Palo Alto's new elementary school math curriculum gets mixed reviews from parents, according to results of a recent survey.
A survey of teachers also found disagreement as to the new program's effectiveness and ease of use.
Fifty-five percent of teachers responding to the survey agreed with the statement, "I have found the Everyday Math materials to be an improvement to our elementary math program," while 45 percent disagreed.
A greater number of parents (52 percent) are regularly helping their children with math homework than a year ago (46 percent), according to the 472 parents who responded to the 2010 Elementary School Math Survey.
And parents who felt the math homework materials to be confusing went from 5 percent to 13 percent.
Nearly half the parents who took the survey added individual comments, and they were overwhelmingly negative.
However, there was no change from last year in the percentage of parents who feel their children need extra help in math (27 percent).
Fifty percent, down from 57 percent a year ago, now give their children outside school math support; 12 percent, down from 17 percent, now use private math programs; and 35 percent, down from 46 percent, use supplemental math material.
This year's survey follows last fall's adoption of the controversial Everyday Mathematics textbook series in Palo Alto's 12 elementary schools.
The textbook was adopted by the school board 13 months ago on a contentious 3-2 vote, backing the enthusiastic recommendation of a teacher-dominated textbook-selection panel over a petition signed by more than 700 residents opposing Everyday Mathematics.
This year's online math survey garnered only an 11 percent response rate from elementary parents, as opposed to a 27 percent response rate in 2009.
Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Virginia Davis said survey responses tend to be biased by "an over-representation of respondents who are specifically interested in the topic and/or issues surrounding the topic."
Despite the low survey response rate, Davis said she was pleased with the percentages for other questions.
"We expected that in the first year of implementation (of Everyday Mathematics), there would be discomfort at the change," she said.
"Most of the parents did not respond to the survey, which indicates it is not a pressing topic for most of our families.
"There was also a marked increase in the amount of time spent on math instruction in the classrooms, where teachers fully used the new materials to complete the lessons," Davis said.
"This is a very positive direction for instruction. Our plans for the next year include responses to suggestions from teachers as well as parents."