Petition to remove Investigations Math from SFPS
Sioux Falls citizens are petitioning SFPS Board for choice in our schools; the right to an appropriate mathematics education for our children - not a remedial program based on fringe ideology with a record of failure across the nation. SFPS continues to force "Investigations Math" on all children.
Instead of teacher-led instruction for math mastery using quality traditional texts and materials, “reformist” programs like "Investigations" abandon proven approaches to the teaching of fundamentals and instead promote “self-discovery” of math concepts by children. Renowned mathematicians, university professors, engineers, scientists, parents and individuals who use, advance, and rely upon mathematics in their careers and daily lives have condemned programs like “Investigations Math” which abandons teaching of proven math fundamentals to elementary school children “Investigations Math” has an ongoing record of failure across the United States. Math experts from Harvard and Stanford University assess such “reformist” math programs as falling short of giving students the essential mathematics skills to reason accurately, and regard “Investigations Math” as especially deficient – resulting in children falling roughly two years behind where they should be by the end of fifth grade.
DOCUMENTED DEFICIENCIES OF “Investigations”:
· DOES NOT teach proven standard, simple efficient and effective methods of solving mathematics problems.
· DOES NOT promote mastery of basic arithmetic facts.
· DOES NOT teach mastery of multiplication tables.
· DOES NOT teach simple long division.
· DOES NOT provide sufficient practice for children to master math concepts and applications.
· DOES overemphasize the use of calculators.
· DOES rely on “group think” and “discovery” by children vice individual mastery through teacher instruction and quality materials.
· DOES progress at a remedial pace. SFPS will continue to invest tax dollars in an experiment on the Sioux Falls elementary school children. Given the nationwide failures of “Investigations Math” and programs like it, we are not willing to allow SFPS to gamble with our children’s mathematics educational future.
For the benefit of our children, our school district, and our community, we, the undersigned parents and citizens of Sioux Falls, SD hereby formally request SFPS remove “Investigations Math” from SFPS core elementary mathematics instruction.We specifically request that SFPS:
· Parents and teachers be included in the selection process and the 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 2014.
· We also request that the district provide instruction in standard algorithms and traditional addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division until Investigations is replaced.
Fordham Foundation’s report: http://www.math.jhu.edu/~wsw/ED/mathstandards05FINAL.pdf
Dr Stephen Wilson : http://www.frederickeducationreform.com/terc/fred.pdf
Dr. Bill Quirk: http://wgquirk.com/TERC.html and http://www.wgquirk.com/TERC2008.html
Thomas Parker: http://www.nscl.msu.edu/~tsang/CMP/Parker.htm
TERC Investigation’s authors claim to have research to back up their assertions about learning and the curriculum.Questions the methodology and conclusions cited by TERC’s authors: http://www.educationallycorrect.com/articles/math_studies_reviews.htm
Several videos have also been developed demonstrating some of the shortcomings of TERC’s program http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr1qee-bTZI
Testimony from Mathematicians about Investigations
Dr Stephen Wilson is professor of mathematics at JHU in Baltimore, served as a senior advisor for Math to the US Dept of Education in 2006, was one of the contributing authors of the Fordham Foundation’s report“The State of the State Mathematics Standards”, and served on the committee revising Washington State’s K-12 mathematics standards. In public testimony before the Frederick County MD school board in June of 2008, Dr Wilson stated the following regarding TERC Investigations“I am not really here today to talk to the Board, but to the parents. If your child goes to a school that uses TERC Investigations, you should understand that it means your child’s school has abdicated its responsibility to teach your child mathematics. By doing so, the responsibility now rests with the parents. Good luck
Dr. Bill Quirk is a graduate of Dartmouth College and holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics from The New Mexico State University. Over a span of 8 years, he taught 26 different courses in math and computer science at Penn State, Northern Illinois University, and Jacksonville University. His report,“TERC Hands On Math:The Truth is in the Details”is widely considered one of the more detailed and damning assessments of TERC’s content. Dr. Quirk’s subsequent report,“2008 TERC Math vs. 2008 NMP Recommendations”is considered one of the most damning assessments of TERC’s updated version and it’s compliance with the NMP recommendations.
Thomas Parker, professor of Mathematics at Michigan State University, says this,“TERC students will hit a wall, probably at the end of middle school. They are not being given the grounding needed to understand the abstractions of high school algebra and geometry. Their options for careers in science and technology are being closed off by their elementary school program.“, and this, “It [TERC] is about two years behind where it should be” inthisassessment of TERC Investigations.
Wilfried Schmid,Dwight Parker Robinson Professor of Mathematics at Harvardstated the following in testimony regarding TERC Investigations,“A TERC teacher doesn’t explain, and a TERC teacher doesn’t teach! I don’t want to be misunderstood: group learning and discovery learning are parts of the tool chest of every accomplished teacher, but it is folly to turn these techniques into an ideology. If we mathematicians had to re-discover mathematics on our own, we would not get very far! And indeed, TERC does not get very far.By the end of fifth grade, TERC students have fallen roughly two years behind where they should be.”