Weekly Math Updates

December 12 , 2007


  • Investigations in ASD
  • New Charter School - ONLINE and they send you materials for FREE
  • Media Articles (new ASD board member)

Investigations in ASD

As most of you are aware, last Spring the district offered to let schools choose what math program they wanted to use as a replacement for Investigations math.  We succeeded in getting Saxon on the list but in so doing schools became allowed to choose Investigations version 2 as well.  There were 4-5 schools in ASD that chose Investigations.

In October 2007, Utah state superintendent Patti Harrington reiterated that no school is allowed to use Investigations as a primary curriculum.  I spoke with Patti and told her that ASD was in fact using it as a primary curriculum and that someone needed to send a message that they could not use the program as a primary curriculum.  Patti had one of her assistant's contact ASD.

I then emailed an ASD board member and asked what the plan was to transition those schools and classrooms off of Investigations now that the district clearly knew they were not allowed to use it.  I was told that the state office was aware of ASD's methods of instruction and there were no objections.

This was my letter back to the board member and I'm posting it for the concept in the 2nd paragraph.  It is critical that everyone understands that we're not just fighting for math, we're fighting for our future freedom.

    I honestly have to wonder what the district people said to the state people and if it was an honest conversation.  I can see how easy it would be for someone at the district to tell the state, "no everything is fine, really.  We're using a balanced approach so just because we're using Investigations doesn't mean it's the primary text, it's just to help supplement everything else that's going on in the classroom."  The state says, "OK, we just wanted to make sure," and the inmates keep running the asylum here in the district.

   The real problem is how distant the board members are from the philosophy of the constructivists and how much damage has been done to our country, state, and district.  Our colleges have been essentially taken over by political forces intent on doing damage to our country and it's constitution.  The colleges of education have bought into philosophies which are intentionally designed to dumb our children down to make it easier for them to accept socialism and then communism because that's really the only fair way to live.  "It's not fair that some students excel or that students have to do their own work, so let's build the communitarian concept by having them do group work and then the *dumb* kids can have the *smart* kids help them just like it's fair that the rich are taxed to provide for the poor that never learned to do their own work."  I'm begging you if you didn't read that C.S. Lewis piece to read it if you can't see what I'm saying.  For the last few years I've been looking at this issue and there is still not one study that shows constructivism works, but there are actually studies that show the huge damage it is doing.  Educators are accepting what they want to see, not asking honest questions.

    Please read this page of my site for a couple recent stories I received about what's happening with English language skills and see how strong a parallel it is to the math problems we've had.  I've heard the arguments that "kids don't need to learn the times tables anymore because they'll always have a calculator" but now it's coming from the teachers and our colleges of education that "kids don't need to learn spelling anymore because they'll always have spell check."  This is completely unacceptable.



Once again we are at the mercy of the school board and district people unaccountable to the public.  Think now about running for school board next year. 

New Charter School - ONLINE and they send you materials for FREE

I received an email today regarding this new online school and after looking at their website it looks pretty neat.  It wouldn't be hard to use Singapore or Saxon math at home with the topics to supplement or replace their math.  I called and it's not Saxon but they do try to follow the Core Knowledge sequence.  Clicking on the links on the site mentioned below will eventually land you at k12.com, the parent site.  They have actually replicated this system around the country.  Here's the email I received.

Not sure if you have heard about this or not, but I think your readers might be interested.

There is a brand new Charter School starting next year.  They are taking enrollment applications right now.  The amazing part about this is that it's a VIRTUAL SCHOOL.  There is no brick and mortar school building, yet it functions EXACTLY like a regular charter school.  Here are some summary points:

  • The school is staffed with full time teachers that are paid by the state just like any other public school
  • All the curriculum materials such as books, CDs, manipulatives etc. are shipped to you with no charge
  • You can work at your own pace
  • The curriculum is part online and part in the books
  • Parent aides are provided to help parents mentor and instruct their kids
  • It's fully accredited just like any other public school in Utah
  • A computer with scanner, fax, copier is provided for free.
  • An internet assistance is also provided up to $12.95 per month
  • The only time you have to go to a school is when the state mandated tests are given.  These tests will be proctored at a local school
  • During the school year, students will have the opportunity to participate in community service days, science fairs, spelling bees, and other outings
  • They even have scheduled parent/teacher conferences

A charter school like this has been operating in Idaho for 6 years now, and they have over 2,800 students enrolled currently.

I would think that this could be a very attractive option for some families in ASD.  The Charter School's website is www.utahvirtual.org.  They are only taking 500 students the first year for the entire state, but I'm sure this will grow each year in number.

One of the nice things about this school is that it lets your child move at his/her own pace and all the materials for class are free, including things like art supplies.  They send everything to you to use at home just as if you were in a public school (which this technically is).  Evidently, students are tested at local schools periodically for progress.  Give it a look and check out some of the online lessons.

If you want to click into the "OLS Login" at the top and see what it's like, here's the login information.

User: enroll (use all lower case)
Password: student

Attendance is kept and students can become truent if they don't log in and do their work.  Real teachers are behind the "screen" and can be contacted and if you need to miss class for a period of time you just let them know and make arrangements.

All in all, this looks like a pretty neat concept with potentially, a good curriculum.  This could be an ideal program to keep your kids at home for any special needs but keep them on track with their education.

Media Articles

Recalculating the way math is taught in Washington ("Where's the Math" group in the news)

Math program debated (new group of parents in Virginia I've been communicating with as they're just getting started and they're off to a great start)

3 new schools in Alpine School District

This last article is particularly interesting because it clearly shows Steven Sandstrom making significant money from Alpine School District as their architect.  This should prevent Steven from participating in future votes on Orem's school board for anything related to ASD.

Alpine chooses board member

Last night Terry Peterson was selected as the new ASD board member to replace Andrea Forsyth.  I don't know anything about Terry yet.  He was one of the people running that I didn't know anything about.  There were a couple of people from this list, a couple of pure constructivists from BYU, and then a couple I didn't know anything about so we'll have to see what happens with this one.


Till next time,

Oak Norton

If this email was forwarded to you, please go here and sign the petition to get on my mailing list.

Copyright 2005-06, All Rights Reserved