Educating All Parents To Ensure The Future Of Our Republic

Investigations Math 8/15/05 Update

Sign the Petition to rid us of Investigations Math

The recent emails I received from Barry Graff have caused me to do another update page. I think I will need to give a little more background into some of the fundamental issues that plague this math program. Let me start with a couple of emails that have been exchanged between Barry and I.

I'm going to give you the exchange in its entirety on another page so you can see what is being discussed. If you haven't read the background from my school board meeting in July and the first meeting David Cox and I had with Barry, please click here to read the school board comments and then here to read my notes from meeting with Barry the first time.

Read e-mail exchange with Barry

A couple of things come out of the email exchange I've had with Barry. The most important to me is that principals have complete freedom to switch onto another math program as they choose. It's just uncertain whether the district will help them pay for it like it appears they will if they stick with Investigations math.

One of the things Barry encouraged me to do was compare Alpine to the Jordan and Davis districts since they are more comparable to Alpine in size. Barry also mentioned they are in a higher SES (socio-economic status) than Alpine. Poverty figures show that has a higher poverty rate than Davis or Jordan districts but is in-between them for the percentage of children on free and reduced lunches. In looking at Stanford tests, I noticed a couple of charter schools on the list so I decided to include their scores in this comparison as well. They are both in the Alpine School District but I don't have any data as to their SES factors. They are single schools so that is another factor to take into consideration.

School District
Curriculum # of Students (2002 numbers)
Poverty %
% children on free & reduced lunch
Alpine
-Investigations Math
-Connected Math
-Interactive Math (all based on constructivist theories and recommended by the NSF)
51,126
8.4%
24.78%
Nebo
Houghton-Mifflin for K-5
Various others for grades 6-12
22,831
9.3%
28.83%
Jordan
Scott Foresman Addison Wesley for K-6
Various others for 7-12
81,875
5.1%
21.27%
Davis
Scott Foresman Addison Wesley for K-6
Various others for 7-12
60,856
5.9%
28.83%
Timpanogos Academy Charter School
Saxon Math
NA
NA
NA
John Hancock Charter School
Saxon Math
NA
NA
NA

These are scores from 2002 and represent each school's average math score on the Stanford Achievement Test. (link)

Admitedly we can't just state Saxon math is better than other curriculum just because a couple of charter schools show high marks on standardized tests when competing against other schools. But what are the factors that make up the difference in these scores. Is it SES factors? Is it the size of the schools and district? There is a growing recognition that smaller schools are not only more effective in teaching, but more cost effective as well and the larger the bureaucracy of the district, the less effective the district. It's like the old phrase about governments where the closer it is to home the better it is. For a lot more information on this, check out www.smallerschools.org which has some great articles on this trend.

Core Knowledge in Education

Let me introduce you to E.D. Hirsch, Jr. If you haven't seen his name yet, you've missed a couple of the pages on my website. Dr. Hirsch is the author of a couple of very important books. The first is Cultural Literacy and here's a description:

"This best-selling, ground-breaking work spells out the theory behind the Core Knowledge® movement. To be able to function and prosper in society, one must possess the background knowledge that literate writers and speakers assume their audiences already share. Those who know it are culturally literate; the opportunities of a free society are open to them. Schools that neglect to impart this core knowledge leave their students seriously deprived and our democracy weakened.

The book includes a list of about 5,000 essential names, phrases, dates, and concepts, intended to illustrate the shared knowledge of literate American culture."

His next book is the one I provided to Barry Graff and is called, "The Schools We Need & Why We Don't Have Them." Here's a description of it:

"In his latest book, Professor Hirsch traces the philosophies and practices that have dominated American education in this century and shows how failed "progressive" theories have gained a monopoly, despite being discredited by mainstream research. Pragmatic and proven remedies exist and we must turn to them with an open mind, he says, because a sound education is every child's civil right.

At the root of our educational problem are two ideas, naturalism and formalism. Naturalism claims that children will naturally learn what they need to know. Formalism holds that possessing skills-knowing how to do something-more important than a command of factual knowledge. Hirsch shows how both are wrong.

The book concludes with a "Critical Guide to Educational Terms and Phrases" that demystifies terms and slogans such as "child-centered schooling," "critical thinking skills," and "multiple intelligences," all of which have fostered educational inequality. "

Commenting on this book, the L.A. Times wrote: "[Hirsch] cuts through the fog of educational jargon and hits home with parents and teachers. … His book is showing up as required reading on the desks of school board members, superintendents, policy wonks and politicians across the country."

To those of you that claim to love Investigations Math, reading these books with an open mind, especially the second, will change your mind. Dr. Hirsch goes through every major scientific study that's been done on education and concludes that based on the data gathered from multiple studies, "...Saxon's approach is reasonably close to what research is telling us about how students learn--much closer, as I shall show in Section 6 of this chapter, than are the progressive methods advocated by the NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics)."

Dr. Hirsch, as opposed to myself, is eminently qualified to comment on curriculum. He is one that has spent considerable time and energy grappling with educational issues and has studied all forms and methods of instruction. To me, not even the hundreds of other professionals that have condemned Investigations carry the weight Dr. Hirsch does as he truly has looked at everything and put together a core curriculum on all subjects that entails the learning students need, and the manners in which they best receive it.

To learn more about Dr. Hirsch's curriculum and core knowledge learning, please visit his website http://www.coreknowledge.org.

To those parents that "love" Investigations Math

Honestly now, why do you love this program? Is it because your child brings home A's from school? Is it because your child finally "gets" math and you don't have to help him or her with the homework assignments they've received? Is it because you seriously think this is the absolute best math program there is out there? What evidence do you have that Investigations math is better than anything else?

It seems that all the people who love this program have an emotional attachment to it and won't let themselves believe something else could be better. When's the last time you heard someone say "I hate Saxon math?" Never heard it??? Everyone I know with kids in Saxon love it. Not only that, they tell me their kids actually enjoy going to school and learning math. Why? Because Saxon actually TEACHES kids instead of them being taught by other children or having to figure it out for themselves. Too many of our children are being used as teachers in the classroom in lieu of teachers actually teaching.

I've been asked a couple of times if I've gone and sat in the classroom of my child to see how this math is actually being taught so I would have the experience of seeing the lights go on in children's minds as they're making the "connections" between math theories all on their own. Not once have I sat in on a class. I honestly don't really consider myself qualified to know what's "best" in math education nor to recognize the exact best way for them to be taught. That's why I spent months researching this before making a decision about how I felt toward Investigations Math.

I dare any of the parents that say they love this program to open their mind and read the articles on the 7/29/05 update page, and then honestly say this curriculum is superior to traditional math methods where students are actually being taught instead of guided into their own constructed learning. I don't believe any honest person can do it.

The Conspiracy

Do you remember that scene in the movie National Treasure where Ben Gates (Nicolas Cage) is in the lady's office explaining how there's an invisible map on the back of the Declaration of Independance and he's really hesistant to say something because he knows it sounds crazy (and of course it's a movie and was crazy but it was a cool movie). The lady looks at him and makes some comment and Ben's friend Riley lowers his head and says, "and that's where we lost the department of Homeland Security."

I sincerely hope I'm not about to lose any of you. If so, I hope you've enjoyed the ride and here's your excuse to write me off as some kind of fanatic and that will justify you in ignoring everything I've laid out here.

I'm about to explain what I see is a problem at a much higher level than our little Alpine School District. However, regardless of what you may think of the following information, please bear in mind that this changes nothing of what I have said on the rest of this site regarding the math. The 7/29/05 Investigations Math update page contains rock solid information from the top scholars and educators in the country about the problems with this program. Don't let the below information sway you from it, and if you have a hard time swallowing it, I did too at first...and I'm still chewing on some of it...and I can't say I've fully researched it...so I'm going to give you some factual information and then some possible speculation. I probably shouldn't do this but I do believe there really is an effort to deliberately reduce the educational level of Americans.

The Background

This is going to be really tricky. I almost need to refer you out to the section on my site called "There Goes the Neighborhood." But to be brief I'll give you the Cliff note version and if you start choking on this synopsis, read the other stuff, especially the section on How the World Really Works.

At the beginning of the 1900's, there were some very powerful rich men in America. They had a desire to maintain control over money in our country and they wanted power over the lives of others. They were capitalists, but communists at heart. Much has been documented about them including accounts by insiders such as J. Reuben Clark who was hired by them to assist in purchasing large corporations that would be used heavily during war time such as steel and copper mills. Later, when Mr. Clark recognized what they were doing and why, he left their employ and started preaching about how these men were guiding our country into war. You can read about that on the Track Two section of my site where I've posted a wonderful article on J. Reuben Clark's life (for those of you in the LDS church, yes this was the member of the First Presidency).

Before World War One started, these powerful men had formed tax-free foundations which they plunged their money into before laws took effect that would no longer allow people to shelter money in the same way they had. In fact they probably helped form the laws to prevent others from amassing wealth such as they had and then shielding it.

When WW1 broke out, these men got together and congratulated themselves on what fine work they'd done in getting the country involved in a war to profit their industrial corporations and then had the audacity to send a message to President Wilson not to get out of the war too soon. When the war finally ended, these men had a desire to not see the American people revert to their pre-war liberty lifestyle and schemed to take over education in this country as a way to raise Americans to be prepared to accept a socialist and communist lifestyle. Yes, it's documented. If you don't believe that, just look back at one of the Carnegie Foundation's former presidents, Alger Hiss, Soviet Spy, and read the other parts of my site where I give the cliff note version of the research others have done on this issue.

The Ford, Rockefeller, Carnegie, and other groups determined that education would have to be "owned" by them to properly instruct our children in the way they wanted them to understand history, politics, proper government, and other educational fields. The most important trait of education under communism is the ignorance of the people.

"A nation of well informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins."-- Benjamin Franklin

Rowan Gaither, president of the Ford Foundation, was interviewed by Norman Dodd and said the purpose of their foundation's efforts was "to so alter life in the United States as to make possible a comfortable merger with the Soviet Union."

These men understood the importance of training up children in the way they should go and if they could direct it, they would. So they formed branches within their organizations to cover domestic and foreign educational studies and slowly influence every generation of children. At this point I do not know enough of the history of what has become of their real efforts to tie it specifically into anything tangible. For example, I can't tell you that I know Investigations Math was founded by TERC, a project of Brown University with funding by the Carnegie Foundation. I'd love to, but that's speculation on my part.

Do these organizations do some good? Of course! But power hungry men with lots of money do what they always do, seek to exercise dominion over people's lives.

Fast Forward

What I can tell you is where there's a concerted effort to deliberately remove important parts of the education of a child, there's a good chance these organizations may be behind that effort. I mention in another section of this site a book called the Deliberate Dumbing Down of America: A Chronological Paper Trail. There are quite a few books documenting this. Many of the articles I reference on my other pages show where some of the math programs I'm about to mention omit parts of their math curriculum like division by fractions and the standard algorithm for multiplication.

Case Study: The National Science Foundation is comprised of an expert panel of 14 members. Steven Leinwand from the Connecticut State Department of Education is one of those members. In 1994, Mr. Leinwand wrote an article for Edweek.org. In that article, this "expert panel member" said:

"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." (article)

This member of the NSF believes it is dangerous and counterproductive to teach standard math methods to our children. This man, Mr. Leinwand, is still on the NSF's "expert panel." IS THERE ANY QUESTION IN YOUR MIND THAT WHATEVER CURRICULUM THIS PERSON IS INVOLVED IN ENDORSING SHOULD BE AVOIDED LIKE THE PLAGUE?!?!?!

It is therefore not surprising, though perhaps just a coincidence, that if you do a google search for "nsf carnegie" you will find 304,000 hits on the web. This is not to say Carnegie is trying to lower our math standards, but the NSF is touting about a dozen math programs as "promising and exemplary" that every one of them is based around the concept of no longer teaching math to our children but "facilitating" their own ability to "construct" math strategies on their own. Carnegie is intimately involved in these programs and spreading them to our schools.

In the Alpine School District, we use three of these NSF programs. Investigations math for K-6 grade, Connected Math for junior high school, and Interactive Math Program for high school. We use these programs because some bright young mind from BYU pitched the idea to the district and and the district volunteered to use its entire $600,000 "leeway" fund to implement a pilot program all across the district for the principals that wanted to try it out (and not have to spend their own budget on books and materials).

Now let me pose a question. If you're in a war and want to confuse your enemy, do you concoct one rouse to fool them with, or many? If you perform a google search for the following items, you'll find that Carnegie is all over the NSF math programs.

"connected math carnegie" 145,000 hits
"investigations math carnegie" 37,200 hits
"interactive math program carnegie" 185,000 hits

I'm really not trying to draw any conclusions here, because I don't know of any. I'm kind of an interested observer still trying to sort some of these things out and find proper connections. But it seems to me that if I was a national foundation seeking to advance math and science, I would conduct studies about the very best ways to teach and on how people learn and then I would put together the very best program I could. I don't think I would tout a dozen programs, but perhaps just two or three.

I recognize that many people tout Investigations math as an alternative method for students that supposedly "don't learn by traditional methods." I know that different people learn by different methods, but I do not believe for one moment that anyone in this country would benefit by solely having Investigations Math and other NSF programs as their curriculum from K-12. I do not believe that the NSF has even done any real research on these programs with scientific studies. It's already been shown that the study TERC used to tout their Investigations math program didn't use scientific standards and they compared their program to another similar program like Mathland or something, rather than a Saxon or Singapore math that involves having the teacher actually teach the children math.

Personally, I'm only aware of one man that has actually done the work to determine the very best programs based on real scientific studies and it's no one on the NSF's expert panel. His name is E.D. Hirsch and I've already mentioned his works.

Conclusion

Our school board, district employees, principals, teachers, and parents, would do well to go to Dr. Hirsch's website and look at the curriculum he recommends after researching and studying various curriculum and major studies performed and what they said were the most effective ways children learn. Unsurprising to me is that Dr. Hirsch lists three math programs as the very best to match the research that's been done: Saxon, Singapore, and SRA (direct instruction). In listing Saxon, Dr. Hirsch says, "Saxon Math is the nation's best selling and most thoroughly researched skills-based mathematics program for grades K-12."

In my opinion, the Alpine School District ought to be looking at one of these three math programs and how to make a switch as rapidly and efficiently as possible. And whoever made the decision to tap into the $600,000 "leeway" fund to install this math program ought to be held responsible for the complete waste of our tax dollars.

Investigations Math Menu

** Most important pages to read (all have value but if you will only read a few pages make it these)
* Very important

Research and Information Press Coverage

THE PETITION TO REMOVE INVESTIGATIONS MATH** (OVER 5% of ASD represented--still ignored by ASD)

MASTER SUMMARY AND INTRODUCTION**

Math With Madeline Video

All Weekly Email Updates **

Edspresso Article on WMD Comics

Weapons of Math Destruction Comics**

What Can You Do About Fuzzy Math in Your Area - 13 Ideas**

Brain Programming

ASD's Saxon Math Deception
Part 2 of the Deception

4/21/07 ASD Superintendent Calls Parents Extremists (for wanting the times tables in schools)

Alpine School District Residents Should Choose Saxon Math

9/13/06 Dual Enrollment Guidelines - Opting Out of Math or Other Classes

9/2/06 Jaime Escalante and NCTM Standards**

9/2/06 Amber Lee's Independent Research

The Math Story (ie. How I Got Started)

7/31/06 Educators Ignore Project Follow-Through**

7/26/06 Comparison of Alpine to Nebo and Provo Districts and comments on Orem City Breaking Off **

3/30/06 Utah Public Radio Broadcast with David Wright and Damon Bahr* (Right-Click and use Save As to download)

Insane Supplementary Materials Compound Investigations Math Nightmare**

Map of ASD Precincts and Election information- You must register to run by 3/17

3/2/06 David Wright's Mathematician Petition to the State of Utah*

2/14/06 Why are Charter School Scores Better than Alpine School District's?*

2/14/06 Alpine School District IOWA Test Math Scores

10 Myths About Math Education and Why You Shouldn't Believe Them

2/1/06 The Case for Utah adopting California's Math Standards-Testimony to Utah Congress**

1/10/06 School Board Meeting challenge to find just one valid study by 1/31/06 ** (I'm still waiting)

Math Tutors in Utah (find one/list one)

11/9/05 Update - How ASD is failing more children each year**

ASD's statement to teachers authorizing them to teach traditional math without fear of repercussion

California Study showing tripling of scores for schools that left constructivist math and implemented Saxon Math**

10/31/05 Petition Maps (see where people are signing the petition-blue dots are schools, red are petitions)

How About Grades 6-12 Connected and Interactive Math?**

Raising Critical Thinking Skills*

Pro-Investigations websites (for anyone interested)

8/15/05 Update (compares Alpine to other districts and charter schools) *

7/29/05 Update (resources given to ASD, sample problems, ASD vs. Nebo School District) *

Investigations Math Origins and Articles*

Math Programs Compared ("Traditional", Investigations, Saxon)

Supplementing your Public School Student's Education**

The California Investigations Math Failure**

Community comments - both Pro/Anti Investigations **

Investigations Math Poll Introduction and Question Summary*

 

Additional articles are covered in weekly updates since April 2007

Victory in Utah - State to Revamp Standards (11/16/06)

Major Breaking News...NCTM does a 180 after 17 years of destroying math in America

It must really irritate the folks at Alpine School District (ASD) who have taken to calling all my work "biased and flawed" to have such no-name disreputable organizations pandering to my lies. The legacy of ASD will be the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of students unable to obtain a technical higher education degree.

4/25/07 Provo Daily Herald - Math petitioners called 'extremists' in Alpine District

4/24/07 Deseret News Article - So how many different programs are appropriate to use at one time Mr. Henshaw?

3/1/07 - Deseret News - Schools' grades mixed - Utah system rated by U.S. Chamber in a new report

2/14/07 Provo Daily Herald - Committee makes math program suggestions for Alpine: Many in district pine for 'Investigations'

2/14/07 Deseret News - Alpine seeking balance in math

2/12/07 Deseret News - Math Program Deleted - Alpine District dumps controversial approach

11/16/06 Deseret News - State leaders support math overhaul for schools

11/16/06 Salt Lake Tribune - Utah's 'fuzzy math' curriculum scrapped; legislators endorse plan to revamp state standards

11/15/06 New York Times - As Math Scores Lag, a New Push for the Basics

10/29/06 Provo Daily Herald - Survey: Math Program Doesn't Add Up

10/25/06 Deseret News - Students decline at 5 Utah colleges

10/19/06 Deseret News - Math learning is shallow in U.S., professor says

10/19/06 Deseret News - Math in Utah — 'fuzzy' or A-OK?

10/06 Salt Lake Tribune - Bad marks for Utah's schools

10/9/06 BYU NewsNet - Alpine School District Under Attack

9/30/06 Provo Daily Herald - Districts evaluate 'failures' in testing

9/29/06 Provo Daily Herald - Utah schools receive progress rankings

9/26/06 Townhall.com - Parents Know the Right Equation for Teaching Math - by Phyllis Schafly

9/12/06 Wall Street Journal - New Report Urges Return to Basics In Teaching Math

9/6/06 Provo Daily Herald - Parent suggests Alpine district be responsive

8/28/06 Provo Daily Herald - Alpine readies to let schools choose curriculum for math (be sure to check out the comments section)

8/26/06 Provo Daily Herald - Charter schools attract parents concerned about public education

7/29/06 Deseret News - Burned-out teachers problematic

7/26/06 Deseret News - Most favor creation of small school districts

5/28/06 Salt Lake Tribune - Alpine School District relents and will change its math offerings***

5/26/06 Deseret News - Alpine opts for choice in its math programs***

5/25/06 Provo Daily Herald - District Reviews Math Options***

5/23/06 - Provo Daily Herald -Orem OKs feasibility study of splitting from Alpine district

5/23/06-Deseret News - Orem not hastening into a schools split

5/23/06-Salt Lake Tribune Article-Orem to study Alpine District split

5/12/06 Provo Daily Herald - Math decision delayed

5/10/06 Provo Daily Herald - Petition Requests District Division

5/6/06 Deseret News - Utah to study states' math programs

4/16/06 Provo Daily Herald- Alpine District continues to lose students to charters

4/6/06 Provo Daily Herald- Charter school debate heats up in Alpine school district

3/20/06 Salt Lake Tribune - Alpine in grip of 'Math Wars'

3/3/06 Provo Daily Herald-Professor: Clearer math standards needed

3/2/06 Deseret News- Math Petition Circulating

2/19/06 San Jose Mercury News - Math back in forefront, but debate lingers on how to teach it.

2/18/06 Salt Lake Tribune-Battle over math teaching spreads

2/15/06 Salt Lake Tribune-Indifference to math skills part of the problem

2/15/06 Deseret News-Parents voice their views on Alpine math

2/15/06 Provo Daily Herald-Provo district seeks math balance

2/9/06 Deseret News - Alpine trio defend approach to math
Rebuttal Letter to Editor: Math approach is harmful

2/7/06 Deseret News - Alpine defends math classes

2/2/06 Deseret News - Lawmaker Gives Alpine Math an F

1/29/06 Salt Lake Tribune - Charter School Funding Tight

1/20/06 Deseret News Letter to Editor: Rote exercises pay vital role in mathematical education

1/7/06 Provo Daily Herald - Investigations: Not your parent's math

12/18/05 Provo Daily Herald -Math doesn't add up for all

12/13/05  15 Charter Schools Scheduled to Open Next Year

11/24/05 Provo Daily Herald - Parents mad over new math curriculum (be sure to read the comments)

 

 

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