getting a tutor to teach me what I should have been taught in class.
Dr. Lawrence Gray from the University of Minnesota states that if you took integrated math, you would not do as well in college math. This is true for many other colleges as well. For family reasons, I decided to attend North Hennepin Community College from the fall of 2002 to the summer of 2004 to obtain an Associate in Arts Degree. I remember walking into the placement test that fall. The lady that checked in the students asked where we attended high school and what type of math we took. I told her, "Wayzata" and "Integrated Math." She looked at me and sadly shook her head saying that because of the math program I took in high school, I would have a lot of trouble with their math. Sure enough, as I talked to Wayzata students that I knew that went on to college, they were not placed in Freshman Math, including myself. We were forced to take an intermediate math just so they could re-teach us. Not only did I have to use my valuable time to take this course, I also had to pay for it. It didn't even count towards my degree. While talking to many math teachers, I have discovered that this was a very common problem with the integrated program.
Last fall I transferred to Saint Cloud State University to finish up my degree for Elementary Education. I was hoping this integrated math problem would not follow me. Sure enough though, the minute I stepped in the Math 193 class I was behind because of my High School math education. I know this math program has hindered my performance in every math class, not to mention that I now dread math, and feel like I am never going to be at the level of my peers.
I am sure most of the people that make the decisions on curriculum in the Wayzata School District must fully support Integrated Math, because why else would we have this program. I think you should send out a survey to all college students who took Integrated Math and see how it has affected their performance. I am willing to bet you will be in for a rude awakening.
We should take some of the money they were going to use to replace Skyward and put it towards an effective math program for our students in Wayzata School District. Please, someone at Wayzata wake up and see what this math program is doing to your students. Do not let this program continue to destroy the students' chances at being successful in college level math.
Concerned Past Student
Wayzata High School Class of 2002
I acknowledge the many fine faculty and staff in the Wayzata school district, parents who are engaged in their children's education, and Wayzata's consistently high standardized test scores and high placement in math competitions. It's a terrific public school district and one reason my wife and I chose to raise our family in Plymouth. But some WHS grads now in college are having trouble doing the math. How widespread is this problem, and how much of the fault belongs to Core-Plus math? No one seems to know for sure, but the Wayzata grads who have e-mailed me so far sure have an opinion.