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ASD personnel continue to push Investigations "math" despite telling public
they replaced it
Dear School Board,
I am sending this letter to the press as well. And state office of education officials. I could only hope to read a headline soon that says, "ASD Lies to Parents" or "ASD Continues Investigations Push".
I apologize in advance for any offense you might take from the passionate statements I will make below. I am having a harder time restraining myself the more I see the injustices commited upon hard working families in this district who expect their elected officials to represent them. I have to wonder how many parents are rising up demanding Investigations math be taught in the classrooms for you to represent their views so well. Since Alpine continues to tell its students that we are a Democracy and not a Republic, perhaps you should put it to a public vote and see how well Democracy works for you? :)
Yesterday's email I sent you and my list generated this response from one of your district teachers. I find this pretty astounding.
I would add that from what I am hearing, many if not most are still doing Investigations primarily and using SF (Scott Foresman) text as a supplement. In fact one teacher (not in my building) told another new teacher NOT to use SF unless they had extra time (which we NEVER have). This teacher's manual is the Investigations manual and he/she will be judged on how it is implemented in that teacher's evaluations. This person is very nervous that he/she will get a bad evaluation unless Investigations is used 100%.
I am NOT looking forward to our teacher "Professional Development" day next Monday, as the whole afternoon will be centered around modeling an "authentic" made-up problem for kids to solve in groups. If the economy requires cut-backs in education this year or next, the FIRST place they should start is with the so-called Professional Development monies. They spend our tax dollars to teach us how NOT to teach. What a waste!
I would like to remind you that over two years ago, in fear of Orem splitting off from the district, Barry Graff stood in a very well attended Orem city council meeting and said to the effect "we think a lot of you are here tonight over the Investigations math issue and we (the district) want you to know that next year we are going to offer schools a choice of a standards-based and a traditional math program."
This was very well reported in the press and here are the links and relevant clips from the articles:
"According to the district's plan, over the next school year, a committee will be formed to articulate math goals and criteria for selecting a 'traditional math' program."
" Alpine School District is calling a truce in its version of the nation's math wars. Weary of battles over its progressive "Investigations" math curriculum, the district will allow each of its elementary schools to choose between two district-sanctioned math programs - one traditional, one 'standards-based.'"
"According to the statement, a district review committee will be formed to define the criteria for selecting a math program that will best fit the needs of the community. Two programs will be selected for local schools to review, and schools will choose one program with the consensus of the school staff and community members. One choice will be standards-based -- like Investigations -- and the other will be more traditional in nature."
These articles clearly show you wanted to show parents you were going to remove the Investigations curriculum in the hopes that it would calm down the people in favor of splitting from the district. The fact that you failed to give schools a real choice for a traditional program by picking two standards-based programs, and that you intentionally graded Saxon artificially low to ensure ignorant parents would be swayed by teachers at the schools to not adopt it, shows the deception still being carried on in the district today.
Your responsibility as board members is to represent the public, and NOT the district. Stop being apologists for their actions and make some heads roll so they realize who owns them. They are intentionally lying to their owners when they say one thing and do another.
The fact that the district officials continue to push this failed program which you have now admitted has no study to back it up, is an indictment on your tenure as board members. You will have to bear the burden of thousands of children that could have achieved far more in life than they will because of this neglect. Stop your inaction and get involved in this. The people in charge of math curriculum should be fired and replaced with people who have a clear vision of what it takes to give children a solid math education. The National Math Panel Report said every child can learn math just like they can learn to read. Drop the notion that some kids just can't do it. They can. They just have to be TAUGHT.
Dear School Board,
After forwarding out this morning's email to my math email list, I got this response from a parent.
My dad, a retired nuclear physicist with a PhD in nuclear physics, a former math teacher at VMI and provost of Southern Virginia University has recently been helping my 10th grader with his math. My son in Algebra II honors at LPHS. My father has been appalled by my sons lack of math basics. He struggles to help him because my son has no grasp of basic math principles. My son has ALWAYS been a straight A student. He attended Westfield Elementary and then Timberline Middle school. He attended Barratt Elementary through the third grade. How has he been getting straight A’s if he doesn’t have down fundamental math principles? And how can he build on a foundation that doesn’t exist? He is learning to hate math. How sad. When are WE going to get it as adults? I wonder what the motivation is of people who are still pushing investigations? What is their agenda?
Very concerned in Alpine—
Once again we see grade inflation and parent's lulled into false security by a broken system. When I was a child, if I brought home an 'A' it meant something. It didn't happen often. :) If I brought home a 'C', my parents got concerned and made sure I got help. It was the early warning system for parents to take action and it's sorely missing today because of weak-kneed educators who don't dare give Johnny a real grade. I was blessed with parents who were regularly concerned for my education. :)
One more sad story I received:
"Oak-My 6th grade daughter at Snow Springs Elementary brought home her weekly newsletter this past weekend and I was shocked by what I read at the top. (I can send you an official copy when it is posted on the teachers website as all the other newsletters have been posted this year.) It reads as follows:
"STUDENTS ADJUST TO 6TH GRADE MATH"
"Students who have attended school in Alpine School District prior to the 2007-2008 school year were instructed primarily with the Investigations series of mathematics. The exploration of mathematics through Investigations offers students one way of learning math. In an effort to balance the math curriculum, the district adopted the Scott-Foresman series last year. this challenging series is known for its traditional approach to math and offers a great balance to the ideas from Investigations. Our math curriculum is based on the Utah State CORE and requires students to blend their knowledge from Investigations with the traditional practices. However, many students are struggling with the transition to traditional math. The primary area of difficulty comes from a gap in knowledge of multiplication and division facts. Your student's ability to grasp the concepts in math will greatly improve if they practice (not drill 'n kill) their basic facts. I appreciate your help with supporting this practice at home."
Oak, please read this carefully and tell me your reaction. I got this newsletter a couple of days after I learned that my other daughter, in fourth grade, is being taught Investigations math 50% of the time and traditional math the other 50% of the time, according to her teacher. I was furious. I took my kids back out of charter school to return them to their local public school partly because (and this was a big part of it) the school was getting rid of Investigations math. From this newsletter from the 6th grade teacher, I am not sure if she is attributing problems to Investigations or if she is saying that we need to continue using Investigations but we need the parents to help the kids do the traditional math too. Ugh...... To me it almost appears that the school is using the SF curriculum as a supplement to Investigations math and not the other way around. In the math meeting that I attending at the school in the spring of 2007 they made it sound like they would only use a little tiny bit of Investigations math here and there to SHOW how some concepts worked. It was never supposed to be a major part of their so called balanced approach to math."
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