Weekly Math Updates
August 23, 2007
Good News - Kids getting real homework
This letter is a thank you to everyone who has actively helped make a difference and there are many of you on this list. I am grateful to you for your help over these past couple years and the efforts you have made to make such a dramatic difference for our children. There are still issues for us to tackle, but there's a lot of good we've accomplished and this letter is a clear example of that.
Bad News - Alpine District Passes Out Investigations Materials to Teachers
OK, time for your wake up call. Last week I got notified by a teacher in the district that every teacher in the district received an Investigations math teacher textbook and in-service training from an Investigations math rep on how to either use it in the classroom as the primary curricula or to supplement whatever program you chose as a school (SFAW).
In speaking with Vern Henshaw about this, he claims he was completely unaware it happened and that he would check into it. Yesterday he called me and said that these were complimentary books from the publisher as a resource for teachers and the district only passed them out because they were free and fit their belief in having a "balanced" math program. It doesn't explain why they held an in-service to take the time to train teachers on this. I doubt they would have offered an in-service for a Saxon rep to come pass out a free resource to teachers and tell them about their program. Someone in the district at a high level facilitated this event and I would point my fingers at Aleen Ure (math specialist) and Barry Graff (curriculum overseer). (It's also nice to see the district helps facilitate passing out Investigations books to teachers but refused to pass out "In God We Trust" posters which is actually helping them fulfill a state law....)
It's completely obvious that we have to be on our guard 24/7. These people just don't get it and they'll try to slide the old garbage into the room when we're relaxed and not watching. Keep your eyes peeled for Investigations homework. You should all have a change in homework, except the 3 schools where Investigations was actually chosen as the program and I have to wonder if those schools had a stacked deck against them in choosing the program like some schools did without having real parent input.
I would encourage you to write your children's K-6 teachers and share your concern with them and let them know you expect your children will not receive Investigations math homework but traditional math according to the new program your school chose.
Great News - Better Standards Coming
From my email yesterday you saw the legislature preparing to move us toward true world class standards and not the initial sham set we got from the appointed committee the first time around. I would ask you to please send an email to your legislators asking them to please bring world class standards to Utah and help ALL the children in the state to get a better math education. We must raise the bar to greater levels or in a decade the U.S. will be a near meaningless tech country unable to staff our best jobs and unable to compete with international students (and countries). Please send your letter soon since the legislature will be taking this issue up in less than a month and your letter will help encourage them to stay on target.
Potential Lawsuit Against ASD
There are some people considering a lawsuit against ASD over failure to teach their children (such as children who are now in upper grades or have just graduated and the children don't know their times tables and must take remedial math in college). No clue was ever given to the parents because good grades were coming home when the students should have been receiving failing grades because they are utterly unprepared for college math. If you have been harmed and would be willing to sign on to a lawsuit, please email me back and I will pass your information on to the people interested in doing this. The most blatent situations are people whose children have graduated unprepared for college work.
Poster Project Gets a New Home
Talmage Cromar is a young scout who has decided to bring the poster project into his scouting experience by making it his Eagle Project. He is organizing things right now for people to participate and I'll let you know if he needs any extra help from our ranks, but he's got a pretty significant project that will be very meaningful for children all over the state. (It's also one less project on my plate which is nice too. :)
I would like to ask that you ask your children to look for the poster in their classroom in ASD. Every classroom should have a poster. If your children don't see it, have them ask the teacher where it is. I know Mountainville Academy had the posters up and the teachers used the curriculum page to introduce the poster to their classes (at least my kids' classes). I would like to hear back from you on this to make sure the schools have the posters up.
What I Do - Advertisement Warning
I feel the need to mention something to the list out of a spirit of gratitude for my employer. Many of you know from an email a long time ago that I'm the accountant for a personal injury law firm, Gregory & Swapp. If you don't know it by name, you may know it by our commercial tagline "One Call, That's All." We have offices in Salt Lake City, Utah; Boise, Idaho; and Spokane, Washington and handle cases anywhere in those states. If you're ever in an accident or injured by a faulty drug of some kind (the legal kind :)), I would like to invite you to let our firm give you a positive experience in your recovery. We can help turn the bills off while you recover and make sure you get proper medical attention, and a fair settlement for your case. A recent CNN investigation has shown that insurance companies are not in the business of helping their insureds and will actively try to lowball you to help their bottom line (after all, they are "for profit" companies). We see this every day at the firm. Here's a link to see the video on our site, but again I hope you''ll give us a chance and refer your friends to us. When you call in let them know Oak Norton referred you so I can follow your case and make sure it's being given the extra attention I try to give things. :)
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