Weekly Math Updates

July 12, 2006


  • Orem City Petition -URGENT
  • Campaign Help
  • Fixing a system-Increasing pay to teachers
  • Linda Moran's Sites
  • Media
  • Weekly Comic

Hi all,

There will not be an email update next week but in exchange for a week off I need you to help out with a couple things below.

Orem City Petition -URGENT

We need everyone to pitch in and help get a couple thousand people signed up by August 1st on the petition site for Orem's break off. Please contact anyone you know living in Orem and point them to the website below. You can also call people in Orem and fill out the online petition form right over the phone with their permission. This petition is not to break away from ASD, but merely to get the measure put on the ballot in November so the citizens can vote on the issue.


Here is the actual petition statement:

"We, the undersigned citizens of Orem City, hereby respectfully petition that the Mayor and City Council put to a vote of the citizens of Orem City the question of whether Orem City should detach from the Alpine School District and create a new school district within the Orem City boundaries. We request this question be placed on the ballot for consideration at the November 2006 election."

If you have paper petitions, please go to the website and type all the names in as soon as possible.

If you don't live in Orem and don't realize what a huge difference this will make to change things all over the state but especially in the North end of ASD, there is nothing you can do at this time more important than helping get Orem residents to sign the petition.

Campaign Help

There are a couple of candidates running for school board that I've previously mentioned and they need help. If you have run a campaign before, please contact me asap. We will also need donations in the near future to help fund their campaigns and get them onto the board.

Fixing a system-Increasing pay to teachers

Everyone knows teachers want more pay, right? I mean that's a given. You can't discuss education without someone beating you over the head with "teachers are underpaid," or "they deserve more for what they do," or "there's nothing more precious than our children's education." OK, I get that, but there's at least two issues that have to be overcome for this to happen.

One, it's time for teacher's to be intellectually honest about what works and what doesn't work (I'm mostly talking math here but there have been experiments in the past right here in ASD and elsewhere that had our guinea pig children learning spelling and other subjects by similarly poor programs. (and for those of you already in this "honesty" camp and recognize constructivism as a failed methodology for basing a curriculum around, congratulations and don't start flaming me--I'm glad you're there). If you want parents to respect you teachers more, stop blowing in the wind and get grounded in the facts of effective education and what it is not. Then once you "get it," open your mouths and start convincing others!!! This document is practically all you need. (http://www.edexcellence.net/doc/carnine.pdf)

Two, people like efficiency. "Educational efficiency" is right up there with "military intelligence" and "liberty jail" for top oxymoron honors. Bureaucratic layers in the school districts are a barrier, not a bypass to better education for our children. We should seriously be looking at eliminating 90%+ of district functions and having schools run with a community counsel much like charter schools do and then pass the savings on to teachers for increased salaries. In exchange for a nice bump in pay, teachers would lose tenure and principals would be held accountable to the community council just like a district superintendent is accountable to the school board. Then if the council doesn't like the direction the school is heading they can replace the principal. If the principal has problems with a teacher that isn't teaching or goofs up, there's no tenure holding that person in the position. This solves the "experimentation" problem at the district level and schools could just pick from a number of top-notch curriculum and implement it without all the political wrangling. Schools could watch each other to see what really works and make adjustments as desired. Teaching kids isn't just an art, it's a science where things work or they don't work. Lets use what really works and stop funding experiments outside of science classes.

For all other non-education district issues like busing kids, lets privatize them and let a 3rd party worry about upkeep and maintenance and just contract with the schools for busing the kids.

Linda Moran's Sites

Linda Moran is a homeschooler blogger with a couple nice sites pointing out constructivist fallacies. Here's a nice clip from one page of her site:

"I think my child will benefit from TERC Investigations. It's just that it's not math. Rather, it's an interesting extended language program. We can laugh about it at home. And my child will be laughing all the way to higher mathematics.

I'm so glad I started my kids young in handling dichotomy, in thinking critically about their school environment, and in discerning between indoctrination and education. It's the reason that doing Singapore Math at home, while doing TERC Investigations at school, will work nicely for my remaining child in elementary school."

On another page, she has a lot of good quotes. Here's one from Wilfried Schmid at Harvard:

"I have often, and publicly, characterized Investigations as the worst of the K-4 (or K-5) reform curricula. It does not prepare students adequately for algebra and mathematics beyond algebra.

"It is especially damaging to three classes of students: above average students, who are just not taken far enough in mathematics; students whose verbal abilities lag their mathematical abilities, and certain special needs students who need a more structured curriculum."

I would add it is also very damaging to students who don't "get" math because now they're guaranteed to never get a solid framework to base their other learning on.


School districts continue to grow; charters make impact by Anna Chang-Yen

Utah County children get space experience by Natalie Evans (one of the better things available to kids--a Star Trek simulator--LONG LIVE STAR TREK----or maybe that should be live long....)

Utah's school districts: Is Smaller Better? (SL Tribune)

Clip:  "When you give parents a meaningful voice in the education of their children, their interest level automatically increases," he said. "They know where their children go to school is going to be controlled locally by them."

Weekly Comic

Archive: http://www.oaknorton.com/weaponsofmathdestruction.cfm

Till next week,

Oak Norton


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