Weekly Math Updates
March 7, 2007
Thanks so much for all your efforts in supporting this movement over the past two years (almost there). It was this month two years ago that I determined to run a poll when the school board and district told me it was a great idea and they would consider doing it. I knew they weren't serious and after running the poll and telling them that 80% of those I polled (unscientifically) hated Investigations, I determined to start digging. Here we are less than two years later with Investigations banned (to a degree) in Utah and ASD changing their programs and the state standards being revised. What a great thing to behold.
However, we're not done yet and the information below is critical for this very decisive month. This month the schools will decide on their program choice for the next several years of use.
Middle and High School Programs
Now that Investigations is pretty much going to be replaced district-wide, Connected and Interactive math are the next that need to go. The district is most likely going to tell schools to wait for new standards to come out before replacing the programs but you need to let these schools know of your distaste for the programs. I know for a fact that some principals think these programs are just fine and have no intention of replacing them because they don't think many parents object to them. If you have children in charter school, just wait till they "graduate" and go into Connected Math back in the school district. You'll wonder what happened to the great progress they had made when it all languishes under group work and discovery activities.
Getting rid of Investigations means kids will finally get a solid foundation, but leaving Connected and Interactive math in place means they'll get no framework and finish on top of that foundation. If you don't know much about these programs, here's a page below with the lowdown on them. If you've never had a child in one of these classes, imagine your child asking you what a problem is asking for and when you read it, you can't tell. So you ask your child to ask the teacher what the problem is asking for and the teacher says, "just skip that one, I don't know what it's asking for either." That's a true story from more than one parent.
If you're a middle/high school parent, it's time to ask the school principal to get more traditional math in the classrooms. In fact, it would be best if you went in for a short visit and shared your concerns face-to-face. That will go a long way. Remember the code words the district chants and tell the principal you want "balanced" math in the classroom and you want Connected (grades 6-9) and Interactive (grades 10-12) math gone. Look up your school on this page:
Math Program Selection
Many of the schools are opening their doors to the patrons to come in and take a look at the programs being offered. You should find out when they're available for viewing and go in and take a look at them and if your principal is being a stickler for only choosing from one of the two district committee choices, take a copy of this page with you.
These are the textbooks adopted in California's last selection round that met their standards. Notice Houghton-Mifflin and Saxon math are both on the list but none of the other programs the district looked at are present. The McGraw Hill and Scott Foresman editions present are not the ones the district looked at. Macmillan/McGraw is a different edition and Scott Foresman Addison Wesley is not as strong as the California Edition present. Point this out to your principal. You may also want to point out that the U.S. Chamber of commerce just last week (in the update sent 3/1) said Utah's standards were "C" rated (Fordham gave us a D) and California's were "A" rated by both the U.S. Chamber and Fordham Foundation. Be sure to tell the principal you know the superintendent said schools can choose from any of the programs and request that you be given a chance to look at either Houghton-Mifflin and/or Saxon as one of your choices to ensure you have a strong program to choose from. (Remember, not Houghton-Mifflin Math Expressions, but the regular math)
Here's a link to the Deseret News article again so you don't have to go looking for it:
With the posters funded, I am just waiting on Vern Henshaw to "approve" the poster before I order them and then deliver them to the district. About a year ago he said if I delivered them to the district he would let principals know they were available for pickup so we wouldn't have to try and arrange delivery to each of the schools. We may need help getting them to the charter and private schools though if ASD doesn't communicate directly with them. Also, I think I'll deliver a poster and letter to all the state legislators encouraging them to get PTA's in their areas to put the posters in the schools.
New Dollar Coins Missing National Motto?
I've had a couple of you email me the bad news about the new coins being minted which have "In God We Trust" removed from them. However, the phrase hasn't been removed, it's just been relegated to the edge where you can't read it unless you have a magnifying glass. That's not enough for some people though who actively want it gone from anything in the public view. Here's a story about our favorite athiest who takes offense at the sight of a few words.
Till next week,
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