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Math, Town by Town


From Alsip to Zion with a hundred other towns in between,
this is the place for math news from your community!

 links to districts' official websites
 links to districts' official board policy manuals
 link to Union local

"Before my son started school, I began researching education. I knew if they couldn't get the math right, they probably wouldn't get anything else right."
-- a parent

PUBLIC
SCHOOLS
CITY OF CHICAGO

COOK COUNTY

DUPAGE COUNTY

LAKE COUNTY

McHENRY COUNTY

KANE COUNTY

DEKALB COUNTY

WILL COUNTY

IROQUOIS AND KANKAKEE COUNTIES

GRUNDY AND KENDALL COUNTIES

OTHER DOWNSTATE

PRIVATE
SCHOOLS
Chicago - Catholic
Chicago - Jewish
Chicago - Other
Suburbs - Catholic
Suburbs - Lutheran
Suburbs - Other
Downstate


Tell us what's happening in YOUR district!

    Readers: We depend on YOU for updates and corrections!

    Tell us what's happening in your town, school district, or school ...

    Your name: (we will NOT post this!)
    Your e-mail address: (we will NOT post this!)
    This is about what school district:


    Thank you for any corrections and updates. Your help makes this a better information service for parents all over the area. Thanks!


CITY OF CHICAGO

CPS Conventional K-8 Schools

  • We are aware of the following CPS schools which are said to use the excellent Saxon Math program:

    • Abbott School
    • De Diego Community Academy, 1313 N Claremont Ave.
    • Marcus Garvey
    • Peck Elementary
    • McAuliffe Elementary
    • Falconer Elementary: From the Christian Science Monitor, May 30, 2000:
      Test scores at Falconer Elementary School in Chicago ...went up so dramatically that the central office suspected its students were cheating. Students retook the test and scored at the same level. (76.9 percent of its third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders scored at or above national norms on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Prior to the use of Saxon only about a third scored at that level.)
    • Please let us know of any others!

  • The CPS has created something called the "Chicago Math and Science Initiative" with a goal of "assuring that high-quality, standards-based mathematics and science instruction is available to every student in every CPS school." The website for this CMSI gives the bad news:
    The mathematics instructional materials being implemented in CMSI Intensive Support schools are:
    Primary Grades Mathematics: Math Trailblazers and Everyday Mathematics
    Middle Grades Mathematics: Connected Mathematics and MathThematics
    According to the CMSI website as of October 2006, here is a list of which of these fuzzy math programs are used in which schools:

      K-6 schools using Everyday Math
      Participating Schools: Abbott Addams Aldridge Alex Haley Acad Altgeld Andersen Comm Acad Attucks Audubon Avalon Park Banneker Barry Barton Beaubien Beidler Belding Bethune Black Magnet Blaine Bond Brentano Brown Buckingham Sp Ed Burke Burnham Acad Caldwell Cameron Canty Cardenas Carpenter Carter Casals Pablo Castellanos Cather Chase Chopin Christopher Claremont Academy Cleveland Clinton Coles Coonley Cooper Copernicus Corkery Crown Comm Acad Cuffe Cullen Davis De Priest Delano Deneen Dever Dewey Disney Magnet Dodge DuBois Dulles Dumas Durkin Park School Dvorak Acad Ebinger Edison Edwards Ellington Ericson Esmond Everett Fairfield Academy Faraday Fermi Fiske Foundations Franklin Magnet Frazier Prep Acad Fuller Funston Gale Comm Acad Gary Gillespie Goldblatt Goudy Graham Gray Gregory Gresham Gunsaulus Academy Hamline Harte Harvard Hay Comm Acad Hedges Hefferan Henderson Henson Herbert Heroes Academic Hinton Howe Hughes L Inter-American Irving Jackson Mahalia Jahn Jamieson Jensen Schola Acad Johns Academy Johnson Joplin Jordan School Key King Kinzie School Kozminski Com Acad LaSalle Lang Acad Lafayette Lathrop Academy Lavizzo Elementary Lawndale Comm Acad Lawrence Lincoln Madison Manierre Marconi Comm Acad Mason May Comm Acad Mayer McAuliffe McCormick McKinley Park Schl Medill Elementary Melody Metcalfe Comm Acad Mireles Mollison Monroe Moos Morrill Morton Career Acad Murphy Murray Lang Acad Natl Tchrs Acad New Field School Newberry Magnet Nicholson North River School Norwood Park O'Toole Ogden Oglesby Onahan Ortiz De Dominguez Otis Paderewski Park Manor Parker Comm Acad Parkside Comm Acad Peterson Pilsen Comm Acad Plamondon Powell Price Pritzker Randolph Elementar Ravenswood Ray Reavis Reed Revere Robinson Roque de Duprey Ross Ruggles Ryder Ryerson Sabin Magnet Salazar Bil Ed Ctr Schiller Schneider Sexton A O Sherman Sherwood Shoesmith Shoop Smith Smyth Songhai South Chicago Comm Spencer Stagg Stockton Swift Talcott Talman School Tarkington Schl Taylor Telpochcalli Thorp O A Acad Till Academy Tilton Tonti Turner-Drew Lang Von Humboldt Wadsworth Warren Washington H Webster Wells Prep West Pullman Westcott Whistler White Woods Academy Yale Yates Young Zapata Academy

      Schools DROPPED from the list of schools using Everyday Math since previous listing:
      Armstrong Ashe Barnard Bass Belmont-Cragin Bradwell Bright Carver Chicago Acad Cook Curtis Fernwood Goodlow Magnet Hendricks Kohn Locke Milton-Brunson Morgan Morse Mt Vernon Namaste Charter Neil North Kenwood Charter Prescott Pullman Walsh Woodlawn Comm

      K-5 schools using Math Trailblazers
      Agassiz Ariel Comm Armour Avondale Beethoven Bontemps Boone Bouchet Academy Brownell Burley Burr Calhoun North Chalmers Clark G R Columbia Explorers Daley Acad De Diego Comm Acad Dett Doolittle East Drake Earle Emmet Field Fulton Galileo Scholastic Goethe Greene Guggenheim H B STOWE Haines Hanson Park Hawthorne Acad Hayt Hearst Herzl Holmes Hurley Jenner Jungman Kanoon Magnet Kellman Corp Comm Kershaw Lara Academy Lewis Libby Linne Lionel Hampton Little Village Lloyd Lovett Lowell Lozano Bilingual Mann Marquette Mays Acad McCorkle McKay Nash Nettelhorst New Sullivan Nixon Nobel O'Keeffe Orozco Academy Overton Parkman Peabody Pershing Magnet Pershing West Piccolo Elementary Pope Princeton A C Pulaski Academy Saucedo Schol Acad Scammon Sheridan Magnet South Loop Stewart Sumner Tanner Trumbull Walsh Waters Wentworth West Park Academy Whitney Williams Multiplex

      Schools DROPPED from the list of schools using Math Trailblazers since previous listing:
      Carnegie De La Cruz Dodge Drummond
      Galapagos Charter (which has adopted Singapore Math instead!!!)
      Gillespie Gladstone Graham Herbert Howe KIPP Ascend Charter Legacy Charter Marconi Pilsen Price Ward Laura

      Grade 6-8 schools using Connected Mathematics Project (CMP)
      Participating Schools: Agassiz Alcott Ames School Andersen Comm Acad Armour Attucks Bass Beethoven Belding Black Magnet Blaine Bond Boone Bouchet Academy Bradwell Brownell Burley Cameron Canter Middle Casals Pablo Castellanos Chalmers Chopin Christopher Claremont Academy Clinton Coles Columbia Explorers Courtenay Daley Acad Davis Delano Dett Dever Dodge Drake Edison Edwards Fairfield Academy Field Fiske Franklin Magnet Fuller Gale Comm Acad Goethe Graham Gray Green Wendell H B STOWE Haines Hanson Park Hay Comm Acad Healy Hearst Hendricks Comm Aca Heroes Academic Inter-American Jackson Acad Jackson Mahalia Jamieson Johns Academy Kanoon Magnet Kellman Corp Comm Lafayette Lavizzo Elementary Linne Little Village Lowell Madero Middle Marquette Marsh McAuliffe McCorkle McKinley Park Schl Monroe Montefiore Special Moos Mozart Nash New Sullivan Nicholson Nixon North River School Northwest Middle O'Keeffe Onahan Paderewski Park Manor Peabody Peirce Perez Peterson Poe Classical Prescott Reed Roque de Duprey Saucedo Schol Acad Scammon Schiller Schmid Sherman Sherwood Shoesmith Smyth Songhai Stewart Stockton Talcott Tarkington Schl Telpochcalli Thorp O A Acad Trumbull Waters Whitney Williams Middle Yates

      Schools DROPPED from the list of schools using Connected Mathematics Project since previous listing:
      Audubon Barnard Bright Carnegie Chase Cuffe Dunne Fort Dearborn Foundations Hawthorne Acad Hefferan Lawndale Comm Acad Marconi Comm Acad Mayer Melody Morgan Mt Vernon Orozco Academy Pasteur Perspectives Charter Pickard Sayre Lang Acad South Loop Tonti Br

      Grade 6-8 schools using MathThematics
      Participating Schools: Abbott Alex Haley Acad Altgeld Ariel Comm Ashe Avalon Park Banneker Barton Beidler Bethune Bontemps Brentano Brown Burnham Acad Burroughs CATALYST ELEM Caldwell Calhoun North Carnegie Carroll Carter Cather Chavez Clark Acad Prep Crown Comm Acad Cullen Davis De La Cruz Deneen Dewey Doolittle East DuBois Dulles Dumas Durkin Park School Dvorak Acad Earle Emmet Ericson Evergreen Acad Evers Faraday Fermi Fulton Galileo Scholastic Gary Gillespie Goldblatt Goodlow Magnet Gregory Guggenheim Hamline Harvard Hayt Hedges Hefferan Henderson Henson Herbert Herzl Hinton Holmes Howe Hurley Jahn Jenner Jensen Schola Acad Johnson Joplin Jordan School Jungman Kershaw King Lara Academy Lathrop Academy Lawrence Lewis Libby Lionel Hampton Logandale Middle Lovett Lozano Bilingual Madison Manierre Mann Marconi Comm Acad Mason May Comm Acad Mays Acad McClellan McKay Metcalfe Comm Acad Mireles Mitchell Mollison Morrill Morton Career Acad Natl Tchrs Acad Nettelhorst Nia Nobel O'Toole Oglesby Overton Parker Comm Acad Parkman Parkside Comm Acad Pershing West Piccolo Elementary Powell Price Princeton A C Pritzker Pulaski Academy Pullman Randolph Elementar Ravenswood Ray Reavis Ross Ruggles Ryder Ryerson Sabin Magnet Salazar Bil Ed Ctr Sexton A O Sherman Smith South Loop Spencer Stagg Sumner Swift Talman School Tanner Taylor Thorp J N Till Academy Tilton Von Humboldt Wadsworth Walsh Ward Laura Warren Wentworth West Pullman Westcott Whistler White Woods Academy Yale Young

      Schools DROPPED from the list of schools using MathThematics since previous listing: Aldridge Anthony Br Burke Cleveland Copernicus Corkery Daley Acad De Priest Ebinger Gladstone Higgins Comm Acad Medill Elementary Mt Greenwood Pope Reinberg Sawyer Scammon Shoop Williams Prep Med

CPS Charter K-8 Schools

    Read details about math and other programs in Chicago charter schools on our page about schools in Chicago.

CPS High Schools

  • Directory of CPS High Schools

  • Hyman Rickover Naval Academy: Rickover's math department chair Scott Fogel told us that the school uses Saxon Math exclusively.

  • Northside College Preparatory High School: Ugh! Northside takes your fondest hopes and dreams for your kids and then crushes them with the dreadful Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP).

  • Corliss High School: Algebra classes at Corliss burden teens with the appalling Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP).

  • Little Village Lawndale "Social Justice High School": Dear Illinois taxpayers, your taxes are being used to pay for this school. So, click here to see the curriculum page (what they inscrutibly label as a "back mapping") for the Social Justice High School and prepare to have your jaw drop. Displayed in the style of an educrat's block chart of curriculum standards, this page announced that indoctrinees, that is, students, will be marinated in such educational "goals" as (copied verbatim!!!):

    • Have an active love for self, culture, identity.
    • Understand need for code switching (huh???)
    • Recognize and challenge their own prejudices and societal stereotypes
    • Make time to read for pleasure (listed as a goal for 11th grade)
    • Read for pleasure (listed as a goal for 12th grade)
    • Set a purpose for reading (listed as a goal for 12th grade)
    • Understand mechanisms of power: name source of power in situations, name victims in situations
    • Effectively deconstruct written text and visual media images for purpose, target audience, and technique (critical of social literacy)
    • Have fluency in use of available institutions and resources: political structures, help/aid organizations public health facilities/environment/housing ...
    • Get to know your community and it's [sic] history
    • Work to form coalitions between you and other community leaders working to represent the array of cultures in the community
    • Identify roles of power (oppressor/victim)
    • Demonstrate knowledge of boundary lines, blocks, ward, key players

    What does not seem to be of much importance at the "Social Justice High School" is knowing anything about using math. Despite the very long bullet list "back mapping" (???) of curriculum goals, including items such as "Identify roles of power (oppressor/victim)", we could find only these two curriculum goals that had anything to do with math:

    • Know how to balance check books and the basic workings of banks
    • Understand how interests work [sic] and know how to budget.

Tell us more!


COOK COUNTY

Cook County regional office of education
Official map of districts

Elementary (15-194)

15 - Palatine
21 - Wheeling
23 - Prospect Heights
25 - Arlington Heights
26 - River Trails
27 - Northbrook
28 - Northbrook
29 - Sunset Ridge
30 - Northbrook/Glenview
31 - West Northfield
34 - Glenview
35 - Glencoe
36 - Winnetka
37 - Avoca
38 - Kenilworth
39 - Wilmette
54 - Schaumburg
57 - Mount Prospect
59 - Arlington Heights
62 - DesPlaines
63 - East Maine
64 - Park Ridge/Niles
65 - Evanston/Skokie
67 - Golf
68 - Skokie
69 - Skokie
70 - Morton Grove
71 - Niles
72 - Fairview
73 - East Prairie
73 1/2 - Skokie
74 - Lincolnwood
78 - Rosemont
79 - Pennoyer
80 - Norridge
81 - Schiller Park
83 - Mannheim
84 - Franklin Park
84 1/2 - Rhodes
85 1/2 - River Grove

86 - Union Ridge
87 - Berkeley
88 - Bellwood
89 - Maywood/Melrose Park/Broadview
90 - River Forest
91 - Forest Park
92 - Lindop
92 1/2 - Westchester
93 - Hillside
94 - Komarek
95 - Brookfield/LaGrange Park
96 - Riverside
97 - Oak Park
98 - Berwyn North
99 - Cicero
100 - South Berwyn
101 - Western Springs
102 - LaGrange
103 - Lyons
104 - Summit
105 - LaGrange
106 - LaGrange Highlands
107 - Pleasantdale
108 - Willow Springs
109 - Indian Springs
110 - Central Stickney
111 - Burbank
113a - Lemont/Bromberek
117 - North Palos
118 - Palos
122 - Ridgeland
123 - Oak Lawn/Hometown
124 - Evergreen Park
125 - Atwood Heights
126 - Alsip/Hazelgreen/Oak Lawn
127 - Worth
127 1/2 - Chicago Ridge
128 - Palos Heights

130 - Blue Island
132 - Calumet Park
133 - Patton
135 - Orland Park
140 - Kirby
142 - Forest Ridge
143 - Midlothian
143 1/2 - Posen/Robbins
144 - Prairie Hills
145 - Arbor Park
146 - Tinley Park
147 - West Harvey / Dixmoor
148 - Dolton
149 - Dolton
150 - South Holland
151 - South Holland
152 - Harvey
152 1/2 - Hazel Crest
153 - Homewood
154 - Thornton
154 1/2 - Burnham
155 - Calumet City
156 - Lincoln
157 - Hoover/Shrum
158 - Lansing
159 - Matteson/Richton Park
160 - Country Club Hills
161 - Flossmoor
162 - Matteson
163 - Park Forest
167 - Brookwood
168 - Sauk Village
169 - Ford Heights
170 - Chicago Heights
171 - Sunnybrook
172 - Sandridge
194 - Steger

High School (200-234)

200 - Oak Park/River Forest
201 - Morton
202 - Evanston
203 - New Trier
204 - Lyons
205 - Thornton
206 - Bloom
207 - Maine
208 - Riverside/Brookfield
209 - Proviso
210 - Lemont
211 - Palatine, Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg
212 - Leyden
214 - Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove, Rolling Meadows, Wheaton
215 - Thornton
217 - Argo
218 - Oak Lawn
219 - Niles, Lincolnwood, Skokie, Morton Grove
220 - Reavis
225 - Glenbrook
227 - Rich
228 - Bremen
229 - Oak Lawn
230 - Orland Park
231 - Evergreen Park
233 - Homewood/Flossmoor
234 - Ridgewood


Unit Districts

401 - Elmwood Park


District 15 - Palatine

    D15 is the third-largest elementary school district in Illinois, with 13,000 pupils in kindergarten through 8th grade in all or parts of Arlington Heights, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, South Barrington and Schaumburg.

    D15 does believe in truth-in-labelling, warning parents right on the its website,

    The Mathematics Curriculum in District 15 is aligned to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics' Standards ...
    But our curiosity was raised by another item on the D15 website, which mentions use of Everyday Math and also a Houghton Miflin program, but also SRA Math Explorations and Applications. The SRA program has pretty good reviews from Mathematically Correct and others. We asked about this, and we were told that the SRA program is used to "provide ... students with additional problem based learning opportunities." Hmm, not quite what we had hoped for.

    Meanwhile, reading is another dubious area in District 15. The "reading" page on the D15 website describes its early "word study" program as "Concept/sight vocabulary development phonics/spelling Cunningham Shanahan Gentry" (whew!). This is scary stuff!!! "Cunningham" almost certainly refers to the uber-fuzzy methods espoused by unrepentant Whole Language die-hard Patricia Cunningham. (For more, read here.) The "Gentry" most associated with reading would be J. Richard Gentry. His book Spel Is a Four-Letter Word views "good spelling" as "merely a convenience." Writes Gentry, "There are some people like secretaries, who need to be accurate, but usually even they can use a word processor with a good spelling check." Confessing to being a bad speller himself, Gentry advises students to "make an honest attempt to spell werds wright." (Palatine parents, is that what you want for your kids?) "Shanahan" is probably Timothy Shanahan of the University of Illinois at Chicago, who is (or was) a board member of the Whole Language fan club known as the "International Reading Association". For more on this group with the deceivingly pleasant name, read here.

    What's a parent to do, when your school district goes off the deep end?

    Well, do what so many others have done! If your school isn't teaching, and you want to keep your kids there anyway (why???), then tutoring is almost mandatory, as this article reports:

    From the Chicago Tribune, September 24, 1997:

    "What many schools do now with the University of Chicago-based math is cumulative; they touch on something, move on and the next time around they touch on the same topic but at a higher level," said Patt Heise, who has 175 students at her Kumon Center in Palatine. "What I'm seeing is that this doesn't work. I have a lot of kids in 5th, 6th and 7th grades who can't add without a calculator. They don't have a number sense."

    James Bregenzer, a freshman at Fremd High School in Palatine, was one of those students. In 6th grade he was failing most of his courses. His mother, Candace, found a Kumon tutoring center in the phone book. Last year, James made the honor roll.

    ...

    Marjorie James of Inverness said that her children "didn't master certain levels, but they moved on anyway" to the next grade level. "They couldn't add or subtract," she said. She put her daughter, Liz, in a Kumon tutoring center, even though she already was an honor-roll student at Sundling Junior High in Palatine.

  • Also see:

District 21 - Wheeling

    District apparently uses two fuzzy math programs, Everyday Math, and Connected Math.

  • District adopts Everyday Math, girds for battle:

    Arlington Heights Post (May 28, 1998) reports, "School Board President Arlen Gould said parents need to be well-informed about changes in the math curriculum so that they understand what and how their children are learning. 'Otherwise we're going to have parents storming the Bastille like you've never seen before,' he warned."

  • The district imposed the dreaded Connected Math curriculum on its middle school students in 1999. According to the Daily Herald (December 10, 1999), as a result of this action "a rift has developed between some parents and Wheeling Township elementary school officials".

  • In 2007, the district "celebrated" ten years of condemning children to the notorious Everyday Math program.

  • The district's webpage "proudly" talks about its teachers who ...
    ... have been involved in staff development related to the School Improvement, balanced reading instruction, writing process, University of Chicago Everyday Math, the Connected Math Program, assessment, middle schools, multiple intelligences, brain research, differentiation, technology, problem based learning, concept based curriculum, multiage classrooms, cooperative learning and professional portfolios ...
    Whew! Descriptions like that make us think we should provide links to real estate agents to make it easier for parents to get out.

District 23 - Prospect Heights

    Uses the notorious Everyday Math program for K-5.

    In May 2012, D23's board not only confirmed its commitment to Everyday Math, but decided to buy the brand new Common Core third edition of this dreadful program for K-5. Funny thing, in the board minutes that reported this decision, the cost of this nonsense wasn't mentioned.

    According the district's posted "review cycle" the awful math program will not be reconsidered until 2018-19, for implementation in 2019-2020!

District 25 - Arlington Heights

    The Arlington Heights Post (Feb 19, 1998) reported, "The parents questioned whether the curriculum Math Their Way was effective in teaching children basic skills. Some parents said their children weren't memorizing math tables or mastering addition, subtraction, multiplication and division." The article mentions parents hiring tutors to compensate for what their kids weren't getting in school.

    District ignores parents, expands Chicago math: Arlington Heights Post (Sept 3, 1998) reports, "The parents argue that [Everyday Math] does not stress computational skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division."

    The Arlington Heights Post had a lengthy report on Oct 15, 1998. Some excerpts:

      Everyday Mathematics is the curriculum some parents love to hate. ... some parents in Elementary School District 25 contend that their kids aren't getting the basics. In a recent study of the program done by a consultant hired by the district, nearly 30 percent of parents of third-, fourth- and fifth-graders, said they were concerned their children were not learning basic computational skills such as multiplication and division tables.

      Some harshly criticized Everyday Math and said they were paying math tutors to make up for what their children were not learning in school. "It's just needlessly confusing," complained Linda Nitch, who said her daughter is struggling in math. "It's just too complicated for what they're trying to teach. It totally messed up my daughter."

      ... John Underwood, who sends his children to a math tutoring center, contends that the curriculum is experimental. ... "What data can be shown that supports the math curriculum is worthwhile?" Underwood asked. "The No. 1 reason I don't like Everyday Math is it's unproven. It just floors me when I hear educators who insist it works." Underwood, who has compiled a huge binder of articles written on math education, objects to teachers introducing a concept and going on before all or most students have mastered it. Underwood called that a "chaotic approach."

    What happens to parents who take an active interest in how schools are changing their childrens math instruction? Here's a report from the Chicago Tribune, October 4, 1998:

      Betty Underwood has a math problem she can't solve. The Arlington Heights mother has been critical of a new mathematics instructional program at her daughter's elementary school but doesn't feel administrators have been doing anything about her concerns. "We have some very savvy parents in this district, and they're not going to just accept information the school hands out at face value. They're going to get their own answers ... and that is perceived as criticism," Underwood said. "There is a clear line at school: `If you like what we're doing, the door is always open. But if you don't, then it's your problem.'" ...

      "The anger really centers around this (paradox)," said Elaine K. McEwan, a former west suburban teacher, principal and assistant superintendent. "Parents say, `You like me when I'm baking cupcakes for the Christmas party or buying $50 worth of wrapping paper, but not when I come to talk about something more substantive.' Parents are increasingly concerned that their kids are learning reading, writing and math skills too late (if at all) and are getting discouraged too early. ... "Whether you live in an urban neighborhood or an affluent suburb the perception is that when parents ask tough questions, educators immediately circle the wagons, stonewall, or throw educational jargon at you," said McEwan ...

      Nothing illuminates the conflict better than "Math Wars," currently raging in a number of communities besides Arlington Heights, including St. Charles, Glenview, Evanston and Libertyville.

      Underwood, a manager for a $60 million retail firm before becoming a stay-at-home Mom, was incensed to learn her district was adopting the math program "hot off the presses." "We're not just the cookie bakers anymore ... but if you raise questions, you get analogies that are designed to make parents feel stupid," she said.

    The Chicago math program still continues to provoke controversy. In its issue of April 22, 1999, the Arlington Heights Post reports that the "Everyday Mathematics curriculum [is still] controversial among parents. In particular, parents have objected to the nontraditional teaching methods and the use of calculators in the classroom." To help sell parents on the dubious practices of this program, the distrcit held an information night that attracted some 170 parents. According to the newspaper report, parents were treated to demonstrations of some of the odd algorithms thrown at kids in the program. There is no mention of whether parents were given any evidence that the program has ever been shown to produce any benefits compared to programs that emphasize mastery. The paper quotes one teacher saying that as a child she did not enjoy math, but now she "wants children to think of math as something that is fun. ... We call it mathing." Oh, good.

    The Arlington Heights fuzzy math controversy continued, as reported by the Chicago Tribune, "New-New Math Causes some Division" by Lisa Black, April 13, 2000. Here is an excerpt:

      Betty Underwood of Arlington Heights was PTA president of her daughter's elementary school when she was horrified to observe math students leapfrogging around the room. The pupils measured how far their classmates leapt and wrote down the mean and averages. "The cutting edge is not necessarily the place to be in education," said Underwood, who pays $150 each month to enroll her children in a private math program that focuses on drill exercises."

District 26 - Mt. Prospect / River Trails

    Here's another district that has succumbed to fuzzy math by adopting the chatty Math Trailblazers program, spending $144,000 in tax dollars of residents to impose this on their kids. The program was installed in the 2000-2001 year, with "high praise" from the vendor of this program (well, duh!)

    Also see:
    Local citizens' group: Unofficial referendum fact sheets.

District 27 - Northbrook

District 28 - Northbrook

    Words fail in describing a district that proclaims on the main page of its website that its mission is to provide a "caring enviroment [sic] where all children benifit [sic] from a commitment to excellence."

    In 2000, the school district conducted a review of math curricula, focusing on such standard fuzzy fare as Everyday Math and Math Trailblazers. During the review process, committee members visited district officials in Wilmette, which had recently adopted the Trailblazers program (and, two years later, was in a panic over declining scores on math tests and drastic reductions in the number of advanced math placements).

    In the end, it appears that Northbrook 28 adopted Math Trailblazers. (And not long after that, the Wilmette district, which the Northbrook committee visited, decided to dump Math Trailblazers!)

    Fortunately, there are a number of Kumon, Score, Huntington and other after-school programs in the area that will let parents purchase real math instruction for their children.

District 29 - Sunset Ridge

District 30 - Glenview/Northbrook

    What do you do when you find that a math program has grievous omissions? Well, if it's the oh-so-trendy Everyday Math, you retain it anyway, but then you supplement it with another trendy program. District 30 has used Everyday Math since about 1994. (In the process, business in math workbooks has boomed at the Learning Post store on Waukegan and a variety of after-school tutoring centers have opened up nearby, as parents scramble to teach their kids the math they no longer get in school.) But now (according to the Glenview Announcements of Nov. 18, 1999) the district has added a program called "Exemplars" (from the "First in the World" consortium that several other districts have pulled out of), in theory to add at least some emphasis on basic math skills. We're looking forward to hearing more about what "Exemplars" is all about.

    In October 2002, we received this message from a mother in Glenview:

    I thought it was just my husband and I that thought the Chicago Everyday Mathematics stunk. [Our daughter] didn't learn anything very well. ... My husband and I had her tested and the real scores indicated that she didn't have any mastery or quickness she was going to need to succeed... We have now enrolled her at our local tutoring center and her mastery and quickness have gotten better in a hurry. Thanks for bringing important information out for us parents.

    In January 2006, the Northbrook Star quoted the D30 school board president, "the Board will be monitoring ... the implementation of the revisions to the mathematics curriculum." We asked D30 about this, and guess what? They honchos are just so darn happy with sticking the kids with Everyday Math that they will be making no major changes, despite parent concerns.

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm School Perceptions, LLC, for public relations efforts. To learn more about School Perceptions, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

District 31 - West Northfield

    Chicago math had been adopted, over objection and with difficulty: "West Northfield Elementary District ... felt heat when it adopted [Everyday Math]. Pioneer Press reported, "'It didn't get implemented without some pain and suffering,' Superintendent Paul Kimmelman said."

    But now, a parent reports that the district has dropped the Chicago math program in favor of Harcourt Brace (grades 1-5) and McDougal-Littell (grades 6-8) starting with the 2002-2003 school year. This parent adds,

    Changing math programs was in response to sustained, negative community input regarding student achievement in math. District 31 test scores in math have always been very good and even after 10 years of UCSMP were still high. Unfortunately the number of students tutored in math outside of school seemed to be increasing at an alarming rate and across all achievement levels ... and ... anecdotal evidence strongly suggested that there were gaps in math education that created a need for tutoring to insure students' success in high school (which for the most part do not use UCSMP-type programs). Parents in District 31 are well educated and involved with the schools. They were able to identify the weaknesses in UCSMP despite intense parent education when UCSMP was introduced. The community supported the decision to change math programs."

District 34 - Glenview

    District 34's new website includes 69 pages of documents on their curriculum standards for mathematics, without ever actually saying what programs or textbooks will be used. So much for transparency. But the essence of what a parent needs to look out for is contained in the first sentence: "The focus of mathematics instruction in Glenview School District #34 is to develop mathematical power for all students. In order to accomplish this task, we have developed a mathematics curriculum that is based on the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards ..." OK, don't say you weren't warned.

    Another edu-babble sentence is this: "The use of technology has altered the teaching and learning of mathematics." Don't you love the way the educrats use the word "technology"? It conjures up images of kids discovering woven fabrics, or chipping of rocks to make stone tools. (See more here.)

    So, what actually happens in math class in D34? The excellent online newsletter Glenview Watch reported receiving this comment:
    District 34 leaves a lot to be desired, especially in teaching mathematics. Numerous tutors for a now GBS junior and a college sophomore attest to that! Many parents we know are in the same boat.
    This should scare the living daylights out of parents in Glenview:

    New School Chief Stresses Collaboration, Glenview Journal, week of February 8, 2004. Starting sentences: "Dr. Gerald Hill, Glenview School Dist. 34's newly appointed superintendent, told parents and school staff gathered at Attea Middle School Feb. 9, during his first public remarks as incoming superintendent, that he will focus heavily on collaboration. 'Group thinking is generally better than individual thinking,' he said. 'I will embrace this collaborative environment.'"

    Parents, it looks like if you want your children to value individual thinking, you'll need to head over to one of the local Kumon centers or pick up some Saxon books!

  • The excellent online newspaper, the Glenview Watch, carried this letter from a reader on February 4, 2008:
    "Yes, I did have to hire several math tutors for my children while in Glenview grade schools. When my kids showed me how they were taught math -- with a grid showing three different ways to get the correct answer, none of which made sense to me -- I could understand why they needed a tutor. In fact, our children were penalized for doing math in their heads -- even easy adding and subtraction. Points were deducted from tests and homework for failing to show work. Why do you have to explain why you can deduct 50 from 125 in your head? This made no sense to me. Also, my children were not exposed to the classics in public school until they took a literature class in high school. My daughter now says that if she didn't take that class she would have no idea what her college teachers were speaking about when they make references to classical books."

    On top of all that:

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

District 35 - Glencoe

District 36 - Winnetka

    Winnetka uses the dreaded Everyday Math in early grades, followed by the abominable Connected Math in later grades.

    One Winnetka mother wrote to us,

    We use Everyday Math here and it is absolutely terrible. [When] my son ... finished third grade [he] couldn't do double digit multiplication. ... [That] summer I taught him how I learned to do it and he learned it in ONE MORNING!

    But no one should be surprised that Winnetka embraces fuzzy math.

    Winnetka kids "learning"
    about Indians, 1940
    After all, this is Winnetka, as in "The Winnetka Way," one of the primal progressivist/constructivist experiments of the 20th century. Winnetka is also the birthplace of the American Federation of Teachers, and is today the home of the Winnetka Alliance, which actively evangelizes for application of progressivist/constructivist theories. A newly hired principal enthuses, "One of the things that most impresses me about the district is their dedication to progressive education." (Kevin Dorken, Greeley School principal, quoted in Winnetka Talk)

    Good Lord! Given all that, it's not surprising that the district's website says,

    A curriculum that focuses primarily on the arithmetic of the past will not prepare students for their future mathematical needs.
    So, parents, you've been warned! Caveat emptor!

    Interestingly, a 2004 village-wide survey commissioned by the village's caucus confirms that there is substantial unhappiness, reporting that, "In writing and math, 61% and 68% of households respectively, responded that they were satisfied [or] very satified." (Source: 2004 Winnetka Caucus Platforms.) For a very upscale district that purports to be a leader in educational methods, having a third of its customers expressing dissatisfaction on core subjects is shocking.

    Yessiree, as a district math facilitator was quoted in the Pioneer Press (October 12, 2006), "That whole communication thing is so important." You betcha.

    Fortunately, Winnetka and the surrounding area are well-stocked with Kumon, Huntington and other after-school tutoring centers. But then again, aren't your high property taxes supposed to be paying for a solid education for your kids?

    Jeff Berkowitz articles on Winnetka D36:

District 37 - Wilmette (Avoca)

    For a while, there were weak signs of progress in Avoca D37. A decade ago, the District had been threatening to adopt Chicago math (as of May 1999). But after several candidates in a school board election expressed concern and desire to learn more before endorsing this move, the school backed off, and went back to "study" its options.

    Instead, the district adopted the merely mediocre Scott Foresman Addison Wesley "Math" program. So, children in Avoca had to suffer through the out-and-out errors, weird examples, factual errors, politically-correct sidebars and MTV-esque format, but at least it wasn't Chicago math.

    But in 2009, Avoca D37 jumped all the way from the mediocre to the truly awful, by adopting one most despised fuzzy math programs of all, Investigations in Number, Data, and Space, also known as "TERC". (Parents, click there for more details about TERC.)

District 38 - Kenilworth (Sears)

    After years of fidgeting with a math program formed from a smorgasbord of the mediocre Scott Foresman Addison Wesley Math series, as well as some elements of Everyday Math plus other programs, the district was startled in December 2004 when ISAT scores revealed that one out of five of its 8th graders weren't even meeting the low state minimum standards. The news was even worse for graduating boys: 25% of them failed to meet these minimum cutoffs. This grim news came despite district's spending of $15,227 per student in the preceding year!

    The Wilmette Life reported (December 16, 2004):

    In Kenilworth's Joseph Sears School, teachers and administrators worked to uncover the reasons why scores in two areas fell below expectations. ... "I would say overall our scores are just fine. We were really surprised with our eighth-grade math score," said District 38 Superintendent Linda Murphy.

    As of September 2006, Kenilworth D38 has a smorgasbord of programs, with a rather unusual sequence of starting the kids fuzzy, and then switching to a more centrist approach in third grade. Here's how the district lists the programs they use:

    • Kindergarten: Everyday Math
    • Grades 1-2: SFAW Math and Everyday Math
    • Grades 3-5: Houghton Mifflin Mathematics
    • Grade 6, standard: SFAW Middle School Math Course 1
    • Grade 6, "intermediate and accelerated": SFAW Middle School Math Course 2
    • Grade 7 pre-algebra: McDougal Littel Gateways to Algebra and Geometry
    • Grade 8, standard: Globe Fearon Algebra I
    • Grade 8, "intermediate and accelerated": McDougal Littel Algebra 1 An Integrated Approach

    In mid-2006, the new superintendent reported that the district has taken a long-threatened plunge into happy science:

    "This past year, we implemented a renewed science curriculum, which is quite different from the previous program. The new program is based in laboratory experiments and is much more 'hands on.'"
    (Also see our page on science teaching.)

    Significant changes have also been made to the social studies programs, though no details are apparent so far.

    In 2004-2005, Illinois State Board of Education reports indicate that D38 spent a breathtaking $16,300 per student, one of the most expensive programs in the state of Illinois.

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

    Also see:
    Local independent website:   60043.info.

District 39 - Wilmette

    If your fuzzy math program doesn't work, try a different fuzzy math program. That's apparently how Wilmette sees things.

    After a seven-year odyssey trying unsuccessfully to find happiness with Math Trailblazers, the district has now (2006) decided to dump that and adopt the infamous Everyday Math instead.

    The chatty Math Trailblazers program was originally announced with fanfare in 1999. The Wilmette Life (August 19, 1999) reported:

      Math Trailblazers program will be adopted in grades kindergarten-fourth grade next year [1999-2000] and phased in at fifth grade starting in August. ... The materials will cost about $60,000.

      ... [School Board member] Eva Sorock said she is concerned that Trailblazers... may not be the best way for all children to master concepts. Sorock has said the approach had its roots in "constructivism," a ... learning approach which critics say can de-emphasize basic skills.

      ... "The basic question I have always asked is, let's have some evidence that this is going to improve [learning]," Sorock said. "These questions aren't going to go away. They haven't gone away in any other part of the country where it came up. I think we're sort of rushing into this." Sorock also said she had received two anonymous letters from teachers who felt they were being pressured to approve the new material.

    Two years later, a Wilmette Life article on March 22, 2001 mentioned the fractious nature of the Math Trailblazers program in quoting one school board member: "The board does have very important oversight responsibilities including curriculum ... The Trailblazers program has been very controversial."

    By 2005, a survey conducted and reported by the district itself raises alarm bells about math instruction in Wilmette public schools: The survey found that 47.4% -- almost half! -- of parent respondents disagreed with the statement, "I feel that the current math materials are appropriate for my child."

    Additional questions in the survey indicated substantial dissatisfaction: 42.7% were unhappy with the amount of time devoted to "computation", and 38.3% were unhappy with the amount of time spent on "problem solving." Some of the survey questions are unfortunately ambiguous (e.g., when someone says the amount of time devoted to X is "inappropriate", we don't learn whether that means they think it's too little or too much). But overall, the survey uncovers widespread unhappiness about math in Wilmette. When parents are spending as much in tax dollars as they are in Wilmette, it's unfortunate that they have no options for how that money is spent on their kids, not even within the government system.

    Sun-Times columnist Mary Laney wrote this in her column for March 21, 2005: "Recently a group of parents from suburban Wilmette asked me to meet with them. ... Math is taught by 'The Trailblazers Math Program.' ... The parents are angry and frustrated. I can understand why. Those I met with said they couldn't even read the Trailblazers' math book -- and that includes a parent who was a teacher. Trailblazers is in the genre of a new 'new math.' I had experience with "new math" when my eldest son was in sixth grade. He brought his math homework to me and together we worked on the problems. The next day when he returned from school he couldn't wait to see me. 'All the answers were wrong.' ... I have compassion for the Wilmette parents as they struggle to help their children learn a math system that they say is hurting their preparation for high school. ... The problem is not with the teachers, say the parents, the problem is with a school board that has programs that are not working and stays with them."

    By 2006, the district had had enough in trying to salvage Trailblazers, and was looking for a replacement. But being good educrats, they couldn't bear to abandon constructivist theories and move to a program emphasizing practice, mastery and maintenance. Instead, they stuck with fuzzy math, but chose a more typical fuzzy program, Everyday Math.


  • Reading:
    See this entry on the book Straight Talk About Reading written by former Wilmette resident Susan L. Hall.

District 54 - Schaumburg

    Reading

    You have to search pretty hard on D54's elaborate web pages on its "Balanced Literacy Model" to find even the slimmest begrudging mention of anything like phonics. Mostly what you'll read is a great deal of blather about "shared reading", "word study", "essential outcomes", "guided reading" and the ever-popular "independent reading" (see our section on Sustained Silent Reading). Even when you think you've found the needle of real teaching in the haystack of mush, you may be only misled: For example, D54's stated definition of "decoding strategies" includes the Whole Language hallmark "context clues".

    Math

    We're dumbfounded by why D54 decided to highlight its webpage on math with this quotation:
    "Mathematics is merely the means to a general and ultimate knowledge of man."
    ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
    Huh???? But maybe that just is to warn us about the district's fuzziness about math, which soon becomes evident.

    Around 2000, D54 promoted the use in K-5 of either Everyday Math (the classic fuzzy math program) or MathLand (a horrific fuzzy math program). At one point, four of D54's schools Blackwell, Churchill, Lincoln Prairie and Muir) used MathLand, but we can't find any evidence that this still is the case (thank goodness). D54 parents, can you tell us more?

    At least one of D54's schools now uses 70 minute math classes, with the cryptic statement, "With the introduction of the Everyday Math series, we devote a large amount of time to math." We wonder if that's to make up for the confusion created by that program.)

    We have no information on what math programs D54 uses in grades 6-8. For a while, the D54 website bore the bad news that they used McDougal Littell's MathThematics, but that seems to have been pulled from the site. (Mathematically Correct reviewed MathThematics and reported that it exhibited "weakness in content, weakness in presentation, and weakness in student work", concluding, "It is not possible to recommend this book to anyone for any purpose.") Parents, can you tell us more about junior high math in D54?

    For a while, D54 had a "Math Task Force" to delve into the farthest reaches of constructivist wackiness. This group seemed to think they'll actually help kids learn math in some mysterious way by asking staffers to digest stuff like Teaching With the Brain In Mind (click for our review).

    Science

    D54's website virtually shouts that their science program is all about process rather than content. A single webpage outlines the entire K-8 course of study in science, while other descriptive pages hammer home the progressivist theme of "inquiry."

    Social "Sciences"

    It comes as no surprise that D54's so called "social sciences" [sic] program continues the fuzzy regimen. The D54 website provides a K-8 topical overview that follows the usual dumbed-down outline common in our area.

    To add some humor to the day, the D54 website provides minutes of a group of educrats planning the development of the "social sciences" program. To preserve them, we've bundled them here: Minutes of "social sciences task force." Just imagine this assemblage of savants attending meeting after meeting on the fine points of writing a mission statement, creating a "core beliefs statement" of how classes should run, and [inevitably] breaking into small groups to prattle on to each other -- all without any discussion of the actual subject matter content of these courses. You just can't make up this kind of stuff.

    Other Notes

    Not surprisingly, Schaumburg boasts several promising private schools for parents seeking an alternative to D54. For more on Catholic, Lutheran and other private school choices in Schaumburg, see the section of private schools by town at the bottom of this listing.

    As an example, we note an article in the Daily Herald (January 28, 2007) reporting on local Catholic school St. Hubert's, "With more than 630 students, the school is among the largest in the Chicago Archdiocese". The article adds, "The trend at St. Hubert's is even more remarkable considering the strong reputation of the local public schools." Hmmm: Maybe the trend at St. Hubert's is because of the local public schools?

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm School Perceptions, LLC, for public relations efforts. To learn more about School Perceptions, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

District 57 - Mount Prospect

District 59 - Elk Grove / Arlington Heights / Des Plaines / Mt. Prospect

    At last report, D59 uses Scott Foresman Addison Wesley's Math, a thick, glitzy series featuring Tokyo-by-Night graphics, odd ways of doing math, factual errors, low levels of challenge, and meat-handed multiculturalism.

District 62 - Des Plaines

    The district's official plan for improvement includes this fuzz-free common sense goal: "Students will improve mathematics skills in the areas of computation and problem solving." In addition, on their website one of D62's schools mentions that they "use a traditional math series and a supplemental program called Otter Creek, in order to teach both basic facts and problem solving."

    Hmm, sounds promising! Can anyone tell us more about math in Des Plaines? Thanks!

District 63 - East Maine
(Niles, Glenview, Park Ridge, and Morton Grove)

    A "Teachers Inservice" document on the district website features such elements as these:
      V-480  USING CALCULATORS IN THE 4-6 Gr. CLASSROOMS
      V-475  CALCULATORS: HELPING STUDENTS DO BETTER IN MATH
    To make matters even worse, the same document also highlights "V-796  THE FOUR BLOCKS: Classrooms That Work". (Read more about the "Four Blocks" system of Whole Language reading instruction at this page.)

    However, a parent in D63 told us (April 2008), "For math, they are using Math Expressions (Houghton Mifflin) and for reading, they use phonics and guided group reading."

District 64 - Park Ridge/Niles

    It appears that a new math program was initiated in 2003, and one of the district's schools (Field) is said to be piloting a new mathematics program for all grades. We have learned nothing more about either of these bits of news.

    The district website provides a sentence that encapsulates one of the key reasons that fuzzy math is so frustrating for some students:

    We believe that children further develop their problem solving capabilities by orally explaining their solutions to math problems.
    An equivalent statement might be, "Students with limited literacy or verbal skills will find that our approach will result in lower math scores as well."

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

    In September 2006, the Journal & Topics newspaper group reported that the D64 school board hired "Unicom-ARC to plan and conduct a program of public engagement at a cost not to exceed $40,000. This will be a public relations campaign leading up to a referendum election."

District 65 - Evanston / Skokie

    D65 has a long history of having 1) a need for improvement, 2) innovators proposing charter schools, and 3) an administration committed to stopping such plans in their tracks in order to retain iron control. One of the saddest lost opportunities was a proposal for a charter school that would have used the much-praised Direct Instruction approach with 540 students from kindergarten through 5th grade.

    In math, District 65 is one more district that burdens its children with Everyday Math for Kindergarten through fifth grade.

    An Evanston parent wrote to us (September 2007) to tell us about her family's experience:

    [Our school] currently use[s] Everyday Math -- my child comes home from school with homework that I cannot even understand, and is extremely upset because he can't understand it either. It amazes me how they can adopt these types of math programs without research to back up success. I am supplementing my son's math with Saxon Math .. it just makes sense.

    Cause and effect? We report, you decide:

    • April 2000:
      The district, in conjunction with the Orwellian-named "School of Education and Social Policy" at Northwestern, has announced a new "Lighthouse Partnership". One component of the program involves math: As the university's PR department puts it,
      The "Learn-While-Teaching" program would offer a series of in-service training sessions to teachers at two elementary schools (perhaps Oakton and Washington) focusing on the learning and teaching of math. The program would complement the District's plans to release some teachers a half-day a week to work on the teaching and learning of mathematics.
      Uh, so what does this all mean? Seems like a lot of time removed from teaching so as to study heavens-knows-what at the hands of the ed school folks.

    • November 2005:
      From the Evanston Review, November 3, 2005:
      Oakton School ... saw its passing rate in fifth grade reading take a dive from 63 to 42 percent, while its passing rate in math dropped from 87 to 65 percent. ... At Washington School, a drop from 70 to 56 percent in third grade reading and from 86 to 71 percent in math pulled down the school's overall performance.

    Another tidbit from that "partnership" announced in 2000 concerns science. The same university PR said, "Innovative [how come we never hear about "better" or "more effective"?] science curricula will be used at Chute, Haven and Nichols middle schools and King and Timber Ridge magnet schools" which will install a program designed to be a "technology-infused science curricula that allow middle schol students to engage in scientific curricula that allow middle school students to engage in scientific enquiry and work with complex scientific data in much the same way real-world scientists do." What edubabble hogwash! As one scientist has noted, the most important process skill in science is reading: if we actually had kids do what scientists do, then reading and learning would be the paramount goal.

  • To keep up on developments in D65, here are the links for the Evanston Roundtable and the Evanston Review. Both report on developments, although they both tend to be fairly trusting of D65.

District 67 - Golf

    We want to weep with joy!

    We were alerted to developments in Golf by a parent who told us,

    Our [child]'s middle school, Golf, has posted information on their current textbooks. Looks like the new administration is cleaning up some old messes!

    Thanks for a great resource, this site is wonderful.

    (Thank you!)

    We checked it out, and sure enough, the news was good: Hynes Elementary (K-4) uses the Silver Burdett Ginn math series and Golf Middle School (grades 5-8) uses McDougal-Littell "Math". SBG generally has been fairly traditional in its math programs, as far as we can tell. McDougal-Littell is all over the map, but we have hopes that this series "Math" is the more mastery-oriented of their programs.

District 68 - Skokie

    A resident sent us (September 1, 2005) this sad news:
    Thank you for your wonderful site. Math Trailblazers has been put into the District 68 Skokie grade schools. I think just 4th and/or 5th grade at the moment. I don't know if they'll be adding it to the lower grades. I believe they will, but don't know for sure.

District 69 - Skokie / Morton Grove

    This district uses the chatty and time-wasting Math Trailblazers program. You know, the one that Wilmette dumped in 2006 after enduring a few years of controversy.

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

    And the spinmeisters hit the ground running in Skokie, with a marathon training session. The district's board minutes report,

    Dr. Nelson reported that on August 5, 2005, members of the referendum committee and other interested parties attended a seven-hour seminar, which was conducted by Unicom.Arc. The committee will use this information as they launch into the next level of the campaign. Dr. Nelson thanked Ann Clark for heading up the referendum committee.

    Cal Skinner's blog provides these additional insights: "It is reasonably safe to say that [UNICOM-Arc] is helping pass the referendum in Skokie financed by the District 69 Referendum Committee. It has paid Unicom Arc $10,828.71 for 'consulting' since its 10/21/05 emergence. Much of the financing came from individuals, although development interests made, by far, the largest contributions."

District 70 - Morton Grove / Park View

    In a classic case of spin control, the district is busy trying to explain away poor ISAT results following a switch to a new math curriculum. (Parents, what's going on there? What program is in use?) According to the Morton Grove Champion (Jan. 13, 2000), "Math scores on the ISAT test show more than half of eighth graders were below state standards. Third and fifth graders did better, but still almost a quarter of them fell below state standards. For third graders, more than a fifth fell below those standards." Superintendent James Blockinger is quoted as saying that the new math curriculum "places more emphasis on problem solving rather than computational skills."

    Well, hey, Mr. Blockinger, reducing the emphasis on computation skills should help those lousy scores, eh?

District 71 - Niles (Culver)

District 72 - Skokie (Fairview)

District 73 - East Prairie

    In 2002, the district adopted the much-loathed Everyday Math program. The district says that it is confident that "Any problems with the math program ... would be solved with additional staff development." Yea, that's the ticket, sure!

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

District 73 1/2 - Skokie

    Here's a district that believes in Truth in Advertising:
    Classrooms are child-centered, developmentally appropriate and focus on the process of learning and reflection about the learning process. ... Our middle school has been selected by the United States Department of Education as a 2001-2001 Blue Ribbon School.
    Whew!!! Don't say you weren't warned!

    Younger grades may be using Everyday Math, but we have not been able to confirm that.

    Grades 6-8 use Mathematics in Context (MIC). One teacher wrote to us,

    My school district, District 87, in Bloomington, Illinois adopted the Mathematics in Context series, which was developed by the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, for grades 6-8 several years ago. In my opinion, this series has been a dismal failure in teaching math.

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

District 74 - Lincolnwood

    The Lincolnwood district is very unusual in hosting a page on its website for its teachers' union to promote itself. Whoa!

    On the other hand, the website of the district and its schools is remarkably scant on telling what actually happens in the classroom. We do learn, unfortunately, that math is "taught" with Everyday Math.

    We also learn that "Curriculum integrates strategies for conflict resolution and results in a 'Peaceable School' environment", whatever that's supposed to mean.

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

District 78 - Rosemont

District 79 - Norridge (Pennoyer)

    D79, a single-school district in Norridge, is taking reading seriously. This is from their website as their goal #1 for the 2005-06 year:
    1. Incorporate DIBELS, (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills), a screening process to identify preschool through first grade students who are at risk of reading failure. DIBELS will be used as a measure of early literacy skills, a screening tool, a progress monitoring tool and a guide for intervention decisions.
    Cheers for Pennoyer!

    In math, D79 uses the mediocre, not-great-but-not-horrible, Scott Foresman Addison Wesley Math program.

    We found a remarkable quote from the Pennoyer sup in a February 3, 2005 article in the Pioneer Press Norridge and Harwood Heights News:

    "Right now, the quality of your children's education depends on your address," said Superintendent Tom Zafiratos, of Pennoyer District 79 in Norridge.
    Very true! The obvious solution to that problem is simply to let parents choose the best school for their kids, regardless of their address. But with the true mind of an embedded bureaucrat, Supt. Zafiratos instead argues to keep the turf empires in control and give them more money.

District 80 - Norridge

    Another school supporting Truth In Advertising: Superintendent Sue Knight's website message gives parents fair warning:
    "Welcome to the 2005-2006 school year. Student-centered instruction remains our goal for curriculum mapping ..."

    Apparently this district uses the Tokyo-by-Night Scott Foresman Addison Wesley "Math" series for K-5. For "Jr. High" the district reports it uses "Holt Rhinehart" [sic] for pre-algebra and algebra.

    Can anyone tell us more?

District 81 - Schiller Park

District 83 - Mannheim (Franklin Park, Melrose Park, Northlake)

    The district's website says that its math textbooks are Houghton Mifflin Math and McDougal Littell Math.

District 84 - Franklin Park

    From the district website:
    The Addison Wesley Mathematics program is our basic math series. Initial instruction is as concrete as possible, frequently incorporating manipulative materials. Much time and effort is spent in the acquisition of the basic math facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Extra consideration is given to problem solving techniques at all levels. Kindergarten children benefit from the Math Their Way program.

District 84 1/2 - River Grove (Rhodes)

District 85 1/2 - River Grove

District 86 - Harwood Heights (Union Ridge)

District 87 - Berkeley

    A parent writes to us,
    We have endured years of students using Accelerated Math as the entire math program. Imagine being a student and being in a math library that may be years below your actual grade level. You could be an 8th grader and test into a 4th grade library. Our children had little opportunity to be exposed to grade level material. Is it no wonder two of our schools are in SERIOUS trouble on the Illinois Academic Watch list?

District 88 - Bellwood

District 89 - Maywood / Melrose Park

District 90 - River Forest

    A community resident advised us (November 2008),

    Everyday Math was introduced this year. A curriculum committee of teachers and administrators is evaluating whether to continue using it ...

    And guess what happened? A victory for real math! A resident reports,

    With zero fanfare River Forest District 90 has dropped Everyday Math and adopted Houghton Mifflin's Math Expressions through grade four or five as of the 2009-2010 school year.

District 91 - Forest Park

District 92 - Broadview (Lindop)

District 92 1/2 - Westchester

    The district apparently uses a math program from Houghton Mifflin, but we have no other information as yet.

District 93 - Hillside

    It seems that Hillside may be in the process of changing to a new math program in 2005-06, but we have no details. Can you tell us anything?

District 94 - North Riverside (Komarek)

District 95 - Brookfield/LaGrange Park

    A district end-of-year report for 2005-06 says, "The Math Committee teachers have assessed Mathematics Text Books from various companies and a new series (Pearson) was adopted." Board minutes report, "The committee finalized the process to adopt new a Math series. It includes Prentice Hall out of Pearson (Grades 6,7,8) and Scott Foresman (Grade 5)." Can anyone tell us more?

    We love this: D95 not only uses DIBELS measurement for mastery of phonics, but reports its results! In the same year-end wrapup report, D95 tells us that 90% of its Kindergarteners and 97% of its first graders are at a stated "Meets /Exceeds" level.

  • We'd be remiss if we didn't mention that Brookfield is also home to one of the strongest academic school programs in the area, at St. Paul's Lutheran School. Rev. Joel A. Brondos, headmaster at St. Paul's, wrote to tell us about it:
    We use Saxon Math, the Spalding Writing Road to Reading, the Shurley Grammar method, and teach our history timeline and daily oral Latin to students as young as Kindergarten. We have a literature-based reading program (no basal readers) so the children read unabridged versions of classical works like those written by Homer, Chesterton, Plutarch, and more.

District 96 - Riverside

    Uses Everyday Math (the infamous "Chicago math" series). The district says,
    In 2004-05, the district is implementing a new mathematics curriculum in grades K-8. For the elementary schools, the new curriculum is an updated version of the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP or Everyday Math). For junior high students in grades 6, 7, and 8, the 2004 editions of the Glencoe/McGraw-Hill series, Math Applications and Concepts has been implemented, along with the Algebra 1 book for eighth graders.
    What a shame.

District 97 - Oak Park

District 98 - Berwyn North

District 99 - Cicero

District 100 - South Berwyn

    It looks like South Berwyn uses the fuzzy Everyday Math.

    The district is embarked on a $80,000 program from "Reading First Academy." Also see: District 100's internal website, which includes teacher agreements, rules and salary schedules.

District 101 - Western Springs

    In grades 1 through 5, the district says it uses the Math Advantage program from Harcourt Brace.

    However, at least one 6th grade teacher's own web page refers to use of the UCSMP math program, a.k.a., Chicago math.

District 102 - LaGrange North (Brookfield, LaGrange, LaGrange Park)

District 103 - Lyons

    In K-5, Lyons uses the chatty and so-trendy Math Trailblazers fuzzfest, then a McDougal Littell math program in grades 6-8.

District 104 - Summit

District 105 - LaGrange South

    In one fell swoop, administrators have imposed "balanced" literacy for reading, and the lamentable Connected Math as its math program. Good luck, parents.

District 106 - LaGrange Highlands

    D106 has one of the best websites we've seen for substantive curriculum information. But we're awfully, awfully puzzled by what it says about math: The D106 website says they use "Houghton-Mifflin/manipulatives" for math in grades 1-4. They also say say, "Math is hands-on and taught according to the NCTM standards. Problem solving is the central focus of the mathematics curriculum." BUT ... in grades 5-8, they use Saxon Math, one of the few public school districts in the Chicago area we've seen with this highly praised program!

    First graders who have yet to reach reading competency are stuck with Reading Recovery.

District 107 - Burr Ridge (Pleasantdale)

    A parent wrote (2008) to tell us of Burr Ridge's math program:
    They are now using enVision and basically getting slammed. It is time consuming and tough on the teachers as well as very challenging for the kids. In kindergarten, the kids only learn to identify numbers up to 20 so this series is really hard on the younger ones.
    2006: Unlike the website of its neighbor, D106, the website here at D107 is maddeningly sparse on telling us what, if anything, the kids are actually learning. There are a bunch of pictures of kids in "math" classes sitting on the floor (in small groups, of course) playing heavens-knows-what inscrutible games with what looks like a square soccer ball, but that's about it. (By the way, for a wonderful example of the excesses of the disjointed, jigsawed, Crayola curriculum that passes for "social studies" in American schools, take a look at this page on the third graders' Paper Plate Book Reports.)

District 108 - Willow Springs

    Hmmm, interesting. As part of its "School Improvement Plan" for 2005-06, Willow Springs says that in order to improve student writing skills, "Math journaling will be piloted to consistently provide students the opportunity to write about what they learned in math." Note that this is not a goal under improving the math program. So, like many of the fuzzy math curricula themselves, Willow Springs unintentionally is turning a deficit in literacy into a handicap for math as well.

District 109 - Indian Springs

    Score points for truth in advertising. Right from the district's web page on its "Curriculum Strategy" we are told:
    "Curriculum development in District #109 has broken away from a compartmentalized, textbook directed philosophy to a standards-driven approach that actively engages students in the learning and assessment experience. This concept provides a framework from which teachers can develop robust units of study that actively involve students in real-world problem solving. ... Children learn best when they are actively engaged in what they are doing.
    In other words, don't say you weren't warned!

    But the good news is that despite that rhetoric, the district has adopted a respectable math program as its foundation:

    In February, 2003, after months of sampling the top three programs and conducting staff surveys, the committee recommended that the Board of Education adopt SRA Mathematics for grades K-5, Glencoe Mathematics for grades 7 and 8, and SRA/Glencoe for grade 6.
    That's a pleasant surprise (although a bit of a paradox as well).

District 110 - Central Stickney

District 111 - Burbank

District 113a - Lemont/Bromberek

    D113 apparently uses Houghton Mifflin's Math Central program.

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

    A D113a reader of this page told us that the district hired UNICOM-ARC in June 2007 for up to $5,000 per month for the next 18 months!

District 117 - North Palos

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

    Cal Skinner's blog provides these additional insights: "Citizens for North Palos School Dist 117 Schools was formed 'to pass (a) referendum for North Palos School Dist 117.' It was formed on Feb. 7, 2005, and went out of existence on April 28th. Unicom Arc got paid $4,007.95 on Feb. 11th for consulting out of a total of $17,820 spent. The committee was financed largely by vendor and the Illinois Education Association (the teachers' union)."

District 118 - Palos

    A Palos resident wrote to us (2008):

    The district has adopted the Everyday Math program for the 2008/9 school year.

    The district refused to make this change public until it was already adopted. There was no public hearing or disclosure allowed, the curriculum was simply dictated to the community.

    This is the third different math curriculum the district has implemented in the last six years.

District 122 - Ridgeland

    Ridgeland was in the news in February 2006 when two of its principals were discharged, apparently due to weak test scores. Since school administrators rarely are held responsible for academic results, this was indeed noteworthy. Unfortunately, the official Ridgeland website is eerily void of curriculum or other information on what actually goes on in its classrooms. Can anyone help by telling us the details?

District 123 - Oak Lawn / Hometown

    Uses the notorious Everyday Math program.

    An Oak Lawn parent told us (November 2008),

    We have Everyday Math and my [daughter] still can't do basic math because of the ridiculous way this is taught. When we try to teach her the "right" way she tells us she will get in trouble if she gets the answers this way.

    Another Oak Lawn parent wrote to us (February 2009),

    Our school district uses the Everyday Disaster!! ... Angry, and frustrated, we just want our [child] to learn math! ... No textbook, makes it impossible to know what they're being taught ... I've heard other parents only say, "Just wait, it just gets worse! ... I've heard so many other parents complain, but why aren't WE doing anything?????

    For students who are behind in learning to read, D123 is under the impression that the expensive and dubious Reading Recovery (click for info) program will somehow solve the problem.

District 124 - Evergreen Park

District 125 - Atwood Heights (Alsip, Oak Lawn, Merrionette Park)

District 126 - Alsip, Hazel Green, Oak Lawn

  • D126 succumbed to Everyday Math starting in the 2004-2005 school year.

    D126 in the news:

    • Oak Lawn Mom Demands Decency From District 126, Culture Campaign, August 09, 2007. Excerpt: "Parents should be able to trust educators to choose reading material for children that does not contain gratuitous profanity and graphic sexuality ... Apparently the media and educators believe that ... graphic profanity and sexuality should never be a reason to reject a book for children ... It's extremely difficult to sympathize with such reasoning."
    • Illinois School Pushes Smut on Children by Matt Barber, August 29, 2007, Excerpts: "The profane content ... isn't sporadic. It's pervasive and gratuitous. The book has 110 pages containing the F-word and other profanities, and there are multiple crude sexual references. ... I telephoned Robert Berger, superintendent of schools for District 126, fully expecting him to assure me that this foolishness would be remedied. But instead, his response was defiant, defensive and arrogant. Berger refused to answer me when I asked him several times if District 126 believed that such mature content was appropriate for children. (I wonder: if it's so appropriate, then why wouldn't he defend it?)"

District 127 - Worth

District 127 1/2 - Chicago Ridge

District 128 - Palos Heights

District 130 - Blue Island, Crestwood, Alsip

District 132 - Calumet Park

    This struggling school district has adopted Saxon Math for the 2006-2007 school year. We wish them all the best in their efforts for the success of their kids!

District 133 - Patton (Riverdale)

District 135 - Orland Park

    D135 uses the not-all-bad, not-all-good Scott Foresman Addison Wesley "Math" series for all grades K-8. It has a Tokyo-by-night design and weird sidebars, but it's not altogether awful in teaching math.

District 140 - Kirby (Tinley Park, Orland Park)

    A resident wrote to tell us the sad news that D140 has adopted Everyday Math, starting with the 2006-2007 year.

District 142 - Forest Ridge (Oak Forest)

    The D142 website says that the district uses math programs from Houghton-Mifflin and McGraw-Hill, but that's not very helpful, since this does not say which programs from those publishers have been purchased.

    Can anyone tell us more about math in this district!

District 143 - Midlothian

District 143 1/2 - Posen / Robbins

District 144 - Prairie Hills (Markham, Hazel Crest, Oak Forest, Country Club Hills)

District 145 - Arbor Park (Oak Forest, Tinley Park)

District 146 - Tinley Park

    Oh, this is a sad one!

    D146 was one of the few districts in the entire Chicago area to be using the admirable SRA Math Explorations and Applications program, an admirable choice -- a solid and effective math series.

    But now we've learned that Tinley Park has descended to using the grim Math Trailblazers fuzz-fest.

    A D146 parent wrote to us,

    I wanted to give the Trailblazer Math program a chance. But by giving it a chance my [child] cannot do multipication nor ... add or subtract without a calculator. How is it ... [my child] can be getting an A without knowing the basic math skills? Trailblazer Math is setting our children up to fail.
    What the heck happened to your school, Tinley Park parents?

District 147 - West Harvey / Dixmoor

    D147 says, "America's Choice, a standards-based reform program, was implemented in District schools the year 2001." (There are lots of these so-called "whole school reform" vendors: we have a healthy list of many of them here.)

    The district web site also says, "We have also provided middle school teachers with weekly math training through a partnership with the University of Illinois. [Uh oh!] We have provided teachers within grades K-4 training in Algebraic Thinking and standards based math instruction. [Uh oh again!]"

    Meanwhile, the ISBE and the state's attorney's office sure are busy collecting other information about the district. According to a Tribune article by reporter Jo Napolitano on July 20, 2006:

    The Illinois State Board of Education wants West Harvey-Dixmoor Elementary School District 147 to return more than $2.2 million in federal and state grants, saying the money was either unaccounted for or misspent. ... An inch-thick report from the months-long investigation into how the district spent about $10.2 million in grants over a 3-year period ending in 2005 was released Wednesday. ...
    Robert Wolfe, head of the state board's external assurance division, said his office has a legal and moral obligation to make sure the grants "get to the kids who need it the most." Although many of the district's employees may be working hard to educate children, the spending and record-keeping practices are unacceptable, Wolfe said. ...
    The state's attorney's office has asked for a copy of the report and is conducting an investigation of the district, said a source familiar with the probe. State officials say the $2.2 million includes more than $119,000 in meals, $157,000 in travel and $211,000 for salaries and benefits, none of which is allowable under terms of the grants. The district spent $119,491 on items including clown services, cameras, televisions, furniture and T-shirts, which are also not allowed. Records show the state found more than 200 questionable expenditures in Title I funds alone. That money is earmarked for children from low-income families to help them meet state academic standards. ...
    The district used Title I funds to purchase $250 worth of costumes and wigs for an end-of-the-year party, $562 for Fannie May candies and $471 for a pizza party for students with perfect attendance, records show. Thousands more was spent on electronic equipment, including a $328 digital camera. School officials used the same grant to pay a visiting speaker about $7,200 to talk about student achievement. An additional $2,400 was spent on baby-sitters to allow parents to attend a school meeting.
    Then there's the food. Mini-Kaiser sandwich trays, chicken, salads and rolls and other meals added thousands more; a lunch cruise in February 2005 cost $1,800. ... They took numerous trips but didn't keep adequate records or receipts, state officials said. It's hard to tell who went where and for what purpose in some cases.

District 148 - Dolton, Riverdale

District 149 - Dolton, Calumet City, South Holland

District 150 - South Holland

District 151 - South Holland, Phoenix, Harvey

District 152 - Harvey

    Uses the very trendy and fuzzy Math Trailblazers program, but supplemented with "a math computer program to help the kids get ready for ISAT." Uh, is that because Math Trailblazers doesn't?

    As a bit of good news, this district claims to now be using a "scientifically based" reading program, with DIBELS assessment.

District 152 1/2 - Hazel Crest

District 153 - Homewood

    Teachers don't want to be blamed for the Everyday Math program in Homewood. Here's what one Homewood teacher told us (2007):
    As teachers, we have had no real voice in whether or not to adopt the Everyday Math program. It has been forced upon us despite the concerns of a majority of the staff.
    A parent wrote (2005),
    I just found out that my [child] will be allowed to use a calculator for all of his math, even workbook problems such as 435 + 123. [I was told that] they have decided it is a waste of time [for children] to review things such as long division since they will just forget how to do it.

    ...they seem to have switched everyone to UCSMP Everyday Math. Last year they were experimenting with it in some classes.

    Another parent told us (2005),
    Homewood District 153 hosted a "parent Math Night" on Thursday, September 29 to introduce the public to Everyday Math. What was offered as a possible new program sure seemed like a forgone conclusion to me. However, a significant number of parents voiced strong concerns. I believe the crtiicism caught the district adminsitrator off-guard. The battle lines are drawing and I fear a fight looms over the horizion. Thanks for maintining this site. It has very useful information.
    More recently (April 2006) a mother tells us,
    There is good news on the Everyday Math front. It looks like the School District voted to only use it for K-2 and the gifted students (See Feb. 27th School Board Minutes on the Web). Unfortunately for my son in the gifted math program, this means he will still have to struggle with 4 ways to do multiplication and division when he used to be able to do both with much better accuracy using just one method. I guess we'll just have to reteach him over the summer in how to do things the "old fashioned" way. I assume this also will mean an end to the calculator free for all in the higher grades.
    We looked into this and as she suggested, the Feb. 27, 2006 board minutes report:
    Kindergarten through 2nd grade will adopt Everyday Mathematics; Gifted through 4th grade [sic] will adopt Everyday Mathematics; Grades 3-6 will continue using the current math program published by Scotts [sic] Foresman; 7th grade will adopt the McDougal Little [sic] math series for their regular and accelerated classes. The program will also be used in the sixth grade accelerated math classes and 8th grade will continue to use the programs they have in place at two levels. They will adopt the McDougal Littell program for their regular level classes.
    And sure enough, the looniness has commenced! Here's what a resident told us in July 2006:
    What is going on?????? My daughter's friend (5th grade) was showing her how she was learning to multiply. She called it the lattice method. The poor girl did not understand what she was doing and it was the most confusing, ridiculous "method" I have ever seen. Can't believe parents are accepting this...how sad for their children.
    There's more on our math issues page about "lattice" multiplication.

District 154 - Thorton (Wolcott)

District 154 1/2 - Burnham

District 155 - Calumet City

District 156 - Lincoln (Calumet City)

District 157 - Hoover/Schrum (Calumet City)

District 158 - Lansing

    Reportedly uses Math Their Way.

    In language arts, the district uses the dubious Reading Recovery program.

District 159 - Matteson / Richton Park

District 160 - Country Club Hills

District 161 - Flossmoor

    Flossmoor is absolutely unique among Chicago area school districts. See our section on Flossmoor in our web page on "Finding Good Schools."

District 162 - Matteson

District 163 - Park Forest

    Back in 1999, Mary Damer visited a school in Park Forest and concluded that she had "walked into the most delightful K-3 school that I have seen in many years." She wrote of her experiences in this essay: A Little Bit Of Heaven In Illinois: Reading In A Small School by Mary Damer, December 12, 1999.

    Since then, the woman who was primarily responsible for this school's success has moved on, and we have no idea what has been happening in Park Forest since then. But the essay serves as a powerful reminder and encouragement of what is possible. ------------------------------

District 167 - Brookwood (Glenwood)

District 168 - Sauk Village

District 169 - Ford Heights

    We've never seen any other school with a claim quite like this one on the district website: "We are dedicated to teaching a child as much as possible during each class." But we couldn't find much of anything else on the website about instruction in math or other subjects.

    Be the first to tell us about math in this district!

District 170 - Chicago Heights

District 171 - Sunnybrook (Lansing)

District 172 - Sandridge (Chicago Heights)

District 194 - Steger

District 202 - Evanston Township High School

    In Early 1998, Evanston Township High School instituted a double-period algebra course, claiming it would "allow students taking algebra for the first time as freshmen to complete two years of work in one year." Yeah, right. Click here for more info on the dangers of block scheduling.

District 203 - New Trier Township High School

  • In 2011, there is an open, competitive election for school board! Democracy, what a concept! For info, see the website of Fiscal Responsibility for New Trier.

    New Trier in the news:

  • Big Pay Boosts In Last Years Blow Out Retirement Packages by Tim Novak, Chicago Sun-Times, July 13, 2003.
    "Henry Bangser, New Trier High School's superintendent, is looking forward to retirement in 2006. And why wouldn't he? A flurry of 20 percent pay raises will hike his annual pension as high as $232,500. That's more than governors get. And even if you don't live in Bangser's rich North Shore district, you'll pay for it."

  • Officials Try To Reform Complicated State-Funded Pension System by Jim Muir and Caleb Hale, Southern Illinoisan, August 21, 2005. "In the New Trier Township High School District, Superintendent Henry Bangser received a series of 20 percent pay increases over his last five years before retirement, nearly doubling his salary to an estimated $346,000, not including other bonuses he was set to receive. 'Taxpayers are already paying incredibly high real estate taxes to cover school funding but some of these folks act like there is this hidden pot of money in Springfield ... And as long as the local school district isn't paying for it, then its okay.'"

  • The average teacher salary at New Trier in 2006 was $82,835, most for 10 months of work. This is the second highest average teacher salary in the state of Illinois. (Source: Champion News at Champion News.)

District 208 - Riverside/Brookfield

District 211 - Palatine, Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg

    D211's website bears the headline, "The Largest High School District in Illinois." We suppose that's peachy if the goal is empire building, but it's not immediately obvious how that claim offers any benefit to students or parents.

  • The high school district has been trying to make a case that its switch to the infamous "block scheduling" fad has not been detrimental. According to the Schaumburg Review, a presentation to parents in February 2000 focused on higher GPAs. Left unsaid is what block scheduling opponents nationwide have been observing for years: that the switch the block scheduling encourages less challenging academics, and leads to higher grades being given for lower levels of academic achievement.

    A major focus of controversy among parents is the impact of block scheduling on math. The paper quotes one mother whose daughter told her that there were questions on a math test regarding material that hadn't been covered in class. Yup, that's the dumbing-down effect of block scheduling.

  • As of 2003, D211 has the highest average teacher salary in the entire state. The average teacher salary is $87,407, most for ten months of work.

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

  • Also see:
    Local independent blog, District 211 Public Schools

District 212 - Leyden Township High School

    Board of Ed approves an NCTM-flavored "integrated" math program that will supposedly expose "students to all facets of mathematics in short bursts". The Pioneer Press quoted math chairman Earl Cooney saying that

    "One problem may ask students to compare the statistics of Michael Jordan and Kareem Abdul-Jabar.' While that may appear to be simple, Cooney said it is the kind of technique that is generally reserved for top students and college-aged youth."

    Yee-gawds!!!

District 214 - Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove, Rolling Meadows, Wheaton

District 217 - Argo

  • Algebra is taught using either Algebra I from McDougal Littell, or Algebra I Concepts and Skills from McDougal Littell.

  • The average teacher salary at Argo in 2006 was $83,833, most for 10 months of work. This is the highest average teacher salary in the state of Illinois. (Source: Champion News.)

District 219 - Niles, Lincolnwood, Skokie, Morton Grove

District 225 - Glenbrook High Schools

    The Glenbrook South website carries (2009) this warning: "The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics ... emphasizes writing as a facet of 'mathematics as communication' and for 'evaluating mathematics learning.' To meet this goal, the department has established writing assignments in all courses. This can be a series of short written assignments or can be a major paper or project."

  • Lord of the Flies 2003 by Kay S. Hymowitz, City Journal, Summer 2003. Glenbrook North's image took a battering in 2003 after a horrendous hazing before a girls "Power Puff" football game.

  • Also see:
    Local citizens' group: Citizens Organized to Save the Tax-cap (COST).

    From an October 2006 issue of the excellent online newsletter Glenview Watch:

    REFERENDUM KITTY GROWS WITH SURPRISING GIFTS

    Eyebrows are rising over donations to Voices of Tomorrow's Education (V.O.T.E.) -- a group established to campaign for a $94 million bond issue on behalf of Glenbrook's two high schools. Topping the list are two architecture firms -- Arcon Associates of Lombard and Henry Brothers of Hickory Hills, and a construction management company called Nepco. All three gave $5,000. William Blair and Company -- a firm that could underwrite the bonds -- contributed $4,000 and Schools Superintendent Dave Hales kicked in $1,000. Chapman and Cutler, a large legal bonding firm, gave $500.

    Meanwhile, a group organized to fight the referendum is disputing a claim that District 225's tax rate is the lowest of surrounding districts. The rate is low, they say, because the total value of taxable property in Glenview and Northbrook is high.

    "The low rate claim is a shell-game to dupe taxpayers," says COST President Larry Miller. "What counts is spending."

    The group produced a chart this week, showing Glenbrook spends more per pupil than a number of suburban school districts including New Trier, Niles, Libertyville/Vernon Hills, Oak Park, Hinsdale and Stevenson. The per pupil rate of $16,975 per year is lower than what is spent at Deerfield and Evanston high schools. For details, go to www.cost225.org.

    Can you say, "push polling"? This district has used professional PR and polling firm Decision Resources for public relations efforts. To learn more about Decision Resources, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

District 227 - Rich

District 228 - Bremen

District 229 - Oak Lawn

District 230 - Orland Park

District 231 - Evergreen Park

District 233 - Homewood/Flossmoor

District 234 - Ridgewood

District 401 - Elmwood Park

    Parents had better prepare to find ways to make sure their children learn math following recent district decisions!

    The district has adopted the fuzzy Math Trailblazers as its program for grades K through 5.

    In March 1998, School Board used a rich supply of fuzzy math rhetoric in approving Connected Math as the new math curriculum for 6th through 8th grade.

    As if to cement the district's dubious reputation, a newsletter from February 2004 cites an assembly performance sponsored by their PTA...

    ...about a girl who doesn't read well. She and two friends take a journey and learn the golden rules of reading ...

    Make connections to the text / Use your senses to make a picture in your mind. / Make some inferences while you read, / which means to read between the lines. / Don't forget to ask questions all along the way. / Use these "golden reading rules", / And you'll read better every day!" /
    Keep on with your wild guesses, sweetheart! And maybe your parents can take you to an afterschool tutoring program so you can master phonics and learn how to decode correctly!


DUPAGE COUNTY

NOTE: Most or all of the school districts in DuPage have have joined together to support their own paid lobbyist firm in Springfield, "Legislative Education Network of DuPage County" (LEND).

DuPage County regional office of education

2 - Bensenville
4 - Addison
7 - Wood Dale
10 - Itasca
11 - Medinah
12 - Roselle
13 - Bloomingdale
15 - Marquardt (Glendale Heights)
16 - Queen Bee (Glendale Heights)
20 - Keeneyville (Hanover Park, Roselle)
25 - Benjamin (West Chicago)
33 - West Chicago
34 - Winfield

41 - Glen Ellyn
44 - Lombard
45 - Villa Park
48 - Salt Creek
53 - Butler
58 - Downers Grove
60 - Maercker
61 - Darien
62 - Gower
63 - Cass
66 - Center Cass
68 - Woodridge
86 - Hinsdale Twp High
87 - Glenbard Twp High

88 - DuPage High
89 - Glen Ellyn
93 - Bloomingdale
94 - West Chicago - Comm High
99 - Downers Grove - Comm High
100 - Fenton High
108 - Lake Park High, Roselle
180 - Burr Ridge
181 - Hinsdale
200 - Wheaton Warrenville CUSD
201 - Westmont CUSD
202 - Lisle CUSD
203 - Naperville CUSD
204 - Indian Prairie
205 - Elmhurst CUSD


District 2 - Bensenville

    Mohawk School (and the rest of the district?) uses the notorious Everyday Math program, which is described on the school's website with a straight face as "a rigorous mathematics curriculum". Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

District 4 - Addison

    Aaaaccckk!

    In K-5, Addison's kids are assaulted with the super-fuzzy MathLand program, one of the worst of the worst. To top it off, grades 6-8 get the widely despised Connected Math program.

District 7 - Wood Dale

    As of spring 2002, the Wood Dale district subjected its students to Everyday Math.

    Since Everyday Math, like most other fuzzy math programs, presumes strong reading and writing skills, its damaging effects are worsened when a school's basic literacy program follows progressivist fads as well. Sure enough: In 2003-4, parents in Wood Dale were battling the district in an attempt to replace the failing "balanced literacy" program with a substantive phonics-based program. A newspaper story reported,

    Disgruntled parents at the Wood Dale Elementary School District 7 Board meeting voiced their displeasure with Illinois Standards Achievement Test reading scores, which they said have suffered under the current curriculum. Although student scores have hovered around state averages for the last five years, several parents at Wednesday night's meeting pressed administrators to implement a phonics-based reading program. ... "Our [system] seems to be running a little bit slow and each year the gap is increasing," said Maria Guzman, a certified teacher and mother of two Wood Dale Elementary pupils. ... Armed with newspaper articles and researched alternatives, parents insisted on the implementation of a new program in as soon as six weeks. "Our children don't have time; the system that we have now is broken," said parent Frank Skorski at the meeting's open comments portion that lasted nearly an hour. "If water started leaking in the basement, you wouldn't call a committee."
    -- "Wood Dale Parents Call For Change In Reading," by Grace Aduroja, Chicago Tribune, November 21, 2003

District 10 - Itasca

District 11 - Medinah

District 12 - Roselle

District 13 - Bloomingdale

District 15 - Marquardt (Glendale Heights)

    We received (2009) this depressing news about Marquardt:
    The middle school is unfortunately doing the Connected Math Program, and the students are not succeeding. ... [they] are still trying ... to learn their addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division FACTS in the middle school. This is because it is not being taught in the elementary schools, which are going through Everyday Math.

District 16 - Queen Bee (Glendale Heights)

District 20 - Keeneyville

    Ugh. Keeneyville appears to love jumping into the latest fads, since it has adopted the fuzzy Math Trailblazers program. The district "serves" Keeneyville, Roselle, Bloomingdale and Hanover Park.

District 25 - Benjamin (West Chicago)

District 33 - West Chicago

District 34 - Winfield

District 41 - Glen Ellyn

    An item on the D41 website suggests that a " new Mathematics curriculum and materials" were adopted in 2002. Another web item says, "District 41's math curriculum is closely aligned with the Illinois Academic Standards and the National Council of Teachers of Mathmatics Standards. Among the math resources we use is the Harcourt Math Series..."

    A Glen Ellyn resident reports (November 2008),

    D41 in Glen Ellyn ... will be discussing the implementation of Everyday Math at the Nov. 17 and Dec. 1 board meetings. (It is currently being piloted in one class per grade at our elementary school.) The Everyday Math texts will then be on 'display' for 30 days after which a Board vote will take place.

    Although this page focuses on math, it is worth a sidebar to discuss the use of a program called Reading Recovery in Glen Ellyn. According to an item on the District 41 website, "National-Louis University continues to train teachers in its Reading Recovery program in District 41 schools." Residents would do well to investigate more about Reading Recovery and how it is being applied in your schools.

    Be sure to read this classic, an essay by a fifth grader in Glen Ellyn published in her local newspaper. It starts, "I'm having fun in fifth grade in District 41."

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

    In Fenruary 2007, a parent wrote to us,

    The district is holding three "forums" around the community to educate the public as to the district's challenges. ... The participating audience will be broken up into small groups and scattered (sounds like "divide and conquer" to me). Is this the new way to mind control voters? It feels almost Orwellian.
    This parent was quite correct in sensing that something disturbing is happening here! This is the Delphi technique, a classic method for creating an illusion of support for controversial positions. To learn much more about how Delphi is used by school districts, read our page on School Committees and Delphi.

    Also see:

District 44 - Lombard

District 45 - Villa Park

District 48 - Salt Creek

District 53 - Butler (Oak Brook)

    We love a school district that proudly proclaims on its district "philosophy" webpage,
    "The district's philosophy is conservative in its approach to developing individual basic skills. The core academics are stressed, and special emphasis is placed on serving all students' needs."

    May 2000: Victory! District eliminates Chicago math. In its place will be Harcourt, Brace
    "Math Advantage" for grades K,1,3,4,5. For second grade only, they will use McGraw Hill "Math in My World". Grades 4 and 5 will use ability grouping. Junior high (grades 6,7,8) will use Glencoe "Pre Algebra" for all students, with three ability groups. Most children will study
    algebra from Holt, Rhinehart, Winston's "Algebra I" in grades 7 and 8. Those children who don't pass an algebra readiness test at the end of 6th grade will use Glencoe "Connections and Application Course 2" in 7th grade.

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

District 58 - Downers Grove

    It sure seems that the district must have been getting pointed questions about its adoption of the fuzzy and notorious Everyday Math program, judging by the "New Math: Frequently Asked Questions" page on its own website!

    A Downers Grove parent wrote to us:
    I am very concerned for [my child's] education. Having read a great deal about Everyday Math, and communicated with parents and children in the program who are frustrated, I would like to do something. It is beyond belief that so many can be upset at the situation and yet be paralyzed.

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

    From Wikipedia:

    The Avery Coonley School is an independent school serving academically gifted students in Downers Grove, Illinois, U.S. Avery Coonley was founded in 1906 to promote the progressive educational theories developed by John Dewey and other turn of the 20th century philosophers, and was a nationally recognized model for progressive education well into the 1940s.

District 60 - Maercker

District 61 - Darien

    Darien uses Harcourt Math for grades 1-5, Glencoe Mathematics Applications & Concepts for grades 6-8, and Holt, Rinehart and Winston Algebra I for grade 8.

District 62 - Gower

District 63 - Cass

District 66 - Center Cass

    In June 2008, the school board approved $70,000 for the purchase and adoption of a replacement math program.

    Be the first to tell us about math in this district!

    In September 2008, a bookkeeper was sentenced to five years for embezzling $78,000 from District 66.

District 68 - Woodridge

District 86 - Hinsdale Twp High

District 88 - DuPage High School District (Addison Trail and Willowbrook)

District 89 - Glen Ellyn, Lombard and Wheaton

    In February 2001, administrators convinced the school board to approve their request for the fuzzy and chatty Math Trailblazers program. Now kindergarteners can spend time counting how many of them will fit on a carpet, second graders can "develop strategies" for doing addition and subtraction (as it says on the D89 website), and fourth graders can while away their math class time watching bouncing balls, and everyone can spend happy math class hours writing in journals. Parents may wish to sign up for tutoring classes or Kumon, or buy some good math workbooks to teach your child at home.

    Perhaps District 89 was embarassed by its previous excellent ISAT math scores compared to its neighbor, District 41, and decided to do something to reduce its advantage?

District 93 - Bloomingdale

    It appears that Bloomingdale is another trend-follower in subjecting its children to Everyday Math.

District 94 - West Chicago - Community High

    This is Community High School District 94, which includes all or part of West Chicago, Winfield, Warrenville, Wheaton and Carol Stream.

District 99 - Downers Grove - Community High

    This is Community High School District 99.

District 108 - Lake Park High, Roselle

District 180 - Burr Ridge

    In April 2003, the board approved "middle school [grades 6-8] mathematics textbooks published by Holt and the algebra textbook series from Prentice Hall."

    In May 2006, the board "approved the adoption of grades K-5 mathematics textbooks, Harcourt Math 2006 published by Harcourt School Publishers, at a cost of $43,588.96."

District 181 - Hinsdale

    A parent reports:
    I just found your web site! I think you are doing a great service for the education of the kids and I applaud you. My kids go to Illinois District 181 (Hinsdale) and they use Everyday Math from K-5 and UCSMP Transition Math from 6-8. ... more than 40% of parents pay tutors up to $50/ hour to teach their kids properly...

    Thanks for the update!

    Some personnel notes:

    • The superintendent of Hinsdale elementary schools is Mary Curley, who previously became notorious among parents in Wheaton for dumbing down the schools there and bringing in Everyday Math.
    • To read more about James S. Ferguson, the principal of Hinsdale Central, see page 3 of "Dumbing Down Our Kids" by Charles Sykes. To set the tone for the entire book, Sykes kicks off by recounting Ferguson's reign as principal of Heritage High School in Littleton, Colorado. In Littleton, Ferguson relentlessly worked to dummy-down that school -- that is, until a grassroots group of back-to-basics parents won control of the school board. As it happens, Amazon provides those starting pages as a sample for the book, and you can read about Ferguson in Littleton by clicking here.
    • The principal at Oak School had been Jenny Wojcik, who previously served as curriculum director in Kenilworth District 38, where she ran a Delphi committee to approve a "science" program rich in fluffy environmentalism and mediocre in basic science content.

    A group of district parents have organized as The Community Advocate, primarily to monitor tax-hike issues in the district.

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

CUSD 200 - Wheaton Warrenville CUSD

    Also see local organization:
    Educate200: "We advocate core principles of Economic Discipline, Community Accountability, and Teaching Excellence for our District. ... Our goal is to raise the level of community involvement by providing timely, relevant information from new perspectives on the key issues facing our District."

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

    Cal Skinner's blog provides these additional insights: "Wheaton's Friends of the Schools was also a client of Unicom Arc in 2002 and 2003. This tax hike committee as trying to 'pass a referendum on the April 2003 ballot for additions and renovations at both high schools in District 200.' It cost $9,666.69 for consulting services. $541.69 was for 'travel -- lodging -- staff,' the committee's tax hike committee reported to the State Board of Elections."

CUSD 201 - Westmont, Clarendon Hills, Downers Grove

    Parents, find a Kumon center or buy some Saxon books, because the notorious Everyday Math curriculum has been adopted for grades K-5 at the district's three elementary schools.

District 202 - Lisle CUSD

    In February 2006, D202 adopted a new "District Strategic Plan." As far as we can figure it out, the two pages on "Curriculum - Teaching/Learning" are pure jibberish.

    A D202 webpage warns us, "Our curriculum supports the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics standards"), we couldn't find out much about math in the K-8 grades in this unit district.

    Wow, with those items as build-up, we knew something awesome (as in "shock and awe") must be coming, so we weren't surprised when we discovered these tidbits ...

    (Click on those links for the gory details about those programs!)

    In a word, RUN!!!

District 203 - Naperville CUSD

    The good news: D203 is one of the few districts that provides a list of its major textbooks on its website. Here it is.

    The bad news: Kids are subjected to an horrendous witches' brew of TERC Investigations (K through 5) and Connected Math (5 through 8), plus MathThematics for "regular" math in grades 6-7. D203 even throws in some Math Trailblazers in "advanced" 4th grade.

    So, we now present a special service to the beleaguered parents in the uber-fuzzy Naperville school district. Do what apparently vast numbers of other parents do: send your kid to an after-school tutoring center to learn what they're missing in your expensive school district. Here is a list of Kumon math centers within 10 miles of your city:

    • Naperville Central, 25 E. Benton Ave., Naperville, IL 60540
    • Naperville East, 2035 S. Washington Street, Naperville, IL 60565
    • Woodridge, 2600 West 75th St, Woodridge, IL 60517
    • Bolingbrook, 481 S. Weber Rd., Bolingbrook, IL 60490
    • Aurora Southeast, 2206 Ogden Ave., Aurora, IL 60504
    • Downers Grove, 5524 Lee Avenue, Downers Grove, IL 60515
    • Wheaton, 616 W. Childs St., Wheaton, IL 60187
    • Glen Ellyn, 456 Hillside Avenue, Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

    A Naperville parent sent (May 2009) this message to us:

    You described Naperville 203's horrid math program to a T. In our personal experience (and in the opinion of hundreds of parents we know who are so angry that they literally are swearing and crying about how bad it is and the negative effect it is having on their kids' confidence/ability to do math), the program should be trashed IMMEDIATELY!! ...

    This is the tip of the iceberg. The spelling/vocabulary curriculum is even worse. We are livid that we are paying such high taxes and in return getting such poor curriculum, and that District 203 administrators continue their pattern of denial, obfuscation and retaliation against kids whose parents have the temerity to complain. Someone should band us all together to file a class action lawsuit and demand change!

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

District 204 - Indian Prairie (Naperville, Aurora)

  • According to the Naperville Sun for March 8, 2002, the district is adopting the infamous Everyday Math (a.k.a. "Chicago Math") for students in Kindergarten through 5th grade.

    Astonishingly, district honchos point to St. Charles as a "successful" implemetation -- a district roiled in parent backlash! Lauren Scheffers, who closely watches ed developments in the western suburbs, saw the district's mention of EM being "well-received by teachers in the St. Charles district" and wonders, "What about the parent reactions and student test scores?"

    Burdening the Indian Prairie district children with Everyday Math is going to cost taxpayers $753,500 for textbooks, teacher resources and "staff development". And that's a real number, not a new math fuzzy estimate!

    One Naperville parent wrote to us with this observation:

    "[My child's] grades in math are mostly A's, but I feel her working knowledge in this subject is shockingly below this grade level. There seems to be a strong emphasis on art and the creative aspects of their education but the rudimentary, core subjects (math, science & reading) are sorely lacking. I sometimes feel that when she finishes in this school system, she will be well experienced in making "Arts and Crafts" but she will lack the ability to make change!"

  • In 2001, the political group created to support a tax-hike referendum was given an eyebrow-raising $10,000 contribution by Laidlaw Transit (bus services) and another $10,000 from MACOM Corporation (real estate developer).

    In 2006, Laidlaw and Aramark Management Services (food services) each contributed $5,000 to a D204 tax-hike organization, and Gurtz Electric Company handed over $14,000.

District 205 - Elmhurst

    The district adopted Everyday Math for its K-5 curriculum in 1994. For a terrific commentary, see this article, "If Math Were A Color..." by Elmhurst parent Marcia Tsicouris, as printed by the Elmhurst Press, Friday January 14, 2000. Marcia says, "The message sent to my 3rd grader is that she's incapable of doing math independently. Thanks to this program, essentially, she is incapable. I have to re-teach each concept as it arises (in addition to teaching basic math facts) because the U of C sees no merit in mastery. ... By my calculations, Everyday Math equates to educational malpractice!"

    Parents and others in Elmhurst will be particularly intrigued to read through Marcia Tsicouris' website, "A Parent's Voice", which collects a number of well-written POVs about the Elmhurst district and education in general.


LAKE COUNTY

Lake County regional office of education

1 - Winthrop Harbor
3 - Beach Park CC
6 - Zion
24 - Millburn
33 - Emmons
34 - Antioch
36 - Grass Lake
37 - Gavin
38 - Big Hollow
41 - Lake Villa CC
46 - Grayslake
50 - Woodland CC
    Prairie Crossing Charter
56 - Gurnee
60 - Waukegan CUSD

65- Lake Bluff
67 - Lake Forest
68 - Oak Grove
70 - Libertyville
72 - Rondout
73 - Hawthorn CC
75 - Mundelein
76 - Diamond Lake
79 - Fremont
    Prairie Crossing Charter
95 - Lake Zurich CUSD
96 - Kildeer-Countryside CC
102 - Aptakisic / Tripp
103 - Lincolnshire-Prairieview
106 - Bannockburn
109 - Deerfield
112 - North Shore
113 - Highland Park Township HS

114 - Fox Lake
115 - Lake Forest Comm HS
116 - Round Lake CUSD
117 - Antioch Community HS
118 - Wauconda CUSD
120 - Mundelein Cons. HS
121 - Warren Twp HS
124 - Grant Comm. HS
125 - Adlai E. Stevenson HS
126 - Zion-Benton Twp HS
127 - Grayslake Comm HS
128 - Community HS (Libertyville & Vernon Hills)
187 - North Chicago CUSD
220 - Barrington CUSD


District 1 - Winthrop Harbor

District 3 - Beach Park

District 6 - Zion

    In 2006, the district reviewed math curricula, and selected Harcourt Math 2007 for its K-6 program. One website says that the Harcourt program "is designed to build understanding of mathematical concepts, skill proficiency, problem solving facility and logical reasoning. Classroom instruction begins with clear visual representations and concrete experiences, moves to guided practice, and then provides independent practice to develop proficiency."

District 24 - Millburn

District 33 - Emmons

    The Emmons district descended into the dark world of Everyday Math in 1999. A 2006 Daily Herald story quotes Emmons Superintendent Matt Tabar, "This is such a different approach that even now some parents have questions."

    And wait until you see the kind of answers those parents get! Not many schools are this frank about what students will not get at their establishment:

    "Repetitive and rote learning activities such as math facts drill, spelling words, and memorization of key facts are done at home."
    -- Emmons School Parent/Student Handbook, 2004-2005
    In other words, cough up your taxes, but you'll still need to homeschool to make sure that math basics are covered!

    Lennie Jarratt writes about Emmons D33 in this page on his Education Matters website.

District 34 - Antioch

  • D34 decided in July 2006 to stick its kids with Everyday Math. According to a report in the Daily Herald, "the new curriculum will cost District 34 about $65,000 extra the first year and about $40,000 the following years" plus "Administrators also will ask the school board to approve a new position for a math lab aide."

    In a shocking and dismaying display of how blind trust in the educrats trumps even one's children's lousy experience, the Daily Herald reported,

    "I've had bad experiences with Everyday Mathematics, but the presentation we saw earlier made me feel very comfortable," said board member Sue Buckley. "I want to be the first to endorse it." After the meeting, Buckley said her children had Everyday Mathematics while her family was living in a different state. She said she is confident the teachers in District 34 know what they are doing and will present the new mathematics program so it benefits all students.
    We are appalled!!! This woman SAW with her own eyes what Everyday Math did to her own children, but has such great faith in the Big Ed monopolists that she's willing to subject your kids to the same horror! What on earth are you people putting in the water up there in Antioch?

  • This latest disaster is on top of a move (according to D34's website) to "Add a Director of Curriculum and Instruction to the district's administrative team by the beginning of the 2004-2005 school year to lend significant support to efforts to improve curriculum, instruction, and assessment throughout the district." Yup, now that the compliant taxpayers have raised their own taxes, D34 is able to hire curriculum police to really get the fuzzy math bandwagon rolling!

  • September 4, 2007: D34 has now contracted for professional help in selling a nice image of itself to the citizenry. The D34 board approved a contract with UNICOM-ARC, a slick public relations outfit that has masterminded PR campaigns for many local districts, usually to soften up a community prior to a tax referendum effort.

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm School Perceptions, LLC, for public relations efforts. To learn more about School Perceptions, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

  • Lennie Jarratt writes about Antioch D34's fall to fuzzy math in this page on his Education Matters website.

District 36 - Grass Lake

District 37 - Gavin (Ingleside)

    Sad to say, D37 uses Everyday Math.

    But there's some good news as well: The district had phonics expert Susan Hall lead teacher sessions on the use of DIBELS testing in reading instruction.

District 38 - Big Hollow

District 41 - Lake Villa

    In its various School Improvement Plans, the district says that "The Everyday Math program had been in place for eight years."

    And how has Everyday Math performed for the district? Let's let the district say, in its own words (because you can't make up this kind of stuff):

    Summaries of Data for Independent Variables

    Second Grade
    Through the analysis of standardized test scores we have determined that second grade students have shown strength in the areas of algebra and analytical methods as well as geometry. Whereas knowledge and use of numbers is an area for needed improvement. ...

    Third Grade
    Through our analysis of standardized tests we have determined that third grade has showed weakness in knowledge and use of numbers.
    Just mull that over: "We have determined that third grade has showed weakness in knowledge and use of numbers." YIKES!

    But fear not, parents, because the district says, "Areas in the Everyday Math program needing improvement have been addressed with the adoption of a revised program." Yessiree, Everyday Math is dead, long live Everyday Math. Just trust the wise professionals.

District 46 - Grayslake

    District 46 schools were last reported as using the much-loathed Everyday Math program.

    Also see:
    • For the inside scoop on what's happening in D46, see the independent website D46 News

    • Grayslake School District Given Awards By Company It Hired by Bob Susnjara, Daily Herald, June 2, 2008. "For six months, Grayslake Elementary District 46 has boasted having three award-winning schools. ... What's not mentioned is South Carolina-based Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence Inc. named the award winners after being paid $22,192 to assess seven District 46 schools. Documents obtained by the Daily Herald through the Freedom of Information Act show the district spent an extra $15,732 for 20 administrators and teachers to attend a five-day Blue Ribbon Schools conference and awards banquet in North Charleston, S.C., in December. ...
        "Edward M. Mazze, distinguished professor of business administration at the University of Rhode Island, questions the use of public money to hire companies such as Blue Ribbon Schools. ... Mazze said the public should understand the district struck a business deal with Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence, and the company's awards are of no significance. ... 'There are enough schools looking for recognition to allow this company to have many profitable years, as one school recommends to another school to apply for this 'honor' as long as they have the fee to pay for it,' said Mazze, who reviewed Blue Ribbon Schools promotional materials for the Daily Herald. ...
        "Parents should realize it's 'buyer beware' when it comes to education kudos publicized from private organizations, said Susan Shafer, spokeswoman for Standard & Poor's School Evaluation Services. ...
        "Blue Ribbon Schools of Excellence is a ... private business ... not to be confused with the U.S. Department of Education's No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon Schools award initiative, considered one of the most prestigious in the country."

    • A group of parents frustrated over the extreme progressivist direction of the superintendent, has organized as Parents and Taxpayers if Grayslake District 46. They've set up a terrific website called Watch District 46 Schools to report on their battles to restore dedication to academics in Grayslake schools. They already have had some success in pursuading the board to drop the use of one notorious progressivist consultant, although another not-quite-so notorious progressivist was then brought in. If you want to help set Grayslake on a course for serious education for its children, get in touch with these parents.

Districts 50 and 79 - Prairie Crossing Charter School

    Prairie Crossing Charter School has a charter to serve families in Woodland District 50 and and Fremont District 79.

    Unfortunately, PCCS serves up a mixed bag: it is a small, warm and welcoming school that provides all-around encouragement for its children. It has one of the most detailed curriculum statements that we've ever seen online. Nonetheless, the curriculum is nowhere near as vivid and challenging as that of Core Knowledge (which was the subject of a referendum in Grayslake). PCCS describes their school as an "experientially-based program" of "hands-on learning." Their website bluntly describes their philosophy: "Prairie Crossing Charter School follows a constructivist approach to teaching students." Can't be more clear than that! Caveat emptor.

    And here's a scary novelty: As if mangling history, geography, civics and other topics into the soup known as "social studies" weren't bad enough (see more here about that) PCCS goes a step further by mutilating social studies and science together into a mish-mash they call "Integrated Units" largely oriented around environmentalism. Notice the relative priority they assign to the topics in this sentence from their statement of curriculum for their fourth and fifth graders:

    "Within this study, the students will be looking at the definition of environmental science and the history of environmentalism. They will also be studying habitats and biomes of the world, natural resources, alien species introductions, agriculture, energy, pollution, and the effects of human population on our environment. Additionally, the students will study the scientific method, geography, geology, and the structure and operation of our national government."

    Omigosh, that sounds horrible! Well, to each their own. That's what choice is all about.

    In September 2003 officials from the school districts served by PCCS argued their case before the state bureaucracy to close PCCS by not renewing its charter. The charter law in Illinois was designed to permit charters in the one district that welcomed them (the city of Chicago) while putting any other charter operators or applicants anywhere else through never-ending hoops, trying to keep them out of business. (See our page devoted to charter school issues in Illinois.)

    While PCCS may not be our cup of tea, we're all in favor of choices made by parents for their own children -- as long as parents seeking challenging academics, research-based practices and a teacher-centered curriculum have a choice, too.

    Now let's turn back to math:

    As if to prove their dedication to progressivist trends, as of February 2000 the leaders of Prairie Crossing were even going so far as to consider the use of MathLand, one of the most despised of all fuzzy math programs. Instead, they wound up adopting the infamous Everyday Math. But then they turned course again, and chose another of the most reviled fuzzy math programs, Investigations in Number, Data, and Space, also known as "TERC".

    Jiminy Christmas, Prairie Crossing! It takes real guts to embrace a math program that gets comments like these on a university website intended to support that program:

    • "I am shocked that parents allow this curriculum."
    • "I'm just stunned and thoroughly disappointed."
    • "Our school district has implemented TERC math this year. The parents have flipped out over this. ... The parents of my district ... have gone as far as to retain a lawyer."
    • "I have heard nothing good from any parent or teacher that I have spoken to. The teachers are hesitant to say anything because of politics..."
    • "I believe that Investigations math only confuses a lot of students, and isn't helpful."

    One posted comment on that university site reported,

    We have many parents who are pulling their children out of public school and putting them into charter schools, where Investigations math is not being taught, primarily for that reason.
    We can't help but wonder if any parents in Grayslake have taken the opposite path, pulling their kids from this charter and returning to the conventional public school, in order to avoid TERC.

    Follow the link to Investigations in Number, Data, and Space for much more about this program.

District 50 - Gurnee & Gages Lake - Woodland

    Also see: Click here for details on Prairie Crossing Charter School

    The district considered adding the fuzzy Everyday Math program, and instead adopted the equally fuzzy Math Trailblazers program. So, in earlier grades the district now claims to use a mix of Math Trailblazers along with Houghton Mifflin Mathematics in the early grades, and then a mix of McDougall Littell's Passport to Mathematics and the dreaded Connected Math Project for higher grades.

    D50's dedication to theory over substance is nowhere more evident than in their gorgeous Strategic Direction, a 6.6 megabyte ode to constructivist platitudes.

    With so much going a-kilter, how can you set a school district back on track? By restoring subtantive math and content-centered instruction? Of course not! Woodland chose to hire paid professional PR consultants! Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

    Is there any wonder why this district has been so unsuccessful in gaining parent support for tax hikes?

District 56 - Gurnee

    Whew! Though few school districts can be called "generous" in the amount of curriculum info that put on their websites, Gurnee's is surprisingly anemic. Can anyone tell us more about the math programs and curricula in use in D56?

    But the bigger worry now is the elaborate public relations stunt that D56 is conducting with the help of big-league PR firm, UNICOM-ARC. A newspaper article reports,

    The process of public engagement is being orchestrated with the help of St. Louis-based Unicom-Arc. The district is paying the public relations firm $40,000 to consult for one year.
    To learn more about UNICOM-ARC and how school districts have been turning to slick public relations efforts, read these pages on our website:

    So, here's what D56 has been doing: In 2005-06, D56 (with the professional PR guidance of UNICOM-ARC) organized an elaborate series of Delphi groups (under the name of "VOICES") supposedly so that community members could develop "recommendations" to the district on such issues as finances, curriculum and class size. Right.

    If you're in Gurnee, you owe it to yourself and your children to spend a little time learning about how these Delphi groups are used by school districts.

    Meanwhile, on the Campaign Disclosures website of the Illinois State Board of Elections, we learn that Graphtech Systems, a company that sells whizzy computer stuff to bedazzled school districts, gave a $500 "donation" in January 2004 to a "Citizens for District 56 Schools" group that pushed for big tax hikes. Let's see if we can connect the dots: Donate to campaign to sell referendum, raise higher taxes, get more spending, more purchases from companies that sell whizzy computer stuff.

District 60 - Waukegan

District 65 - Lake Bluff

    A parent reported the bad news, "District 65 (Lake Bluff) uses Everyday Math in elementary classes."

District 67 - Lake Forest

    Here's what one parent posted on our comments page:
    [Lake Forest] uses [Chicago math] in grades K-6 and as a result, you can't get your kid into the Kumon classes around here! When will they learn?

    There's no place better to confirm your fears of District 67's devotion to unrepentent progressivism than on its own web site: District 67 Curriculum statement.

District 68 - Oak Grove

    First, the good news, from the district website:
    We use the Silver Burdett & Ginn math program. It is a solid program that builds on the skills your child learned in Kindergarten. In First Grade your child will work in a math workbook. We also supplement and enrich with a variety of other materials.
    And now the very bad news:
    The first through third grade classes use Patricia Cunningham's 4 Blocks Program as the core of the language arts curriculum.
    (Read more about the "Four Blocks" system of Whole Language reading instruction at this page.)

District 70 - Libertyville

    Some parents at Rockland School are understandably protesting the use of the fuzzy Everyday Mathematics program there, which was adopted in 1997.

    A July 13, 2000 article in the Pioneer Press newspapers reports:

    "Chuck and Sandy Wisniewski, whose daughter is a fifth-grader at Libertyville Elementary District 70's Rockland School, have had similar problems [involving mastery of basic math skills]. The Wisniewskis said their daughter and son have both experienced difficulties with math. The Wisniewskis ... consider the culprit is the new math program, Everyday Mathematics, used at many area school districts. 'Our daughter and our son have continually struggled with this program,' the Wisniewskis wrote in a letter to the district."

  • Also: Parents air views on Everyday Math by Korrina Gron, Pioneer Press, October 26, 2000. "Monica Feld of Vernon Hills said her child, a student in Hawthorn Elementary District 73, has been seeing a math tutor for two years because the Everyday Math program being used in the district fails to teach the basics. Around 40 people attended a meeting of Concerned Parents for Quality Education last week to discuss these and other concerns about a math program which some say is inadequate in teaching children about math. ... After talking to around 80 parents who were concerned or confused about the math program, a Libertyville Elementary District 70 parent, Sandy Kamen Wisniewski, and District 73 parent Wendy Nicholson, decided to form Concerned Parents for Quality Education to help give parents a voice about this and other issues. ... A standing-room-only crowd filled a room at the Libertyville Civic Center last week ... Many parents questioned the program's lack of emphasis on basic math skills and mastery ..."

  • One of our Loopers sent us an article from the Libertyville Review of January 18, 2007, reporting on a new reading program at Adler School in D70, which said,
    Each student reads through a short story for one minute, underlining difficult words. The student then reads through the story along with a narrator who reads the same story on CD. In the last step, the student reads through the story again alone. The program is designed so that the student will improve after each reading ...
    That's rote memorization, not reading!

    Liberty Hall Charter School

    D70 in Libertyville stands out as a sickening example how far educrats will go to preserve their monopoly power in the face of parent demands. In 1997, a parent group organized as the Liberty Hall Charter School Foundation launched a valiant effort to create a charter school in D70 Libertyville. The school would have provided Libertyville families an option for a full content-rich Core Knowledge curriculum, Direct Instruction phonics, traditional math, character education, fewer group projects and classic literature. Sadly, the D70 school board decided you should not be allowed to have this choice. After years of arduous battles, the district managed to crush the movement for a better option for Libertyville children. The superintendent at the time, Mark Friedman, is still at the helm now (as of 2006), drawing his $200,000+ salary and, no doubt, savoring the victory that prevented Libertyville parents from exercising liberty in choosing the right education for their kids.

District 72 - Rondout

    Rondout was the location of the biggest train robbery in U.S. history, back in 1924. Today, D72 preserves that reputation by being the most lavishly funded school district (per student) in the entire state of Illinois, spending an astounding $23,800 per student per year!

    And what do parents and taxpayers get for that? Well, they get teacher strike threats, despite having the second-highest pay scale in Lake County (according to the Daily Herald, February 11, 2006).

    They also get to witness their children struggling with the infamous Everyday Math program. But that's just scratching the surface: a "Curriculum Night 2006" featured a presentation loaded with the incomprehensible gobblydegook of the education theorists, but hardly anything on what Rondout proposes that kids would actually learn.

    Thank you, Rondout, for your stunning demonstration that spending a fortune does not guarantee a rich education!

District 73 - Hawthorne (Vernon Hills)

    Look out parents, because the district uses the Everyday Math program.

  • Parents air views on Everyday Math by Korrina Gron, Pioneer Press, October 26, 2000. "Monica Feld of Vernon Hills said her child, a student in Hawthorn Elementary District 73, has been seeing a math tutor for two years because the Everyday Math program being used in the district fails to teach the basics. Around 40 people attended a meeting of Concerned Parents for Quality Education last week to discuss these and other concerns about a math program which some say is inadequate in teaching children about math. ... After talking to around 80 parents who were concerned or confused about the math program, a Libertyville Elementary District 70 parent, Sandy Kamen Wisniewski, and District 73 parent Wendy Nicholson, decided to form Concerned Parents for Quality Education to help give parents a voice about this and other issues. ... A standing-room-only crowd filled a room at the Libertyville Civic Center last week ... Many parents questioned the program's lack of emphasis on basic math skills and mastery ..."

District 75 - Mundelein

    A July 13, 2000 article in the Pioneer Press newspapers reports:
    "Vicki Kennedy said her oldest son did not have a mastery of basic math skills when he finished elementary school in Mundelein Elementary District 75. 'Initially, we were totally unaware that our child was having problems in math,' said Kennedy. And he is still struggling, she said, although he was tutored before leaving elementary school. The Kennedys ... consider the culprit is the new math program, Everyday Mathematics, used at many area school districts."

    And then, victory!

    Everyday Math Program Out by Korinna Grom, Pioneer Press, July 13, 2000 "After using the Everyday Math program for five years, Mundelein Elementary District 75 has decided not to use it once school starts this fall. The board voted June 26 to purchase textbooks for a new math program, Houghton Mifflin Math Central, which will be implemented for the 2000-01 school year. ... Some parents [said] children aren't learning basic math skills with the Everyday Math program. They also feel that the program does not meet the needs of advanced students or those who need extra help. Teachers found the program to be time-consuming. [Superintendent] Partridge said the program was also expensive to implement."

    Jettisoning Everyday Math proved to be a darn good idea:

    Eighth Grade Math Scores Disappoint by Korinna Grom, Mundelein Review (Pioneer Press), November 2, 2000. "... District 75 ... Forty-five percent of eighth-graders in Mundelein Elementary District 75 scored below state standards or at the academic warning level in math this year ..."

    Meanwhile, an improved customer service attitude may be needed over at the high school:

    Mundelein Superintendent Apologizes For Calling Activists 'Goofballs' by Russell Lissau, Daily Herald, May 13, 2005

District 76 - Diamond Lake (Mundelein)

    Aaaacckkk! Reports are that West Oak School has adopted the dreaded Connected Math Program as an "accelerated" math curriculum for sixth through eighth grades.

    Also see:

  • Illinois School District's Success Earns Penalty Threat by Don Soifer, March 11, 2008. "Illinois state law requires school districts to offer bilingual education when at least 20 English learners with the same native language are enrolled. The results have left much to be desired ... Five years ago, educators in one Illinois school district, Diamond Lake District #76, decided to try something different. They implemented their own English-based, or sheltered English, program of instruction. The results have been impressive."

District 79 - Fremont (Mundelein)

    Also see: Click here for details on Prairie Crossing Charter School

    Math Their Way was piloted, then rejected.

    In mid-1998, the district instead approved and budgeted the Math Central program from Houghton-Mifflin. Some excerpts from the Mundelein Review report (May 7, 1998):

      ... Also known as "Chicago Math," the "Math Their Way" program does not stress day to day facts, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. ... The curriculum committee decided that while Chicago Math does an exceptional job with meaning, pupils take a long time to come to that understanding and usually there isn't time to finish the cycle in one year, said Lynette Zimmer, principal of Fremont Elementary School. That's partly because pupils must master one concept before moving onto another in Chicago Math, which moves from the concrete to the abstract, Eggert said.

      While it's important at a young age to understand what 4 x 5 means, the committee decided that memorizing tables would speed the math process. "It's like when kids say the Pledge of Allegiance," Zimmer said. "In the beginning, they don't understand what it means. "But as they get older, they learn. Math Central has tons of games for kids to help them learn the math facts in a number of ways that are rewarding."

      The University of Chicago series was piloted in the district, but it confounded not only parents but also teachers and pupils. Both parents and teachers were unfamiliar with the program's new terms and approaches to concepts, which made it difficult to help students fully, Zimmer said. "You have to become quite invested in Chicago Math," she said. "It takes extensive training for the program to be used correctly." When pupils had questions on their homework, parents weren't quite sure what the assignment was asking for because of the vocabulary used, Zimmer said.

    While Math Central isn't ideal (it uses attention-fighting graphics and places too much emphasis on spiraling, a.k.a., the death spiral), it's nice to see the district recognize the devastating problems with Chicago math.

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

    Cal Skinner's blog provides these additional insights: "The Fremont School District 79 tax hike committee (called Bright Futures on the State Board of Elections web site) paid big money to Unicom in 2001. There's a total of $26, 895.19 in three payments from late March through August, 2001."

District 95 - Lake Zurich, Hawthorn Woods, Palatine

District 96 - Kildeer-Countryside (Buffalo Grove, Long Grove)

    Confuse the kids early with a foundation in the infamous Chicago Math:

    Parents, are you confused, bewildered, and angry by the goofy Everyday Math program? Well, one of your candidates for your school board knows why -- it's your fault. Don Shannon was quoted by the Pioneer Press saying, "Parents are incredibly confused. Parents need to be re-educated to be able to help their kids." Well, we'll be lenient on poor Don -- the article also says he's a veteran of several school committees.

  • The folks at District 96 have unintentionally performed a public service by creating a set of Quicktime movies to illustrate some of the methods taught in the notorious Everyday Math program. Take a look! In particular, watch with amazement as we see how fourth graders are taught to do 352 times 241 using the Everyday Math method of "lattice multiplication". Then, after pausing for reflection, go on to see how fifth graders are instructed to figure out how 1876 crayons can be put in boxes of 64 each -- not by doing a normal division, but rather by torturing themselves with something that Everyday Math calls "Partial-Quotients with Double Digits". It's hard to see how anyone can get out of this class without a lifelong dependency on calculators.

District 102 - Aptakis-Trip

    Confuse the kids early with a foundation in the infamous Chicago Math:

District 103 - Lincolnshire-Prairieview

    Well, this is confusing.

    It appears that D103 is thoroughly committed to fuzzy math, even if that means they have to keep on plowing through the worst of the worst.

    We had information that D103's math program used this fuzz-fest smorgasbord:

    Later information advised us that in May 2004, the district announced that "Grades K, and 3-5 will use the Trailblazers program from Kendall Hunt. Grades 1 and 2 will remain using the Everyday Math program."

    Parents, if your kids are thoroughly confused after bouncing around all of these different fuzzy programs, you'll want to pick up some Saxon books or sign up at a Kumon center!

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

District 106 - Bannockburn

    At last report, the district uses the merely mediocre Scott Foresman Addison Wesley "Math" series.

    As one of its goals for 2005-2006, the district listed "to assess the need for a new math program in grades kindergarten through fifth grade." In January 2006, the Board minutes report, "There will be a meeting with lower school teachers to determine which [math] programs will be piloted this year."

    Kevin Killion visited Bannockburn in 2000, and was very impressed with the content of their science program. Also, a note from the district in 2005 indicates that four staffers were trained in the use of DIBELS for assessment of phonics skills, another good sign.

District 109 - Deerfield

    Good news and bad news: As of May 2001, the Deerfield school board is ditching the infamous Everyday Math program, but the replacement isn't better, only trendier. The curriculum czar Ina Kerrigan claimed, "The controversy has nothing to do with it" according to a story in the Deerfield Review. A 24-member "committee" consisting of administrators, teachers and parents, but firmly run and directed by the school, "decided" that they needed a different fuzzy math program than the one they had. (To understand why we put "committee" and "decide" in quotes, read our article on school committees.)

    So, Everyday Math is out. Now, kids, get ready to start writing and "reflecting", because your school board just decided to stick you with Math Trailblazers instead for grades 1 through 5, and then compounding the damage with Connected Math in grades 6-8.

    Ina Kerrigan also said that while both Everyday Math and Math Trailblazers use the "spiraling" method the Trailblazer's spiral is less "steep". Spiraling is one of those educational viruses that are so popular in today's faddish math books. Critics call it the death spiral, because it gives average children so many wonderful opportunities to repeatedly experience total failure. I guess it would be too much to think that anyone would just consider eliminating that which does not work, and replacing it with a program whose goal is mastery, rather than repeated failure.

    Fortunately, there are several after-school tutoring programs and well-supplied teacher stores in the area, so many parents will be able to continue to teach their children math. (But, gee, isn't that why they collect tax dollars from you, so they can teach your kids?)

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

  • Also see:
    A Mom's Plea: Don't Make Me Do School Projects! By Janine Wood (a Mom in Deerfield, IL), Christian Science Monitor November 17, 2006.

District 112 - North Shore (Highland Park)

    A parent reports: "At Ravinia School in Highland Park they use Math Central by Houghton-Mifflin."

    The district website has a 66-page guide to its objectives in mathematics. The guide does not discuss specific programs used.

    While you're checking your property tax bills, you may want to reflect on how the district purchased 795 new computers in 2002 alone (Chicago Tribune, Apr 17, 2002).

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

District 113 - Highland Park Township HS

District 114 - Fox Lake

    The Fox Lake website may set some kind of dubious standard for its high ratio of graphic pizazz versus actual usable content. Can anyone tell us what is happening in math in this district?

CUSD 116 - Round Lake

    And what do they consider an "emphasis on math"? The district's heavily promoted new website says "we have adopted a new math series." But it doesn't say what that new series is. One of the school websites says that they are "Increasing the use of manipulatives [and] calculators". Ugh!

    Can anyone tell us more about D116?

District 117 - Antioch Community HS

District 118 - Wauconda

    Starting with the 2002-03 school year, it appears that Wauconda is now using the mediocre Scott Foresman Addison Wesley Math series for Kindergarten through 5th grade. We welcome additional information.

District 125 - Adlai E. Stevenson HS

    Stevenson in the news:

  • Officials Try To Reform Complicated State-Funded Pension System by Jim Muir and Caleb Hale, Southern Illinoisan, August 21, 2005. "There are numerous loopholes state employees can and do use to pad retirement benefits. Jon Bauman, executive director of the State Teacher's Retirement System, recently discussed a retirement package that will pay James Hintz, a financial officer at Adlai Stevenson High School, more than $200,000 annually as long as he lives. Hintz received end-of-career stipends and pay raises of more than $100,000, which ballooned his final year salary that is used to determine his pension benefits. Bauman called the retirement package 'legal, but devious.' In Mr. Hintz's case, the district has taken a small opening and driven a truck right through it,' Bauman said. ..."

  • Editorial, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Sun-Times, June 1, 2005:
      "When you read about James Hintz's salary and pension benefits you can only feel one way: mind-blowing outrage. Hintz, in charge of finance for Adlai Stevenson Township High School District 125, has had his salary sweetened by so much over the last four years that he is going to leave his job next month with an enviable $200,000 yearly pension.
       "And you, Illinois taxpayers, are on the hook for it...
       "Schools need to start acting like businesses because their stockholders -- the taxpayers -- are wondering how their money is being spent. It should go into the needy classroom, not into rich end-of-career salary hikes and 35 years worth of sick days."

  • Daily Herald, March 9, 2002
      "The Stevenson High School District in Lincolnshire is denying accusations it improperly prodded two companies into contributing $50,000 to a private group seeking passage of a referendum.
       "Both corporations were negotiating new deals with District 125 late last year when the donations were made to the Stevenson Referendum Campaign Committee. The group is promoting the district's education fund tax rate increase referendum on the March 19 ballot.
       "Rolling Meadows-based Pepsi Americas gave $25,000 to the referendum committee that initially was part of a $60,000 contribution earmarked for District 125's student activities fund. Pepsi topped Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Chicago for a new contract to provide soft-drinks to the district.
       "Laidlaw Transit Inc. of Naperville provided $25,000 to the referendum group before it topped Skokie-based Alltown Bus Service for a $1.5 million busing deal at Stevenson. ..."

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

District 127 - Grayslake Community HS

    Also see:

  • For the inside scoop on what's happening in D127, see the independent website D127 News

District 128 - Community HS (Libertyville & Vernon Hills)

CUSD 187 - North Chicago

    D187 has a fairly decent slate of math textbooks:

    • K-5: Houghton Mifflin Mathematics
    • 6 and 7: Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Middle School Math
    • 7th grade gifted math class and regular 8th grade math: Glencoe Pre-Algebra
    • 8th grade gifted math: Glencoe Algebra I

    D187 receives $7 million in annual financial aid from the federal government for the 30 percent of the children in its schools who come from military families, mostly from the Great Lakes naval base.

    It's a good thing that the math program is reasonable, since military families living on base housing can't easily move so that their kids can attend other schools. Rep. Mark Kirk has worked tenaciously to secure "impact aid" for government school districts. But Kirk insists that such funds flow into district coffers, regardless of whether parents want that school for their children or not. He has consistently rebuffed all suggestions that such aid should go to military families in the form of vouchers, redeemable at any school. Shouldn't those who have volunteered to defend our country have the right to choose schools for their own children?

District 220 - Barrington

    We thought there was good news to report with the Barrington district dumping Everyday Math according to a Pioneer Press report:

      Everyday Math was piloted in some Barrington elementary schools. But a more traditional curriculum published by Addison-Wesley was later adopted, said Jennifer Hay, staff development/mathematics coordinator in Barrington Unit School District 220. "One of the main things that the teachers like about Addison-Wesley is it covers computation very well," Hay said. "That's one of the drawbacks to the University of Chicago program."

    But now, a Barrington parent has advised us (2006) that celebrations are premature:

    You have listed that Barrington has dumped Everyday Math. This is NOT true. [My child's school], along with at least one other elementary school in the district (that I have personally confirmed--the other schools may be using it as well) are using the Everyday Math curriculum.
    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

    Cal Skinner's blog provides these additional insights: "Unicom got $12,980.18 from Barrington tax hike committee Protect Our Investment in Education. It stated it wanted to 'inform citizens and encourage support of school referenda in District 220.'"

    Also see:
    Local citizens' group: Barrington Enlightened Taxpayer Association (BETA).


McHENRY COUNTY

McHenry County regional office of education

Elementary

2 - Nippersink
3 - Fox River Grove
15 - McHenry
18 - Riley
26 - Cary
36 - Harrison
46 - Prairie Grove
47 - Crystal Lake
165 - Marengo-Union

High School

154 - Marengo
155 - Community (Crystal Lake)
156 - McHenry
157 - Richmond-Burton Comm High
Unit Districts

12 - Johnsburg
19 - Alden-Hebron
50 - Harvard
158 - Huntley
200 - Woodstock


District 2 - Nippersink (Richmond, Spring Grove)

District 3 - Fox River Grove

    Here's what D3's website lists as their math textbooks:

      1, 2, 3, 4: Mathematics, McGraw-Hill, 2002

      5: Mathematics, Houghton Mifflin

      6: McDougal Littell Middle School Math
      6 Course 1
      7 Course 2

      8, Pre-Algebra, regular math curriculum:
         Passport to Algebra and Geometry, McDougal Littell, 2003
      8, Accelerated Math Curriculum:
         Algebra 1, McDougal Littell, 2001

    How nice to see a district spell it out so clearly, and not bad stuff either!

District 12 - Johnsburg

District 15 - McHenry

    D15 uses a fairly traditional-style math series from Silver Burdett Ginn for grades K-6, and a Scott Foresman program (which?) for 6 through 8. Prentice Hall's Algebra Tools For Changing the World is also used in 8th grade.

    The district website has a fairly complete listing of all textbooks in all grades for all subjects. We send our congratulations!

District 18 - Riley (Marengo)

    Here is a very promising statement indeed, from Riley's "curriculum statement" on its website. We've added a little bolding for emphasis:
    Reading is taught using the materials from the Houghton Mifflin and Merrill publishers with major emphasis on phonics in the lower grades. Math (fourth through eighth) and science are presented with the Scott Foresman series; math first, second, and third, Saxon series. In language arts, Holt and SRA are used. Social studies implements the Prentice Hall and Silver Burdett program. Writing uses Zaner/Blozer. Spelling is taught using Modern Learning Press for first and second grades, National Standard List for third, fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth grades and Scott Foresman for sixth grade. Steck/Vaughn phonics is used as well as SRA reading.

    Sounds great, Riley!

District 19 - Alden-Hebron

    A Tribune article ("Change about to plow through tranquil town", November 3, 2006) said, "With only three schools, officials in Alden-Hebron Community Consolidated District 19 are talking about how many schools they will need to build to handle the influx of new students."

    If D19 took a good look at what D300 in Carpentersville did, the number of new schools they need to build could be as low as ZERO. Simply invite proposals for new charter schools, and encourage all those new developers to work with charter operators in building the needed facilities.

District 26 - Cary

    A parent writes to us (2005),
    Last year, our K-8 district adopted Everyday Math for grades K-5. Ugh. They even neglected to purchase the materials for 5. The so-called Math Task Force is presenting the Connected Math Program to the D-26 Board o' Education on Oct 17, 2005, and will be asking for adoption at our November board meeting.
    As predicted, at the October 17th meeting, a plan was proposed to install fuzzy Everyday Math for K through 5th grade, and the even fuzzier Connected Math for 6th through 8th.

    So, what's been the result? Read what a parent told us (2007):

    Everyday Math is used in this district. What a disservice to our children to be subjected to this type of instruction or lack thereof. I now know that I am not alone or wrong in feeling angry and frustrated with this school district for the past three years. My child ... seems no further along in math than he was [last year]. ... Wow, and teachers admit this curriculum doesn't provide basic math principles. What's the first thing you do when building a house ... you put a strong foundation in place or it crumbles to the ground. Thank you to Illinois Loop for proving to me that Everyday Math IS setting my child up for failure and that I can not sit idly by and let that happen.

District 36 - Harrison (Wonder Lake)

    We have no information as yet about this single-school district on the eastern side of Wonder Lake.

District 46 - Prairie Grove

    In November 2004 the district board notes reported:
    The Harcourt Math Series is being used in grades K-5 and instructional time has been increased. A new math series was also introduced at the junior high level.

District 47 - Crystal Lake

    Parents, you can't say you you weren't warned! From the district website: "Crystal Lake District 47 uses Everyday Mathematics ... and Connected Mathematics ... as our major sources for our mathematical instruction." Caveat emptor!

    In May 1996, the district adopted the notorious Everyday Math (a.k.a. "Chicago Math") program for Kindergarten through 5th grade. In later grades, math classes are tracked, with many kids subjected to the dreadful Prentice Hall "Connected Math Project" (which has caused huge parental outcries in other communities around the country). (An "Extended Curriculum" group uses the much better "Gateways to Algebra and Geometry" from McDougal-Littell.) A full report on the district's math program is provided on the district's website and is available as a PDF document.

    Here's what one parent told us:

    I am furious. My [child] has just moved from 5th grade into 6th grade where they have fully implemented Connected Math into the middle school curriculum. The homework is totally confusing and tedious and in many cases the answer key that the teachers have is wrong. I am in a constant battle discussing answers with the teacher. It aggrevates me that they ask a child to write their opinion about a problem, explain their answer and then we find out that their opinion was not quite what the answer key says is the correct answer. ... At a parent meeting with the curriculum director and she was very unprepared for this meeting. She struggled to explain some of the concepts and did not have handouts available to explain the purpose or end point of various so called math concepts/problem. Plus she did not know the difference between product and factor while explaining a math game that the kids will be using. ... You would think that the district would send someone bright and articulate to help smooth over parents' questions and fears about this garbage program. Also, she said that all the good school districts in the area including Barrington and many North Shore districts have already adopted Connected Math and that they all think it is wonderful. Is this true? ... Am I way off base about this...everyone I have talked to thinks this program is terrible and their kids are struggling.

    Thank you for listening to my ranting and raving.

    The Northwest Herald reported (November 7, 2006),

      Foes of D-47 Plan Applauded
      by Brenda Schory, Northwest Herald

      "...Parents, such as James Brachmann said the problem was not more minutes in math instruction, it was the type of curriculum, Connected Mathematics, that the district was using. 'Are you aware of the national controversy throughout the country where parents, teachers and mathematicians and scientists have been working to expose the substantial defects in this fuzzy math program,' Brachmann asked. 'Some school districts have dropped the program altogether,' he said. 'As the parent of struggling math students, do you really think that 20 more minutes of this substandard math program is going to make a difference?'"

    A follow-up in the Northwest Herald reported (November 20, 2006),

      Do new studies add up?
      by Brenda Schory, Northwest Herald

      "...parents at Crystal Lake District 47 object to Connected Math being taught in their schools ... Critics of District 47's proposal, such as parent David Boesen of Crystal Lake, say the curriculum is the problem, not the number of minutes allotted for it. 'Why was this implemented in the first place?' Boesen said. ... Another parent, James Brachmann, said Connected Math had spawned controversy elsewhere, such as Penfield Central School in New York, where parents petitioned the school board for more traditional math instruction."

    While D47 is committed to legendary fuzzy math programs Everyday Math and Connected Math, their website math document does have a few elements that are a least a bit encouraging. It includes 4th grade goals of "Mastery of addition and subtraction facts" and "Memorize multiplication facts" and a 5th grade goal of "Multiplication facts (for mastery)." This is late for these skills, but it's better than expectations at some schools that subject their kids to Chicago Math. Another wee hopeful sign is a mention on this district report that says, "Teachers will use calculators to enhance and support classroom instruction not as a replacement for mastery of basic skills."

    The district offers similar reports for the other subjects as well. We commend them for that, as very few schools offer more than the barest glimmer of what parents can expect their children to be doing. But that doesn't mean that the detail they provide will make all parents happy. D47's PDF report on their reading program, for example, is heavy on Whole Language-inspired rhetoric and has little or no reference to real, direct, explicit phonics instruction. Parents who find that their children do not seem to be reading up to par may wish to investigate supplemental programs outside of school.

  • In 2007, the district was promoting a scheme featuring such abominations as merging language arts and social studies into a unified fuzz-fest mish-mosh (as if merging history, geography and civics into the soup called social studies wasn't bad enough!) The district also was planning to cut some music and language programs in order to give more minutes to math its fuzzy-wuzzy math program. D47 seems to be saying, if a program isn't working, let's do more of it.

    Also see:
    Local citizens' group: Encore Means More.

    connected

District 50 - Harvard

District 165 - Marengo-Union

    We have received no information about math in this district, and the district's own website is extraordinarily thin on information. Can anyone tell us more?

District 157 - Richmond-Burton Comm High

District 158 - Huntley

District 200 - Woodstock

    We have one report that this district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. Follow the link to learn more about how that works!


KANE COUNTY

Kane County regional office of education
U-46 - Elgin
101 - Batavia
129 - West Aurora
131 - East Aurora
300 - Carpentersville/Dundee
301 - Burlington
302 - Kaneland
303 - St. Charles
304 - Geneva


District U-46 - Elgin

    The district, a mammoth governmental entity that sprawls across 11 communities, has replaced a fairly traditional program (Heath Math Connections) with a fuzzy math program. A resident of the district sent us this update (December 2004):
    Everyday Math has been adopted as THE curriculum. I don't know if it has been implemented in all schools, but some schools were using it last year and some have just started this year.

    Even more disturbing is U-46 no longer has any advanced math curriculum until 7th grade. In years past, a math specialist taught gifted math students but that disappeared last year, along with lots of other services, during the great budget debacle. Some parent volunteers assisted last year but that has also been discontinued.
    U-46's own website now confirms the awful news that Everyday Math has been adopted for use in elementary grades throughout the district.

    U-46 in the news:

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

District 101 - Batavia

    A parent writes to us,
    I am a parent in this district and Everyday Math has been approved and implemented by the School Board. As a result, my child, who scored 82 on Iowa Basics in third grade and was an A-/B+ math student is generally failing in fourth grade. Math homework is a tear-filled challenge on a nightly basis. Test scores are between 10% and 65%, and the Iowa Basics score has fallen.
    Terry and Donna Todd, two fed-up parents who ran for the school board, wrote,
    My wife and I are two of the people who are running for the school board election on April 3, 2001. We have become so frustrated with what is happening that they leave us no alternative but to get on the board and throw on the brakes and try to get the wrongs reversed. This trend needs to be stopped now before we have a complete train wreck educational system in Batavia. Some may think it already is.

    The reason you don't see much in the board minutes is because the audience is not allowed to speak during the meeting. There is a short public comments section before the meeting and that is it. ...

    Elected or not, we will continue to get information out to the community about what is happening in the schools.

    Another parent wrote to us in February 2005:

    Batavia, Illinois district #101 ... is using U of C Everyday Mathematics. ... This program is big on teaching options in figuring out problems but kids mix methods and quite frankly if they have one solid strategy that will always work why make them learn more. I'm all for finding alternate strategies for kids who aren't getting a traditional method. However, teaching all kids all methods is ridiculous. ... [W]e are spending thousands of dollars for an outside tutoring program. ... At the PTO meeting the principal indicated that the students' math scores were improving, she then declared it is due to the Everyday Math program. They are out of their minds.

District 129 - West Aurora

    This unit district includes the west side of Aurora, North Aurora, Montgomery and Sugar Grove.

    The district website provides this wonderful news:

    2004-05 Elementary Program Adoption

    During the 2004-05 school year the Math Curriculum committee conducted a textbook evaluation and adoption process for the elementary level. As a result of this process, Saxon Math was re-adopted by the Board of Education and new edition textbooks were purchased at the 4th and 5th grade levels. Also purchased were replenishing manipulative kits for K-3, new manipulative kits for 4 and 5, and Every Day Math Games Kits for all grade levels at each school.

    Summer 2005 Curriculum Writing Project (Elementary)

    20 District 129 teachers assembled for a curriculum course and engaged in a process of analyzing the Saxon Math program lesson by lesson, aligning it to the Performance Descriptors and Mathematics Assessment Framework, and created individual lesson guides with alternative, differentiated activities for each lesson K-5. The scope and magnitude of this work was enormous, and the District is fortunate to have the group share their products.

    Middle grade students continue on in math with another good lineup:

    Grade 6RegularScott Foresman-Addison Wesley, Middle School Math, Course 1
    EnrichmentGlencoe Math, Applications & Connections, Course 2
    Grade 7RegularGlencoe Math, Applications & Connections, Course 2
    EnrichmentMcDougal Little, Gateways to Algebra & Geometry
    Grade 8RegularHolt Pre-Algebra
    EnrichmentSaxon Algebra, 3rd Edition

    Way to go, West Aurora!!!

District 131 - East Aurora

CUSD 300 - Carpentersville/Dundee

    Community Unit School District 300 comprises an area of 118 square miles northern Illinois. The villages within the district include: Algonquin, Carpentersville, East Dundee, Gilberts, Hampshire, Lake in the Hills, Pingree Grove, Sleepy Hollow, and West Dundee. The District also includes a small portion of Elgin, an annexed portion of Hoffman Estates, along with portions of Barrington Hills, Cary, and Fox River Grove.

    Elementary grades in D300 have adopted the mediocre Scott Foresman Addison Wesley Math series. While this program is a graphical nightmare of fonts, colors and sidebars, its math instruction is neither good nor horrible -- it's just mediocre. Weaker or less attentive students are likely to be confused by its layout and demands for extruding math thinking through developing verbal skills, as well as its emphasis on multiple methods.

    In the fall of 2006, math instruction in middle schools will expand to 90 minutes per day. According to the Tribune (April 12, 2006) "Principal Stephanie Ramstad said pupils need better math skills so the school can get off the state's academic watch list. One way to do that is with longer classes, she said."

    A better way would have been to adopt a math program with a clear, soothing layout and plenty of practice and maintenance in mastering math goals, but we guess that D300 never thought of that.

    The Trib continued, "The added class time will probably mean more computer-lab work, one-on-one time and meeting in small groups to discuss concepts, officials said." Oh, yes, there's nothing like 8-year-olds "discussing concepts" for quality learning.

    So, D300 kids will get to spend a mind-numbing 90 minutes a day with SFAW Math and heavens-knows-what merry activities. We wonder what was cut out of the classroom day to create this time block?

    At least one of the elementary schools in D300 claims that they'll improve math in this way: "Math journals were utilized in the classroom to give students practice in describing a mathematics procedure." So, if you're weak in writing, now you can be weak in math, too. We wonder if music students have to write essays describing procedures in how they play, or if atheletes have to write essays in arm and leg motion in shooting baskets.

    One D300 school says, "Teachers utilized the benefits of peer interactions to enhance learning in the area of mathematics through a cross-grade level Buddy program." It's weird how educrats insist that teachers must hold a paper state certification to teach in an Illinois mainsteam public school (no matter how poor the teacher is in fact) yet have the chutzpah to claim that having one child teach math to another is commendable.

    But when it comes to public relations, then D300 goes for a serious approach: Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

    Cal Skinner's blog provides these additional insights: "And what did the District 300 tax hikers pay Unicom, Arc? The differently identified District 300 tax hike committee--now morphed into 'Advance 300'--paid $9,125 to Unicom Arc April 11, 2005, for 'Survey, Schools Now For District # 300 Committee.' Under a previous name, the District 300 tax hike committee paid Unicom Arc was paid $1,000 for 'consulting fees' on June 2, 2003, and $7,500 in on June 5, 2002. On April 23rd and 24th of the same year, Unicom received checks for $1,572.64 and $825.56, respectively. $5,000 more was paid on March 19,2002. The firm got another $15,000 on March 4, 2002. September through the end of 2001 saw the tax hike committee pay $12,255.13 in bills to Unicom ($4,000 on 9/10, $8,000 on 10/28 and $ 255.13 on 12/5). And, there's another $4,000 on September 10, 2001."

    Cambridge Lakes Charter School

    In Pingree Grove, west of Elgin, developer Cambridge Homes built a new charter school in its Cambridge Lakes development. It was quite an exciting development, since it was stated that this school would be designed around solid academics, including Core Knowledge, Open Court reading and Saxon Math. That would make it the first public school of this kind anywhere in the Chicago suburbs.

    But now that the school is in operation, the reality is different from what was promised: The math curriculum is not Saxon Math., but instead is Everyday Math (aaacccckkk!) The school claims to have a program "based" on Core Knowledge, but we note that it is not included on the official school list maintained by the Core Knowledge Foundation. The school website has very little information about what actually goes on in its classrooms.

    One parent told us that conventional feedback on progress is absent as well: "There aren't any report cards just sample work. You just have to believe what you are told. I know my kids were learning, but in comparison to what?"

    Sadly, the school has been roiled in its first year of operation by management changes, parent and teacher dissatisfaction, and negative press articles.

    Also see Coyote Forum, run by parents of CLCS.

District 301 - Burlington

    When will they ever learn? Another district capitulates to fuzzy math: D301 has announced that Everyday Math will be used in early grades starting in September 2006. A district parent wrote to us about the district:
    They have created a math Committee that will review the curriculum and hopefully they will see that EM will not do any good for our children and stop this horrible program.

    Anyone in Central School District who is concerned about their child's education should do more research and really see what they are "attempting" to teach our kids. It really doesn't work!

District 302 - Kaneland CUSD

    Let's roll up all of these towns around here into one sprawling Big Ed fiefdom! As Kaneland's website explains: "The district encompasses 140 square miles in southwestern Kane County and is at the western edge of the Fox River Valley. Within its boundaries are all or parts of the incorporated Villages of Aurora, Cortland, Elburn, Kaneville, Maple Park, Montgomery, North Aurora, Sugar Grove and Virgil. Also included are two area codes, eleven zip codes, all or part of eight townships and nineteen voter precincts."

    And what do the kids get in math? Why, it's the old nemesis, Everyday Math.

District 303 - St. Charles

    What a mess! Kids in Kindergarten through 5th grade in D303 are stuck with Everyday Math. After that, they're condemned to Connected Math, "thanks" to a board decision in February 2000.

    From the Chicago Tribune's "Voice of the People" on September 29, 2006:

    St. Charles -- New to the Illinois school system, we were surprised when our 2nd grader brought home the "Family Letter," a four-page instruction sheet that "helps clarify the vocabulary and math tools" our child will be learning. The letter is to be used as a guide for parents to help children with their math homework. Thirty minutes into his first homework problem, my son learned that by writing an addition number story about a unit, he could then write the number model, which "shows how the parts of a number story are related." Huh?

    The letter also stated that my son will soon be learning the "new and improved" version of flash cards, a "Fact Triangle" with a number in each corner and the +,- signs in the middle. As parents we are also encouraged to talk with our child about why it is "important to learn basic facts" and that this will be an interesting and rewarding activity." Really.

    I thought we were sending our son to school to learn basic facts. So far he has learned how to manipulate a calculator. Heaven help the children of parents who fail to comprehend the "Family Guide" and "new math."

    Lynn Provost

    In 2007, a parent wrote to us:

    My [child] is absolutly struggling with Everyday Math. To hear teahers, administrators and even [Superintendent] Dr. Schlomann ... defend this program made my blood boil.

    How can we reach parents of district 303?? PLEASE HELP!!!

    The situation doesn't improve by middle school: The district offers the fuzzy College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM) for "accelerated" students. A parent wrote to us (2008),

    The problem is that [CPM] is really "watered-down" to about 6th/7th grade level from what I have seen with very little on symbol or abstract thinking. ... Probably the most frustrating is "guess and check" that pretty much destroys the beauty of solving for x algebraically.

    Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

District 304 - Geneva

    In May 2007 the D304 board discussed "K-5 Math Curriculum Implementation", but we had no further details. But in October 2008, a parent report to us suggests that it all turned out fairly well:
    My child attends Geneva 304, per the individual school website they use Macmillan/McGraw-Hill (2005) [for math] in all the schools K-5.

    Also see:
    Local independent website:   Geneva Tax Facts.


DEKALB COUNTY

DeKalb County regional office of education

CUSD 424 - Genoa-Kingston
CUSD 425 - Indian Creek
CUSD 426 - Hiawatha
CUSD 427 - Sycamore
CUSD 428 - DeKalb
CUSD 429 - Hinckley-Big Rock
CUSD 430 - Sandwich
CUSD 432 - Somonauk

  • DeKalb County - School Finance Reform

  • CUSD 424 - Genoa-Kingston

    CUSD 425 - Indian Creek

    CUSD 426 - Hiawatha

      In May 2006, the school district reported this excellent news:
      Thanks to the many teachers who evaluated the current Connected Math program with the McDougal Littell math series. In addition to the data presented at the last board meeting, a summary of staff comments was submitted to the Board for their consideration. While the decision to change texts is always difficult, staff, student, parent, and administration data supported the recommendation to adopt the McDougal Littell math textbooks for 6th-12th grades.

      Yea, Hiawatha!

    CUSD 427 - Sycamore

      Public schools:

      District 427, just northeast of Dekalb, provides a boatload of progressivist rhetoric on its website. As an example, take a gander at the whoppers in their scary "strategic plan."

      A parent in D427 fills us in (2008) on details about math in Sycamore:
      The grade schools use Everyday Mathematics and the middle school uses Connected Math. I have a [daughter who] does not know how to do long division nor does she know how to multiply or divide fractions. She can, however, draw a beautiful lattice. I will [take] the time to teach her how to do math. I thought the school was responsible for instruction and parents were responsible for support and assistance to their children. Apparently I was mistaken.

      By 2010, the issue has become contentious enough that a parent group in Sycamore set up an attractive and comprehensive website Reform Sycamore Math to alert parents to what is happening to their schools.
      Private school:

      Cornerstone Christian Academy not only uses the highly respected Saxon Math, but also implements the principles and curricular guidelines of the Hillsdale Academy Reference Guide, the only school we're aware of in Illinois to do so. (For more on Hillsdale, click here.)

    CUSD 428 - DeKalb

      Fuzzy math it is, with the infamous Everyday Math program. One page on the district website says that "[Everyday Math] allows for your child to learn math in a spiral type system. What this means is that as your child progresses through his/her educational career, they will be covering the same material but at a higher level every year."

      Aw, sweet. What they're not saying is that use of spiraling (a.k.a., the death spiral) gives a weaker student so many wonderful opportunities to experience utter demoralizing failure.

    CUSD 429 - Hinckley-Big Rock

    CUSD 430 - Sandwich

      Stay alert, parents of Sandwich!

      D430 has announced that the math curriculum will be re-evaluated during the 2008-2009 school year.

    CUSD 432 - Somonauk


    WILL COUNTY

    Will County regional office of education

    17 - Channahon
    30C - Troy
    33C - Homer
    70C - Laraway
    81 - Union
    84 - Rockdale
    86 - Joliet
    88 - Chaney Monge
    88A - Richland
    89 - Fairmont
    90 - Taft (Lockport)
    91 - Milne-Kelvin Grove
    92 - Ludwig-Reed-Walsh
    114 - Manhattan
    122 - New Lenox
    157C - Frankfort
    159 - Mokena
    161 - Summit Hill
     
    200U - Beecher
    201U - Crete Monee
    202 - Plainfield
    203 - Elwood
    204 - Joliet Twp. High
    205 - Lockport Twp High
    207U - Peotone
    209U - Wilmington
    210 - Lincoln-Way High
    255U - Reed Custer CUSD
    365U - Valley View


    District 17 - Channahon

      Can anyone tell us how math is taught in Channahon?

    District 33C - Homer

      Help other parents! Can anyone tell us more about how math is taught in Homer?

    District 70C - Laraway

      Help other parents! Can anyone tell us how math is taught in Laraway?

    District 84 - Rockdale

      Help other parents! Can anyone tell us how math is taught in Rockdale?

    District 86 - Joliet

      D86 has adopted programs from Harcourt (for K-5) and Prentice Hall (for 6-8) for use starting in 2006-2007.

    District 88A - Richland

      The Richland district covers the west half of Crest Hill.

      Help other parents! Can anyone tell us how math is taught in Richland?

    District 89 - Fairmont (Lockport)

      Can anyone tell us more about how math is taught in Fairmont D89?

    District 92 - Ludwig-Reed-Walsh

      This district holds claim to parts of Homer Glen and Lockport.

      You can help other parents: Tell us more about how math is taught in D92!

    District 114 - Manhattan

      Can anyone tell us more about how math is taught in the fast-growing Manhattan area?

    District 122 - New Lenox

      A local parent wrote to us (September 2007) with this news:

      Our school district just implemented Everyday Math for grades K-5 throughout our school distrct. I am so disappointed in our school district I could just scream. Had they not asked for input from other schools who have used this program and show test scores down or checked the Internet to see what kind of feedback the program was getting? If the housing market wasn't so bad I would move out of this area. ... I now feel I have to go to a teacher store and buy books to teach my ... children the basics of math.

      Also our school did away with weekly spelling words to study for the spelling test. They just give you the test with no way of knowing what words are on it or if you even have a clue how to spell it. ...

      Oh yeah, they no longer give letter grades A B C D F for subjects. It's now B Beginning - D Developing - S Secure. So I will give the school district a B for beginning a disaster ...

    District 157C - Frankfort

    District 159 - Mokena

      We like this practical, honest statement on D159's "curriculum" webpage:
      The [curriculum] process is based upon research, theories, trial and error, discussions with administrators and just plain common sense.
      How refreshing! It looks like they may be following through on "common sense" as well -- their standard math text is Sadlier/Oxford's Progress in Mathmatics, a traditionalist program.

      In junior high, the district uses Glencoe Mathematics, plus Addison-Wesley Algebra for "enriched" 7th and 8th grade classes.

      D159 is one of the very few districts that posts on their website all of the major textbooks used in their schools in all subjects, with pictures even! Kudos!

    District 202 - Plainfield

      A Plainfield resident wrote to us to say that grade schools in Plainfield use UCSMP (Chicago Math), and adds,

      "As a parent I think it's the most absurd form of education that I have ever seen. ... Somewhere along the line they've forgotten it's important to know how to add and subtract (and the rest) without the use of a calculator ..."
      Another Plainfield parent also wrote to us:
      "Our family sold our home in Plainfield last month. ... huge beautiful schools [but] we had no idea what lurked inside. We had never experienced such a poor academic curriculum in our lives. My boys do well in every subject, because I paid for private schools in order to escape the snares in learning that Plainfield Schools offered. Their Everyday Math Program would sabotage any child's good foundation in math. I never understood how school board members could in good conscience allow math programs that were so poor. Any math program or reading for that matter, that has more pictures than words is very telling to anyone."

      UPDATE!
      In mid-2008, Plainfield D202 finally dumped the much loathed Everyday Math and switched to the new "enVisionMath" from Scott Foresman, with middle grades getting a math program from Holt. A D202 press release quotes their assistant superintendent, "This change is overdue. We've had the same program for 10 years and it's not serving our students' needs as well as it once did. ... In particular we found gaps in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades in terms of Everyday Math's alignment to the learning standards."

      Other Notes

    • Real estate developer MACOM Corporation gave $10,000 in both 2005 and 2006 to a political group working for a hike in school taxes.

    District 205 - Lockport Twp High

      A parent writes to us,
      I want to thank you for your honest and forthright information and not being afraid to tell the truth. I wish more parents were not so apathetic and would get informed and involved. ... Thank you, thank you, thank you Illinois Loop!

      Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

      Here in Lockport, the district spent a whoppin' $74,000 with UNICOM-ARC to help raise your taxes.

    District 207U - Peotone

      Parents have organized to battle the implementation of the dreaded Everyday Math in their district.

      According to an article in the Kankakee Daily Journal (April 2007), "A new math program for students in kindergarten through fifth grade has been under scrutiny by parents, school board members and administration. ... Last month the Peotone School Board was given a letter submitted by 18 families that listed questions and concerns about the [Everyday Math] program. Melissa Paukstis was among the parents who signed the letter. 'I'm concerned that students in first grade aren't required to learn the basic math skills. They're not learning subtraction but the characteristics of geometry,' she said. Catherine Schipman said she's concerned that students in kindergarten use calculators to solve everyday math problems instead of learning basic skills. Parent Jennifer Moe's biggest concern is that the new math program doesn't have students 'mastering' the four fundamental skills: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division."

    District 209U - Wilmington

      This unit district has two elementary schools, a middle school and a high school.

    District 210 - Lincoln-Way Community High

      D210 operates Central High School and East High School, with students from Frankfort, Joliet, Manhattan, Mokena, New Lenox and Tinley Park.

    District 255U - Reed-Custer CUSD


    IROQUOIS AND KANKAKEE COUNTIES

    Iroquois-Kankakee regional office of education

    Iroquois County
    3 - Donovan
    4 - Central
    6 - Cissna Park
    9 - Iroquois County
    10 - Iroquois West
    233 - Milford Township High
    252 - Crescent-Iroquois High
    275 - Crescent City
    280 - Milford
      Kankakee County
    1 - Momence
    2 - Herscher
    5 - Manteno
    6 - Grant Park
    53 - Bourbonnais
    61 - Bradley
    111 - Kankakee
    256 - St. Anne
    258 - St. George
    259 - Pembroke
    302 - St. Anne High
    307 - Bradley-Bourbonnais High


    District 3 - Donovan

      In March 2004, the Donovan district adopted Saxon Math for its schools. Congratulations!

    District 61 - Bradley

      A parent reported (September 2008) the great news that Bradley D61 uses Saxon Math in its schools. Hurrah!

    District 111 - Kankakee

      A reader gave us this bad news in November 2009:
      [KSD111 is] currently using Everyday Math up to grade 6 and Connected Math in grades 7 and 8.

    GRUNDY AND KENDALL COUNTIES

    Grundy-Kendall regional office of education

    Grundy County
    1 - Coal City CUSD
    2c - Mazon-Verona-Kinsman
    24c - Nettle Creek
    54 - Morris
    60c - Saratoga
    72c - Gardner
    73 - Gardner-S Wilmington High
    74 - South Wilmington
    75 - Braceville
    101 - Morris High
    111 - Minooka High
    201 - Minooka
      Kendall County
    18 - Newark High
    66 - Newark
    88 - Plano CUSD
    90 - Lisbon
    115 - Yorkville CUSD
    308 - Oswego CUSD


    CUSD 115 - Yorkville

      A reader reports (2005),
      Guess what math series is up for adoption in our district! It's Everyday Math for K-5 and Connected Math for 7 & 8. ... Help! How can I save our children from this blight?
      Another reader reports (2005),
      Our district has recommended the controversial Everyday Math and Connected Math programs for grades K-8 to the school board for approval. Parents have made the school board members aware of their concerns but it looks like that won't make a difference. We are concerned that this is just another instance of the district's penchant for experimenting with our students. We had the same reservation and discussions when they wanted to implement block-scheduling yet the district went ahead anyway. More than six years later the time blocks are still not being used effectively by a large number of classes and we feel our kids are suffering academically.

    CUSD 308 - Oswego

      Oswego 308 certainly doesn't lack for ambition: The educrats there are planning on shelling out almost a half-billion dollars (that's billion -- with a "B") in building as many as 14 new schools, and expanding many existing buildings.

      But consider Oswego's math curriculum (the dreaded Everyday Math for K-5) its devotion to happy science ("Oswego District 308 [is] anchored in an inquiry approach to science learning. Students participate in hands-on investigations ...") and its cryptically vague standard for teaching reading (its Kindergarten curriculum guide only bullets these items: "•Letter names and sounds, •Initial consonant sounds, •Rhyming (Phonemic Awareness)" [sic]).

      Now, given all that you would think that a half-billion dollars might be enough to provide some alternatives.

      But no-o-o-o-o. Imagination seems to be a challenge for Oswego. Despite the stunning levels of new spending, there don't seem to be any plans on the table for new options to enable parents to choose the right education for their own kids.


      Laurie Pasteris wrote (July 2007) to tell us,

      I would like the parents of Oswego Dist.308 K-5 students to know that our Everyday Math program is up for review at the beginning of the school year. If no one shows the school board any concerns over this controversial math program, it will be reinstated. Carla Wood, the task force adviser for math, seems to be very impressed by the program. She talks highly about how E.M. lets children think outside of the box. My reply to her, as a parent and teacher, is children need to know what's in the box first.

      On September 10, 2007, a group of parents represented by Laurie Pasteris made a presentation to the D308 school board formally asking for the removal of Everyday Math from their schools. Click here to read the presentation in full!

      The Aurora Beacon-News covered the Oswego math rebellion, and here are some excerpts from that story:

      Aurora Beacon-News
      September 23, 2007

      What's The Right Formula For Teaching Kids Math?

      Earlier this month, a group of parents marched into the Oswego School Board meeting with a petition demanding that their children learn math the way they did: worksheets with addition problems, teachers scribbling formulas on chalkboards.

      It's been more than a decade since school districts across the nation ditched traditional arithmetic programs, and some 300 Oswego parents say they're sick of multiplication that involves rectangles and diagonal lines, children "discovering" math through games, and a philosophy that says if students don't pick up on a concept now, they'll just learn it when the lesson comes up again.

      ...

      Read the full story here.


    DOWNSTATE


    Brown County
    Douglas County
    Edgar County
    Edwards County
    Greene County
    Jersey County
    Madison County: 7 - Edwardsville
    Madison County: 15 - Wood River-Hartford
    McLean County
    Ogle County
    Perry County: District 204
    Perry County: District 300
    Saline County
    Tazewell County
    Vermilion County: District 5
    Vermilion County: District 11
    Wabash County
    Winnebago County: 100 - Belvidere
    Winnebago County: 131 - Kinnikinnick, Roscoe
    Winnebago County: 205 - Rockford

    Your district isn't listed?
    Tell us about math in your district!


    Brown County - CUSD #1

      A reader passed on the good news that Saxon Math is used in K through 6th grade.

    Douglas County - District 300 - Sullivan

    Edgar County - District 95 - Paris

      Maybe the lights are brighter in Paris!

      In downstate Paris, Illinois, kids will be getting on track with Saxon Math! The district confidently says, "Implementing the Saxon Math series is a major part of the improvement plan. Constant repetition of previously taught problems and a set procedure to fact instruction should improve the identified weak areas in math."

    Edwards County - District 1

      The Downstate Edwards County School District teaches kids math with Saxon Math!

    Greene County - CUSD 53 - North Greene (White Hall)

      A resident tells us,
      The [UCSMP Chicago Math] math textbooks are not teacher/student friendly. The textbooks throw bunches of things together in such a curious fashion, as to confuse the teachers as well as the students. The elementary school is now using Everyday Math and our students are not learning their multiplication facts at a young age but are using calculators in kindergarten. I don't understand why the basics are not important to this school district. They are valued very much by me, and I prefer the McDougal Littell Concepts and Skills textbooks highly over the [UCSMP]. The teachers in the high school have to slow their pace to teach their students the basic skills they should already possess once they enter the high school. I am disappointed in this choice for math textbooks in the entire school system.

    Jersey County - CUSD 100

      A math program from McGraw-Hill is used in grades K-6. In the middle school (7-8?) we were told simply that the program is "Math Applications", and McDougal-Littell is used for those taking algebra in 8th grade.

      See: Local citizens' group: Jersey County Coalition for Public Awareness.

      Jersey County schools in the news:

    • Video -- The Story of Jersey County: After voters resoundingly defeated a bond referendum to build a new high school, Jersey County District 100 administrators and board members decided to do what they wanted to anyway. With the help of an extensive network of associations and other tax dollar profiteers, the district ignored the will of the voters, borrowed tens of millions of dollars, and built not just one, but two new school buildings.

    Madison County - Community Unit School District 7 - Edwardsville

      A reader gave us the unfortunate news (August 2009) that D7 students have to muck through Everyday Math.

    Madison County - District 15 - Wood River-Hartford

      About 15 miles northeast of St. Louis, Wood River-Hartford teaches kids math with Saxon Math!

    McLean County - District 87 - Bloomington

      A teacher wrote to us,
      My school district, District 87, in Bloomington, Illinois adopted the Mathematics in Context series, which was developed by the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, for grades 6-8 several years ago. In my opinion, this series has been a dismal failure in teaching math.

    Ogle County - District 231 - Rochelle

    • Uh-oh: "Everyday Mathematics was implemented in all K-4 grade rooms"

    • Even the brighter kids are hobbled with fuzzy math: According to a posting about something called the "Academic Enrichment Program":
      Fourth grade students, from all four elementary schools, who have been identified as advanced in the area of math ... use the Everyday Math series for some of their instruction. ... The program is enriched with individual research ..., problem solving, and higher level thinking skills. ... Fifth grade students who are identified as gifted or advanced in math ... also use the Everyday Math series.

    Perry County - District 204 - Pinckneyville

      What do these downstate districts know that seems to elude the great minds in the suburban districts? Pinckneyville is another district using Saxon Math.

    Perry County - District 300 - DuQuoin

      Downstate DuQuoin teaches kids math with Saxon Math!

    Saline County - District 3 - Harrisburg

      Downstate Harrisburg reports on their website,

        "We are also in our second year of using the Saxon Math program and we are extremely pleased with the progress we are getting from our students in math. ... The Saxon Math Program builds on the prior learning of students and is centered upon the goal that all students achieve success. Mathematical strands are not taught in short units and then abandoned; rather, they spiral throughout the year, providing students repeated chances to master new learning in small increments, with ample time allowed for practice between increments."

      Way to go, Harrisburg!

    Tazewell County - District 76 - Creve Coeur

      Creve Coeur (just south of Peoria) teaches kids math with Saxon Math!

    Vermilion County - District 5 - Catlin

      Downstate Catlin (in east central Illinois) is noteworthy for its use of Saxon Math!

    Vermilion County - District 11 - Hoopeston

      Downstate Hoopeston, "Home of the Cornjerkers," teaches kids math with Saxon Math!

    Wabash County

      We have been told that the North Intermediate Center of Education uses Saxon Math.

    Winnebago County - District 100 - Belvidere

      Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:

      Cal Skinner's blog provides these additional insights: "Belvidere's Citizens With a Vision for District 100 paid Unicom Arc paid $64,881.71 last spring. The tax hike committee's purpose is to 'raise awareness to assist passage of school referendum.' The total effort cost $88,000. Clearly, UNICOM Arc is a 'turn key' operation. A tax hike committee writes it big checks and it takes care of the referendum campaign. The money was raised from homebuilders, their allies and vendors, although there is a fair representation from individuals."

    Winnebago County - District 131 - Kinnikinnick, Roscoe

      A parent writes to us,
      Kinnikinnick District 131 in Roscoe is currently using the Investigations curriculum for lower level grades and the Mathscapes curriculum for middle school grades. ... [The kids now] will be stuck trying to derive pi and arrive at the formula for the circumference of a circle by themselves for a week. ... [M]y husband [and I want] to express our complete disapproval of these ridiculous curriculums.

    Winnebago County - District 205 - Rockford

      Rockford has been famous for the brutal attacks on teacher-led instruction of phonics in its poorest schools. Read our special, detailed report on the Rockford Reading Disaster.

      Rockford appears to be pretty sad in its math instruction as well: Kindergarten through 5th grade is subjected to Everyday Math, while middle school grades must endure Connected Math. Starting in 5th grade and going on through high school, kids are to use TI-84 calculators.

      The large Chicago charter school group CICS has received approval to launch a new K-12 charter school in Rockford in September 2010. That must be great news to the families whose kids are stuck with the awful Everyday Math in Rockford's conventional public schools! Oh, wait: CICS has announced (see here) that its CICS Rockford school plans to also crush kids in grades K through 6 with the same Everyday Math program. For grades 7 and 8, CICS says they'll use a program they identify as "Math in Context", but we haven't been able to figure out if that means the horrible Core Plus: Contemporary Mathematics in Context series, or the mysterious Dutch-based Mathematics in Context: A Connected Curriculum series (click through for each of those to learn more about them).

      Realtors to the Rescue -- Almost
      In August 2006, the Rockford Area Association of Realtors recognized that having better schools improves property values, and backed that up with a $30,000 grant! And how are the Rockford Realtors planning to spend their money?
               By funding efforts to bring charter schools to Rockford? Nope.
               Giving seed money to schools adopting rigorous phonics and math programs? No again.
               Lobbying for a school choice pilot program, as has been so successful in Milwaukee? Uh-uh.
               Starting a full investigation into the Rockford Reading Disaster? No-sir-ee.
      So, how do the Rockford Realtors think they can help education? By giving the whole $30,000 to a political group working for a tax-hike referendum to raise more money for the same old failed bureaucracy!

      Have you been Delphi'ed? This district has used professional PR firm UNICOM-ARC for public relations efforts. To learn more about UNICOM-ARC, and how school districts have been employing slick PR tactics, read these pages on our website:


    NON-GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS

    City of Chicago - Catholic

      Also see our special page on education issues in Catholic schools.

    • Frances Xavier Warde: a private Catholic school, operating in locations at Old St. Pat's and Holy Name. The stated education philosophy is overwhelmingly progressivist, and it is difficult to find any claim on the website that any child will learn anything specific. Not surprisingly, FXW uses the fuzzy Everyday Math program.

    • St. Benedict, 3900 N Leavitt St.: St. Ben's is a K-12 school with a long respected history. Unfortunately, kids there will not get the same effective math curricula today (2015), and instead will be burdened with Everyday Math.

    • St. Edward, 4343 W Sunnyside Ave.: As is true for all too many schools, especially Catholic schools, the school's website is alarmingly devoid of any information on the academic program. Parents may well wonder just what it is that kids here do all day. The only content on a "curriculum" page is a copy of a letter from the Archdiocese school office telling about its allegiance to Common Core.

    • St. Monica, 5115 N. Montclair: In 2006, this school transformed itself into a "Catholic Environmental Academy", with an emphasis on trendy eco-fluff. A Tribune article (April 18, 2008) on the school noted that the "3rd-grade class at St. Monica Academy has devoted much of the year to studying 'garbology,' meaning garbage." Swell. The school also warns, "Another purpose of our ... program is to create inquiry-based and student-based opportunities for our students in contrast to traditional methods of teaching." Caveat emptor. Painfully, in a search for a website for this school, we came across a website for a wonderful-sounding "St. Monica Academy" -- a private Catholc school offering a rich, Classical format! Unfortunately, that St. Monica Academy is in Pasadena, California.

    • Northside Catholic Academy: This school was formed to replace individual schools at the parishes of St. Gertrude, St. Gregory, St. Henry St. Ignatius, St. Ita, and St. Jerome. It's sad: all that heritage now is replaced by subjecting kids to the infamous Everyday Math program. It's not surprising, as the whole curriculum guide for NCA reads like a constructivist manifesto: What are we to make of this, for example: "In 6th grade science, students will use the 5E Model (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate) to investigate four areas: Patterns of Change, Explanations for Patterns of Change on Earth & Beyond, and Responding to Patterns of Change, Patterns & People." All of which makes us wonder, what do they learn?

    • Santa Lucia, 30th and Wells: Wow! This school uses Saxon Math!

    • St. Pius V, 1919 S. Ashland. The school's website reports the good news, "Saxon Math is the method we use (with great success!) throughout our school."

    • St. Viator, 4140 W. Addison: According to an Old Irving community newsletter (December 2014), St. Viator uses "Go Math" from Houghton Mifflin. It is said that the program fails to have a textbook. Moreover, it's said that the program is not content that kids get correct results, but that they must "explain how they arrived at the solution" which a serious problem for kids whose math skills outpace their verbal or writing skills. The school's website further warns, "Math and Science occupy a prominent place in Primary School as hands-on activities [uh-oh!], inquiry-based units [ugh!!], technology-integration [oh no!!!] and cooperative learning [yikes!!!!] are employed."

      Your Catholic school isn't listed here?
      Help other parents by telling us about math in your school!

    City of Chicago - Jewish

    City of Chicago - Other

    • Cambridge School Chicago: This non-denominational Christian school at 4611 S. Ellis says that it combines the approaches "of Charlotte Mason, Marva Collins, Dorothy Sayers, Dr. Howard Gardner, and E. D. Hirsch, Jr." That's a pretty broad range, but we are encouraged by their enthusiasm about classical methods: "Our Administrator has a strong background in classical schools, most recently serving as headmaster at a classical Christian school in Texas." They describe their methods as following the "Core Knowledge sequence in combination with the excellence of the classical tradition", but also "with an emphasis on experiential learning". This is worth investigation by careful parents. The deepest problem with "experiential learning" or project-based methods in general is that content is too often watered-down by all of the activity. But if the school maintains its committment to the Core Knowledge Sequence, then that suggests content remains a priority. We are thrilled to learn that teachers are chosen on their ability to teach and their degrees in related fields of study, rather than just paper credentials on dubious ed theories. The news in math is wonderful: the school uses Singapore Math !

    • Chicago Grammar School: This private classical school at 900 N. Franklin uses Singapore Math from Kindergarten through sixth grade!

    • University of Chicago Laboratory School: No surprise here -- in the early grades the school uses the infamous Everyday Math program developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP). At the time of this writing (mid 2008), tuition is $18,492 for grades 1 through 4, and $20,286 for grade 5 through 8, and $21,480 for high schoolers.

    Suburbs - Catholic

      Also see our special page on education issues in Catholic schools.

    • or Barrington - St. Anne School: A fairly traditional math program: K-4 use Houghton Mifflin, and grades 5-8 use Prentice Hall.
    • Batavia - Holy Cross School: In September 2008, Holy Cross became the first Catholic school to open in the Rockford diocese in 30 years. (The diocese Rockford covers 11 counties in northern Illinois, including Kane and McHenry.) Math is fairly traditional: K through 5th grade use Harcourt Math, and 6th through 8th grade use textbooks from McDougal Littell. In early grades, the school also uses something called "Mathematics for Young Catholics", whatever that is.
    • Bensenville - St. Charles Borromeo: Uses a traditional math program, Silver Burdett Ginn's The Path to Math Success in K-5, and Glencoe's Applications and Connections in grades 6-8.
    • Bloomingdate - St. Isidore: Help other parents by telling us about math in this school!
    • Downers Grove - St. Joseph: Oh my gosh, for grades 1-3 this school actually tells you what textbooks your child will be using! Unfortunately, they don't continue this fine example for later grades. (You have to drill down to the individual grade level pages in the "Students" section to find this, as it's not linked on the "Educational Excellence" page.) Even better, on a quick review the early grades texts seem to be a pretty decent collection. Math in early grades is taught with McGraw-Hill Mathematics. We also note that the description of spelling instruction emphasizes "phonics and structural patterns", a nice link to decoding, rather than thematic connections. Handwriting is an explicit subject, and language arts seems to have emphasis on grammar. Very promising, St. Joseph's!
    • Elmhurst - Immaculate Conception Grade School: This school's website (2010) says almost nothing about academics. Help other parents by telling us about the math programs used in this school!
    • Elmhurst - Visitation School: Help other parents by telling us about the math programs used in this school!
    • Evanston - St. Athanasius: Believed to be using Houghton Mifflin's Math Central
    • Evergreen Park - St. Bernadette Catholic Academy: Well, at least they are nice enough to warn parents that they're swallowing the worn-out progressivist rhetoric hook, line and sinker: "Beginning in the 2010-11 academic year, students at St. Bernadette will learn in a collaborative, active atmosphere that develops the skills they'll need for success in the 21st century", also saying, "our school will be developing an inquiry-based approach to education, involving great use of technology, collaborative learning, and critical thinking skills..." An Archdiocese website confirms the disaster, saying, "St. Bernadette Catholic Academy is changing it's [sic] approach to education. Beginning in August, the school will become a multiage academy fostering Inquiry Learning [sic] skills..." Caveat emptor!
    • Flossmoor - Infant Jesus of Prague School: Here we are in the heart of a public school district with one of the most impressive sets of goals for academics (read more here) in the entire Chicago area. The local Catholic school, however, is typical devotee of theory-based prattle, announcing [yawn], "We believe that each student is created uniquely, with special gifts, learning styles and limitations. Our curriculum therefore, is geared toward developing the most appropriate learning design for each child. Our educational programs aim toward making each child a lifelong learner ..." They also were a Blue Ribbon winner when it was a test of constructivist orthodoxy. Disappointingly, but not the least bit surprisingly, their math program is Everyday Math.
    • Glen Ellyn - St. James the Apostle: Help other parents by telling us about the math programs used in this school!
    • Glen Ellyn - St. Petronille: The last we heard, "St. Pet" teaches math with the wonderful Saxon Math program in early grades, and McGraw-Hill in later grades.
    • Glendale Heights - St. Matthew: Help other parents by telling us about the math programs used in this school!
    • Inverness - Holy Family Catholic Academy: HFCA boasts one of the more complete and detailed websites we've seen for a non-government school, offering everything from plenty of curriculum details, through statements of philosophy that have real meat and go well beyond the formulaic marshmallows offered by most schools, and on to detailed bios of the school's leaders. This commitment to transparency is both honest and good marketing. Other Catholic schools have much to learn from this website!
      Math at HFCA starts out with an honest attempt to blend the A Beka text "Arithmetic" with Math Learning Center's "Bridges in Mathematics" for grades K, 1, 2, 3, and a set of McDougal Littell texts for upper grades.
      Beyond math and early reading, the curriculum philosophy at HFCA is a little more dicey. The school's website at several points gives fair warning to parents:
      "The Inquiry approach ensures that lessons are student-centered, relevant, hands-on, meaningful, and engaging."
      ...
      "...focus on 21st Century skills..."
      ...
      "While many schools are now beginning to introduce 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration and fluency in technology, Holy Family has been implementing these skills for the last six years and moving forward."
      ...
      "The Academy's program is founded on on 'best practices' for middle school students. The curriculum includes inquiry and service learning units, math and science curricula that emphasize problem-solving, and a social studies curriculum that provides meaningful, real-world issues. The inquiry learning units are also linked to issues of social justice."
      HFCA also promotes its ties to an Ed.D. consultant, who, they say, "has worked as a curriculum consultant focusing on developing inquiry-based teaching strategies and training thousands of teachers, from kindergarten through 12th grades throughout Illinois, to restructure existing curriculum topics in science, social studies, and mathematics as inquiry-based units."
      [Links added]
    • LaGrange - St. Francis Xavier: Clues on its website suggest SFX uses the lamentable Everyday Math program.
    • Lake Forest - East Lake Academy: A parent writes (2003), "There is a newer Catholic school in Lake Forest called East Lake Academy. They use Saxon Math (the 5th graders are currently in Saxon 76) and phonics and other tried and true curriculum. They are pre-K through 5th with 6th to be added next year."
    • Lisle - St. Joan of Arc: A parent tells us (2008), "Saint Joan of Arc, located in Lisle, uses Silver Burdett Ginn in grade 5, and recently adopted Houghton Mifflin in the lower grades. The Math program is excellent. In grade 6 students begin Pre-Algebra, and in Grades 7 and 8 Holt Algebra 1 is used."
    • Lombard - Sacred Heart: Help other parents by telling us about the math programs used in this school!
    • Lombard - St. Pius X: This school has a pretty website, but we couldn't find anything specific at all on it concerning curriculum. Help other parents by telling us about the math programs used in this school!
    • Naperville - All Saints Catholic Academy: A disappointingly progressivist (e.g., see this) Catholic school subjecting kids to Everyday Math.
    • Norridge - Academy of St. Priscilla: News from an Archdiocese press release, August 10, 2009:
      "The Academy of St. Priscilla will open its doors at Divine Savior Parish, 7740 W. Montrose Avenue in Norridge, on September 2, 2009. The Academy will provide 3-through 8-year-olds a Catholic faith-based education using the teaching methods of Differentiated Instruction and Project-Based Learning in a Montessori approach. [It] will be the first school in the Archdiocese of Chicago to solely use these teaching methods..."
    • Oak Park - Ascension School: At last report, Ascension used a traditional math program from Silver Burdett Ginn in grades 1-6, while 7th and 8th graders used a pre-algebra prgram from Glencoe-McGraw Hill. We were delighted and impressed by this refreshing statement on the school's website (2008);
      "We expect the students to know the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts. Basic facts are essential for mental computation and estimation. Knowledge of basic facts helps the development of computational skills and problem solving. Much of success in math depends on how effectively students learn these facts. Our goal is that students will be able to mentally determine the answers to certain facts quickly and accurately. ... We use manipulative activities to build understanding of mathematical concepts. Problem solving activities help develop critical thinking and connect mathematics to the real world. Drill and practice are used to help reinforce newly learned concepts."
    • Orland Hills - Cardinal Joseph Bernardin School: This school sticks kids with Everyday Math, consistent with their overall constructivist approach. We were intrigued to see that a Kumon math tutoring center is noted as a donor in a Bernardin School newsletter (perhaps to thank the school for carrying this program, thus producing kids who need help in math?)
    • Palatine - St. Thomas of Villanova: This school's website offers a seldom seen wonder: a list of the textbooks that are used. The math texts are: K-4, Scott Foresman Addison Wesley Math, Grade 5, Silver Burdett Ginn Exploring Your World, and Grade 6, Sadlier Mathematics.
    • Park Ridge - Embers Elementary: This private (non-parochial) Catholic school for pre-K through 5th grade offers Saxon Math (one year ahead), Open Court reading and the history and geography sections from the Core Knowledge Sequence.
    • Park Ridge - St. Paul of the Cross: With an impressive enrollment of over 700, St. Paul must be doing something right in academics -- but it's hard to learn much about what that might be from the school's website which heavily emphasizes environmentalism and projects. Seventh and Eighth graders use math texts from Glencoe.

    • Roselle - St. Walter: We can't learn much from their very sparse website. Help other parents by telling us about math in this school!
    • Schaumburg - St. Hubert's: Take a public school district (D54) drowning in fuzzy math and "balanced" reading, and contrast it with a Catholic school that emphasizes phonics, and fairly traditional math (McMillan McGraw Hill in K-5, and Glencoe in grades 6-8). It's no surprise then, as the Daily Herald reported (January 28, 2007), "With more than 630 students, [St. Hubert's] is among the largest in the Chicago Archdiocese."
    • Wadsworth - St. Patrick: Ugh. Another Catholic school with Everyday Math. Lennie Jarratt writes about St. Patrick's in this essay on his Education Matters website.
    • Western Springs - St. John of the Cross: Parents were given the bad news in May 2006: "The Everyday Math program will be implemented next year for grades K-2. ... One grade will be added each consecutive school year." In December 2007, the principal, Maureen E. Colin, was noted by the Archdiocese for creating a "child-centered learning environment ... over the past nine years." Ugh! Thanks for the warning.
    • Wilmette - St. Francis Xavier: Uses the fairly traditional Houghton Mifflin Math program.
    • Wilmette - St. Joseph: According to the school's website, math is taught with McGraw-Hill Math in Grades 1 through 5, and Glencoe Mathematics: Applications and Connections after that.

    • Winnetka - Faith, Hope and Charity: For many years, this school provided a partial reprieve from the rampant constructivism in the village's public schools. But now a new principal is working hard to make her school just as fuzzy. In FHC's own advertising they describe themselves as "Progressive education ... Dedicated faculty trained in the latest instructional methods ... student-centered learning and assessments within an integrated curriculum" -- so don't say you weren't warned! Giventhat, it's not surprising that as of September 2006, FHC hampers its kids with Everyday Math.
    • Winnetka - Sacred Heart: The school's website doesn't say what the principal math program is, but it does warn us about the supplemental program: "Topics are supplemented and reinforced through the Everyday Mathematics curriculum."

      Your Catholic school isn't listed here?
      Help other parents by telling us about math in your school!

    Suburbs - Lutheran

    • Arlington Heights - St. Peter: What a nice, attractive website ... that says essentially nothing about what your child will do in the classroom in the nine years spent in this school! Help other parents by telling us about the math programs used in this school!

    • Brookfield - St. Paul's School: Rev. Joel A. Brondos, headmaster at St. Paul's, wrote to tell us about the excellent curriculum program they're offering:
      We use Saxon Math, the Spalding Writing Road to Reading, the Shurley Grammar method, and teach our history timeline and daily oral Latin to students as young as Kindergarten. We have a literature-based reading program (no basal readers) so the children read unabridged versions of classical works like those written by Homer, Chesterton, Plutarch, and more.

    • Lombard - Trinity: Omigosh, from their website we learn almost nothing at all about what or how they teach, but it's obvious that they have a very long way to go at e-marketing! Help other parents by telling us about the math programs used in this school!

    • Palatine - Immanuel Lutheran: Hooray! As another school that really wants to teach math, this one uses Saxon Math!

    • Schaumburg - St. Peter's Lutheran School: This school uses Harcourt Math 2002 in the primary grades and Prentice Hall Tools for Success in the upper grades. They also use Houghton Mifflin Reading and Macmillan McGraw-Hill for social studies.

      Your Lutheran school isn't listed here?
      Help other parents by telling us about math in your school!

    Suburbs - Other

    • Evanston - Baker Demonstration School: This school has recently (2014) adopted the slogan, "Baker, the Progressive School", which wins one of our prestigious Truth-In-Education-Advertising awards. So, parents beware! But this isn't anything new; the school itself says it was "founded by progressive education pioneer, Clara Bell Baker", and is affiliated with the ultra-fuzzy National-Louis ed school. So, it's no surprise that Baker was last reported as using the dreadful Connected Math program.

    • Niles - Science Academy of Chicago: The school's website says, "There is a great need for a college preparatory school with special emphasis on math and science education." Despite that, the schools uses Everyday Math in early grades.

    • Winnetka - North Shore Country Day School: The lower grades here use a witches' brew combination of Everyday Math and TERC Investigations.

    • Lake Forest - Lake Forest Country Day School: While the school website keeps the specifics of the math program a secret, it does ominously warn that the "mathematics curriculum [is] derived from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics' standards" using a "constructivist approach" in which younger "students ... are encouraged to build their own meaning ..."

    • Schaumburg - Schaumburg Christian School: Kids are taught mathematics with Saxon Math, and about reading the school website says explicitly, "The reading program focuses on mastering phonics." Yea! (On the other hand, we have been told that class sizes are very large.)

    Downstate

    • Cornerstone Christian Academy: Not only does this school use the highly respected Saxon Math, but also implements the principles and curricular guidelines of the Hillsdale Academy Reference Guide, the only school we're aware of in Illinois to do so. (For more on Hillsdale, click here.)

    Tell us more!

      We need more information on what is happening in math education in Illinois private schools. Please write to us if you can help!


    Your suggestions and information are welcomed!