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Local Parents Worried about Elem. School Math Lessons

school mathSPRINGFIELD (WGGB) — Concerns tonight from local parents about a Springfield Elementary School.

Some parents claim the school is focusing so much attention on math, educators are neglecting to teach their kids any other subjects – but school officials say that’s just not the case.

Reading, wRiting and (a)Rithmatic – the 3 Rr’s of education.

But not according to parent Kristine Benitez – who’s fourth grade son, Tevon, goes to school here at Brightwood Elementary.

“He says mom we don’t have reading, we don’t have science, we don’t have social studies, we’re just doing math, math, math,” said Benitez.

Brightwood is level 4, meaning it’s one of the lower performing schools in the state.

The school acknowledged there’s been a recent emphasis on math, especially with the state mandated MCAS test coming up in May, but more importantly it comes down to a new way of teaching called integration of subjects.

“Just for example if in social studies you have a project where you have to look at a culture, there might be a component of that assignment that has to do with numbers,” explained Azell Cavaan,  Chief Communications Officer for Springfield Public Schools.

Likewise, an English or reading comprehension class would incorporate math as well… because math incorporates English and reading comprehension.

Gone are the days when a math question looked like this:  23 x 18 =

Instead, your 4th grader is more likely to see it expressed this way: Haley swam 23 laps for 18 days. What’s the total number of laps Haley swam?

“It’s something that educators are doing more and more of because you realize in the real world you don’t do math from 10:15 to 11:45 each day and then no longer do you have to be concerned with it,” said Cavaan.

Still, Benitez isn’t convinced and says other parents are concerned, especially when their kids are telling them they’re learning math from their writing and the reading teachers.

“Any information that goes on with our child’s education we should be aware of it and any changes of our children’s education we should be fully aware of it,” said Benitez.

It’s one math problem without an easy answer.

Brightwood Elementary did something similar earlier this spring before the English Language Arts portion of the MCAS… focusing on reading and writing.


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