New community-led effort to help parents navigate Wake County's controversial new math program

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Fifteen-year-old Josiah McGilveary grew up always acing math. But since the change in curriculum, this rising 10th grader at Garner High School started to dread it.

"I want to do it by myself and I try and I get frustrated. I should do this," the teen explained. "I should be able to work this out on my own."

Josiah's mom Elaine said, "He has a 4.2 GPA. He almost always did his homework at school. He started coming home frustrated, stressing."

ABC11 sat down with Elaine along with a roundtable of other Wake County parents frustrated with the rapidly changing math curriculum since Common Core arrived at their children's elementary schools and last year's rollout of the controversial MVP math at Wake County high schools.

RELATED: Parents frustrated after WCPSS keeps math curriculum, promises improvements

Many children expressed frustration with an apparent inability to do their homework. These moms and dads say they feel helpless.

"It's like a foreign language, I don't understand none of it," McGilveary said.

Phillip Lyde, a Durham Public Schools teacher, has three children in Wake County schools. "They're learning new strategies every week or every other week and then you compound that with multiple assessments each and every month," he said.

There is similar frustration at Lakeisha Martin's house. She has a sixth and a fourth-grader, and a child about to enter kindergarten.

"(My older daughter) is really smart, so she listens and pays attention and goes on the internet and finds different ways of how to do it. So she'll teach herself. But, I still don't know (how to help her)," Martin said.

The same common core principles these elementary school parents are struggling to help with have been applied to MVP math which has fueled protests and petitions from hundreds of parents to pull the plug on the program that many parents say simply doesn't work.

Education advocate Geraldine Alshamy said these parents represent the ones who may not have the means to fight back.

More on ABC11: WCPSS review committee backs controversial math curriculum amid protests

Alashamy is organizing a free public event for August to help prepare the parents for the new school year.

"I mean there's so many barriers," Alshamy said. "And too many times, our district is not sensitive to the needs of our lower income parents or our disenfranchised parents."

Alshamy said representatives from Wake elementary and middle schools will be at the event which will also serve as a bookbag giveaway for students. She says she's still working to get a rep for Wake high schools.

It will consist of four hours of breaking down what parents need to know to help their kids navigate this new way of doing math.

The event is Aug. 11 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Greater Love Church in Raleigh, 2421 Timber Drive.
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