In 2006, Pelham began implementation of a controversial constructivist math program known as Investigations in Number, Data, and Space. Instead of teacher-led instruction for math mastery using proven methods and texts, Investigations abandons traditional approaches and instead solely promotes having students discover math concepts on their own.
Renowned mathematicians, university professors, engineers, scientists, parents, and individuals who use and rely upon mathematics in their careers and daily lives have condemned programs like Investigations for their failure to teach math fundamentals to elementary school children. Math experts from Harvard and Stanford universities regard Investigations as especially deficient in giving students essential mathematical skills, resulting in children falling roughly two years behind where they should be by the end of fifth grade.
Investigations deliberately discourages the use of standard algorithms. It does not teach efficient methods for solving mathematical problems. It does not promote mastery of basic arithmetic or multiplication tables. It does not teach long division. Instead, it teaches unnecessarily complicated strategies for solving mathematical problems and recommends the use of calculators when those strategies become too cumbersome.
Investigations provides little or no instruction in other important mathematical topics such as place value, money, fraction, decimals, measurements, and time. The Investigations curriculum progresses at a remedial pace and only covers about half of the Common Core State Standards to be implemented in New York in 2012-2013.
For the benefit of our children, our schools, and our community, we, the undersigned parents and citizens of Pelham, New York, hereby formally request that Investigations be replaced with a more balanced mathematics curriculum.
We specifically request that parents and teachers be included in the selection process and that programs the district considers not be limited beforehand. We request that the new math program be implemented in all grades K-5 in the fall of 2012. We also request that the district provide instruction in standard algorithms and traditional addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division until Investigations is replaced.
The Pelham Math Committee: Working for the highest quality math education in Pelham schools.
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