Weekly Math Updates

March 21, 2007


  • The War
  • Highland Elementary's Selection
  • Media Articles
  • The Future
  • Weekly Comic -perhaps my favorite so far

The War

Hi all,

I want to start off today that I so appreciate all the help and support you've given me over the past two years. We have won the war to get better math and rid ourselves of that program-that-must-not-be-named. :) We achieved something good for all our children and coupled with better state math standards which are in draft form and pending review by in-state personnel and then an external review by a highly qualified professor in California, we will see Utah moving up the ladder of success for all our children. Please keep this in mind and cement it that no matter what your individual school offers or chooses, you have programs that are WAY beyond what we previously dealt with.

Highland Elementary's Selection

So yesterday, my school council meeting occurred. It was obvious that all of the teachers had rallied to SFAW (Scott Foresman/Addison Wesley). The surveys from math nights last week had more patrons in favor of Saxon but it wasn't a strong turnout, one of the problems between conflicts, apathy, and not ever receiving the message about when the math night was to occur. Several of the parents on the committee were in favor of Saxon but it was obvious from the teachers that they had no desire to teach it. Comments were made that all the programs had strengths and weaknesses. I mentioned that I thought Saxon had been given a bum wrap for years and that people didn't realize how much Saxon had moved to "middle ground" since it was introduced many years ago and the principal acknowledged he was surprised to see actual sections of the book called "Investigations" activities. Later we all laughed when someone held up a SFAW book called "spiraling review" and a teacher commented, "I wonder where they got that?" (Saxon for those of you that haven't heard that term before)

In the end, SFAW was chosen and I'm not displeased. At least at our school we had the opportunity to review Saxon and Houghton-Mifflin (long O like Santa says HO HO HO). I commend our principal for putting it on the table and I know many of your principals have not been so open minded to at least letting people look at it. Don't feel crushed by it anymore. Remember, we have new state standards coming that will help ensure that children must be taught anything that might not be fully up to par in either of the district selections. The two programs you are choosing from will meet most of the standards if not all in some grades and with SFAW I learned just yesterday that there's an online component so that parents can monitor the progress your child is making in each unit of the math. That's pretty cool and will be useful for you to reinforce anything you see a need for at home.

So, if you haven't gotten Saxon on the table at this point, you probably won't. Decisions have to be made by month end and there's probably just not time for it. I do believe the district killed Saxon intentionally by giving it unnaturally low correlations to the state core and I believe that action may eventually come to bring further light on this in the future, but look at what we did achieve. We're not done strengthening our public system, but in terms of math in ASD, we're far, far, above where we were.

Media Articles

Someone once remarked that wisdom is to learn from others' mistakes. That said, Provo district is missing a few screws. Laura Hancock's article yesterday in the Deseret News does a pretty good job pointing it out to them as they are about to incorporate Investigations Math! Aren't you suddenly glad you live in ALPINE DISTRICT!!! :) I just have to laugh at myself for even typing that statement. :)

Provo to teach some controversial math (Laura Hancock)

Here's an article of interest to some of you. Some of the private schools are rejecting vouchers under the premise that they may in the future by controlled by intrusion into their curriculum by the government. That was my initial concern a long time ago, though watching the stubborness of ASD and other districts to make changes parents wanted I became at least a mild supporter as a measure to bring more competition to education.

Vouchers not a sure thing yet (Brooke Barker)

The Future

Where do we go from here? I made a list of about 14 items I will be discussing with various people to further strengthen education in Utah (if you have ideas please send them to me now so I can incorporate them as well). As I can I will make them open to you and I will continue to blog about things happening on our standards and education (mostly math) related things as they pertain to us. I hope you will let go of any ill-will you may harbor toward the stubborn people you may have confronted. I feel no ill-will toward anyone, frustration yes, righteous indignation at times, but no ill-will. So let's get this vote past us and then focus on making our schools even better and having greater participation and support for them.

Weekly Comic

Archive: http://www.weaponsofmathdestruction.com

Till next week,

Oak Norton


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