Weekly Math Updates

January 4, 2006

Hi all,

    I hope you had a pleasant holiday and that Santa brought you that set of Saxon workbooks you requested. ;)

Upcoming Article

I believe there will be an article in this Sunday's Provo Daily Herald paper (www.harktheherald.com) on the teacher's perspective in ASD.  I would like to thank those of you that referred in names.  It appears that in this article there will be no one that is speaking anonymously, but will all be on the record for their statements.

Tutor Call

I would like to make a call for information about math tutors in this area (or even the state).  I want to put up a page on my site that lists off people you are aware of as tutoring students, specifically in math, but if the individual tutors in other subjects I could also list that information.  I would like the person's name and phone number, and then any other subjects besides math that he/she may tutor in.  I will not be checking with these people when I post their names and phone numbers as tutors, so please check with them and help me out before turning the names in.

Board Meeting Next Tuesday, January 10th (Help Needed)

I need 4-5 bodies to commit to show up at the board meeting next Tuesday and let me take your minutes to go through a couple of documents with the board.  Every person that signs up gets 3 minutes but you are allowed to appoint a spokesperson to use your minutes.  If you can promise to be at the ASD meeting before 6 PM and give me your minutes please contact me asap.  I need them to go through this important study by Stanford Professor James Milgram along with an email exchange I've had with him which explains a study one of the board members emailed me about touting Connected Math.


Public comments are heard first and you can leave as soon as I'm done in 15-20 minutes.

Statewide Progression

Just so you are aware, especially those of you not in Alpine School District, just before Christmas I sent an email letter to all the district superintendents in the state of Utah warning them not to implement these constructivist programs in their districts or they would face potentially the same backlash that ASD is facing.  I directed them to my website and specifically the petition page to let them see what's happening with upset parents.  These programs are being implemented in Jordan (currently) and being examined for implementation in other districts.  We need help from everyone to get this curriculum out of Utah.  It's not just an ASD problem.

Parent Comment of the Week

"Enough for now - I've read every article you've posted and that have been published in the papers. Thank you for doing what you're doing, I gratefully cheer you on! I'm taking care of my own kids' math education, but there are so many parents that are struggling with their struggling kids, and don't even understand what is happening to them. I talk to all within my influence, and have had them go to your website to sign the petition, but sometimes they just don't want to believe it, and stick their heads in the sand, or want to do something but don't do anything out of fear."


My comment: I appreciate the encouraging emails I get from each of you and in publishing this one I'm not trying to toot my horn or anything.  This effort wouldn't be happening without you taking the time to sign the petition and tell your friends about it.  However, I think this person hit the nail on the head with regard to how some people view what's happening to us in this area.  No one likes to think that in "conservative Utah" we could be using "liberal fuzzy math" to ruin our children's technical futures.  It's not a pleasant thought so we tend not to believe it.  It's like the things happening (watch out here, I'm about to go on a tangent) in the federal government.  Nobody likes to believe that our leaders could actually be doing things to *intentionally* create havok and enslavement (financial for sure, and perhaps otherwise) for our society, and so rather than investigate and try to learn what's happening, we tend to not want to get involved because ignorance truly is bliss.  I talk to people every week about the math issue and even some that agree with us and say they'll sign the petition haven't done it after repeated attempts to get them to sign.  It's an interesting phenomenon and I wish I understood the psychology behind it.

I'm also aware that many of you aren't certain what to say to people in trying to get them to sign up.  We're over 4.5% of the district on the petition and to me that's pretty amazing.  I really want to see us hit 5% in the next month and it will only take a little effort on our parts.  Can you imagine 1 out of every 20 people being on a petition?  That's huge.  We just need a little extra effort from you to do it.  Here's a couple of ideas:

1) Just ask your neighbors what they think of the math program in the district.  If they ever look at their children's homework, most will say they're not sure what to make of it.  Then mention, "did you know there's a math petition with almost 5% of the district on it to get rid of this program because of the problems it's causing?"  Then encourage them to go to my website and check out some of the research and sign the petition.  If they're in favor of signing but you get the feeling they'll be lazy about it and put it off, pull up the petition page yourself and ask if you can fill out the information for them.

2) Print out a few of the flyers (http://www.oaknorton.com/InvestigationsFlyer.pdf) and just pass them out to some of your neighbors.  Or, look for a street on the maps (http://www.oaknorton.com/imathmaps.cfm) that doesn't have any signers on the petition and go pass out flyers with your kids telling people, "please read this and sign the petition to save our children's futures."

These really aren't hard things to do, they just require coming out of your comfort zone and spending a few minutes trying something new.  Overcome your fears and take a bold step toward changing our futures.  I can't do this alone and I'm truly thankful to so many of you for your help and efforts.  There's good things on the horizon but we need to keep pressing to make it stick.  Please make a commitment to sign up someone new.  I will do it too.


Oak Norton


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