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.)