Thursday, October 8, 2009

Because you asked....

Camdenton Elementary School MAP Test Scores 2009 vs. 2008

These scores are taken directly from (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education).


Osage Beach Elementary:
Math 2008 81.5% Proficient or Advanced
Math 2009 70.0%
= 11.5% Drop

Hurricane Deck Elementary:
Math 2008 45.5% Proficient or Advanced
Math 2009 37.0%
=8.5% Drop

Hawthorn Elementary:
Math 2008 41.8%
Math 2009 45.9%
=4.1% Gain
(This is the school where we fought for supplements all year, and got them. Glad to see those gains here. )


Osage Beach Elementary:
Comm Arts 2008 59.3% Proficient or Advanced
Comm Arts 2009 60.0%
= .7% Gain

Hurricane Deck Elementary:
Comm Arts 2008 43.2% Proficient or Advanced
Comm Arts 2009 32.6%
=10.6% Drop

Hawthorn Elementary:
Comm Arts 2008 39.5% Proficient or Advanced
Comm Arts 2009 35.7%
=3.8% Drop

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

So Proud To Be A Part....

As a result of this journey I have met so many amazing people who are so very devoted to this issue. None of them see a dime for all of the countless hours they put into this cause on a regular basis. They do it for the simple fact that they are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the children of our state and our nation need the bar raised while being offered a quality public education.

Please check out:

The Missouri Math Coalition
The United States Coalition for World Clas Math

Put these sites in your favorites and stay tuned. There are so many good people hard at work with reference to this issue all over your state and nation. Get involved. Stay educated. Remember... Knowledge is power.

NOTE: I think you will find of special interest the link on the "Design Principles..." and "False Dichotomy".

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Take a look at #1....

As you go to the polls on Tuesday remember one thing. It seems that we hear an awful lot about the school board and the need to keep the budget in check. There is a lot of talk lately about the "role" of the board being financial. This is true... in part. However, if one looks into and visits board policy...and then pulls up the school board member ethics portion, you will notice the #1 role and responsibility of a school board member in the Camdenton RIII school district. (I know that Tosh Stamper recognizes this, as does Jason Taylor.) And while the finance part is is not the most important. Take a look below what our own district policy says about the most important role of each school board member....


Members of the Camdenton R-III School District Board of Education accept the responsibility to improve public education in the Camdenton R-III School District. To that end, all Board members will:

1. Remember that the first and greatest concern must be the educational welfare of all students attending the public schools.

Please remember to vote on Tuesday!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"It's only when voices speak out that they're heard..."

Wow, what a great article articulated by a mom in Spokane, Washington. She has an awesome website you should check out. We are certainly not alone in our fight and continued disbelief that this math that our elementary children are forced to endure has been chosen without the consent of the majority of teachers or parents in our district...yet imposed on our beloved children without any real data nor research to back up such a choice in support of the "good" that will come from such an endeavour. Laurie Rogers imparts some incredible insights. Take a look at her website at The following is her post from earlier today.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Your child's education is up to you
Over the last 27 months, I’ve come to see public education as an immoveable force. Administrators are fond of talking about “accountability,” but it doesn’t mean much, not in any real sense. Today's administrators know that all they have to do is produce upward ticks in pretend numbers. The only real accountability comes when unhappy parents leave the school district. Although a few thousand Spokane families have done that over the last five years, local administrators have so far declined to say publicly that the enrollment drops have anything to do with how the schools operate.

Meanwhile, things stay fairly quiet, which is what bureaucrats generally prefer.

My comments here could be seen as “cynical” or “critical,” but I see them as “realistic.” With realism comes truth. With truth comes knowledge. With knowledge comes power. With power comes change – even if it’s change for just one child. When it’s your child, one child is a lot.

My husband and I have therefore taken control of our daughter’s education. We now know it isn’t enough to just be involved in the school or the classroom; we need to know what she’s learning. We also must have some idea of what she should be learning. When the school curriculum or learning environment fails her, we must fill in critical gaps. This isn’t a game we’re playing. Her future is at stake. Six short years from now, it won’t matter whether we helped out with field trips or cut paper for the class every Friday. What will matter is the knowledge she takes with her to college.

Although several people in this district care about our daughter – most notably her teachers and principal – no one at the district level has expressed even a sliver of interest in what kind of experience she must have had that would lead me to do an intense and focused two-year investigation of public education. To them, I’m sure she’s just a bit of data in a long string of data. I doubt they know who I am. Over two years, I've interviewed three curriculum coordinators, two board members and other sundry district staff. I’ve sat down with district Superintendent Nancy Stowell and asked her pointed questions. I’ve written about Dr. Stowell on my blog and run into her a half a dozen times at various meetings. She still introduces herself to me as if we've never met. Clearly, she doesn’t feel the need to retain any information about me or my concerns.

Over 27 months, I've come to believe I could be brilliant, have the best research, find the most perfect words and fill up school board meetings with the most knowledgeable people – and administrators would still operate as if I don’t exist. If I ever manage to effect positive change in this district, I have no doubt that the minute I turn my back, someone will begin working to erase it.

I have two main goals now:

1. Help parents cut through the fake statistics and “edu-speak” so
they can see things more clearly.

2. Tutor students in math. I looked into earning an education degree,
but colleges of education tend to train teachers by using discovery learning
methods and reform philosophy. I'm 47 and a college graduate. I get hives at the thought of sitting in groups to hash out simplistic problems I could easily solve on my own. I’ve therefore chosen the math program over the education program.

In these two small ways, I hope to help the children succeed. I yearn for revolution, but perhaps some of the improvement will just have to come one person at a time.

“Laurie … I have to tell you, I'm going through a kind of personal revolution right now. I've always felt that I was hindered by a lack of knowledge, betrayed, if you will, by my own public education, and would just sound ignorant if I spoke out on the things I felt strongly about (education, political issues, etc.), so I said and did nothing. Besides, I'm just one little suburban mother. What difference could I possibly make? I have long felt that the public education system has failed us as a nation, and that this is now more apparent than ever. I've been very concerned about the direction our nation is heading at such a rapid pace, so I've been educating myself on American history and government. For the first time in my life, I've been following the actions of the government, communicating to my representatives, and I'm 33 years old. My own public education didn't come close to preparing me to be an active, educated citizen in the community, let alone in the nation (yet I still cast my vote at every election). I've been compelled to educate myself and take a more active role. I just can't sit complacently by anymore, and I've realized that everyone who has a part in making a difference is just one person. It's only when voices speak out that they're heard.

“I spent 13 years in public school, 2 years in community college, and 3 more at a state university, and I have always felt ignorant and uneducated! There is definitely something wrong there, and the last thing I want is for my kids to grow up that way, too. So, I offer no more excuses for being part of the
problem. I want to be part of the solution, and I do feel that it all comes down to education. I thank you for doing your part to improve the state of education (and, therefore, the country) and I want to do mine as well, so count me in!

“I did go to bat for my own child last week, and I wish I had done it a year
ago. (My son) has been complaining about school in general and math in
particular. I think he's bored with the math in 1st grade and especially the
pace of the class. Last year, I had the same issue with (my daughter) and (the teacher) danced around it, asserting that she was challenged in class in a variety of ways. My naive mistake was giving her the benefit of the doubt and not pushing any farther than bringing the issue up again at conference time. Last week, I went straight to (the principal). I have to say, I was very pleased with his reaction and the result. By the end of the day it was arranged (that my son) would go to (the next grade) for math. …”

This mother acknowledged, however, that the curriculum in the next grade is also insufficient, so she is tutoring her children in two traditional programs –

“Singapore Math” and “Saxon Math.” She expressed concerns about the calculators in the elementary grades and wondered how I felt about it. I told her I’m opposed to introducing calculators in elementary school, that there is no need for it, and that it’s my belief that they interfere with the learning of necessary arithmetic skills. I asked the mother if I could quote from her email, and she said I could:

“I hope it can help encourage other parents to get involved or even just
interested. One of the greatest things I took away from homeschooling was the attitude that my children's education is my ultimate responsibility, whether I choose homeschool, public school, or somewhere in between. That realization has been very empowering.”

I couldn’t have said it better.

Rogers, L. (March, 2009). "Your child's education is up to you." Retrieved March 21, 2009 from the Betrayed Web site:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Yet Another Government Review Finds Investigations a FAILURE!

Another brand new study by the United States Federal Government that ranks Investigations in last place after studying which math curriculum is most effective. Any big surprise? Of course not.

The article:Feb_09_US_Dept_of_Ed_-_Saxon_Beats_TERC.pdf
The Ed Week Article on the findings: SaxonExpressionsmath.pdf

Achievement Effects of Four Early Elementary School Math Curricula: Findings from First Graders in 39 Schools Achievement Effects of Four Early Elementary School Math Curricula:

Findings from First Graders in 39 Schools reports on the relative impacts of four math curricula on first-grade mathematics achievement. The curricula were selected to represent diverse approaches to teaching elementary school math in the United States.

The four curricula are Investigations in Number, Data, and Space; Math Expressions; Saxon Math; and Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Mathematics. First-grade math achievement was significantly higher in schools randomly assigned to Math Expressions or Saxon Math than in those schools assigned to Investigations in Number, Data, and Space or to Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Mathematics. This study is being conducted as part of the National Assessment of Title I. The report cleared IES peer review on February 2, 2009.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Is This What Success Looks Like?

To really get a full look at what "success stories" according to Pearson (the publisher of Investigations) really looks like.. just take a look and see:

Vestavia Hills West Elem School, AL

Naperville CUSD 203, IL

Framingham School District, MA

Anoka-Hennepin ISD 11, MN
Inver Grove District 199, MN

Little Falls ISD 482, MN

Staples-Motley ISD 2170, MN

Stillwater District 834, MN

Waconia District 110, MN

White Bear Lake 624, MN
Text Book Review Underway (may drop – confirm in late 3/09) Grant MSP (Math Science Partnership) funds now depleted

Columbia District 93, MO

Greece, Central, NY

Penfield Central, NY

Pittsford Central, NY

Syracuse City School District, NY

Coventry Local School District, OH

Lebanon City School District, OH

Painesville City School District, OH

Three Rivers Local School District, OH

Wickliffe, OH

Gervais School District 1, OR

Sutherlin School District 130, OR

Chariot Regional District, RI

Alpine District, Utah
(Banned by USOE as primary text materials 2007)
Utah State Office of Education; state legislature initiative 2009 requires funding for Singapore Math
Arlington District 16, WA

Bellevue District 405, WA

Clover Park District 400, WA

Eastmont School District 206, WA

Lake Stevens District 4,WA

Oak Harbor, WA

Richland School District 400, WA

Black River Falls, WI

La Crosse, WI

River Falls, WI

Superior, WI
For anyone on the fence as to whether or not Investigations is failing your child (despite the fact that your child is getting an A or B as EVERY other child is)...take a look at all of the schools from across the United States and tell me that our children are not on the fast track to failure. As I have said over and over is only a matter of time before our scores will force the administration to rethink this decision they have made for our children. How many of you want for it to take 6-7 years to figure it out? If these are "success stories" according to the publisher of Investigations from just 2 years ago, can you imagine what the failures must look like?
As we were reminded in a recent school board meeting by an administrator..."You cannot always believe everything the publisher says". We could not agree more after looking at these FACTS! So, the question remains..."why are we using this type of teaching? Show us some real success stories. Show us the FACTS! We are having lots of trouble believing since no one is telling us anything. Tell us why you are doing this to our kids, please. For some of us parents, we believe the clock it ticking and our childrens' futures are at stake. We do not trust at this point. Our childrens' reading scores tell the story, and now you have taken them down the fast track to failure with this new very controversial choice of math. Forgive us if we believe time is of the essence! We need change NOW!
If you are growing weary of no explanations or any offer to communicate with us, then remember how important it is to vote in April!
Please read this whole report at: Independent_Survey_-_Math_Investigations_Success_Stories.pdf It is a MUST READ!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Success Stories"?????

I got an email this morning from a friend in Virginia, Greg Barlow. He sent me a divine piece of research that beautifully illustrates the FACT that Investigations is not a proven method by which to teach children. A group of parents there took it upon themselves to find out if the "success stories" touted by Pearson (the publisher of Investigations) were REALLY TRUE. They conducted their own study on a national level. They picked up their phones and got on their computers and contacted these "success stories" to find out what was really going on. Their results were eerily familiar to those results that a few of us moms in Camdenton experienced when our administration handed out a list of schools in Missouri using Investigations. We all found the same results. I think you will find those results very alarming, as well!

The following report in entirety can be read here:
Independent_Survey_-_Math_Investigations_Success_Stories.pdf It is a MUST READ!!!

Excerpts taken from the above mentioned article:

Independent Research & Analysis
A Survey of School Districts Profiled in
Pearson Scott Foresman Publishers’
January 2007 Publication,
"Investigations in Number, Data, and Space: Evidence for Success"i
(Data as of February 24, 2009)

Survey Purpose and Methodology

The purpose of this survey was to examine claims of success regarding districts and schools utilizing Pearson Publishers’ elementary mathematics curriculum, Investigations in Number, Data, and Space as profiled in the publisher’s marketing / validation study.

In considering the adoption of the Investigations elementary math curriculum, school districts regularly cite the Pearson document as "research" to support school system selection of the materials. Each of the school and district "data cases" presented in the Pearson document are said to represent, "Cross sectional information about the schools and districts included."ii The Pearson document further asserts, "The data, taken as a whole, document the success of this Scott Foresman instructional material across a wide range of situations, including differing student body compositions (socioeconomic and ethnic), and urban, suburban and rural locales," and finally, "In designing this study, the aim was to provide the kind of information that schools and districts already use to support their curriculum decisions."iii

Survey Purpose and Methodology (Continued)

Though lauded as "success stories" in the January 2007 Pearson publication, many of the included schools, districts, and in fact state Departments of Education have rejected Investigations outright and have long since ceased using the curricula and materials. Many others are in the process of removing the curricula and materials from primary/basal use in mathematics instruction in their districts. The following is a compilation of findings from contact made with those schools, districts, and state level agencies associated with the schools and districts cited as Math Investigations success stories in the January 2007 edition of the Pearson Scott Foresman "Evidence for Success" publication.

The information presented puts the Pearson Scott Foresman "Success Stories" in a larger achievement-oriented perspective in light of the high numbers of districts no longer using or in the process of abandoning Investigations in Number, Data, and Space in districts and states across the country. In the spirit of a "Caveat Emptor" (buyer beware) concern for districts and schools considering adoption of this mathematics curriculum, the authors of this survey remain optimistic that these such agencies will have the foresight to look beyond the glossy publisher sales brochures when considering the mathematical content that should be provided in instructional programs to the children in public school systems .

Part I – Summary of Findings

A majority of districts reporting have either discontinued using the Investigations curriculum and materials or are in the process of dropping the program as of February, 2009.

• 62 of 70 "Evidence for Success" school districts responded to the survey
• 36 of these districts have discontinued use or are
in the process of discontinuing the use of Investigations (58% of districts responding; 51% of districts overall)
So...more than half of all of the "success stories" have dropped Investigations.
• 17 of these districts currently using Investigations are Title I (schools/districts and/or receiving National Science Foundation funding and/or other grants for continued implementation of the curricula
(27% of districts responding; 24% of districts overall). So another 1/4 of those "success stories are getting funding or incentives in the form of grants to use this inquiry based form of teaching.
• 8 of the districts using Investigations are using supplemental material to support gaps in the mathematical content of the program. (7 of these districts are comprised of 7 elementary schools or less; the 8th has only 15 elementary schools) appears that most schools who still do use Investigations believe it MUST be supplemented to fill in all of those GAPS!

• Only two district responding were using Investigations without supplementation (3.2% of districts responding; 2.9% of districts overall)
(I would LOVE to see their test scores...true test scores).
• To date (24 Feb 2009) 8 districts had yet to respond; 6 of these are Title I districts).

Part II –District Math Curriculum Director/Coordinator Remarks
Testimony of School District Math Curriculum Directors and Coordinators on Math Investigations
February, 2009
"Success Stories"?

Coventry Local School District, OH – Curriculum Director
"I find it somewhat funny that we dropped Investigations around the 2002-2003 school year. It was not a successful program in our school district, and we decided to return to a more traditional program k-12. So, I am not sure why Pearson has us listed as a success story. We saw the dramatic increase in state test scores AFTER we dropped the program and went with a more traditional approach........ (This is classic. On the list that was given to us by our administration we even found there were schools on the list that had never heard of Investigations.)

..........In my opinion, the program was created by professors and researchers who do not deal with the day to day situation of elementary classrooms. It could be a nice supplemental to a traditional math program but it is nothing more than that."
(I love this one...we got this answer more than once in Missouri.)

Lebanon School District, OH - Director of Instruction and Tech.

"We do not use MI as our core textbook because it had many gaps in the alignment to our state standards ......
........We discovered the gaps in MI after the fact when implemented. Scores increased in grades k-4 but then dropped in grades 5-7 .
[Email dated 2/5/09]

Black River Falls School District, WI – Curriculum Coordinator

The activities were too "open-ended" for some of our teachers. We decided to switch in order to get more consistent use by all teachers. There seems to be a very positive attitude toward the change."
[Email dated 2/6/09]

Naperville School District, IL – Gifted Coordinator & Math Project Manager

"We supplemented with Investigations only since 2000. In fact, we never purchased the student work books. Rather, we created our own math curriculum - binders for our 14 elementary school math teachers... We are now reviewing two new text books and will not be considering Investigations for ’09-‘10.
[Telephone conversation of 2/6/09]

La Crosse School District, WI– Director of Math/Curriculum

"No improvement at all with the math scores since 2002. We dropped MI and are now using a different text book. We are very happy to date."
[Telephone conversation of 2/6/09]

Columbia School District, MO – Curriculum Director
"We will not be using MI as of the Fall of ’09. MI is not among the materials we are considering......

......"we will return to a traditional program"

.......Our scores at the elementary level have fallen the past few years.
[Email dated 2/5/09]

Framingham School District, MA – Director of Curriculum & Staff Development:

"We have just completed a math pilot review and are dropping MI. We found, through the current pilot programs that Investigations did not meet current MA curriculum standards. For example, Kindergarten time and money. We also found that professional development was based on how to use the text. Our new text book focuses on Mathematics… more important to us."
[Email dated 2/6/09]

Three Rivers School District, OH – Curriculum Administrator

Last year the math adoption team chose a replacement for MI.

......One of the major concerns of our staff members was that students were lagging behind in basic computational skills. We believe our new text book will help us close that gap.
[Email dated 2/5/09]

Chariho School District, RI – Curriculum Director

"We no longer use MI. ....

.....The curriculum should align with the standards without relying on supplementation. A balanced approach to teaching math is an undertaking I’d not dare implement with MI....

.....I would never recommend a text book that doesn’t align with our state standards.
[Telephone conversation of 2/4/09]

Gadsden School District, NM – Director for Instructional Support

We received a grant to provide monies to sustain professional development to support teachers to implement reformed pedagogy and the materials that best exemplify that pedagogy is MI.
[Email dated 2/5/09]

Please look at all of Greg's research!!! It is so interesting. I think it validates the truth that so many of us already know. It would appear that the research used to support the implementation of Investigations is VERY flawed...not just in Missouri, but all over the United States.

Our district is trying to make the argument that schools that have not liked Investigations was because they were using the OLD version. They say that we are using version 2 which is soooo much better. No one can answer why they believe that to be true. I would love to see the research within our own state that supports that notion, but when asked at the last school board meeting where it has been used and who believes it to be better, it was said that our district is one of the first to go to Version 2. Do you feel like our kids are research? Some of us sure do! If the success stories provided by the publisher have been so consistently weak...does it now make sense why we are demanding answers and why those answers are nowhere to be found?

So, draw your own conclusions from the data taken from cities all over the country. Do we want to continue in a program that is consistently being dropped over and over and over again? Do we want to wake up in 4 or 5 years and realize that we should have done something differently? Our kids cannot lose these their most formative learning years to this garbage. If all of Pearson's "success stories" are dropping it left and right...why should we stick around and try it out? Remember...these are Pearson's SUCCESS STORIES! If this is success in their opinion, then what does failure look you find that thought scary? You should.

i, "Evidence of Success with Investigations in Other School Districts." Mathematics Online, Prince William County Schools. February 2009. February 6, 2009;