Utah's Math Future


Sign the Letter

Math Initiative Bill Online

2010 Session
-Sponsor declined to post the bill due to economic circumstances. Good news: some schools are piloting the program anyway.

2009 Session
SB 159 Text
SB 159 Status

Letter of Recommendations

(Letter-Short Version)

Signers & Comments

State Board Support

America's Dire Straits

Singapore Bar Model Example - Brilliant

Singapore Math example set in Narnia

Singapore and Utah Math

Letter Resources

FAQ/About Us

Dissenting Comments

Contact Us

Full MA Study (Summary / Detail Report)

Longitudinal Study Released-Singapore Math WORKS-early release-Presentation by Dr. Bisk from Massachusetts

Presentation to Utah Legislature Education Committee on 9-17-08 (free download)

Dr. Yeap Ban Har's Singapore Math Powerpoint Presentation in Utah on 6-12-08 (free download)

Singapore Math: Simple or Complex (article)

Agency Based Education

Letter of Recommendations

Below is the letter of recommendations we are presenting to the Utah State Board of Education.  We believe these changes will create the much needed direction our state needs to take to succeed in educating our children in math.


To the Utah State School Board of Education:

Engineers and scientists that have taken us to the stars and improved our quality of life in innumerable ways are retiring in droves and there is a critical shortage of qualified individuals to replace them.

The United States does not rank well internationally in math skills when compared to high achieving countries, and Utah does not rank well nationally in math when compared demographically to other states.

We hereby call upon the state of Utah to create an educational “moonshot” that will catapult our state to the forefront of the nation in math and the sciences and become the premier hiring ground for high tech companies.

We ask the USBE to direct the State Superintendent and State Office of Education to adopt the following mission statement and goals and work with the legislature to fund the appropriate measures to bring them about.

Mission Statement: Utah will become the premier state in our country for math education within 10 years by partnering with the NASA Advisory Council to create standards and programs such that NASA will look first to Utah for at least 10% of its recruits and Utah is recognized as a top source of skilled scientists and engineers.

In adopting this mission statement and acting in faith upon it, we will create a population of technically skilled workers in our state thus enticing top companies to locate in Utah and utilize a highly skilled workforce.

To accomplish this mission, we ask that the following be done:

1) Curriculum: We have evaluated various Singapore Math offerings and encourage a statewide adoption of Singapore Primary Mathematics supplemented with Challenging Word Problems in Grades 1-6 and Singapore New Elementary Math for Grades 7-8.  The new curriculum should be phased in with adequate support as detailed later.  Beyond Grade 8 there should be honors and regular sections of Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 taught from a small group of approved high quality textbooks.  An honors pre-calculus course should correspond to Math 1050 (College Algebra) and Math 1060 (Trigonometry) at the state universities so that top achieving students can receive college credit through concurrent enrollment.  Calculus and statistics classes should meet the standards for the Advanced Placement Exams.

2) Standards: A full rewrite of our state math standards will be necessary to implement Singapore math.  The writing panel should consist of a mathematician from the NASA Advisory Council and a mathematician and a mathematics educator who served on the National Mathematics Advisory Panel.  The elementary and secondary math specialists from the Utah State Office of Education and a mathematician from Utah should provide local support for the panel.  The new standards should match Singapore’s standards and meet the objectives of the NCTM Focal Points and the recently issued National Math Advisory Panel Report.

3) Testing: We need quality end-of-level tests with passing scores of intermediate, high, and advanced so that parents know more than if their child is above the lowest bar.  State end-of-level testing should move toward a computerized system where success on problems automatically increases the difficulty for students so that true depth of knowledge can be ascertained at every level.  Full and immediate disclosure of scores and some of the actual test problems should be available for parents to see how their child is doing compared to their class, school, district, and state.  The math standards writing panel should also prepare guidelines for the end-of-level tests.

4) Algebra:  Prepared students should have access to an authentic algebra course by Grade 8 as described in the National Math Advisory Panel Report and more students should be prepared to take algebra by Grade 8.  Those who score at the high or advanced level on the end-of-level test for eighth grade math should receive high school credit for Algebra 1.

5) Student Progress: Mathematically gifted students with sufficient motivation should be allowed to learn mathematics at a faster rate than students proceeding through the curriculum at a normal pace.

6) Instruction time and schedule:  Elementary and secondary math classes should meet daily and average 4-5 hours of instruction time per week over the 36-week school year.  A unit of secondary math credit should require a minimum of 144 hours of actual instruction or testing time.  Block scheduling is an ineffective way to teach mathematics.  By the end of a school year, students on the block schedule have lost over a month of instruction time in math compared to peers elsewhere that are on a traditional schedule.  Students need daily increments of the subject to build their familiarity and immersion in mathematics.

7) Mathematically knowledgeable classroom teachers: We agree with the National Math Advisory Panel Report:

Our citizens and their educational leadership should recognize mathematically knowledgeable classroom teachers as having a central role in mathematics education and should encourage rigorously evaluated initiatives for attracting and appropriately preparing prospective teachers, and for evaluating and retaining effective teachers.

To this end we should strengthen efforts in:

a) Teacher Preparation:  The Utah State Office of Education should work with the Utah State Board of Regents to implement the recommendations of the June 2008 report from the National Council on Teacher Quality.

  • All math content courses for teacher certification and licensure should be within the purview of a department of mathematics.
  • Aspiring elementary teachers need three semesters of mathematics content addressing elementary and middle school topics (numbers and operations, algebra, geometry and measurement, and data analysis and probability) and one mathematics methods course which should provide numerous opportunities for students to practice-teach before elementary students, with emphasis placed on the delivery of mathematics content.

A level 5 mathematics teaching certification should be created to recognize those secondary teachers who have a mathematics degree or who have taken the extra math content courses to qualify for a mathematics degree.  In addition, any teacher that has completed a major in general science, physical science, integrated science, chemistry, or physics, may receive an advanced endorsement to receive a pay supplement equivalent to the level 5 math certificate.

b) Teacher Leaders: Utah should hire a head trainer for the state to oversee all Singapore math implementations grades K-8.  Each district should have a math specialist with the equivalent of a mathematics major in college who is fully excited about implementing the program.

We encourage the state to pilot specialty teachers in grades 4-6.  The teachers in a grade would divide up the curriculum and one of them would be the math and science specialist.  These math and science teachers would need additional training in mathematics, science, and teaching to obtain a math and science endorsement.

c) Teacher Evaluation:  Teachers who consistently produce significant gains in students’ mathematics achievement should be identified and rewarded using value-added analyses (analyses that examine individual students’ achievement gains as a function of the teacher).  Teachers who consistently fail to produce average gains should provide a plan for improvement.

d) Professional Development: The adoption of the new curriculum needs to be accompanied by a simultaneous commitment to extensive, massive professional development and statewide revision of teacher training programs.  There should be a period of transition supported by content-based professional development organized by mathematicians knowledgeable about the present state of mathematics education in Utah, so that the teachers will understand the new standards when they are implemented. More opportunities should be provided for teachers to gain math content professional development.  With a common curriculum, it will be easier to provide professional development that is directly applicable to the classroom.  Each elementary teacher and secondary math teacher should have the opportunity to have a fixed number of hours of math professional development per year.  Teachers should be encouraged and rewarded to take content classes beyond the bachelor’s degree.

For additional information about the items discussed in this letter, please visit www.UtahsMathFuture.com.

We the undersigned strongly support the mission statement and goals of the NASA math initiative and Utah's math moonshot.

Signed by:

Senate President John Valentine
Senator Howard Stephenson
Senator Margaret Dayton
Dr. David Wright
Oak Norton
Dennis Lisonbee

Sign the Letter

Total Signatures: 646 (GOAL: 100,000)

Selected signatures are below - Click here to view other signatures and comments

Senator Curtis Bramble, Provo, UT, CPA, Utah Senate
Senator Peter Knudson, Brigham City, UT, Orthodontist/State Senator, Self-Employed/State Senator
Senator Scott Jenkins, Plain City, UT, Business Owner, Utah Senate
Senator Mark Madsen, Lehi, UT, Attorney,
Senator Jon Greiner, Ogden, UT, Police Chief, Ogden City
Senator Carlene Walker, Salt Lake City, UT, Senator, Utah Senate
Senator Kevin VanTassell, Vernal, UT, Banker, Senate
Representative Brad Daw, Orem, UT, Computer Engineer, Celio
Representative Mike Noel, Kanab, UT, Representative, Utah House
Representative Kenneth Sumsion, American Fork, UT, CPA,
Representative Mike Morley, Spanish Fork, UT, Representative, Utah House of Representatives
MR Mike Bersie, Orem, UT, REO SR. Asset manager,
Dr. Scott Tracy, American Fork, UT, Dentist, A.F. Family Dental, Inc.
Mr. Craig Swapp, Sandy, UT, Attorney, Gregory & Swapp
Mrs. Wendy Hart, Highland, UT, President, Data Specialists, Phoenix10 Technologies, Inc.
scot hazard, eagle mountain, UT, real estate developer, the real estate group
Rick Hakes, Highland, UT, ,
Mrs Lisa Brodie, Alpine, UT, President, Adagio Inc
Dr. R. James Milgram, Boulder Creek, CA, Professor of Mathematics, Stanford University
Ms. Linda Nelson, Pleasant Grove, UT, Realtor, R and R Realty
Mrs. Elaine Augustine, Lehi, UT, Homemaker, Home Educator, Small business owner, Augustine household & businesses
Ms. Susan Jensen, Bountiful, UT, ,
Mrs. Allison Sharp, Highland, UT, PhD, Mother, My family
Mr. Jordan Odom, Saratoga Springs, UT, Appraiser/business owner, Odom Appraisals, Inc.
Mrs. Catherine Shumway, Orem, UT, Owner, Marketing Consulting Company
Mr. Blake Shumway, Orem, UT, Owner, Marketing Consulting Company
Mrs Tami Greene, American Fork, UT, ,
Mr. Todd Whittaker, Orem, UT, Sales Manager,
Mrs. Ann Whittaker, Orem, UT, ,
Scott Taylor, Highland, UT, Self Employed, 5
mikell rich, eagle mountain, UT, owner, zee medical service
Mr. Roger Browne, Lindon, UT, Adjunct Faculty Member, Stevens-Henager College
Mr. Doug Holmes, Farmington, UT, ,
Mrs. Sherrie Martineau, Fruit Heights, UT, Sales Rep,
Mr. Chris Martineau, Fruit Heights, UT, owner/home builder,
Mrs. Kathy Dally, Provo, UT, Accounting, Students
Mr. John Palica, Orem, UT, Owner - CEO Traco Mfg., Inc.,
Brandon Fuller, Eden, UT, Real Estate Broker,
Allan South, Orem, UT, Owner, Self
Mrs. Diane Andrus, Lindon, UT, Music Educator, Andrus School of Music
Mr. Paul Killpack, Highland, UT, ,
Mr. Kirt Bailey, Farmington, UT, CEO/President, Celio Corp
Mrs Sandra Winward, Murray, UT, Owner/President, Creative License Artist CoOp
Representative Keith Grover, Provo, UT, Representative, Utah House
Representative Kory Holdaway, Taylorsville, UT, Representative, Utah House
Representative Patrick Painter, Nephi, UT, Representative, Utah House
Jim Stout, Highland, UT, Engineer / Owner / CTO ,
Mr. Ben Nolte, Lindon, UT, ,
Glenn Smith, Alpine, UT, President, GT Smith Enterprises, Inc.
Mrs. Ann Gubler, Tooele, UT, Straight Edge, Inc., Chairman, Board of Trustees, Excelsior Academy Charter School
Janice Strobell, Murray, UT, Homeschool mother and business administrator, Mountain West Materials
Representative John Dougall, Highland, UT, Engineer,
Mr. Milton Olsen, Manti, UT, engineer,
MRS Emily hendricksen, American Fork, UT, ,
Mr Kurt Johnson, Lehi, UT, ,
Mrs Gina Johnson, Lehi, UT, ,
WILLARD WILDE, Sandy, UT, Telecommunications,
Mrs. Melinda Jensen, Pleasant Grove, UT, Salon owner, Studio Details
Kevin Rhoads, Cedar Hills, UT, Consultant,
Representative Paul Neuenschwander, Bountiful, UT, Representative, Legislature
Representative Roger Barrus, Centerville, UT, Retired,
Mr. E.Lynn Mortensen, Pleasant Grove, UT, Software QA Test Engineer,
Mrs. Lise Christiansen, Orem, UT, 1) Mother; 2) proofreader, family/independant contractor
Mr. Richard Hoffman, Highland, UT, Sr. Manager of Project / Product Management, XanGo
Dr. Joseph Johnson, Orem, UT, pediatrician,
Representative Stephen Sandstrom, Orem, UT, Architect, Sandstrom Associates Architecture
Senator Michael Waddoups, Taylorsville, UT, Property Manager - Senator,
Mr Charles Sisson, Orem, UT, Engineer, GB Wireless
Paul Gibbons, North Logan, UT, ,
Senator Howard Stephenson, Draper, UT, ,
Mr Lane Brooks, Highland, UT, MIT PhD, Local Business Owner
Mr. Buddy Gregory, Alpine, UT, Partner, Gregory & Swapp PLLC
Mrs. Kathleen Lundy, Kearns, UT, Vice-President, SOS Servicemen of Salt Lake, Inc.
Representative Lorie Fowlke, Orem, UT, Attorney,
Mr. Kirby Glad, Orem, UT, School Board Candidate / Technology Manager,
Mrs. Kimberly Brown, Alpine, UT, Advertising Agency, Kim Brown & Associates
Mr. Steve Clarke, Orem, UT, Real Estate Assoc Broker, Prudential Utah Real Estate
Representative Chris Herrod, Provo, UT, ,
Mr. Bruce Dunn, Tooele, UT, CFO, Transcript Bulletin Publishing
Mr. Ryan Johnson, Ogden, UT, Parent/ General Contractor, self
Mrs. Buffy Snell, American Fork, UT, hairdresser, self-employed
Mr. Jeremy West, Orem, UT, Mathematics Graduate Student, Brigham Young University
Representative Greg Hughes, Draper, UT, ,
Mr. K Spence Bingham, Lehi, UT, Document Preparation / Owner, Garden Quest
Priscilla Wayman, Grantsville, UT, Parent,
Linda Nelson, Pleasant Grove, UT, Realtor, R and R Realty
Senior Lead Technical Programmer in Charge of Ever Randy Whitaker, STANSBURY PARK, UT, see my title,
Mrs. Sandy Jensen, Farmington, UT, Chair of Board of Directors, Off Broadway Theatre
Mr Matthew Hampton, Nibley, UT, Lender/General Manager, TAG Lending
Shaun Kruger, Salt Lake City, UT, Owner, FastInfra, LLC
Mr Mark Wheeler, Springville, UT, Owner / President Commercial Construction Company, Wheeler Construction, Inc
Dr. Steven Pulsipher, Westr Haven, UT, COO, JTek, LLC
Mr Val Kunzler, Ogden, UT, hvac service company owner, Advanced Central Services
Mr. Marion Siady, Sandy, UT, Owner, Dwain Photography
Mr. James Nichols, Fruit Heights, UT, Attorney,
Mr. Fred Nichols, Layton, UT, Business Consultant, Fred Nichols Consulting
Jaelene Starr, South Jordan, UT, ,
Bracken Thurston, Garland, UT, ,
Jason Jones, Kaysville, UT, ,
Katy Jones, Kaysville, UT, ,
Mr. Cory Linton, Draper, UT, Vice president, School improvement network
Mrs Barbara Pahl, Draper, UT, Self Employed,
Mr. William C. Lewis, Lindon, UT, , Wicle Enterprises
1 1 1, 1, ak, 1, 1
Mr Ephraim Urevbu, Memhis, TN, Artist, Self

Sign the Letter