PETITION TO ASK THE MT. LEBANON SCHOOL DISTRICT TO REVIEW THE USE OF TERC INVESTIGATIONS K-5 MATH CURRICULUM
In 2007, Mt. Lebanon School District approved the implementation of a new math program known as Investigations in Number, Data and Space or TERC. The TERC approach does not allow for teacher-led instruction for math mastery and fluency using long-established and research proven math texts, materials and U.S. standard algorithms. Under TERC, our students are not allowed to practice these algorithms to fluency. Instead constructivist programs such as Investigations/TERC abandon proven approaches to the teaching of math fundamentals. The student is to engage in “self-discovery” of math concepts on their own. TERC/Investigations is an unproven program with no supportive research outside of publisher sponsored research of its proven success as an exclusive elementary math program.
Since 2007 a significant body of research has shown that the sole use of TERC Investigations is not an effective math program when compared to other math curriculums. Renowned mathematicians, university professors, engineers, scientists, parents and individuals who use and rely upon mathematics in their careers and daily lives have condemned Investigations/TERC and like constructivist programs for their failure to teach math fundamentals to elementary school children. Math experts from Harvard and Stanford universities regard Investigations/TERC as especially deficient in giving students essential mathematical skills. Research has shown that students who had used Investigations/TERC were falling roughly two (2) years behind their non-constructivist peers by the end of Fifth Grade. Indeed, in Mt. Lebanon an e-mail was recently sent home to Sixth Grade parents alerting them to the fact that “gaps” were found in Sixth Grader math performance that would now require remediation via a 20 minute per day usage of a computer-based remedial math program.
DOCUMENTED DEFICIENCIES OF INVESTIGATIONS/TERC:
Does NOT teach proven, standard, simple and efficient methods for solving math problems;
Does NOT promote or teach mastery of basic arithmetic facts and discourages the need for fluency of basic addition and subtraction math facts;
Does NOT teach or promote mastery of multiplication tables and discourages the need for fluency of basic multiplication facts;
Does NOT teach simple long division and discourages the need for fluency of basic division facts;
Does NOT provide sufficient practice for students to master math concepts and applications;
Does NOT provide meaningful instruction on fractions, decimals and measurement;
DOES overemphasize the use of calculators;
DOES rely on group think and discovery by children versus individual mastery through teacher instruction and quality materials;
DOES progress at a remedial pace;
DOES fail to teach math foundations required for students to move on to higher level mathematic courses;
For the benefit of our children, our school district and our community, the undersigned petitioners urge the Mt. Lebanon School District and School Board to:
Promote an elementary mathematics curriculum that equally emphasizes the conceptual learning of Investigations with standard procedural operations (i.e., standard algorithms for whole numbers and fractions - carrying, borrowing, long multiplication, and long division). This will effectively prepare our students for high school and college mathematics (Algebra, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus), and create opportunities for future choices in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers.
Please click here for more detailed information on why we are concerned including links to educational and research studies, and statements from leading university math professors.
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