I fully support Professor Alberto Bressan's proposal to allow two options in the math curriculum

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Long-Qing Chen

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May 15, 2009, 11:48:13 AM5/15/09
to parents-for-quali...@googlegroups.com
I am glad to learn that I am not alone in calling the "Investigations
Math" absolutely "nonsense". However, there are parents and teachers
who think this "Investigations Math" is absolutely great. Therefore, I
believe what Professor Bressan proposed is the best solution, i.e. to
have the school district offer both options: "The Investigations Math"
and the so-called "Conventional Math". Each grade in each school has
more than one classroom anyway, it shouldn't be that hard to have both
options. I also think this is the only reasonable solution to have
everybody happy.
Although the Investigations Math in elementary and the Connection Math
in middle school are terrible in my opinion, the math curriculum at high
school is excellent. I know there is at least one great math teacher in
high school. He is absolutely outstanding. I don't mind paying extra
school tax if it would be used to reward great teachers like him. I
hope he doesn't retire before your kids go to high school. My
daughter's math was mediocre (although getting A's) in middle school.
But after two years in high school, her understanding of math is
absolutely outstanding. As a second-year high school student, her math
skill now is better than mine when I graduated from college. I cannot
be more happy with her progress in high school.

--
Long-Qing Chen
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering
Penn State University
102 Steidle Building
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 863-8101
lq...@psu.edu
http://www.ems.psu.edu/~chen/

Wen

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May 15, 2009, 8:19:52 PM5/15/09
to Parents for Quality Math Education
Long Qing,

I fully support this idea of offering two programs in a parallel way.

In emails I got from board members I repeatedly hear this phrase:
"no matter what we do, we will not satisfy everyone".
I think this is a solution that will possibly make everyone happy.

As kids are very different, they would thrive in different curricula.
There is no 'single' program that will work for everyone.
I think the board could seriously consider this option.

Another common misconception I noticed a lot is from people who
support the Investigations. It seems that they think if we are against
this program, then we only want the other extremely, i.e., rigidly
memorizing formula and boring drills. That's what they think
'traditional'
math is all about. But this is not true at all.
I personally is not in favor of tongs of home works.
Math is also about ideas and concepts, as well as fluency.
That's why I like the Singapore math (I supplement Primary Mathematics
books.)
This curriculum is conceptual, and at the same time it offers rigorous
practice.

If the school district could offer this curriculum parallel to
Investigations,
and give parents a choice, that might just solve the problem.

Thank you.

Wen

Oak Norton

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May 16, 2009, 1:11:10 AM5/16/09
to Parents for Quality Math Education
I had no idea you had Connected Math in the middle schools. Do you
also have Interactive math in the high school? This is just tragic.
I had no idea. This is exactly what has happened in our district and
it's killed our children's math skills.

Running parallel programs may work if the board supports it, but I'd
warn you the teachers may gripe about tests because the Investigations
teachers will say it's no fair that tests have tough direct questions
on it because it will show the utter lack of skill their students
have. So they'll demand fuzzy tests which the traditional students
will do less well at, but just well enough that the Inv teachers will
say it's all fair. It's just a shame that people can't have more
common sense than they do. This isn't a hard decision to make if you
just examine what the program teaches.

Wen

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May 16, 2009, 5:41:50 PM5/16/09
to Parents for Quality Math Education
Oak,

I didn't know they have a continuation of this program to high school.
That's horrible. Would they to it to College math as well?

I understand your point on the trouble with tests with two curricula.
Personally I don't care much of my own kids' test scores there.
Our goal is to excel in college math, so I care more about
what they actually learn.

Wen

Susan Smith

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May 17, 2009, 9:26:40 PM5/17/09
to Parents for Quality Math Education
Starting with Algebra, the curriculum becomes traditional, thank
goodness. Although at the last school board meeting, the math
curriculum person for the high school expressed his wish that
Investigations could continue in high school.
Susan

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