Weekly Math Updates
May 10, 2006
Orem Residents Petition to Leave ASD
Big news last night. Orem residents have a petition with 1,000 signatures asking the city council to do a feasibility study to split from Alpine School District. Their reasons are quite unsurprising....Investigations math and an unresponsive school board. Also interesting, and proof of my previous point to the ASD board, is that our petition on oaknorton.com is known by so few people in the district that our 5% currently signed up is a much, much bigger number because none of the people quoted as involved in the Orem petition are on our petition. Until I saw the article this morning I didn't know there was an actual petition circulating in Orem showing how easy it is not to be aware of things even in a day of enhanced communication. If any of you are on the other petition, please email me the name, number, or email address for one of its founders.
Petition Requests District Division by Anna Chang-Yen
I picked up a couple of great quotes from a sister site I've probably mentioned a long time ago. If you haven't visited Illinois Loop, they're a group of concerned parents and teachers in Illinois fighting constructivist math and other issues in education. They have a great site you should check out: www.illinoisloop.org
"This notion that one has to 'interest' students in mathematics in order to make them do it has gone much too far, to the point where real mathematics in many cases has just disappeared entirely from the courses. They're just a discussion of what mathematics does and beautiful pictures and imprecise ideas."
"My whole experience in math the last few years has been a struggle against the program. Whatever I've achieved, I've achieved in spite of it. Kids do not do better learning math themselves. There's a reason we go to school, which is that there's someone smarter than us with something to teach us."
I know a number of you have been wondering about what to do this summer to supplement your kids lack of math education at some level. Some have emailed me stating you were considering purchasing Saxon or Singapore materials to have your kids practice over the summer. The most important thing you can do is have them practice. Just coming back to school having done some consistent math during the summer will help your children tremendously. However, if you are looking for some resources, I again want to compliment the Singapore program since their books are dirt cheap, easy to use, and kids enjoy the math-game problems interspersed in the books. Singapore math also has 3 CD's available which cover 2 grades each from 1-6. You can purchase them from the Singapore Math site or from another site that may have a slight discount such as www.sonlight.com. Here's a link to the CD's if you want a bit more information. Click the "content" link to see the concepts covered.
Regardless of what you choose to use, use something. Offer your kids an incentive like paying them $20 per workbook they complete or something that entices them to do the work. Maybe plan a special trip after all the kids finish a book so that there will be positive pressure from sibblings to have everyone finish up their work.
Saxon under Harcourt
One of the reasons some charter schools are looking at Singapore math instead of Saxon is due to an article that was linked to on the above mentioned Illinois Loop site a little while back which discussed the purchase of Saxon math by Harcourt. Here's a link to the actual article and a couple of clips showing the fuzzy influence starting to seep into Saxon by the new publisher. Now don't get me wrong, Saxon is still a great program, but people are starting to wonder the direction it will be taken over the next several years by Harcourt after the initial changes they've made to the program.
"I am distressed to read that the order of the topics has been changed in the rewritten books already on the market, despite the red herring claim that the company values the incremental steps of the original Saxon books. I am frustrated to read that instead of instructing, the teacher will serve as "tutor and coach." This sounds too much like New-Math to those of us who mourn the loss of America's competitive edge in mathematics, and strongly disapprove of the crazy educational ideas coming out of universities and teacher training colleges – from the very people who should be more astute and analytical; from those who are being paid to know better."
"I would also like to ask New-Saxon if they are purposefully making changes that will put a heavy financial burden upon homeschooling families; if they are striving, on their own, or under someone else's agenda, to discourage parents from choosing to homeschool; if they are thinking that, if parents decide to homeschool, despite all the roadblocks continually thrown up before them, at least their children will join the rest of America's children in being subjected to dumbed-down new-new-math. I do not feel at all comfortable with any changes being made to the tried and true Saxon books, let alone those changes described, even briefly, at the website. I hope that John Saxon joins me in questioning his decision to sell his company to a publisher that would, by August of the year of the sale, have rewritten books on the market with topics reorganized and coaches replacing teachers."
"True educators are coming to realize that they are incapable of slowing, let alone stopping, the waves of progressive poison moving with the currents and the trends through the halls of government schools, and through too many private and parochial schools, as well. Where we used to plan offensive actions, now we attempt to build defensive walls that can enclose and protect our isolated enclaves. Now we only hope that we can fill a gap and guard our small groups as the destructive forces pass across the land with their final solution to the problems inherit within, and created by, the State-run system of public schools. The irony is that like parasites, progressive educators are destroying the hosts upon which they feed and thrive. When the host dies, so do the parasites. Final solution?…the closure of all government schools.
Do not mourn the passing of the public education monopoly, for other than the children, there is little worth saving. Let us turn away from the State's vision and gather those precious children to us. Let us, as citizens acting in the best interests of our children and our communities, establish, lead and teach in small neighborhood schools – schools of our design, our vision, our investment. Let us teach towards the revival of a literate, discerning citizenry; not towards the survival of the State. Let us teach every child to claim, then safeguard, their rights and their freedoms. Such vitally important instruction is best accomplished at familial and neighborhood levels. Let us build walls to keep the State away from our right to educate our own children, and let us do it now."
Till next week,
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