Weekly Math Updates
August 30, 2006
ASD CALLS ME BIASED AND FLAWED AND BANS MY FLYER
On August 22, after the Orem city council voted to not pass the ballot initiative, you should know that a very high-ranking district official told a parent that all my research was biased and flawed and that Investigations math is a great program. The next day I called this official and left him a kind message asking him to identify where the flaws are for me to correct anything in question, and also to identify the nature of my bias since I'm at a loss on how I can be biased (defined as prejudiced rather than objective). He has never returned the call.
The school district has never produced a single study supporting Investigations math since I challenged them to produce one at the January 10th, 2006 board meeting. They have not responded to any of my allegations or research yet they continue to claim it has no merit without backing up their words with anything tangible. I even personally invited a couple of district people to write up anything they wanted and I would publish it on my site but they have never taken me up on the offer.
As you know over the last week I asked for liasons to each of the schools. These volunteers received a copy of a flyer I prepared to give teachers after they were indoctrinated by the district in the virtues of NCTM standards during their recent in-service meeting. These volunteers went to each school to give a copy of the flyer to the teachers at their own expense to give the other side of the story the district refuses to give to them. However, the district sent out an email to all the principals to not allow my flyer to be distributed to the teachers.
I can appreciate the desire of the district to prevent anyone from passing out bulk mail garbage to the teachers, but they only confirm their own bias' when they give a lopsided presentation for the teachers to consume and never give them the other side of the story showing the evidence of their incorrect positions. Discovery learning was proved ineffective decades ago and it's what has turned our country into a nation of medocre mathematicians. The math that put men on the moon slowly ceased to be taught soon after that historic event with the 70's starting to embrace fuzzy math concepts and filtering them through the country. Look at what happened to California in the 90's. Horrifying!
As for the flyer (click to open), we are trying to reach all the teachers in the district and if you can hand deliver it to your children's teachers it would be a big help. If you can't, then send copies with your children with a note such as "I just wanted you to have a copy of this flyer which I believe portrays the real math story in our district."
Lastly, you should contact your principal and tell him or her that you've read there's going to be a selection committee for choosing math programs and request to be on it.
Parent Comment--Scary Ones
If you have an 7-10th grader, they were in 1st-4th grade when Investigations was put in and would have had the brunt of it's destructive nature. Please ask them to do a couple problems for you like 423 x 87 or 2858/72 and see what they do. You may have thought their good grades were an indication of successfully mastering concepts but that would be folly to assume such in this district. It is going to be majorly disappointing to watch the next few years of college remedial math rates for these ASD students.
I wanted to send out this next comment I received the day after school started because I think some people think that with the small "v" victory we achieved with ASD announcing their intention to let each school decide which math program to use next year, many of you think the problem is solved. It is not. Teachers are being indoctinated by the district that NCTM standards are great. NCTM standards are not great and will not be great until they are revised by mathematicians who understand the nature and rigor of higher math and the foundation that is necessary for our children to compete on the global scene.
As for being a "hardliner", I admit I am on the outside because you can't turn the Titanic 45 degrees when you're only pulling it 10 degrees off its course. I certainly don't mind discovery learning as a tool, but you do that after the foundation is laid so children can base their discoveries on solid facts. Monumental time is wasted when children have to discover facts well established for the last several millenia as the most efficient methods yet educators who lack the ability to look at this from a common sense point of view have been convinced there is some rationale to justify this fad. Am I against Investigations math? Yes when it's used more than it was designed to be used which is about 20%. Do I think we ought to keep it and use something else with it? No. There's no reason to waste taxpayer money when one of many solid programs could be used at 100% sparing us the extra expense. Good teachers will use some discovery learning in the classroom naturally.
Parent Comment--Funny One
By sharing this story with you I am not endorsing the use of Investigations math in paying fees or making donations to Alpine District Schools.
Parent Comment--No Change
Dan Olson's Letter to Orem City Council
If you listened to the Bob Lonsberry MP3 I emailed out about you know the Orem City Council didn't make the right choice last week just based on their role as "council" members. Their job was to see if it was feasible for Orem to split off, and if so, put the measure on the ballot. Admittedly there's some loopholes that HB77 hasn't addressed but which can and will be fixed in short order. The Council should have then voted to let the people decide once and for all if they wanted to split from ASD. Surely if ASD feels the people love them so much they wouldn't be worried about this going to the ballot. With that said, here's Dan Olson's letter to the Orem City Council. Dan is a professor at BYU in the Computer Science Department.
Charter schools attract parents concerned about public education
Alpine readies to let schools choose curriculum for math (be sure to check out the comments section)
Good Schools Can Happen (From Parade Magazine)
Till next week,
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