Weekly Math Updates
December 8, 2005
I'm working on another web update but wanted to get this information out. Next Tuesday (Nov. 13th) is the regular monthly school board meeting. I can't attend but if any of you want to go share your experiences with the board, you have to be there and sign up outside the room before they collect the sign up sheet promptly at 6 PM. Last month a parent arrived just a few minutes late and wasn't able to sign up. Also, you have a maximum of 3 minutes to deliver your message so keep it on point.
The article I just linked to has to be one of the all time great speeches ever made. It's a speech by Charlton Heston (a great American patriot) to the Harvard Law School in 1999. You can find it around on the web and I just happened to find it on this particular website tonight as I was preparing this email. It's one of those speeches that you read and say, "YEAH, ME TOO! I'M GOING TO STAND UP NO MATTER WHAT IT COSTS ME." Maybe this speech motivated me to do what I'm doing. I don't know. There's only one other article I've ever read that has had such an impact on me and I've posted it on my website. At the end of Charlton's speech, there's a particular sentence that I feel we as a group are at the crossroads of. The line is:
"When someone you elected is seduced by political power and betrays you . . . petition them, oust them, banish them."
I'm not certain who each of you are or why you signed the petition. I don't know if it's because you have kids suffering in the schools or if you just agree with the petition for the sake of all the other suffering children. But we are on a course of action to save 54,000 children in Alpine and prevent countless thousands of others from having this program destroy any technical or scientific field they may hope to go into someday. After reading this speech, I hope you will do the following:
1) Make a commitment to do *something* to help in this fight (the poll from last week had several ideas you can participate in).
2) Write the school board from the ASD website and express your feelings about the math program and how it has been dumbed down and whatever else you feel like telling them. (http://www.alpinedistrict.org/phpApps/html/boardFeedback/boardFeedback.html)
3) Write your local state representative and senator and beg them to ban all fuzzy math programs in Utah just like California did. California let this horror continue for 7 years until it took them to the bottom of the national math barrel. Only by banning the programs and mandating by law that the schools had to use strong traditional methods did they fix the problem and they've had a great turnaround. (Look up your senator and representative and here and then email them this request: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/officials/?lvl=L)
Parent comment of the week
I also think answers are right or wrong. However last year when my daughter was in 2nd grade she kept missing answers because she did not draw pictures to support her solutions. I talked to her teacher and principal about this and they were unwilling to back down. I finally told her just to do it their way. That was a huge mistake!!! I am now working on undoing the damage done. Her third grade teacher just sent home a note that reads "I am noticing that some children are really having a hard time adding simple double digit numbers. This is something they should be able to do easily. If your child cannot, they need to work on it as much as possible." They should be able to do this easily, but they were never taught in the previous grades. Instead they were taught to draw pictures, spider webs for subtraction (my daughter would get so tangled in the web she would miss the answer). Now the teacher who is complaining about their addition and subtraction skills is contributing to the math problem. My daughter was being taught 4 times tables by drawing cars and counting up the wheels. I am currently re-teaching my daughter everything she has learned. My daughter is extremely smart and I am sick of Alpine district "dumbing her down".
Till next week,
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