Cool Math Games fizzles away from MCPS

After years of its status as a beloved website, Cool Math Games has been blocked from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) for not providing sufficient educational benefits for students. Around early October, the website was made unavailable for not only students, but all members of MCPS, including teachers and staff.

Shortly after the restrictions were set, an online petition was created in defiance of the decision, demanding MCPS to unblock the gaming website. It garnered over 14,000 signatures out of its 15000 signature goal. Unfortunately, the chances of their requests being fulfilled remain low.

Since 2002, the county has implemented filters on its school internet in compliance with the Child’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Websites that proved harmful or distracting to student learning were not accessible on countywide school internet. Disputes began when Cool Math Games, containing a mixture of educational and non-educational activities, were kept away from students, in comparison to social media like Twitter and Instagram that remain accessible for students. Some believe that the county’s limitations have become too strict and overbearing.

“To restrict other sites, especially ones that we used for school or for creative hobbies, is just ridiculous and is a definite overreach of the district’s power (especially for people who rely on the school Chromebooks as their exclusive outlet to the internet),” says Brendan Treleven, a freshman Humanities program student part of the Super Smash Bros Club. “They blocked the no-internet dinosaur game for goodness’ sake!”

Visits to Cool Math Games spiked during the opening months of school, as students used them as a method to de-stress or pass time during their free hours at school. The long-overdue block was meant to ensure students stayed focused on their academics when school was reopening in person. 

However, there is a sliver of hope for students upset about internet constraints. If deemed necessary, a staff member may contact the MCPS help desk to make their concerns known. Otherwise, students searching for online math resources may turn to websites such as Khan Academy or Desmos. 

“I can think of many times where multiplayer fun was had over a game on Cool Math Games, and it saddens me to think newer students don’t get that chance,” says Treleven.

As the online petition nears its goal, it is unknown what outcome will be received. It is most likely that students will have to continue without their former gaming and math hybrid websites.