Panel approves new math texts for city pupils

Elementary, middle schools will get the books in fall

April 28, 1999|By Liz Bowie | Liz Bowie,SUN STAFF

Next fall, all pupils in Baltimore elementary and middle schools will use new math textbooks approved last night by the school board.

With the final vote to buy $9 million worth of math textbooks, the board is ending a multimillion-dollar book-buying spree as it tries to replace old math, science, reading and English textbooks throughout the school system.

Officials hope the purchase will increase learning and raise test scores.

Betty Morgan, chief academic officer, said she hopes schools can raise scores on the statewide tests given in third, fifth and eighth grade by 10 percentage points each year for three years.

City schoolchildren test far below every other jurisdiction in the state.

With new textbooks, administrators also want to provide more uniform teaching methods in schools so that pupils who transfer will be using the same books and getting the same type of instruction.

When reform of the school system began in 1997, teachers were using dozens of different texts and teaching methods in the same subject.

But by next fall, those textbooks, some years or decades old, will have been replaced.

In all but a few schools, which have chosen alternative reform programs, the textbooks will be the same.

Sam Stringfield, a board member and a Johns Hopkins University education researcher, said he had asked a respected expert in the teaching of math to assess the math book selections.

"He said these were solid, reasonable choices," Stringfield said.

The assessment was important for a school system that was criticized last year for its failure to use enough national experts when it chose reading textbooks for elementary schools.

With new textbooks, math teachers will receive 60 hours of training this summer and training the next school year.

The board approved the purchase of "Math in My World," published by McGraw Hill for kindergarten through fifth grade, and "Middle School Mathematics," published by Scott Foresman/Addison Wesley.

They chose two other books to complement those that are designed to help pupils learn skills they need to pass state math tests.

Pub Date: 4/28/99

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