Weekly Math Updates

August 13th , 2008


  • Connected Math Downgraded - no longer acceptable as a primary text
  • Media Articles
  • The Greatest Commentary Piece on American Media Ever
  • The Bravest Man in Hollywood?
  • Poster Project Funds Complete
  • Timez Attack Software

Hi folks,

It was three years ago this week that I sent out my first math update after a few months of working on the math issue.  The quote I included in that email from Steven Leinwand, an expert panel member of the NSF was this:

"It's time to recognize that, for many students, real mathematical power, on the one hand, and facility with multidigit, pencil-and-paper computational algorithms, on the other, are mutually exclusive. In fact, it's time to acknowledge that continuing to teach these skills to our students is not only unnecessary, but counterproductive and downright dangerous." (http://www.edweek.org/ew/1994/20lein.h13)

Way back then I had no idea the time commitment this fight would require or the lengths that would have to be gone through to bring about success.  I was in the blissful ignorance stage thinking "hey, people just need to be alerted to the problem enough and then reasonable minds will see the wisdom in changing math to something better."  I had no idea the politics and powerful forces that were behind fuzzy math.  The above quote just shows how deeply our nation has been infiltrated and damaged by these people.

Connected Math Downgraded - no longer acceptable as a primary text

Here's where you can find the great news for yourself.  Please know that Connected Math is one of the worst programs available for middle schoolers.  The only reason it's not as dangerous as Investigations is because the foundation of a child's math learning is more crucial to future development than what follows.  That's why we initially focused on Investigations.  However, once the state was asked to examine this program and see how devoid of content it is, they moved it from being recommended as a primary text to one of limited use.  Here's where to see the great news for yourself:

1) Click this link to go to the RIMS (recommended instructional materials system) site:


2) Leave the selection on subject and click search

3) Select mathematics, algebra, and either pre-algebra or algebra 1 in the three respective boxes

4) Then select either the Recommended Limited or All Adoption Actions and click search

5) Scroll down the list to the Pearson Prentice Hall materials and you'll see all the Connected Mathematics materials are in the Recommended Limited category.

6) If you'd like you can click into Connected math and read the review.  All of them have the same exact review so you can read one and you've read them all.  Note how obvious it is that this was written by a pro-constructivist talking about how the program instills a deeper understanding.

Here's an outside review of the program should you want to see how poor the program really is.



Now what I need all of you to do is contact your local school principals and make sure they know this.  Most of the middle schools in ASD are using CMP (Connected Math) in several of their classrooms as a primary text.  It might not be all of the classrooms that teach math, but several of them are doing it and they need to know about this change right now so they can be ready for school to start in just a couple weeks.  Please forward them the instructions above if needed so they can find this information themselves.

Please let your children's teachers know this too because I have been informed by both parents and teachers how information from the district either doesn't come down to the teachers or it's distorted by telling them it's OK to use a program like Investigations because even though the state removed it as an approved primary text, they've been assured it'll be put back on the approved list in the near future.  Gotta love those educrats.

For you out-of-staters, I know some of you are in bondage to this program and this is great news for you as well.  You should point out that Utah has just dropped CMP use as a primary text to anyone that needs to know someone has examined this program and found it to be deficient. 

The state has not updated the description of their review of CMP, but in looking around I found this review of McDougal-Littell's Integrated Math which is listed as a "Recommended Limited" program as well with these notes from the state reviewers (I would expect a similar description to be posted for CMP in the future):

    Evaluation team comments: This book is one of a three-book integrated series which covers elementary algebra, geometry, and intermediate algebra. It appears that most of the state core concepts would be covered for students who go through the entire three-year series. However, any student who moves from one school system to another would likely experience major gaps in his/her mathematical education due to the somewhat scattered nature of the curriculum. Shifts from algebraic to geometric concepts occur from one chapter section to another, sometimes in a seemingly haphazard way. Students with any kind of organizational difficulties would likely struggle to connect one concept with another.



I was sent this short video and it's an excellent reminder about Common Sense (by Thomas Paine).



Media Articles

Failing grades up (for Utah schools)

Math Scores Show No Gap for Girls, Study Finds

"Although boys in high school performed better than girls in math 20 years ago, the researchers found, that is no longer the case. The reason, they said, is simple: Girls used to take fewer advanced math courses than boys, but now they are taking just as many."

I've sent some of these out previously so I'm recapping them here to archive them

Utah May Get New Math

Frustrated Parents Sneak 'old Math to Kids

New Calculus Course Falling Short (BYU's Constructivist Math Failure)


The Greatest Commentary Piece on American Media Ever


I'm not sure how I came across this article but it's spot-on with it's analysis of why American media is nearly worthless.


The Bravest Man in Hollywood?



Poster Project Funds Complete

Thanks for your generous donations to the poster project.  All funds have now been raised and within a couple/few weeks, Utah will be the first state in the union to have "In God We Trust" posters distributed to every public school teacher along with a copy of the state law allowing for its posting in the classroom.  Here's to hoping other states follow this lead.


Timez Attack Software

I'm always on the lookout for good math related software.  Earlier this year I found a program that looked interesting but I didn't try it out for some reason.  Last week I installed the program on my kids' computer and got my 8 year old playing it.  Two days later she said, "dad, do I have to do this program for my math everyday now?" Trying to sound positive I said, "yeah, sure."  She quickly said, "thanks dad" and loaded it up.  Weird, but true. :)

There are two versions of this software.  The free version, and then a paid version which adds cooler environments to the game to keep it more visually appealing.  Either way, I recommend you check it out for any of your kids that are working on their multiplication tables.  Once you're on the site, click the "How to Play" link at the top for an in-depth video tour of the product.

Click Here for Timez Attack (www.bigbrainz.com)


Till next time,

Oak Norton

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