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.