Cobb mulls $7.5M for new math materials
by Lindsay Field
April 22, 2013 12:00 AM | 4484 views | 11 11 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Cobb County School Board is expected to approve the purchase of almost $7.5 million in math materials for all grade levels this week in line with the adoption of Common Core Standards.

The multi-million dollar purchase will cover the cost of a little more than 73,000 hardback books, online subscriptions and math resources for teachers and students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

SPLOST III funds are paying for the expense, and with the order being placed over the summer, students and teachers will use the new materials next school year.

Cobb’s Chief Academic Officer Amy Krause said the last math resource purchase was in 2007 for elementary and middle schools and in 2008 for high schools.

This specific purchase comes not only after the six-year review period of math resources in Cobb, but it coincides with the state of Georgia’s adoption the Common Core Standards.

Common Core is replacing Georgia Performance Standards and was adopted by Georgia and 45 other states to help ensure that all students are prepared for college or a career, regardless of the state in which they attended school.

This style of learning and curriculum is meant to change how students participate in their math classes by teaching them the process of learning and not just right or wrong answers.

Krause said the new math resources, like materials in the past, should last another six years.

“It is part of the agreement with the state and CCSD that materials should last for the life of the adoption,” she said.

If any materials don’t last that long, Krause said publishers must guarantee to replace them immediately.

The next big purchase like this due to standard changes will be in English and Language Arts.

Krause said the cost of these materials for almost 108,000 Cobb Schools students will be about $6.9 million for elementary schools, $3.4 million for middle schools and $2.1 million for high schools.

This purchase also would be covered by SPLOST III funds.

When asked why learning materials are needed for review and purchase every six years, Krause said there have been changes in classroom instruction, mostly related to technology.

“Six years is a long time to utilize the same materials,” she said. “Wear and tear on the materials is also a consideration.”

School board feedback

In order to determine which resources to purchase, Krause said her department works closely with teacher and parent groups — representative of each post — to figure out what will be best for Cobb students.

North Cobb’s Kathleen Angelucci said during the board work session last week that she doesn’t believe those individuals are being listened to though.

“I overwhelmingly heard from elementary and middle school teachers this year,” she said. “They said that they felt that the math books chosen are not what’s best for the students.”

One of the complaints was that the new materials might make it too difficult for parents to help their children with school work.

Board Chair Randy Scamihorn, who represents northwest Cobb, said he’s heard the same from teachers in his area.

Krause said she would provide the board with the feedback her department received from committee members.

Angelucci also asked Krause what would happen if Common Core Standards were no longer the guideline.

During this past legislative session, a few state politicians introduced a bill to stop the new standards.

Krause assured Angelucci that while this purchase would allow the district to be in line with state standards, it was still above what is required and should not cause any problems.

David Banks, who represents northeast Cobb, said he didn’t understand why they were buying hardback books and physical resources when so much of it is available online. He told Krause that he feels like schools in his area would benefit better from online versions.

Krause responded by saying that all of the materials they are buying are available online, but regardless of what they purchase, the costs wouldn’t be much different because publishers are charging the same for hardback books as online resources.
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May 15, 2013
Ever Wonder
April 23, 2013
Seeing as how we just keep getting dumber and dumber, perhaps the next "new math materials" should be reprints of textbooks from the 1950s?

Wait, no, Cousin Bobby (R) in Texas has a new book for us to buy
Got Out
April 22, 2013
The only reason Common Core exists is because NCLB was fully implemented and publishers were no longer making money. Big business has to make money, and educational publishing is a HUGE business. Changing the wording and materials doesn't help the teaching. How about taking that 7.5 million and investing in some rock-solid teacher training to re-vamp the institutional instruction that is currently taking place?

Common Core is a Common Swindle.
A little late
April 22, 2013
We have spent the past couple of years and all this year creating our own classwork, homework and tests. These books do not have what we need and are barely utilized. Maybe, CCSD should have thought about materials before we had to create all of our pown the past few years. Anyone who is not a teacher, doesn't realize that the central office is a waste of time, and we can get materials on our own. Thanks but no thanks!
SW Gal
April 22, 2013
Common Core has many flaws and should NOT be implemented! The most alarming piece of Common Core (and there are many negatives) is the fact that our children's data, including disciplinary records & parents salaries will be tracked by IN BLOOM, a Gates company, from "cradle to grave" without parents' consent!! Our Governor and others seem to be reluctant to do the right thing because "IN BLOOM" the Bill Gates company is moving to Atlanta. While we appreciate that our state wants to attract new business, is that a good enough reason to force our children and teachers to implement courses that many experts testify are unproven and may, in fact, make our children less ready for college? Go to "stop common core" for more information.
math teacher
April 22, 2013
I do not have any books or other materials this school year. I create everything we use in the classroom from scratch. The books from last year do not align with the new Common Core standards. This means that no single book contains the correct material. I would need to use 3 separate books for my freshman class to have examples and problems for them to use.

I agree we need to tighten our belts, trust me I have, but I need books in my classroom that I can actually use.
ole man
April 22, 2013
Mathematics is a universal constant and has not changed in over a century.

New text books have pretty pictures and fewer "word problems". Word problems teach a thought process not just crunching numbers. Individual thinking is NOT in line with the dumbing down America.

The back side of computer games is mathematics, space flight more high level math, even cutting cloth or other material to maximize savings requires math.

Why are students so afraid of a subject that is filled with challenges that have not changed.

New books are not needed, just schools that get back to basics.
Get Direct
April 22, 2013
I was trying to help my 6th gr child, who attends what is called a "top notched" east cobb middle school. After showing how to solve the problem with the information that I was taught in the CC system, my child said, "But that is not how my teacher said to do it." And I told my child, "Did I not get the answer correct?"

Example-When dividing fractions, I was told to invert. But no, in 5th gr they first had to go through this lengthy process of drawing a pie and dividing it up. By the time you are in 5th gr, just teach the concept.

Teachers think that parents are not helping. Wrong! Angelucci is right. We have a hard time helping our children when teachers have to use a strange way of going around the world to get to the answer. Somethings in life AND math are just- this is the way it is done.

Technology, as in computers and computer programs, is one thing, but coming up with a new method of dividing fractions is wasteful insanity. It is what it is!
Politicians fault
April 22, 2013
I am a teacher and a parent. The politicians and publishers decide how we are to teach out children. If you are not teaching them the methods we teach them, your child will have it wrong on the test. They are required to show us how to solve the algorithm. That is what you get for allowing politicians to run education. It will get worse with Charter Schools!
Nettie Helen Stemm
April 22, 2013
A few of questions, If you please.

1. How old are the current materials being used for math isntruction?

2. What has changed about math that requires new material? Does 2 plus 2 no longer equal 4?

3. If parents can no longer understand what is being taught, should we not take another, real long hard look at it before we spend 7.5 million dollars?

4. Why is the feedback from the frontline troops, the teachers, not the main source of information for decision making in this case?

5. Can we get feedback from schools using this material? If it is too new to have any experience feedback, are we not taking a huge risk being the test market?

Sorry, but the district has a repuation for wasting money on instructional material and resources that are never fully utilized.
Common Core
April 22, 2013
The new Common Core requires your child be able to draw a picture, solve the problem using the correct method, and write about how they solved the problem. It allows the teachers to gauge if the children truly understand the concepts of what they are doing and why. We don't need books because our school has been doing this for two years and created our own materials. Waste of money because someone will change it all in 5 years anyway.
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