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Investigations Math Summary

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Have you ever wondered why so many Charter schools are having success in our area? They seem to fill pretty quickly and more pop up every year. The core problem we face in Utah is low state education standards, especially for math. Investigations math and the set of curricula like it that encourage personal discovery of math facts are receiving a strong push into our schools by the state board. However, these curricula are all being condemned by hundreds of college professors and Nobel Laureates. They see what's happening to our youth and are trying to avert a complete disaster in the future.

Dr. Wilfred Schmid at Harvard said of the TERC program (Investigations Math):

"A TERC teacher doesn't explain, and a TERC teacher doesn't teach! I don't want to be misunderstood: group learning and discovery learning are parts of the tool chest of every accomplished teacher, but it is folly to turn these techniques into an ideology. If we mathematicians had to re-discover mathematics on our own, we would not get very far! And indeed, TERC does not get very far. By the end of fifth grade, TERC students have fallen roughly two years behind where they should be."

Schmid, Wilfried. "Remarks on Investigations in Number, Data and Space (TERC)." opening remarks delivered at the NYC HOLD Math Forum. Are our school's math programs adequate? Experimental mathematics programs and their consequences. New York University Law School, NYC, June 6, 2001. 

This fact is being held out in the numerous emails I've received from parents that have taken their children out of public school and put them into charter or private schools. Their children are being held back 1-2 years in math to play catch up due to the lack of actual teaching in the classroom.


1) Investigations Math removes teaching the times tables to children and all memorization of math facts. (link)

2) There is no valid math study ever performed showing the effectiveness of Investigations Math. (link to article 1 & article 2)

3) California tried a program nearly identical to Investigations Math in the 90's and forced enrollment in college freshmen remedial math classes more than doubled over a seven-year period. (link)

4) "Children tend not to learn what they are not taught." Dr. Ralph Raimi (article comparing TERC to Singapore Math) TERC doesn't teach.

5) Study performed where students graduating from a Core-Plus math program in Michigan (same teaching style as Investigations and Connected Math programs in Alpine School District) doubled the remedial math rate at MSU (link)

6) Hundreds of leading university math professors and Nobel Laureates condemn Investigations Math (link 1)

7) TERC recommends a text for teachers called "Beyond Arithmetic". In this book it says traditional elementary math must be discarded because: (link)

- Was "developed to meet the needs of the 19th century." BA, Page 2
- Requires that students "memorize many facts, procedures, definitions, and formulas." BA, Page 2
-"Focuses on learning a particular set of procedures for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers, fractions, and decimals." BA, Page 2
- Results in "overpracticed students." BA, Page 3
- Ignores the fact that "today's students have an important tool available to them: the calculator." BA, Page 77

The above facts are borne out by numerous comments made by parents in our area. Comment Page 1, Page 2

Dr. E.D. Hirsch, a brilliant educator and best selling author on the subject of education has written THE book on math curriculum. His book, "The Schools We Need and Why We Don't Have Them" is a landmark work taking every major educational study into account and listing the findings of each one. When viewed as a whole, Dr. Hirsch says, "experience has shown that 'discovery learning' is the least effective method in the teacher's repertory." (page 246). Discovery learning is the same thing as Investigations Math where the students "discover" their own solutions to problems. Opposite this line of thinking is where teachers actually teach students. Dr. Hirsch says "Saxon math's approach is reasonably close to what research is telling us about how students learn--much closer, than are the progressive methods advocated by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics." (page 131)

I am not advocating that every school in Utah switch to Saxon, though I can't help but believe that would be an excellent choice, but Dr. Hirsch lists three math curricula as superior to the other programs based on the holistic approach they bring where teachers instruct by steps building on prior concepts AND utilize a small portion of the time in discovery learning. As Dr. Schmid said, it's part of every effective teacher's tool chest, but we're making the hammer out to be the ONLY tool in the chest. Try cutting a tree down with a hammer next time!

In the Alpine School District, they have been patching this program every year for 4 years (it was implemented 5 years ago). They know the program has major weaknesses and are under the false impression that you can turn a 40 hp vehicle into a hot rod if you just put enough other corvette body parts on the vehicle. The engine IS the problem. We would be far better off replacing the core engine and THEN patching anything we felt was still an issue. Even the district curriculum specialist has said it's not a matter of "if" we'll change the program but "when." Please help make that NOW. Sign our Investigations Math petition and help us restore a quality education to Utah children. Even if you don't live in the Alpine School District, this fight is yours at the state level because the state board of education is peddling this program to other districts such as Jordan and Davis right now.

Where have you ever seen such a math program drive parents by the hundreds and thousands into charter schools over this issue. It's happening. Thousands of parents are up in arms over this program. Teachers have been fired for refusing to teach the program and those that have bucked the system and are teaching traditional math are winding up with oversized classes because parents request them because they don't want a sub-standard education for their kids.

This statement from a national board member pushing Investigations Math should convince most people with some degree of common sense that this program has problems:

"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." Steven Leinwand (article)

Sign the Investigations Math Petition Here

Major Sites Against Investigations Math

Must Read Articles

If This Is Math, Then We're At War by Mark Clayton

Disconnecting Schoolchildren from 'Connected' Math

How Not to Teach Math by Matthew Clavel (How the poor really suffer from this program)

Other "Local" Sites Around the Country Fighting Investigations Math

Teach Utah Kids, Alpine, UT

Teach Us Math, Penfield, NY (especially check out the parent comments link)

Simbury Math Wars, Simbury, CT

Plano Parental Rights Council, TX

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)


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 - 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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