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;


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Very Important Message....

As I have said many times, this debate is about math. There are many things in life far more important. My mother-in-law forwarded these reminders to me to make life the best it can be. I loved this and thought I would share.

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. Love your parents because they will be gone before you know it.

11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

12. It's OK to let your children see you cry

13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie.

Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: In five years, will this matter?

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.

35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come.

43.. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

With reference to #26...this disaster of math and the lack of content it is teaching our children really WILL matter in 5 years. That being said one last reminder: Some things in life ARE worth fighting for. Fighting for our children and the best quality of education that can be offered so we are not picking up the pieces in 5 years like Eldon now is...IS WORTH IT! Keep fighting the good fight parents. UNITED WE STAND. VOTE IN APRIL!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Questions Answered?

There will be a monthly school board meeting held tonight at 5:30 in the administration building in Camdenton. Many of us are anxious to get the answers to the questions we have been asking for months now. We handed the school board this list of questions and we have been told more than once we will get answers. We expect those should come tonight. We have been waiting for a month now for the answers to questions that should have been answered very quickly, assuming that our district did their homework before engaging our children in this program. Some of us find it troubling that the questions appear to be so difficult to answer. Understand....we have had questions since our first board meeting in November with not any answers offered....ever. Many of us have attended every single board meeting....and NOT ONE time have we ever seen the school board have any true or meaningful dialogue with reference to this math. That is a huge concern. Understand ....that the Sunshine Law is very specific in the fact that if the school board is not discussing it in the public school board meetings, then by law they cannot have private conversations as a group about this subject. Understand....that after three prior board meetings where math WAS on the agenda and we were promised January the subject of math was not even put on the agenda. We are hoping that we will hear those answers that we are looking for tonight. I will keep you posted.

Questions For The School Board
Questions For The School BoardMath Curriculum For Hawthorn December 12, 2009

1. On what basis did we choose this math curriculum? Aside from information provided by the publisher, what independent research showed merit in using this curriculum?(Refer to earlier post done in the last week "Their Silence Is Broken".)

2. Name 5 schools in the state of Missouri who are currently using this as their core without any supplementation?(Remember the school has provided over 30 schools who we have called to find that none of them were using Investigations as their core without supplementation...and only 3 of them were using it as their core, but each of those schools said that they were REQUIRED to use supplements.)

3. Did anyone consider that this was a reading rich math curriculum? In light of the fact that our children in Hawthorn are not proficient readers overall, how did this oversight happen? Was that taken into consideration? How are we addressing the fact that those math problems are written by adults for adults? How are we ensuring that each child is reading and understanding each problem inside and outside of the classroom?

4. Now that we have been given the "green light" to supplement, what are we going to use to ensure that there is uniformity in the supplementation? Are the teachers going to be provided with materials to assist them in supplementation?(Osage Beach and Hurricane Deck have been allowed to use supplements ALL year long...we have not. Our teachers have been strong armed all year and NOT allowed to use supplements until right before Christmas. However, there was no direction on what those would be. It just came out publicly for the fist time that the other two schools in our district ARE using something that we have not been allowed to use.)

......Now more than ever the parents of Hawthorn students want to know WHY our kids are NOT using what Osage Beach has been using all year. We are not using the same material, and we want to know why. If they are not using Investigations then why do the kids in Hawthorn have to? Since the last board meeting is has been made pretty clear by parents talking to other parents at OBE that we are NOT doing even close to the same thing.

5. Why are we not using our own Osage Beach Elementary School as a guide to improve our elementary schools throughout the district? Why are Hurricane Deck and Osage Beach allowed to use supplements that were not offered in Hawthorn? Why is there no uniformity? (Few schools in the state do as well in testing as Osage Beach Elementary. It does not take a rocket scientist to see that. Why are we not doing what they are doing?)

6. Why was I, as a parent, not informed when my child was being experimented on with Investigations when it was piloted on her as a third grader? By the school's own admission on their website: "Without question, these programs do represent a completely new method of learning mathematics, which is foreign to parents and teachers alike and this creates discomfort."(Why was there not full disclosure to each parent of children in the three third grade classes that used this "whole hog" without supplements last year? Should there not be full disclosure for every parent when using a very controversial program that is considered "under review" by the What Works Clearinghouse? For most of us a nod of "under review" is not enough to use it on our kids in light of all of the overwhelming data to prove what a failure it has been and remains to be all over the United States.)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

All Missourians Must Contact State Officials NOW!

A new comment was sent this morning. It needs our attention and requires that we use our voices at the state level to not only help our children, but all children in the state of Missouri. We all want what is best for our children, but if you know this is wrong, then it would be just as wrong to keep your voices to yourself and not allow your state officials to hear from you. Ambivalence will have a price. I promise you. Find your voice and use it. Teachers, I have heard from SOOOO many of you in private, here is your opportunity to use your voices to help our children right now. Read the comment below and link to the information on how to contact our state officials.

concerned has left a new comment on your post "Great Editorial Done By Our Local Newspaper....":

My thoughts and prayers are definitely with the students, parents, teachers and school board members. As Missouri residents, we all have a responsibility to contact our elected and appointed officials and express our concern for the children.

If you click on "concerned" and go to the Math Education blog , you will find contact information for your senators, representatives and the state board of education.

Our weak K-12 math standards are still awaiting state board approval. Now is the time to let you voice be heard.Districts across the state will continue to adopt mediocre programs until our standards are improved.

For more information see You may also wish to review the released Algebra I End of Course exam posted on DESEs website. About 13 out of 35 questions are "authentic" algebra as described in the National Mathematics Advisory Panel's report.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Great Editorial Done By Our Local Newspaper....

This is a great editorial piece done by our local free newspaper The Camden County Reporter. I appreciate their coverage of this issue. A reporter from The Camden County Reporter, Jeff Thompson, attended a recent forum to become educated on what the REAL issues were. I am so impressed with the measures he went to in order to make sure he heard from both parties and then reported a fair and balanced story.

Taken from :

MIP (Math In Peril)

Studies have shown that the United States is behind many countries in math and science.

Over the years public schools have been “dumbing down” each successive generation which just makes the problem worse.

Curriculums are being used that are actually hurting more than helping.

Now the Camdenton School District is jumping on board with the mathematical farce called “Math Investigations Program”.

The school district should do research before forcing a program on kids that will actually keep them from learning math.

In an online forum at The Online Teacher Resource ( a 22 year veteran teacher has been using the MIP program for four years – and it is doing more harm than good, according to her.

“First, the kids do not learn their basic facts with this program. I know I'm a veteran and have been teaching for 22 years, but I don't care who you are, you can't do math until you know those facts. So here I have a program that is very time-consuming in the classroom, and I feel the need to take extra time to teach the basic facts.”

Math was easy for me in school and one of the things that made it easy was actually being taught how to solve the math problem.

If the teacher would have asked me to “Write a story problem to go with this problem: 352 (divided by) 168 = ?”.

What? How about teaching the child HOW to solve the problem? Does the kid even know how to do division?

Here is another part of an actual worksheet found at called “Candy Math”:

1. Estimate how many candies are in the bag.
2. Open your bag and count the candies. How many candies are in the bag?
3. How far off was your guess?
4. Group your candies into sets by color. Write the total for each color:

And then you come to number six.

6. Write a candy math word problem.

First of all you have the expense of buying bags of candy for grade school kids and then when you give grade school kids candy there won’t be any left to count.

You teach children how to do the math problem first and then you can investigate deeper.

And the school district’s solution if parents have a problem with the MIP program: make sure parent-help materials are sent home, monthly “Math Nights” to help parents with the MIP process.

So in other words teach the parents how to understand the program and they can help their children.

In that case what do we pay the schools for? If the parents are supposed to help the teachers then why not just pull the kids out of school and home school them?

In this world of modern technology we think we know more than those who lived and taught 20, 30 or 40 years ago, but in many cases we are wrong.

Want some proof? Give a grade school or even high school kid a math problem but don’t allow them to use a calculator.

Do they even know how to do it with paper and pencil?

Maybe this new program will help; maybe it will bring the Camdenton School District math scores to the highest in the country.

Then again, maybe it will prepare them for a future career where a single phrase will be their life blood:

“You want fries with that?”

Just don’t ask them to count the fries.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Differing Points Of View

There have been several readers posting comments in the last couple of days. There have been a couple that I thought I would post. In the event you do not keep up with the comments, I thought you might find these to be of interest.

iteachmath said...

Stacy- You say you want to see some research so I am providing it. I care about our students and want what is best for them so please post the following (sorry it is so lengthy):

Regardless of what math program is used, every school will be eventually listed as “needs improvement” by the state. This is because the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act requires that all students be at 100% by 2014. It does not take a brain surgeon to figure out that this is an impossible task. If you look at the DESE website, it shows what level each school has to be at as the years progress. The levels increase each year as it approaches that 100% for 2014.

All the research I have done indicates that children will learn what they are taught no matter what the math program is. The research also indicates that providing data with an inquiry-based series is difficult when teachers do not all use it in the way it was intended.
My proof: and (look under “Research Evidence for Effectiveness”). I am sure that this is due to the fact that all math series require some kind of supplementation and not all teachers use the same supplement.

When I found out that I was going to be teaching Investigations this year, I was petrified. The reason being is that I knew I was going to have to learn new approaches to math. Now that I am over half way through the school year, I am in awe at the math language and processes students are using. As long as the teacher monitors and follows the grade level expectations, your child will learn. Teaching Investigations has made me become a better math teacher, and I now know what I have to do to reach all children. Do I have to supplement? Yes, a little. Did I have to supplement with the traditional math series. Yes, a little. The big difference I see now is that students are taking charge of their learning and exploring more in-depth to develop an understanding as to why certain processes work. For teachers who dislike the program, I cannot speak for them. If they are having difficulty with the program, I would hope that they would seek out help from those teachers who are experiencing success with it.

The proof that inquiry-based math does work is on the U.S. Department of EducationInstitute of Education Sciences. The results of their research shows that Everyday Math does work. Everyday Math has been around for 25 years and has had 17 different research projects done on it. Investigations (also inquiry-based) is currently undergoing a 5 year study that will end in 2010. The description of the study can be seen at

Again research on Investigations thus far has been difficult due to inconsistent implementation of the program. True research on Investigations has not been completed or done from what I can find. If you have found true research on it, I would like to see it. I know there are schools that can provide data based on using the program. My question would still be: Was there consistent implementation practices within that school district?

My thoughts are that if parents are so unhappy with Investigations, why not consider going with an inquiry-based math program that has proven itself… Everyday Mathematics? With being an inquiry-based math program, I doubt it is much different in its practices than Investigations. Again, the research proves it works if you trust the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Services.
January 29, 2009 2:06 PM

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Stacy said...
Dear iteachmath,

I sincerely appreciate your commitment to our children and the fact that you do wholeheartedly believe in what you do. I can see that. I appreciate that you have research that you can offer to back up your beliefs and are willing to share that with us. I am familiar with most of your research. And I do have a response to most of it.

With reference to the WWC (What Works Clearinghouse). I do not find that research to be credible for several reasons. Please refer to the post "Their Silence Is Broken" it will go into depth as to why I believe that research to be outdated and unreliable.

As posted:
This is an archival copy of material that originally appeared at:
(And this information can be verified through the What Works Clearinghouse site as well.)

"Here’s what we know about the effectiveness of Everyday Math, based on the research reviewed by the What Works Clearinghouse:Sixty-six studies have been found to focus on the effectiveness of Elementary School Mathematics programs. Of these 66 studies, 57 did not meet basic “evidence screens,” meaning that the US Department of Education does not deem these studies to have merit because of flaws in their research design. So most of the so-called “research” is thrown out at the get-go because the studies are too small, too poorly constructed, or otherwise shoddy.Only one of the studies passed evidence standards. You got that right: only 1 of 66 studies was considered to be reliable. That’s a whopping 1.5%, for you mathematicians out there.

The government’s review of this article focused on Scott-Foresman Addison Wesley mathematics concluded that the program had “no discernable effect” on mathematics performance. So to repeat, the only decent study on elementary school mathematics curricula tells us that the curriculum under review has no effect one way or another on student achievement. So no Holy Grail here, folks.

Four of the 66 studies “meet evidence standards with reservations,” meaning that these studies may or may not have spotted the Holy Grail. In other words, these four studies have imperfections: tehy are not so bad as to force them out of consideration, but they contain flaws that may (or may not) undermine their conclusions.

As it happens, fully 61 of the 66 studies cited the What Works Clearinghouse focus on Everyday Math, at least in part. Fifty-seven (57) of them were thrown out because they did not meet the evidence screen. None fully meets the evidence standards. Four (the same four described above) meet the standards “with reservations.”Based on only these four studies, each of which passes Department of Education standards for evidence “with reservations,” the What Works Clearinghouse declares in its “Intervention Report” on Everyday Math that the University of Chicago program has “potentially positive effects.”by:

It is also widely known as documented in an email from Stanford University Math professor James Milgram that the Everyday Math findings for the WWC were "flawed".
See his email below:On Tue, Dec 23, 2008 at 9:17 AM, Jim Milgram wrote:

"I sent a request that they remove my name from their report. The people who did the original EM report were not renewed as contractors for the WWC web-site, and I believe a number of the studies are supposed to be redone. I think a key problem was the Everyday Math report, where they leaned heavily on the P. Noyce paper on EM in Massachusetts. But nobody reliable really believes it represents solid research, especially since Penny Noyce has refused to name the schools, and the results appear to be an isolated case."

With reference to Investigations there is NO conclusive evidence that it works when considered by our Department of Education. It is still "under review". After over 20 years of use in this country there is NO conclusive data to show that it works.

As well, I personally, have spoke to parents, administrators, and teachers from all over this country that can tell me what a huge disaster that it was for their children. Over and over and over again the stories are the same. It does not prepare children for Algebra. It does not give them the foundation to find success in true higher level mathematics. That fact is proven over and over again in talking to literally dozens and dozens of people who have been exposed first hand. Again, please refer to my post "Their Silence Is Broken" to see my rebuttal a little more in depth to this subject of the WWC.

The research is not enough to justify this method of teaching ESPECIALLY in light of the fact that our DOE has a new report out in March of 2008 called The Foundations For Success. It is a report handed out by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel mandated by our Department of Education. (All information was pulled directly from the "Foundations For Success Final Report 2008" the findings of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. My words follow each number in parenthesis)."

In all, the Panel reviewed more than 16,000 research publications and policy reports and received public testimony from 110 individuals of whom 69 appeared before the Panel on their own word and 41 others were invited on the basis of expertise to cover particular topics. In addition, the Panel reviewed written commentary from 160 organizations and individuals, and analyzed survey results from over 743 active teachers of algebra.

They found:
1. A focused, coherent progression of mathematics learning, with an emphasis on proficiency with key topics, should become the norm in elementary and middle school mathematics curricula. Any approach that continually revisits topics year after year without closure IS TO BE AVOIDED.(This condemns spiraling without mastery. Meaning that a child should learn to add before they subtract. They should learn to multiply before they can divide. Those subjects should be practiced and "mastered" before moving on to the next subject.)

2. By the term proficiency, the Panel means that students should understand concepts, achieve automaticity as appropriate, develop flexible, accurate, and AUTOMATIC execution of the STANDARD ALGORITHMS, and use these competencies to solve problems. (Most teachers will tell you that they have been preached at that memorization is a waste of brain power. Rote memorization is not part of Investigations and the teachers manuals for Investigations condemns memorizing. See earlier posts.Also encourages the standard algorithm which is not even introduced in some parts of Investigations until 5th grade. The standard algorithm is shown as one of many ways to solve a problem but never taught as the fastest most efficient way to solve a problem.)

3. The essence of the Panel's message is to "put first things first". Use should be made of what is clearly known from rigorous research about how children learn, especially by recognizing
a.)the advantages for children in having a strong start
b.)the mutually reinforcing benefits of conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and AUTOMATIC (i.e., quick and effortless)RECALL OF FACTS; and
c.)that effort, not just inherent talent, counts in mathematical achievement."(Again, the validity of memorizing key facts is essential...not allowed by Investigations.)see***

4.The Panel's survey of the nation's algebra teachers indicated that the use of calculators in prior grades was one of their concerns. "
(Remember that our 1st graders are using calculators as part of their math ALREADY. Right or wrong...this is not what our DOE is advocating. However if you read the teachers manual from Investigations/TERC recommends a text for teachers called "Beyond Arithmetic".
***In this book it says ...and I quote: traditional elementary math must be discarded because:
BA, Page 2• Requires that students "memorize many facts,procedures, definitions, and formulas."
BA, Page 2• "Focuses on learning a particular set of proceduresfor addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division of whole numbers, fractions, and decimals."
BA, Page 2• Results in "over practiced students."
BA, Page 3• Ignores the fact that "today's students have an important tool available to them: the calculator."
(Proves that Investigations does not approve of memorizing facts.)

Also, (this is a biggie)the National Mathematics Advisory Panel; Foundations For Success also says: "U.S. mathematic textbooks are extremely long. With study guides and answers, they sometimes exceed 1000 pages. Even elementary school textbooks sometimes exceed 700 pages. Mathematics textbooks were much shorter in previous decades and continue to be much shorter in many nations with higher mathematics achievement than in the United States. Thus, the great length is not needed for effective instruction. " (Our 3rd and 4th graders have 9 editions in their math curriculum this year. NINE teachers manuals. Of which the principal from Hawthorn acknowledged at the last board meeting that it would not be possible to get through all NINE of those texts completely this year..Wow. Then why are we using it?)

Also...the National Mathematics Advisory Panel says pg.22: "The curricula of high achieving nations in the TIMSS study do not follow the single-subject sequence of Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II, but they also differ from the approach used in most U.S. integrated curricula. Instead Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry are divided into blocks. The teaching of each block typically extends over several months and aims for mathematical closure. As a result, these curricula avoid the need to revisit essentially the same material over several years, often referred to as "spiraling."(Mathematical closure...AVOID SPIRALING!!! Need I say more?)

Please read mathematician, Bill Quirk's article: 2008 TERC Math vs. 2008 National Math Panel Recommendations
TERC 2008 Math Fails to Provide the Foundations of Algebra

Bill Quirk (
For a brief analysis of TERC 2008 math, click on
TERC 2008 Math vs. NMP 2008 Math: A Snapshot View.

With reference to your comment:"why not consider going with an inquiry-based math program that has proven itself… Everyday Mathematics? "
First of all...we do not believe that EM is proven. See the research with reference to the WWC and the what the National Mathematics Advisory Panel says about those fundamental beliefs of must know that our elementary schools have used the inquiry based curricula only since 1994 as their core. EM has been around in the Camdenton Schools for over 15 years. If our math has not been working maybe we should go to a traditional approach for the first time in 15 long years and maybe try something that just may work. I think change is long overdue. Our children have weak skills because EM is weak. Our school recongnizes Investigations as being similar to EM (see note: the research section under math.) why not try something new? A more traditional approach may just work, why not give it a try?

I, too, apologize for my lengthy response. There is just so much to respond with.

I do appreciate your offering your research. I do not believe that it is strong enough to merit use on our children. Being that I have spent countless hours speaking with people who have had first hand experience with this type of math and confirm over and over what a disaster it has been for thier children along with the abundance of strong research that rejects this way of teaching...I cannot say that the research you have used is terribly convincing.Even though we may not agree I appreciate the dialogue on this matter. I think productive debate brings to light both perspectives and why we feel as strongly as we do. Again, thank you for offering your research. I appreciate your taking the time to present your argument.

______________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________

Also from an anonymous math teacher in response to the initial research done by iteachmath:

iteachmathtoo said...
The commenter sortof conveys a mixed message. On the one hand he/she says that the programs must be implemented properly, but on the other hand he/she says they do supplement.

SO what is it?

Does the program contain appropriate content or not??

This passage, "Now that I am over half way through the school year, I am in awe at the math language and processes students are using. As long as the teacher monitors and follows the grade level expectations, your child will learn."
leads me to believe that maybe this teacher might be learning more than her students. She thinks the GLEs are good? Your child will learn. Learn WHAT is really the question, isn't it? What content is supplemented? And WHY buy a program that needs to be supplemented if you believe that it must be implemented "with fidelity"??

It makes no sense.

Another comment was "The results of their research shows that Everyday Math does work. Everyday Math has been around for 25 years and has had 17 different research projects done on it."
The findings in this topic report summarize the first wave of WWC elementary school math intervention reports produced in 2006–07. "We looked at 340 studies. Of these, 237 were assessments of interventions that qualified for our review; the other 103 could not be categorized by intervention. 3 Of the 237 studies, 9 studies of 5 curricula met our evidence standards, 2 without reservations and 7 with reservations. Altogether, the WWC looked at 73 interventions: 5 had studies that met WWC standards with or without reservations, 67 had studies that did not meet WWC evidence screens, and 1 had a single-case study, which is still under review. (The identification of eligible programs ended in September 2005, and that of eligible studies, in July 2006.) In looking at the one outcome domain for the five elementary school math curricula: Everyday Mathematics had potentially positive effects on math achievement "
I'm sorry, but I hardly call that evidence when it has been reported : ( )that "Everyday Mathematics is a 25-year-old prekindergarten through sixth grade mathematics curriculum developed by the University of Chicago School of Mathematics Project and published by Wright Group/McGraw-Hill. According to that university's website, it is being used in more than 185,000 classrooms by almost 3 million students." Affecting 3 million students? So why did so few of their studies meet WWC evidence standards or screens?

Another comment was "Again research on Investigations thus far has been difficult due to inconsistent implementation of the program. True research on Investigations has not been completed or done from what I can find. If you have found true research on it, I would like to see it. I know there are schools that can provide data based on using the program. My question would still be: Was there consistent implementation practices within that school district?

"And if you read this one closely:
it will definitely answer the question about whether or not your children are being experimented on...
January 29, 2009 8:56 PM

If you are not reading the "comments" I encourage you to take a look. There is productive insight that comes from some of those dialogues.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

No "Spin" Allowed Here!

I received this comment this morning from a reader. I am so proud that this reader took it upon themself to do their own research and NOT take someone else's word for it!!!! This is what we should all be doing from now on. Remember the "fuzzy math double speak"? Some of us are catching on to it and are CHOOSING TO BE OUR OWN EXPERTS! Great job parents. Keep up the good work. The comment is shown below. Remember you, too, need to check any facts thrown your way by any administrator/teacher/newspaper who may leave you with questions. The facts are the facts. You cannot "spin" the truth is not allowed! Great job "groupie"!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Answers Offered": I just read a very interesting article in the Lake Sun Leader. It is titled: In Eldon, it’s just called math. A quote from the article reads, "While there is very little hard proof - Eldon’s MAP scores have remained about the same since implementation - Investigations math does show signs of working."
About the same?

Let's investigate...From DESE website...
Eldon (% of students in proficient & advanced)

3rd grade 2007 46.1
..............2008 39.9

4th grade 2007 46.9
..............2008 36.9


3rd grade 2007 49.8
..............2008 39.9

*remember 3 classes used Investigations completely this year (2008) and two used it half.

Wow! Do any of these look "about the same to you"? I didn't think so. Unless 10 percent drops in one year are "normal" then I beg to differ! Hmmmm ....if it was working so well, then why did Eldon's scores drop so dramatically? I don't know about you all...but, I don't think these facts make me feel all warm and fuzzy about the success of Investigations!!! *** Remember... if it was "working" so well then why did they (Eldon) order the Scott Foresman text mid way through the first semester of THIS school year to rescue this situation? Let's all be honest here...if something is "working" then why change it mid year? Be your own judge.