North Carolina Schools Replace Online Math with Books

Parents of Davidson County students told school officials they weren’t able to help their children with online math assignments, so now middle school students leave tech in the classroom and come home with textbooks.

by / May 23, 2019

(TNS) — For the first time in several years, students in Davidson County Schools will have new textbooks to take home instead of just relying on technology.

Deana Coley, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Davidson County Schools, said the school system has had requests from several parents for books, especially in math, so they can help their children with homework.

She said that since many parents were not taught Common Core math, it is difficult for them to understand without examples, making it difficult from them to help their children.

"For so many of our parents, today's math wasn't the model they were taught," Coley said. "This will help them understand how to help their child to understand. With a textbook, parents as well as students, will have a model to utilize and follow when completing homework."

Under a proposal up for consideration by the Davidson County Board of Education in June, the school system would order 12,968 math textbooks and 459 teacher resource books for kindergarten through eighth grades. The estimated cost is $1.5 million paid over a two-year period.

Lindsey Sowers is the parent of a third-grader and a sixth-grader in Davidson County Schools. She said she is pleased the district wants to provide textbooks the students can bring home.

"I think it's fantastic; I wish it would have happened sooner," Sowers said. "Math is not the same as what we grew up learning. It is extremely difficult when our kids have questions. Parents are helpless when we try to help. If we knew step by step how they were taught, it would be a big help."

Betty Vanhoy has two children in Davidson County Schools. One of them is currently in the seventh grade, and she said she would be glad to have a resource to help him with his homework.

"It can be quite difficult," Vanhoy said. "I was taught a completely different way, so I don't know how they are teaching it without having a physical example; I could be telling my children completely wrong. Having a textbook will make it so much easier for those of us that need to check our children's homework to make sure they are learning and that they are on a scale to continue to grow as a student."

The new textbooks will replace the online i-Ready math program Davidson County Schools has been using for the past five years. Coley said after careful consideration, the district decided to return to a more sustainable and cost efficient program. She said there is still an online digital subscription with the purchase of the textbooks to continue to personalize education.

"We have been using i-Ready for about five years, which is a completely online program," Coley said. "We just are not able to sustain the yearly cost of the program and it is difficult for families that don't have internet access from home."

Sowers said parents have been asking the school district to issue textbooks for several years. She said she has never liked the i-Ready program and believes the books will be well received by the community.

"In talking to teachers and other parents, it is something we have been wanting for a long time," Sowers said. "I definitely think there is a place for technology, but there is room for both. I-Ready is terrible in my experience. It seems like it is just additional work for the student. They get frustrated, and it's not a good feeling. I am just excited that they are finally doing this, and I think they will get some good feedback."

Coley said the introduction of new math and the almost complete digitalization of curriculum has been a burden on some parents, and the school system wants to purchase textbooks to help them support their children.

"Over the past several years, North Carolina has seen significant changes in its standards for math and how we are expected to teach," Coley said. "New math has been a struggle for some parents and even teachers; it is not the way most of us learned math. Secondly, teachers have not been provided resources to teach the new standards. Textbooks play a critical role in the teaching process; it has a framework for activities and new strategies. Textbooks give every child the support they need and the best opportunity for learning."

©2019 The Dispatch, Lexington, N.C.Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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