Weekly Math Updates

September 7, 2005

Dear petition signers,

    To begin, if you are a petition signer that doesn't want to get any more emails from me and you just wanted to sign the petition, please email me and I'll remove your email address from the list.

    Next, thank you so much for signing the petition and spreading the news.  We've got over 1% of the district represented on our petition (based on 52,000 students in the district and the petition shows we have 559 children covered by the petition).  This is a good start, but we need many more signatures to change the agenda of the local school board, district, and even state board of education which is our ultimate goal.  Please keep telling your neighbors about the petition.  I've found many people that don't like the program but can't find the time to sign the petition.  In that case, please pull up the petition page and fill it out for them if you can.  Take a clipboard to functions and get their information as is shown on the petition page http://www.oaknorton.com/mathpetition.cfm.

    The reason for this letter, however, is to ask for money.  We're about to start a marketing campaign to spread the word and I hope to quickly convince you of the need to support us in this effort.  Anything you can give would be helpful, $10, $20, even $50.  I've already pledged to pay for 2 radio spots myself to make sure they get on the air.  The ads will cost about $60 each and we'll be running the ads on KOSY 106.5 FM.  In speaking with a media representative, that station has the best listener demographics for our area and situation.  If we get enough money, we may run a few ads on an AM talk radio station or other popular stations.  In fact, I'm modifying part of the petition to take signatures from around the state and open this up to a state wide effort while we concentrate in our local district, so some of the ads may change slightly in their final versions to invite people from all over the state to sign the petitions.

Listen to the ads and donate here: http://www.teachutahkids.com/radioad.asp


    A couple weeks ago I spoke with Ruth Sulik, a local math tutor.  I asked what she thought of Investigations and she said, "I love Investigations Math.  It's given me more business than anything else."  Ruth charges $25 per lesson and she said unless you're supplementing at home, there's a very strong likelihood that your child will not be ready for algebra.  In fact, even if you're supplementing, she highly suggests before your child enters 7th grade to do several weeks of math review with a non-Investigations Math teacher in the summer before hitting Jr. High school.

    In our home we're using the Singapore Math workbooks for our kids and we love them.  They have excellent examples and teach by building from one concept to the next.  Our kids still haven't finished the books from their grade level for last year since we started them mid-summer, and they're doing harder math problems in those 1st and 4th grade books than the types of problems they're bringing home in their new grade level.  Another reason we chose Singapore books is they are pretty cheap.  It costs $16 per grade for the workbooks plus shipping (There's 2, $8 books per grade).  So if you have say 2 kids in elementary school, it's about $40 a year for these workbooks and then a bit of a time investment when your kids have questions (and believe me helping with this homework is a joy compared to Investigations math problems).

Here's an example of the total immediate physical cost a parent could be looking at:


Child 1

Child 2



2nd Grade

5th Grade


Years to 7th Grade




Cost per year

 $                20

 $                20


Total cost

 $              100

 $                40


Pre-7th grade tutoring review

 $              250

 $              250


Hours of your's and your child's




frustration with Investigations math.




Total cost of education through 6th grade

 $              370

 $              310


    Now the problem won't stop at 7th grade, because they use programs just like Investigations through 12th grade in Alpine School District.  What I'm trying to show, is that with a small investment now, we can increase our efforts in this fight substantially and hopefully avoid thousands of dollars in costly tutoring and supplements to prepare our kids for college.  The district is already sending out some non-Investigations, traditional math review sheets to teachers and with a little more effort we may be able to push them over the edge.  Please make your most generous contribution of $10, $25, $50, or whatever you can afford for the effort so we can put these ads on the air and get more people signed up.  We can't let up the pressure on the district.

Listen to the ads and donate here: http://www.teachutahkids.com/radioad.asp

    As a side note, think of the economic cost of the other 52,000 students going through this education and the impact that will have on our future as these students become bridge engineers and accountants.  Can you imagine the scope of the problem we could have when we don’t teach our kids proper math?  Please make a generous contribution so we can run these ads.

    I don't know about your exact experience with the start of this new school year, but my fifth grader started off bringing home non-investigations math homework.  The first day she got some challenging math problems (by which I mean non-Investigations and more than 1 step problems), I wrote a thank you note to her teacher.  When my daughter delivered it, the teacher looked at her and said, "is your dad glad or upset?"  My daughter said I was very happy and a few days later they had Addison Wesley textbooks in their classroom.  DON'T SPREAD THIS AROUND.  I'm worried if it gets back to the district people, they'll reprimand this teacher and take the books away.  I would, however, encourage you to write a thank you note to your children's teachers anytime they get non-investigations math homework.  You never know what impact that will have.

    Lastly, If you'd like to see the school board members faces at the next board meeting with they learn about these ads and get hit with some more research, come to the board meeting September 13th, 6 PM, at the district building on the Alpine Highway just North of Albertsons in American Fork.  If you would be willing and able to read a short segment from E.D. Hirsche’s book, “The Schools We Need and Why We Don’t Have Them,” please send me an email that you can attend the board meeting and be there 15 minutes early to practice your paper.  I need some volunteers.  Community comments come first so we can speak and leave if you have another engagement.


Oak Norton

P.S.  Keep spreading the word on the petitions.  Every signature helps.



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