After more than three hours of passionate debate, the St. Tammany Parish School Board voted Thursday night to remove the controversial Eureka Math materials from the district’s classrooms by next school year.
At Thursday’s meeting and a special meeting held last week, a steady stream of parents pleaded with the board to remove Eureka Math from the parish’s math curriculum.
But unlike at other meetings, those parents were matched Thursday by some teachers who told the board that Eureka Math was working and their students were thriving with it.
There were notes of caution, however. Some junior high and high school math teachers said their students, who had not been taught the fundamentals under the Eureka Math system, were struggling to adapt to the new curriculum.
School administrators, led by Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Arabie, urged the board to allow the school system to refine the curriculum until next year, when a new textbook can be adopted. Administrators vowed to find a non-Eureka textbook to use as the basis for the parish’s math curriculum. Administrators also promised to immediately remove Eureka-based worksheets from schools.
Arabie said Eureka was only part of the district’s math curriculum and that teachers were free to supplement its lessons with materials from other sources. Jettisoning Eureka this school year, as some advocated, would create inconsistencies in the classroom and dramatically increase teachers’ workloads, Arabie said.
The removal of Eureka Math won’t do anything to end many parents’ broader concerns about Common Core, however. Although Eureka Math is closely aligned with Common Core, the controversial set of educational standards vigorously opposed by many in St. Tammany Parish, removing Eureka will simply mean the school system must find a different set of Common Core-aligned curricular materials.
Superintendent Trey Folse urged the board to give school administrators time to make the change gradually.
“I believe Eureka Math is not the best for us,” Folse said during the meeting. But, he said, allowing the district’s curriculum specialists to handle the transition by next year was the best option.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter, @faimon.