Saturday, January 17, 2009

Questions For The School Board

Questions For The School Board
Math 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?
(**See below).

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.)

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."(There should be full disclosure when something so controversial is experimented on with our kids being the guinea pigs. I don't know about you, but had I known what was going on I would have never given consent. Some of you parents with Capstone Kids need to start asking those same questions. If you don't KNOW exactly what your kids have been learning the past couple of years...take it from me...ask questions. I didn't. I had never asked a single question in the past 6 years that my kids have been in school. I trusted. But, NEVER again. Some of you are not going to like what you are going to find.)

How can this happen without full parental knowledge and consent?

Understand that in not one meeting has the school board publicly discussed ANY of the math issues. We have asked for questions to be answered since the first of November and the school board on more than one occasion has told us they would look into this and get answers, yet we still have not heard a peep. Remember that the school board is required to have dialogue ONLY publicly...executive session is for personell issues. So we are left to believe that it has not been an important enough topic for our school board since we have never seen them speak openly about this issue. That is troubling for many of us. After being placed on the agenda twice, and having a special meeting where they were in attendance...yet we have never seen them publicly speak about this? Why does it not matter to them? None-the-less, the above questions were handed to each one of them personally. We are anxious to have questions that all have merit answered. Accountability is a must in this situation. These oversights need to be explained and the assurance needs to be offered that this will not happen again.

With reference to question #3...I gave the board just ONE example of my third graders homework so they could see what our third graders (remember the third graders last year from Hawthorn only saw children in the 30th percentile read in the advanced and proficient categories according to the MAP test)are reading with their math.

Combining Collections:

If these two Negro Leagues memorabilia collections were put together, how many items would there be in all? First, make an estimate. Then, write an equation, solve the problem, and show your solution below.

Details: Referring to the "Negro Leagues Baseball Museum". In the first decades of the 1900s when baseball was a segregated sport, many African American players broke world records and made a name for themselves in the Negro Leagues.

Details: Referring to the "Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues".
Here is a collection of posters, photographs, uniforms, and artifacts connected with some of the greatest ballplayer in history.

Then from there it is a simple estimate and show the equation problem.
2 whopping practice problems.
I kid you not, this is my third graders math problem. For those of you who do not see what our kids are bringing home from school...I hope this is an eye opener as to WHY question #3 is so important. Who made such a HUGE oversight!

We want to know the answers to these question because we deserve to know. This is a public school whose mission statement encourages open dialogue and invites parent involvement. That is what these questions represent...questions from a concerned parent.