Thursday, December 18, 2008

Answers Needed

Camdenton Parents, please read the mission statement pulled directly from the website for Camdenton RIII Schools.

Committed to Excellence in Student Achievement

Parent and Community Involvement:
*1. Communication between the school, parents, community, and students will be ongoing
*2. Parents and community members are involved and encouraged to be a part of the school environment
*3. Our District will strive to eliminate cultural and socio-economic bias
*4. Parental support and communication is essential to high achievement and student learning
*5. Administration, teachers, and staff will listen to parents/community ideas and concerns
*6. School information will be readily accessible
*7. Parents and community will be involved in the school by volunteering and participating at all levels
*8. Our entire school community is treated with dignity and respect
*9. An open and comfortable environment is desirable for parent involvement
*10. Our District will provide opportunities for teachers and parents to collaborate about the child's progress/problems and develop strategies for improvement.

Mission statement taken from

We have questions that have yet to be answered by anyone at the administrative levels. Why should it be so hard to get answers to even the most basic questions? Does our mission statement not lead you to believe that our administrators and school board should communicate with us? Doesn't communicate mean an exchange of dialogue? Why should it be unreasonable to get answers to the easy questions?

Our questions:

1. Did our administration recognize that this curriculum was a very controversial issue all across our state and nation BEFORE they chose it? (i.e. Did they know about Columbia, Raymore Peculiar, the state of California banning this type of teaching and the same of the state of Texas? The harsh warnings of leading mathematicians and scientists and Nobel Laureates and Fields Medal Winners from ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES) If so, then why did we go forward in spite of these facts?

2. Did our administration know what our Department of Education warned about this type of teaching in their report called The Foundations For Success that came out in March 2008?

3. Can anyone in our administration show us 5 schools in our state where Investigations without supplementation has been a documented success for longer than 3 years. Being that this program has been around for over 20 years in the United States, surely this should not be hard...right?

4. Has anyone in our administration read the word problems that our 3rd and 4th graders are bringing home? Do any of you recognize that these questions ARE NOT written for 3rd and 4th grade readers? How do you expect our 3rd and 4th graders to READ questions that appear to be written by adults for adults? WHY HAS THIS NOT BEEN ADDRESSED?

5. Why did we choose to take our children into a reading rich math curriculum when it was abundantly clear that our children in all of our elementary schools are struggling with reading? How did you EXPECT for them to be successful with this math when they cannot read? Why were we not working on improving our reading scores?

6. What was wrong with the old, Scott Foresman, textbooks? Did you realize how completely BALANCED those were? Have you really studied those and understand what they are all about?

I know you have all heard these questions before. I know everyone is sick of these questions, but according to the mission statement shown above one would think that we should expect OPEN communication. There are a lot of questions, but not any answers. Why? These should not be hard questions. You would think that if this program has been successful enough for us to choose it, and there is a fair rebuttal to the data mentioned above, by all means why won't anyone share it with us because we WANT to know what that information says. Why won't anyone tell us what those answers are? I do appreciate the teachers who believe in this program, and I know that you can all tell us why you think it is great, but these questions need to be answered by the people who chose this math in upper administration.

This should not be as hard as it has turned out to be. We continually asked questions, but we were met with no answers. We asked for consideration and understanding that this is an urgent situation for our children, but it appeared we were met with ambivalence to our concern and a lack of acknowledgement that this is urgent for us with children in 3rd and 4th grades where they should start to really learn the "meat and potatoes of math". It is unfortunate that we feel that a petition is the only way for our voices to be heard as, to this point, we have heard nothing from those who hold the answers.

The following is also pulled directly from the Camdenton RIII website with reference to correct protocol to be followed in revising curriculum. Was the process followed as outlined?


The district will review and revise written curriculum on a rotating basis. Curriculum guides for math, social studies, science, English, foreign language*, fine arts, health/physical education, and vocational education will be re-evaluated every four (4) years in the following manner:

► A committee of teachers representing all grade levels concerned with a particular subject area will be responsible for the review and revision. Committee members will be appointed by the superintendent or designee. One (1) member will be designated as chair for the committee.

► At the discretion of the superintendent or designee, a member of the community may also be appointed to serve on any curriculum review and revision committee.

The district is committed to a curriculum designed to meet the needs of the community and of students. The curriculum revision and review committees will base revisions on the following (in no particular order):

► Community standards.

► Teacher recommendation.

► Results of educational research.

At the conclusion of the review and revision process, the chair of the committee shall prepare a report detailing the findings made and actions taken by the committee. A copy of this report shall be presented to the superintendent and the Board of Education.

I did only pull those points that I am the most curious about. The whole document can be viewed by pulling the link up at: IF-AP - CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT

1. Since the above says that curricula will be re-evaluated every four years, why have our third graders had their math changed every year for the last four years? Kindergarten= Scott Foresman. First Grade=Investigations (Decided it was not meeting GLEs and it was dropped). Second Grade=Everyday Math. Third Grade=Investigations (again). How and why has this happened? ? Where was there any continuity for them? Do you understand why we feel like our third graders have been guinea pigs? How are they supposed to thrive if there has been absolutely NO continuity offered to them?

2. Were these guidelines followed correctly in replacing our existing curriculum? Were the teachers given a voice as a part of the PLC? Was there a consensus? Was that documented? Did the Vertical Teaming Committee vote? Was there a consensus? Is that documented?

We understand that the school board cannot micromanage every single detail of a school district this size. We understand that that would nearly be impossible. We appreciate your dedication and the years of service that you have all offered to our community and our school. It is a thankless job, and we understand that you now sit in the unenviable position of trying to mediate a very difficult situation. But, now that you have had this issue brought to your attention your community needs to hear from you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Implementation of Supplementation!

Let's clarify a few things.

Let's talk about the supplementation issue. I know that if you have read any information on this site, there is a very strong possibility that you have seen or heard that word over and over again when it comes to that issue. It is a very important issue to understand for many reasons. I will do my best to explain.

Understand that when the teachers found out last year this is the way they would be forced to teach this year, most were devastated. My husband, who sat in on that meeting saw many of the teachers walk out in tears...not having any idea exactly why they were so upset. We now know what so many of them already knew. None-the-less, the program was chosen and the books that they were using along with all of their resource guides were taken from each classroom to ensure that they would not be used in order to keep the curriculum pure. All of those books (which were the Scott Foresman text) were sold. The teachers were told in no uncertain terms that there would be NO supplementation allowed in the 3rd and 4th grades (Hawthorn) outside of the curriculum. NONE AT ALL. so many of us parents started our year looking for the text books so we could help our kids with their math we quickly learned that there were none. So, the question became "what are they doing" as the worksheets were completely ambiguous, and in many cases when parents would try to help their children with the standard algorithms the answers were counted wrong even though the answer itself was was the process that was being graded, not the answer itself. Many, many parents can attest to this.

Thus, causing many questions to arise. We soon found out that the standard algorithm is only identified as one of a multitude of procedures to solve simple addition and subtraction problems in the 3rd and 4th grade, but never taught and PRACTICED as the simplest and most efficient way to solve a problem. Multiple strategies are introduced, but none ever mastered...especially what most of us would see to be the most simple and quickest way to achieve the correct answer. There is NO mastery or PRACTICE. It became obvious that most of our children were very confused with the process and that we could not help them because the standard algorithm is not advocated by this curriculum.
The standard algorithm is not even INTRODUCED in this program until the 5th grade when it comes to division and multiplication. Check out the math handbooks that can be checked out from your teacher and confirm that fact. You will not see the standard algorithm AT ALL when it comes to simple multiplication and division problems. Thus, the outcry for supplements to introduce our children to the basic building blocks of math, with the demand for practice and mastery of the most basic of skills was made.

Any educated assumption would expect that a child must master addition before you can really teach him/her to subtract. Once those are mastered the progression to multiplication and division are reasonable. It is a progression of steps, one at a time. (Just as our National Mathematics Advisory Panel suggests: Less is more. Teach our children the most efficient, tried and true methods of problem solving. Stop confusing them by shoving a multitude of strategies in front of them and expect them to excel.) We realized quickly that our kids needed so much more than was being offered by their curriculum...but, we (the parents and the teachers) were met with opposition to this request from those who are advocates of this way of teaching. the beginning the teachers were absolutely told NOT to supplement outside of the curriculum. The teachers were told it was critical to keep the curriculum "pure".

Do you remember a recent post titled: To Supplement Or Not To Supplement. That Is Now The Question. Do you remember how I asked for all of the definitions? Remember how I wanted complete clarification? There was a reason for that. Well, a couple of weeks ago, after the parents came together at the first forum, we were told that the program WAS being supplemented. However what they failed to mention was that it was only being supplemented from within the existing program. There was some confusion as a result of the first forum and what was told to the parents. As a result the teachers were called in to a meeting and a memo was posted. To clarify, the teachers were called in to a meeting and told to ONLY supplement with inquiry based supplements...nothing else...( Which might as well be only supplementing from inside of the curriculum, because this is not what most of us would consider a more traditional approach that we are so desperately looking for. )
Therefore, even though some would tell us "yes, you can supplement" that was not a total lie..... just not the whole truth. Yes, they could supplement, but not with what the vast majority of us would consider a true supplement. This is why it has become so important to know which questions to ask and be very specific because you will hear what you want to hear, but it is crucial that you know how to ask your questions. There is a lot of what I call "double-speak" with this curriculum, and it is VERY frustrating.....not just for us, but for the teachers, too. Know how to ask your questions if you expect to get an accurate answer.

So here we are, after a school board member requested clarification as to exactly what a supplement was about a week ago...Dr. Overlander went to the teachers at Hawthorn personally and told them to supplement with anything needed to make sure the children were getting what they need. I appreciate that he himself went and made sure the teachers knew that is what he expected. And for the first time, most will tell you at that point is when they would agree they felt the liberty to truly reach beyond the current curriculum for supplements to meet their students where they were at.(Thank you Dr. Overlander) This is definitely a positive step in the right direction, but begs the answer to a few more questions as a result of such a compromise.

The first question is: Is there any uniformity in what those supplements are going to be?
The second question is: How do you plan to assist the teachers in the implementation process? Being that it is crucial that they have the tools and pointed instruction on exactly how to effectively supplement, shouldn't the administration be vested in making sure that the implementation is a success? The implementation issue is a big one. But, let us all remember that implementation does not only apply to the teachers. If the teachers are not given the adequate tools to administer these supplements effectively, then how can we reasonably expect the supplements to be a success? If not implemented by our administration successfully one must question whether or not they really want the supplements to work at all if they are not willing to oversee this endeavour.

Keep in mind...the supplements are only a quick rescue for our kids to stop the bleeding. We want this program removed as our core. We want our core to be the more basic traditional approach to math that all of the experts advocate! The supplements will only give us some assurance that our kids are learning something at school. SUPPLEMENTS SHOULD NOT JUST BE HOMEWORK TO PACIFY THE PARENTS!!!! THESE SKILLS SHOULD BE PRACTICED AND MASTERED AT SCHOOL!!

You might find it interesting...Parents, ask your child how long they are spending on math daily at school. You might be interested to know that in some classrooms in Hawthorn your kids are spending a minimum of 2 hours a day on math. Ask your kids that question. More than one parent and teacher have shared that they are allowing over an hour per day for math, and then their intervention time (45 minutes) per day is also allotted for math. So my question becomes...when is there time to work on reading? When is there time to fit all of the other subjects in every day if our main focus is just learning math? *** Remember, our math scores in
Camdenton have always been good. Our reading is another story. If we are going to dedicate so much time to one program, why is it to the subject that our kids normally have tested well in here at Camdenton? Why not focus on that subject that statistically plagues us in our elementary schools currently....reading! Ask your kids if they are also doing math during their lunch breaks.... Just ask the question, and see what your child tells you.

You might find interesting this fact that I will share with you....last week I called over 30 schools I was told to be using Investigations as their core. I truly hoped to find a couple of success stories. I truly did. I thought I probably would. However, I was stunned to find, not ONE used this curriculum without being REQUIRED to use supplements. Only 3 schools actually called it their core, but NONE used it without strong supplementation. Only a few supplemented with it, many had dropped it, and some had never even heard of it. I spoke with only curriculum directors and/or principals. I also emailed teachers to get their perspective on Investigations. As one teacher from Raytown told me his words:

"We do use Investigations here in Raytown. I have found that it is really lacking in substantive “work” or practice for the kids. My personal philosophy is that students feel good about math when they are successful with it. Being successful requires enough practice to become proficient in “doing” math. Investigations is really popular with adults (who already “get it”) because it seems like such a neat way to learn math. (Games, activities, really digging in and investigating the mathematical concepts.)
However, when kids at fifth grade—pretty much grade wide—struggle with basic addition, doing complex multiplication and division is near impossible.

I know that that is a fairly negative view, but it is honest. (And,
as a comparison, and in the interest of full disclosure, I did teach with Saxon math for five years, and loved it; I saw students at every level of ability grow
excited and confident in their understanding.)

Sorry, I completely forgot; we also find that there a lot of holes in trying to reconcile what Investigations focuses on and what the GLE’s require. We need to go to our old basal more often then not."

Once again, from the mouth of an expert teaching Investigations right now...he declares how crucial those supplements are for kids because they are not sure the program is meeting the GLEs. School board, please see this as the absolute necessary mandate that our administration needs to implement our supplements correctly and do that sooner than later before any more damage is done! Remember, Eldon just said the same thing about Investigations and the GLEs. Please pay attention to this fact.

On a final note: Please know that our foot soldiers are out there going door to door with their petitions. As of today we are working on 300 signatures since Friday. We have most of our signatures from our paper push, but our online petition is up and running since Sunday. Either way make your voice heard, and help us help our kids. Thank you to all who believe in this ..."OUR CAUSE" for our kids! United we stand.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Don't Take My Word For It.....

This comic from www.weaponsofmathdestruction is funny, but it really isn't. It is the TRUTH! Do your own research and see what happens to kids who learn the kind of math our school is teaching. It is not fair. It is dumbing down our children. This should not be happening. If you don't want for this to be your child in a few years, do your own research!!! Be your child's best advocate and KNOW what is going on.

When you try to explain to people how far fetched this new
math is people tend to look at you with a confused look and don't think they are hearing you right when you try to explain:

1. When you work a standard addition/subtraction problem with a standard algorithm working the problem vertically and from right to left...even though you get the right answer your child gets the problem counted wrong because the process is more important than if the answer is right. YOU ARE GRADED ON THE PROCESS... NOT THE ANSWER!

2. A standard algorithm such as this is not even introduced until the 5th grade:
348 is not introduced until 5th grade.
+ 296
(no carrying or borrowing allowed with this curriculum)

3. Our third graders will not memorize their multiplication tables in school the way you and I know them. This curriculum does not believe in "rote memorization" as they call it...because (and I quote) "our children have a very important tool these days called the calculator".

4. Our first graders are using calculators to do their math in school!!!

5. Our children have no textbooks to bring home. This is why the Math Nights are so important. The reason for this is that we have NO RESOURCES to understand what in the world our kids are doing, unless someone teaches us how to teach our 3rd and 4th graders their math. Understanding what I said above about...even if the answer is right..if it is not solved with some crazy process, the answer is counted wrong.

The first time someone tried to explain it to me I did not believe them. I thought they were cuuurrrraaaaaazy. Then I started doing my own research...thus, the reason for this site. The first night I tried to explain to my husband what was going on he said that I had misunderstood. Thus, the reason for this site. The first times I tried to tell my sisters/girlfriends they looked at me all dazed and confused, and then told me that I was crazy with a laugh. Thus, the reason for this site. Unless you actually see it for yourself and all of the research about it, it seems too ridiculous to be true. OH BUT IT IS TRUE. AND IT IS SCARY! EVEN IF YOUR CHILDREN ARE "GETTING IT" YOU NEED TO REALIZE WHAT OUR UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS AND MATHEMATICIANS ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS KIND OF MATH:

In a Missourian article entitled "Math Professors Seek Change in State's K-12 Math Curriculum", college professors are quoted expressing their concerns with the state's math standards and the curriculum. Below is a quote from Missouri University math professor Adam Helfer:
"One of the most painful things for me as a math
professor at Mizzou is to work with students who have native ability in math but are not going to be able to capitalize on it because their K-12 preparation is inadequate. There is just nothing that can be done at the college level to make up for this -- it's far too late."

Another MU math professor, Alex Koldobsky, is also quoted in the article:

"I have been teaching Calculus I for the last few years and I clearly see the deterioration of computational and algebraic skills of incoming freshmen. Instead of working on the concepts of calculus, the majority of the students have to think for a long time about every elementary arithmetic and algebraic step, which at this point have to be automatic for them."

A few more powerful quotes:

“[There has been] a dramatic drop in content knowledge that we have been seeing in students coming to the universities in recent years. … A large part of the blame rests with [reform math programs].”
Testimony to United States Congress
James Milgram
Professor of Mathematics
Stanford University

“What you will not find is an ‘A’ student in college math who went through any school using only these reform math programs … without some sort of intervention. The reason I can say this with such confidence is that there is too much content missing from these programs, content that is essential for college level mathematics.”
W. Stephen Wilson
Professor of Mathematics
Johns Hopkins University

“At the elementary level, I advise against ‘Everyday Mathematics’.

At the middle school level, I advise against ‘Connected Mathematics,’ known as CMP.
Students who follow these programs, unless they have outside tutoring, will not be prepared for high school mathematics. In my experience with districts afflicted with these programs, affluent parents have sent their children to private schools or hired tutors, while the less privileged, even if they ‘succeeded’ in these programs, were forever cut off from any further progress in mathematics or scientific professional education. Once finished with ‘CMP,’ remediation becomes impossibly difficult except by private tutoring.”
Ralph A. Raimi
Professor of Mathematics
University of Rochester

“Everyday Mathematics requires massive fixes at the most basic level. The program does not teach the standard procedures at all for subtraction and division, and offers a hopelessly confusing potpourri of methods for all the four elementary operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division). The program has pedagogical features (notably, rapidly jumping around over different topics without staying focused long enough for pupils to achieve mastery) that appear to make it all but unworkable as intended.”
David Klein
Professor of Mathematics
California State University, Northridge

I must say that every time someone writes or says to me...well I think you are judging this program too quickly, we have only had it for a couple of months, I am compelled to respond as I did the other day:

Anonymous said...
I spoke with a friend whose daughter is friends with the asst. principal at Derby Ridge in Columbia. My friend called that asst. principal and SHE said that Columbia has not gotten rid of Investigations and that they hold traditional math sessions in the mornings before school for those children, and parents for that matter, who need and/or want it. You may want to double-check some of your facts. One more thought...the reality is this: NO matter what math program any district uses, there will be students who struggle and there will be students who do not memorize their facts. I don't think that it's fair for all of you to judge it so soon. It's been at Hawthorn for 4 months. DESE even states that you have to give a program at least 3 years and when you get all these parents (and teachers) in an "uproar," that is only going to hinder the potential of the program. In my mind, you're "jumping the gun," and it's only going to hurt the kids in the long run. Whether you like the program or not, you need to give it time and support it. We've all heard of "self-fulfilling prophecies," right? Stacy, please post this and show both sides....

My response...

Stacy said...
With reference to the Columbia School District...Columbia decided to get rid of this curriculum AFTER their school year had already started. The Columbia Tribune reports the following:

District decides to go back to traditional math

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 10:39 p.m. CDTBY Stephanie Call COLUMBIA

— As early as next fall, students in Columbia's elementary classrooms will learn math with a traditional approach. After years of debate and discussion about the district's math curriculum, the "investigations" program won't be considered the district's everyday math program anymore.

As I understand it all schools K-8 will go to a traditional route by the beginning of the school year next year. This year they are working on undoing some of the damage done by bridging the gap from Investigations to Traditional and next year start the Traditional approach.

With reference to giving it a try...the problem is that I do know my facts very, very well. I have spent hundreds of hours on research and spoken with people from all over the nation and our state with reference to this subject of our new math. I am not judging it because it is new. If we wait around to see what happens it will be too late to help our now third graders.

I choose to let the experience of a multitude of schools that have gone before us be my guide. I choose to heed the warnings of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel appointed by the Department of Education. I choose to listen when hundreds of our country's leading mathematicians and Nobel Laureates condemn this way of teaching. I pay attention when 50 of the leading mathematicians in our state protest over this way of educating our youth. I know my facts. I am deeply concerned when our model school Raymore Peculiar says that they dropped Investigations in all of their elementary schools because the junior high school teachers felt that the students were coming in "grossly unprepared" according to one of the principals there.

This is not a whim for me, so when you ask me to check my facts...I must ask you to do the same when you tell me that I am not being fair in not wanting to give it a try. If you knew your facts there is absolutely no way that you would ever want this for your child knowingly. (Assuming that you have a now elementary school child) At least I would hope not. I am my child's only advocate and I want more for them than the failures that have followed this program across our great nation. So should you. When this program fails, and it will if we keep it, it will not be my fault. It will only be history repeating itself.

Do you know the definition of insanity? It is simply put: Doing the same thing over and over again with the expectation of different results. This type of math has been around for well over 20 years and there is not one qualified study on record with our Department of Education to show that it works...after 20 years. So why not stop this insanity and stop trying to reinvent the wheel. Our kids deserve better.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Define Balance

In an article done by the The Lake Sun Leader today at , Dr. Overlander was quoted as looking for balance...just like us. However, our question is how does he plan to make sure there is the balance we are looking for as parents? We are looking for supplements from outside of the curriculum as a quick rescue for our kids . We want that done now. However, when anyone asks teachers, or even board members asked the administrators the other night exactly what supplements we would be using no one could decisively answer that question. What EXACTLY are our supplements? I am sorry, but supplements within the program from everything we have been told about those "supplements" are not what we are talking about. That is just more of the same kind of teaching and that will not satisfy us. Our children need so much more. According to so many teachers, and administrators who use Investigations from all over our state, Investigations requires much more than it alone can offer. According to almost every single person I have talked to (and I have done my homework and talked to many) "It has way too many gaps."

Why is it so hard to answer that question, and make sure all of the teachers are on the same page of understanding as all of the parents? At this point that is not happening. That is why we are all so frustrated. Supplements need to be what the Eldon School District did....bring something additional in from outside of the program because they believe as so many of us do...this program is not capable of teaching our kids their GLEs (grade level expectations). The article below illustrates why so many of us are so frustrated. I know Dr. Overlander is trying to ease our concerns by ordering us a supplement handbook from the curriculum, but that is not going to make any of us feel any better about what our kids are learning.

We are looking for a rich balance of the basic skills being taught such things as simple multiplication tables and standard algorithms such as this:




...worked in a vertical fashion and carrying the numbers, working RIGHT TO LEFT. This is not what is being taught to our children.

For those of you who are looking for clarification on what in the world is going on and why we are so upset...yes, you read the above right. Here are some facts about Investigations:

(By the way...TERC and Investigations are the same thing)


1) TERC removes teaching the times tables to children.
2) No valid math study has ever been performed showing the effectiveness of Investigations Math.
3) California and Michigan implemented programs identical to TERC and forced enrollment in college freshmen remedial math classes more than doubled over just a few years.
4) "Children tend not to learn what they are not taught." Dr. Ralph Raimi (wrote article comparing TERC to Singapore Math) TERC doesn't teach, it lets children do “discovery learning.”
5) Hundreds of university leading math professors and Nobel Laureates condemn Investigations Math.
6) TERC recommends a text for teachers called "Beyond Arithmetic". In this book it says traditional elementary math must be discarded because:
Was "developed to meet the needs of the 19th century." BA, Page 2

Requires that students "memorize many facts, procedures, definitions, and formulas." BA, Page 2 (and how is this bad?)

"Focuses on learning a particular set of procedures for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers, fractions, and decimals." BA, Page 2 (and how is this bad?)

Results in "overpracticed students." BA, Page 3 (is there such a thing?)

Ignores the fact that "today's students have an important tool available to them: the calculator." BA, Page 77 (this is why they do not believe in memorizing the multiplication tables.)

Let me reiterate... the above is taken directly from an Investigations teachers guide in explaining why math the way we know it should not be taught any longer.

By Deanna Wheeler
Lake Sun Leader
Tue Dec 09, 2008, 10:00 PM CST
Excerpts taken from the Lake Sun's article today:

Balance is just the word Superintendent Maurice Overlander used as well. Two changes have been enacted since the November special board meeting that examined the growing controversy. The first was that the district purchased numerous supplemental handbooks for students. Parents are being encouraged to use them as well.

The guides give examples on how to work through problems.Overlander said he hopes the move will be the first large step to ease parents’ concerns when attempting to help their child with nightly homework.

Overlander described the guides as the piece that was missing when the new Investigations program was implemented.

So many of you have asked for an example of how the new math is different from the old. Here is a look at what the kids would have brought home last year in the third grade.

Notice that there is that balance we are asking for. There is both word problems with the teaching of the basic skills. This is the same book that Eldon just purchased to offer their children the Balance that we so desperately desire. It has BOTH the investigations and the basic skills that build our childrens foundation of knowledge. Why did we get rid of these?

Below is what that same third grade homework looks like today. However, know this...that if these questions are answered with a simple standard algorithm they are counted WRONG. That is not allowed by the curriculum. And realize this...there are NO when your child brings home his/her homework at night this is what you see.

And now realize that they cannot use the standard algorithm(as I illlustrated above in 398 +562) to solve these problems. They are solved by drawing pictures...estimating...working everything left to right in a horizontal fashion. And there is no practice at school of any basic skills. They may send some home to us at night to make us feel better, but is there really "practice" at school? When I said that my third grader brought ONE problem home the other night for his practice, I was not kidding. It was ONE word problem that was a simple 2 digit addition problem. That is what we are seeing for our children when they bring their work home from school, thus the reason for the questions: Yes, they are getting As and Bs, but what are they really learning? That is the question.

We are NOT saying that there is no place for this way of teaching...we know that because of our MAP Tests we have to expose our children to it, but this should never be our core. This should ONLY be a supplement. That is all we are asking for.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Prayer List

Our dear friend Kim Spangler was rushed to the hospital yesterday and placed in ICU. Please keep her in your constant prayers. I don't know many of the details, but I do know that she needs our prayers. There are many things more important in life than this silly math, and when one of our own faces trials such a Kim, we must be reminded of the most important things in life. Remember her today in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Big Disappointment

I am sad to report we will be starting our petition drive on Thursday. After attending the school board meeting tonight I am reporting that we are stuck with Investigations for our children without any supplements outside of the program as we would expect them whether we like it or not. Despite all of the mountains of research offered...

* The National Advisory Panel's Report in 2008.....
* The fact that Columbia dropped Investigations after years of falling
test scores....
* The fact that Raymore Peculiar dropped Investigations because its
teachers in the junior high school felt that their students
were coming to them grossly unprepared....

* Despite the outcry of 50 or more leading mathematicians in our state
with reference to how ill prepared TERC leaves our kids
to progress into Algebra.....
* Despite the fact that Eldon does not think the same program meets their GLEs so they added a textbook mid semester because their
kids needed it.....(remember our kids have those same
GLEs...let's see not working for them, but just fine for us...
how does that happen?)
*Despite that a huge number of our kids cannot read at their grade levels and the majority of these problems are word problems and
it would appear that based on those facts that we have set
our kids up for failure....
*Despite the fact that NO ONE will answer our very valid questions.....

... here we are...I could go on and on and on, but they don't care about those facts. Our kids are stuck and we have absolutely no say. (Wow, I just heard myself say that and I don't like the way that rolls off of my tongue. Does that feel so wrong to you, too?) No matter how much evidence there is against it, that matters not. I am afraid to say that unless we come together and protest our kids will have to fail just like all of these other schools before us have for our district officials to pay attention. As my husband always says "experience is the best teacher" and we have loads of it to look at when it comes to this issue. Unfortunately no one in our administration appears to care about that. Our kids will have to fail by their standards and I hate to say it, but they will... just like they have everywhere else all over our nation. But by then it will be too late for our kids.
I will fill you in on all of the other details of the school board meeting that happened tonight on Thursday night. Looking forward to seeing you there. We will start our petition push then. We will eat @5:30p.m. and start our presentation by 6:00 p.m. with the plan to be done by 7:15 p.m.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

It Is Always Good To Laugh...

And we can count on our friend Oak Norton to give us a few laughs even in a time like this. I know that even though there are days that I feel like crying right now, when I look at some of Oak Norton's comics they make me laugh out loud. I can relate to so many of them , and I am sure you can too. Check out his sites: and You will enjoy his expertise and mix of humor. I know I do.
He sent me a comic yesterday in light of our upcoming school board meeting. I hope this is NOT our school board's reaction tomorrow night. It would be nice to finally get some answers to some of our questions instead of this.....
Who's Running This Place?
Thanks for the laugh Oak.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

School Board Meeting Monday, December 8

There will be a school board meeting December 8 (MONDAY) at 5:30 at the administration building. I will be there to inform you on what the school board has to say about our current math situation. I know that we are anxious to hear something...anything from them. I hope that happens on Monday. I will keep you informed. For any of you who want to show up and make public comment, that would be great. For those of you who can't attend I will inform you as to what they have to say.

Also...after much concern and many requests, I WILL be doing the same power point presentation that I did a few weeks ago now for our community. This will take place at the Linn Creek Baptist Church on A road. (Highway 54 to A road in Linn Creek. You will see Linn Creek Baptist Church on your left about 2/10 of a mile from Hwy. 54). It will happen this Thursday night, December 11. We will have a free chili supper from 5:30-6:00. We have several excellent cooks bringing their versions of chili, come and pick your favorite. The presentation will take place from 6:00-7:15.

We have invited several of our community officials and our state representatives to attend to learn what is going on with our children. THERE WILL BE FREE CHILDCARE!!! WE WILL TRY TO KEEP THIS MEETING AS BRIEF, BUT AS INFORMATIVE AS POSSIBLE.

Depending on the outcome of the school board meeting on Monday, we will decide whether or not to pursue our petition drive. If the outcome of the school board meeting is not what we are hoping for, then we will start our petition drive that night. Please show up and be informed. Look forward to seeing you all there.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Broken At the State Level

From one of my favorite blogs: A real math teacher from Texas writes.....

Posted July 2008
Now I see that "math wars" are springing up again and sadly now another group of students is suffering and struggling in places such as Florida and Missouri.

And now another group of college professors is speaking out against what they see happening.The "fuzzy math authors" do not give up so easily. They have their fingers in their ears and masks over their eyes. They refuse to believe that their precious, new math curricula are the cause because after all, "research shows" that students need to learn by discovering and investigating, that students remember best what they figure out on their own without any interference from the teacher, that students need to know they are valued.

In a Missourian article entitled "Math Professors Seek Change in State's K-12 Math Curriculum", college professors are quoted expressing their concerns with the state's math standards and the curriculum. Below is a quote from Missouri University math professor Adam Helfer:
"One of the most painful things for me as a math professor at Mizzou is to work with students who have native ability in math but are not going to be able to capitalize on it because their K-12 preparation is inadequate. There is just nothing that can be done at the college level to make up for this -- it's far too late."

Another MU math professor, Alex Koldobsky, is also quoted in the article:
"I have been teaching Calculus I for the last few years and I clearly see the deterioration of computational and algebraic skills of incoming freshmen. Instead of working on the concepts of calculus, the majority of the students have to think for a long time about every elementary arithmetic and algebraic step, which at this point have to be automatic for them."

More than 50 math professors signed the letter, critical of the "student centered focus" which dominates the Missouri K-12 standards -- which repeatedly prescribes that students 'explore', 'investigate', 'develop models', and 'conduct experiments'.
Endorsement signatures for the letter

Go here to read the entire article, and while reading it, take the time to go to the side link to the 9-page letter (5 pages of which are signatures of college professors) dated May 5, 2008, sent to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

If you live in the state of Missouri your children may be affected by the weak standards and "fuzzy math" curriculum. If you are in other states, you need to be vigilant to what is being taught in your state. This is not going away.
If we have anything to do with it..the fuzzy math part will be gone from our school as the core! Our children should be learning their basic facts so that when they get to college they can engage in the courses the choose. Use fuzzy math, if we must , only as a supplement to be used at the discretion of the teachers.

Take a look on the above link and realize that over 50 of our state's most distinguished mathematicians do not believe in our Missouri standards for math. We need to make our voices heard not only to our school district, but to our politicians at the state level.


I really like the idea of #12 and have actually had several parents talk to me who think this is a good idea. I had a mom bring it up to me 2 weeks ago, and now it seems to be all the buzz. To be honest, I had never even thought of something like this to be an option, but it could be for those of us who refuse to allow for our kids to be taught this way. We may just opt to keep them home one day a week and maybe take turns tutoring a group of them to make sure they are getting what they need. Or we could possibly find a retired teacher or something and pay them a fee to teach them once a week.
It seems better than each of us having to reteach them every night that they get home for another 1.5 hours after the poor little fellas have just spent 8 hours at school. That seems so unfair. And they are only 9 -12 years old. I like the idea, if that is what it takes. Hopefully it won't come to that, but it is always an option if things don't change I guess. Just a thought.
The following information came from a great site:
Educating All Parents To Ensure The Future Of Our Republic

What I hear over and over from people in parts of the country when they find my website is that their school district just implemented Investigations math or a program of similar ilk and they describe trying to stop the school board from doing it and asking for my help in what to do. If you're worried about the program the district has chosen or is in process of choosing, ACT FAST. Here's a short and quick list of things you can do:

1) GET EDUCATED. You can't make points without knowing what you're talking about. Two of the best places online to have that happen are, and

2) Speak with your school board member one-on-one. School board members sometimes get convinced by the "math expert" in the district and go down the path because they haven't understood the great harm many of the constructivist programs cause.

3) Find other parents in your area and get them on board with petition signing and campaigns to alert the public what's happening.

4) Go speak at public school board meetings with other parents. Go regularly until you determine you're just being tuned out.

5) Get on your school's PTA or Community Council to help make a difference and have your voice heard regularly.

6) Run for School Board.

7) Call in to local talk shows and discuss the issue to raise greater awareness.

8) Write letters to the editor.

9) Contact the press directly and ask them to write stories to alert the public as to what's happening.

10) Contact local legislators who may be able to pressure the district and schools to re-evaluate the programs being used or else ask them to help look into changing the state standards in such a way to ensure they are clear and world class and well define the CONTENT that should be mastered in schools. Most state standards are very vague. California's are the best. If you can adopt them you'll be ahead of the curve and publishers specifically write for CA so you have a broad choice of decent programs.

11) Find teachers in your schools that believe in traditional math with rigor and get your kids into their classes. Watch your kids homework like a hawk and make respectful comments to their teachers when you are displeased with the homework.

12) See about dual-enrolling your child in school so that you teach math at home and the child goes to school for other subjects. Or just home school with GOOD materials. Saxon math is a great home school program. In Utah, it's also used by 8 of the 10 top scoring private schools. It just works.

13) Look into charter or private schools.

Don't give up. Fighting an entrenched bureacracy is one of the hardest things you can do. Keep your life balanced and don't neglect the other important things in life, but keep after it. It's amazing what can happen if you turn off the TV and spend an hour at night making things happen. It really adds up.

For anyone out there who wants to help be a part of organizing our next step, please contact me . I will let you know how to help.

Remember The National Mathematics Advisory Panel?

Here is what some of our country's leading newspapers have to say about the way our kids are being taught their math. I find it troubling that it appears this study was not considered when we took our 3rd and 4th graders head long into Investigations without any supplements. Check out these articles published in 2008. The more I read, the more I question WHY and HOW did this happen to our kids. Keep in mind folks, this information comes from our Department of Education THIS YEAR!

So, for those of you who say..."my kid is doing great, the math seems fine to me.."you had better wake up and read what our government is saying today about this method of teaching. These articles each speak to the findings of the DOE's final report.

Report Urges Changes in Teaching Math - New York Times

A solution to how to teach math: Subtract -

Panel Urges Schools to Emphasize Core Math Skills -

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sounds So Familiar....

I guess there is some comfort in knowing that it is not just us. A great blog site that you must visit is....authored by Laurie Rogers. Their situation is a parallel to our own. They have been engaged in this fight much longer than we have so the insight that she shares is very enlightening. It sounds WAY TOO FAMILIAR. Check out Laurie's site at:

Her article is as follows:
Thursday, October 30, 2008

Teachers Are Afraid To Speak Out
When I began researching education, the first people I went to for information were the teachers. They’re on the “front lines” of education; who better to enlighten me than the people working in the classrooms?

I discovered that many teachers are afraid to speak frankly to parents. They’re afraid of being disciplined, or even fired for “insubordination.” The ones who spoke with me tended to speak carefully, watching their words – almost as if the walls had ears or as if people were lurking around the corner.

Some teachers agreed to talk with me if we met outside of the classroom. Several told me they’d already been disciplined for talking with parents. One teacher talked with his lawyer before he talked with me. Almost all of them spoke on the condition of absolute anonymity. Three teachers began to talk with me, then decided the risks were too great to continue. Some agreed to give me the gist of their concerns, but they wouldn’t let me take notes or tape the conversation. Some teachers expressed sympathy for my project yet refused to talk about their experiences. A frequent explanation: “I just have a few more years to go to retirement. I can’t afford to get into trouble.”

This is a common theme elsewhere in the state and the country. Bob Dean, chair of the math department for Evergreen High School in Vancouver, WA, told me he’s familiar with the fears.

“When I discovered how reform mathematics was cheating our kids out of a proper education, I instantly became involved in trying to change that fact. I know that many teachers are afraid to speak out. …. I have seen gag orders put on teachers and intimidation used to silence them. Anyone who dares to challenge the latest educational fad is labeled reluctant, out of touch, and a non-team player.”

A Spokane high-school teacher told me he’d been disciplined – including verbal reprimands and a letter in his file – for telling parents he thought the district’s reform mathematics curricula wouldn’t adequately prepare students for college-level mathematics. He said he doesn’t believe administrators want his professional assessment of the system:

“Perhaps the most discouraging observation of the past eight years is that there is no longer a professional discussion of these and other problems regarding high stakes testing and related curriculum issues. Teachers of an ‘old school’ philosophy who are critical of the so called ‘fuzzy math’ and discovery based learning – both of which are used in support of the WASL – are vilified, ostracized and sometimes subject to disciplinary action. Techniques that work, like direct instruction and drill and practice of basic skills, are ridiculed and those that use them are seen as incompetent and ineffective teachers. … Collaboration has become coercion.”

But talking with parents about their child’s academic situation is part of a teacher’s job. When teachers don’t do it freely and forthrightly, children have lost an important ally, and parents have lost an essential element of public Accountability.In February 2008, I interviewed Spokane Superintendent Nancy Stowell. I told her some teachers are worried they’ll receive bad evaluations or be fired for speaking frankly with parents. I added that some teachers believe they’ve been “disciplined” for activity they thought was warranted but that administrators saw as oppositional. This was her response:

“Well, no, it doesn’t surprise me that there are some people who would say that. Certainly, you know, (there is) a wide variety of teachers out there. Some of them very, very successful, and some less successful. And so, you know, people have issues along that continuum. And it’s really the responsibility of principals to work with staff that do have issues along that continuum.“So if a teacher had an issue about either the math curriculum, or what he or she was teaching, or grade level, or any of that, I can understand that a principal would expect that it would be something the teacher and the principal would talk about rather than the teacher kind of going out there. Because it’s the principal who really knows the teacher, and how good the teacher is, and we all want, you know, excellent teachers.”

Dr. Stowell went on to say that “change is difficult,” and some teachers will embrace new ideas while others will be “more resistant.” Sometimes, she said, the problem can be that teachers “are just not wanting to change.” She said if they have good ideas, however, those ideas should be “shared.” She acknowledged that the district could “do a better job” of developing “feedback loops” as a way for teachers to communicate with coordinators.To me, it sounds as though Dr. Stowell might be saying that teachers who intend to give parents their honest professional assessment of their child’s academic situation – including comments that could indicate weaknesses in the curricula, school policy or administration – might actually:
** have other issues,
** not be "successful" teachers anyway, or
**just be resistant to change.

Parents, please be aware that – although teachers generally do their best every day in the classroom – many have concerns about being absolutely frank with parents.

Caveat emptor.

The best way to know how things are is to look at what your children know versus what they should know at their age. Have them professionally tested and assessed by people outside of the district. Speak with people who know which skills are required for the future your children envision for themselves. Take steps to fill in the gaps.Don’t wait until your children are in Grade 12 or applying for college. The longer you wait, the harder it will be. At some point - sooner than you think - it will be too late.

Please note:

The information in this post is copyrighted. The proper citation is: Rogers, L. (October, 2008). "Teachers are afraid to speak out." Retrieved December 2, 2008 from the Betrayed Web site:

I can tell you from first hand conversations with our own teachers that the majority of our teachers when questioned...act/feel the same way as the teachers mentioned above. It is time our teachers got their voices back. We need to make sure that our teachers are really allowed to teach again. If nothing else I guess it is good to know that you are not alone Camdenton, teachers, it is happening all over our nation. It doesn't make it right. Therefore, it is time that we not lose any more great teachers and we, the public, expect accountability for our children and our teachers. We must make our voices heard.

Monday, December 1, 2008

In Case You Wondered....

This post is to set a few things straight for those of you who don't know me. I am a mom. I have three great kids who are 5th grade, 3rd grade, and a pre-k. I am married to a elementary school teacher in the Camdenton School District. Yep, that is right. My husband is a teacher in Dogwood and Hawthorn Elementary Schools. So, for any of you who have guessed that making trouble for the school is just a recently acquired hobby that I enjoy, you are wrong. (My husband loves his job, and like so many other teachers is called to do what he does. He truly has a heart for children. Anyone who knows him will agree.) My father-in-law, my mother-in-law, and my brother-in-law...all teachers/administrators in the Camdenton School District. We are Lakers through and through. My husband is a PROUD Camdenton Graduate. He went to Camdenton all of his school-aged life.

I say all of that to say...When I stood up and pointed out that I thought there was a problem, I did not realize that anyone else felt the same way I did when all of this began a few weeks ago. It was not an easy decision to question my husband's employer. However, since then I have received phone calls from strangers who have shared their stories of frustration with me. I have cried with you in the aisles of Wal-Mart as you have confided in me your heartache. I have been floored to find out that some of my best friends were suffering from the same woes scholastically that my children have faced. I had no idea that there were so many of us. It is not all about the math. I know that. A LOT of you have told me about how hopeless you feel about the reading....and I feel your pain. I know exactly how you feel. I have been overwhelmed with how many of us are in the same boat. I am humbled that my message resonated with so many of you. I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with those of you all expecting accountability and some answers alongside me.

Being that my husband is a teacher, and my mother and father-in-laws have dedicated their working lives to this district I have many, many friends in Camdenton who are teachers. Some of our best friends are teachers. So...for those of you who question my relationships with the teachers and are so offended that the teachers confide their concerns and frustrations in me, realize that they are not only lifelong friends of my family but, I am related to some of them. I actually share my bed with one of them. Having my husband work in Dogwood and Hawthorn Elementary Schools...he cannot help but be immersed in the goings-on of those buildings. I know what is going on because he knows what is going on.

Several times it has been said that I went about this the "wrong way". My response is pretty simple...What is the right way? When you see your children struggling, and there appears to be no answers...what is the right way? Did I ever wish to be in this position? Of course not. Did I ever dream that so many others shared my same frustrations? Never. Is it much fun asking the hard questions to your husband's employer? What do you think? Not fun at all. But, is it necessary? ABSOLUTELY! It is for the well being of my children and yours. There are questions to be answered. There are gaps that need to be filled. There are things that need to be changed. In my opinion this whole issue could turn out to be a good thing for everyone.

For those of you who have posted comments on how we are setting a bad example for our children...I could not disagree more. Some of us tell our kids that "just because everyone else is jumping off of the cliff doesn't mean you should, too." Some of us believe that we do not go along with something that we do not believe is right just because everyone else is. (We call that peer pressure.) Some of us believe that to fight for something with passion because you believe it is the right thing is admirable....not condemnable. We want for our kids to see our request for a diplomatic solution, but our willingness to stand up for what is right even though it may make some uncomfortable. Some of us want for our children to learn to seek the truth even though some may not like it. As I have said before, some of us are unapologetic advocates for our kids and we believe that to stand for our convictions and to stand for truth is one of the best lessons we can teach our children.

As parents this has made some of us more connected and interested in what our kids are learning. I know personally, I will be a more active participant in their educations from this point forward. I will never assume that someone else has their best interest at heart. I will make sure from now on. As administrators we hope that they can step up and recognize, through some humility, that maybe this was not the best road to take us down. We can work together to find the best solution for all children based on sound research and the knowledge gained from surrounding school districts.

I feel that we are lucky to be a part of the Camdenton School District. No school district is without its troubles. That is a given. However, I believe that our Superintendent and School Board want what is best for our children. I believe that they are all tirelessly researching and looking for what they believe to be the best answer for your kids and mine. With that being said....I am postponing the next forum/chili supper until we hear from our school board. There will not be a petition drive until we see what direction they plan to go. Let's wait and see...let's wait and see for one more week. Attend the school board meeting on Monday with me, and let's hear what they have to say.

After speaking with many of you over the last few days, I think we all share the same hope that they (our administration) have heard us and are looking for the balance that we desire for our students and our teachers. We will see. Again, I thank you for all of the support. For the kind emails...for the phone calls...for the hugs and handshakes in the grocery store....I am proud to be in this with all of you. I know that, in the end, this can turn out to be such a positive for EVERYONE involved. For now, let's hang in there and see what our administration offers before we take our next step. I will keep you posted on that progress...daily.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


The school board meeting is NOT tomorrow....It is always the second Monday of the month. The school board meeting will be next Monday, December 8th at 5:30 pm. So, if you are talking to someone tomorrow who is planning on being at the school board meeting tomorrow, will you please let them know that I got it wrong and I am so sorry. I will see you in a week! Also, look for more details on the next forum/chili supper later in the week. It will be a power point presentation for all of you looking to make sense of what is going on. We will also be starting a petition drive at that time. Stay posted for the details. Thanks again for all of the overwhelming support!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

To Supplement Or Not To Supplement. That Is Now The Question.

In talking to several teachers at Camdenton over the past few days, I am pretty sure that it is safe to say it has been an interesting few days...especially those teachers in Hawthorn Elementary School. That is where the biggest part of this battle with our "New Math" started for those of you who are just now joining this discussion. I will refresh...

It was only four short weeks ago that it was brought to my attention that my third grader would be doing TERC math. I had NO idea what that was. I only knew that 1.) He had no text book 2.) My husband and I had no idea how to help him do his math most nights he brought homework home 3.) I just kept waiting for him to get passed all the "crazy stuff" and get back to the basics as we knew them. Little did I know that was not part of the plan.

So, I started to research. For the most part you all know the rest of that story. Thus, the reason we are here today. As a result, I was informed last week that the teachers in Hawthorn are now supposed to supplement. This is a little confusing to most of them because they were told in no uncertain terms on more than one occasion they were absolutely NOT TO SUPPLEMENT! In fact, the Scott Forseman text that they had been using was confiscated, along with all of their resource guides and sold last year in order to ensure that the curriculum would be kept pure. Whatever that means. I am not sure.

Anyway....last week all teachers were handed a memo that read:

1. Provide practice activities for the students on basic skills, fluency, and basic facts.
2. Provide homework for the students on basic skills, fluency, and basic facts.
3. Send family letter prior to each section of the book with explanation, if necessary of what is being covered in each section.
4. Provide monthly parent math nights.
5. Teach the standard algorithms, but make sure students can solve problem using multiple strategies.
6. Send student handbook home if parents and students need additional reinforcement with a concept.

The memo goes on to say..."There will be glitches and questions along the way, but we can work together and use common sense to create the right balance for our students."

So I ask these questions in response to this memo:
1. Define supplement.

2. Define basics.

3. What tools are you giving your teachers to supplement with? Is there any continuity in what they are using, or is it just hit and miss? Is there a certain book they are all working from uniformly? How are you helping them in implementing our supplements effectively at the administrative level? ( Do you realize that most teachers will tell you that it is impossible to "supplement" effectively with this particular curriculum (TERC) because of the way it constantly "spirals" without mastery or closure of any subject?) Has anyone ever asked the teachers HOW to supplement this properly? Most all of them will tell you the same is easy to teach the basics and supplement with TERC, but much harder to teach TERC as our core and attempt to supplement. Do you understand why?

4. When you say to provide homework on basic skills does that mean so we, the parents, can teach our kids at home those "basic skills" or can we expect you to do that at school? So will we be just practicing those skills at home or will we be teaching those ourselves? Or are you just sending us home "basic concepts" to keep us off of your back for now?

5. Define glitches.

6. Define common sense.

7. Why do the parents need to be taught how to teach their kids the math? Why are we reinventing the wheel? What if we have other commitments and can't make the monthly math night? Who will teach our kids then if we miss our lesson on how to teach them their math the "right way"?

8. What if my kid gets sick and misses a week of school. Being that there is not a book for me to refresh myself on what he has been learning so I can help him at home, and if I cannot make it to your "Math Night" how can you guarantee that he will get caught back up? Will you personally see to it that he/she gets all caught up since I won't be able to at home? Or is all lost until we "spiral "back to him in a couple of months?

9. Do you think it is troubling that Eldon just bought the exact kind of books that we just sold since they believed that the TERC "investigations" was not meeting their GLEs? Aren't their GLEs the same as ours? Being that they have used Investigations longer than we have and they came to this conclusion through experience, is anyone a little worried by this?

10. Do you think we should worry a little since our model school of Raymore Peculiar dropped the Investigations from all of their elementary schools? Do you think it is troubling that they dropped it in large part since their junior high school math teachers felt the students were coming grossly unprepared mathematically to junior high school?

11. What do you think of the National Math Advisory Panel's findings in 2008? Have you even seen that? Did you know about that when we decided to jump into this curriculum feet first? Do you believe that our Department of Education at the federal level is right or wrong in their most recent findings on how to teach math the right way? Why or why not?

12. Did it not worry anyone that Columbia Public Schools (the school who trained us) dropped this math due to several years of falling test scores? Did you do any research on what those scores looked like, or did you just write it off as "political" since someone told you that is why it was dropped?

I could go on and on, but I doubt I get anyone to answer any of these questions. I think they are valid and I know that I speak for the majority of us when I ask. I feel more strongly now than ever that we need a change and we need it fast. We do not want for any more damage to be done. And IF you are not willing to change it overall, then you need to offer a choice of either Basic Math or TERC for those of us who feel passionately about the way our kids are taught.

This is not what I want for my child. I know that I am not alone in this belief. This is a controversial enough way of teaching that has never been proven (according to our Department of Education of the federal level) to work. There should have been full disclosure before you took our kids down this path without our consent. We should have known before the first of the year where we were going. Why have you never blown us away with all of the overwhelming data as to how wonderful this is and how many places it has worked in? Why can I not find any studies that prove overwhelmingly (after 20 years of use in our country) that our Department of Education embraces how successful this way of teaching has been?

Why are all of the schools who were using it, NOT anymore? I know the answer. Because there is no hard evidence consistently. At a minimum, I want a choice for my child. I don't want to go down this road of trial and error with you. I do not want for my child to be "research" any longer. I am a taxpayer and a parent. My opinion should count. Please show us that you are listening. I will be at the school board meeting the Monday following our Thanksgiving break to ask these questions in person. It is scheduled to be at the administration building at 5:30 pm. Hope to see you there.