Weekly Math Updates
September 26, 2007
Wonderful State News
It's been an intense last couple weeks. Thanks for all of you that helped by sending emails and making phone calls to your legislators and/or state board members. Due to a major server crash last week I was unable to attend the education meeting on Wednesday but in speaking with those who attended, it went very well. Here's the quick and dirty that you need to know from it.
This is complete proof that the standards writers did NOT take seriously their charge to give us world-class standards or the external review by accomplished standards writers and they finally had to acknowledge that fact.
The final outcome of the committee meeting was a consensus that work still must be done on the standards. Next month's meeting will decide exactly what should be done. The hopeful scenario is an appointment of a legislative task force committee to look into the issue and perhaps adopt a world-class standard such as Singapore, or get qualified individuals to write something very similar that is tweaked just a bit for us.
Singapore vs. Utah Flier
In relation to this, yesterday I sent this single page pdf to all the legislators and state board members showing a quick comparison of Singapore to Utah standards and results.
The Problem of Relying on Bad Research
Last week an opinion piece written by Blake Peterson, math educator at BYU, appeared in the Provo Herald decrying the whole state standards process as intentionally flawed and made to fail from the beginning, and unfortunately patting ASD on the back for their use of Investigations math.
Rise Above Politics of Math Programs
Unfortunately for Blake, he actually made reference to the Noyce Foundation in his letter. This left the organization open for investigation which I was happy to do. As you know, ASD has not been able to provide me with a single valid study that shows the benefits of Investigations, Connected, or Interactive math, so I was quite excited at the prospect that perhaps this study was actually worth the paper it was printed on.
The bottom line is, it's not. The study has several major flaws. For starters, the Noyce folks that claim major benefits from the use of Investigations, refuse to reveal the names of the schools that participated so it is impossible to verify the data. I found this exchange on the web between Dr. David Klein, Cal State Math prof., and Penny Noyce.
Again, math educators show they rely on studies that cannot be shown to be validated, which then leads to serious trust issues about anything else they say. Read the Klein/Noyce exchange. It's very enlightening about the research process.
Voucher Issues-Oops...Anti's send a warning letter to the wrong people
I know a number of you are interested in voucher issues. You MUST read the ABC.com link. It's quite funny that an anti-voucher piece was sent out in bulk and some legislators in favor of vouchers received it asking them to please try and help stop this article from being published around. Please feel free to publish and pass this on. :)
Here is additional information on the issue with links:
Both bills (the law is a combination of the two bills): http://le.utah.gov/~2007/bills/hbillenr/hb0148.htm
If none of this convinces you to be pro-voucher, recall the NEA agenda sheet I sent you several weeks ago exposing their homosexual agenda and many other socialist leanings and realize that they are pouring approximately $1.5 million into Utah to prevent vouchers. (Deseret News article on dollar figure)
There's been a number of media articles over the past week. Here's the quick rundown on relevant articles to math.
Math wars: Legislators and teachers grapple over state curriculum
Utah Math standards criticized
Alpine districit considering year-round schedules
Educational Resource Links
I came across this site last week that links to a number of free educational resources. Some I've sent out about before but this is a nice list of all of them in one place. Some of these are fantastic free resources.
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