Parents rip change in math CTA curriculum

Sep. 3—A few Chandler Traditional Academy parents are unhappy with a change in math curriculum at Chandler Unified School District.

For two consecutive governing board meetings, parents have spoken up about the district's switch from Saxon Math to My Math at CTA schools, saying they feel their children are getting an inferior education.

District officials said they made the switch only after being notified that the publisher of Saxon Math decided not to publish it anymore. The publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, has reversed that decision and is still publishing the series.

"Math does not always come easy to every student and with Saxon Math, my child, along with students in her class, were thriving," Natalie Cordova said. "At the end of the year more than half of the class expressed that math was their favorite subject.

"Unfortunately, the decision has been made for this year that the math curriculum is being changed from Saxon to McGraw Hill, also known at My Math. McGraw Hill is not suited for a CTA program and does not follow the students all the way to sixth grade," she continued.

"The new program was brought about due to the district being misled, that Saxon was being discontinued. Saxon has not been discontinued."

Aarthi D'Costa said the publisher decided to keep supporting the series because of pressure from top charter and private schools.

"Your competitors, like BASIS and homeschoolers, kept up with the publisher," D'Costa told the board. "In their official statement in May 2023, the publisher has stated that the program will continue, and Saxon Math is not going to be discontinued, but rather they will extend the curriculum indefinitely.

"The newly introduced curriculum that is called 'My Math' is a watered-down version of 'Singapore Math' and does not afford children the same mastery and practice of mathematical concepts as Saxon, thus making CTA lose its edge."

Saxon Math was developed by John Saxon during the 1980s.

It is currently written by Stephen Hake. It is among the most popular homeschooling math programs and is praised for introducing new concepts while it also reviews previously taught material.

The district released the following statement:

"Chandler Traditional Academy (CTA) classes transitioned from Saxon Math to My Math during the 2023-2024 school year. In the Spring of 2022, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the vendor for Saxon Math, notified Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) Curriculum and Instruction Department of the discontinuation in publishing of the Saxon Math resources for schools beginning January 2024. CTA teachers, principals and site councils collaborated and provided feedback.

"'My Math' was unanimously chosen as the resource to take the place of Saxon Math. The 'My Math' resource provides the acceleration of the Arizona State Standards of Mathematics and aligns with 6th-8th grade standards. CUSD is committed to utilizing resources that maintain our ability to provide rigor and high-quality instruction for all students."

D'Costa said many parents are not happy with the new math program and are now investing in other ways to make sure their children don't fall behind.

"Parents should not have to supplement a CTA curriculum to meet district standards," she said. "This is what we expect CUSD to provide our children and why we enrolled in a CTA program to begin with."

Cordova read some texts she received from other parents to the governing board.

"This one says, 'math was just oh, so bad tonight,'" she said. "'She finished all of it today so we don't have to stress the rest of the week. It's seriously so terrible.'"

Another text she read:

"My girls and myself are so upset and confused with all of this and why it changed. This is so unfortunate."