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.