What to expect on May 18th

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Steve Piazza

May 15, 2009, 3:42:23 PM5/15/09
to Parents for Quality Math Education
I have contacted Board President Rick Madore to clear up the confusion
about what will happen at the Monday May 18th meeting regarding
Investigations 2 and whether comments from the public would be heard
and, if so, when. Here's how he responded:

1. The Board meeting will start at 7:30, and there is little on the
agenda before the textbook discussion, which he thinks will start at
8:00 to 8:15.

2. Regarding whether there will be a vote, Dr. Madore wrote: "These
will be the 'proposed' textbooks, so it is an administrative
recommendation, therefore I'm not sure that we actually have to take a
vote to accept them as 'proposed'. Having the discussion will start
the 30 day clock and the board will have to vote, most likely at the
6/22 meeting."

3. Following the Board discussion of the math proposal (to expand the
use of Investigations 2 past the pilot stage to the entire District),
there will be time for the Board to hear directly from the public.

4. Dr. Madore is making a request that, in the interest of keeping the
meeting to a reasonable length, PQME select 3-4 speakers to represent
those who are against the proposal. I ran this by a few parents, and
everyone seemed to think this was fine but that nobody on this site
presumes to speak for all of the petition signers or anyone else in
the District, and this is what I told Rick - that we'd identify 4
people and have them ready to speak (I assume for 5 minutes each), but
that there could be a lot of other people who never heard of this deal
and who might want to be heard themselves. I believe he plans to call
a recess before the textbook discussion so all this can be sorted out
on Monday.

5. To his great credit, Dr. Madore wrote the following: "FYI, having a
good turnout, and having a good number of people who WANT to speak may
help you. But it may be even more impressive if they can agree on
allowing some representatives speak for them." I hope that having a
representative arrangement like this doesn't keep anyone from coming
to the meeting. Just being there and being seen by the Board will
have an impact. I would like to see parents supportive of changing
the curriculum filling not just the meeting room, but the hallway
outside (where you can watch on CCTV), and the street outside the

So, who wants to talk if we are limited to 4 speakers? I'll take
myself out of the running right now - I spoke to the Board at the last
meeting so the Board has heard from me (also, the C-Net cameras tend
to make me look angry). One person I would like to hear from is Paul
Morgan, a faculty member in the PSU College of Education who agreed to
speak at Barb's invitation (before this representative stuff came
up). I think it would be good to have parents from different
backgrounds and whose kids attend different schools as well. I'd also
suggest that Barb speak because she knows the research very well and
has done a great job for us in the past. Any other suggestions or


Nikki P.

May 16, 2009, 9:09:28 AM5/16/09
to Parents for Quality Math Education
I don't know if I am the right person for the job, but I will be at
the meeting and would be willing to speak. I am a stay-at-home mom of
4 young boys (oldest is in 1st grade) who will go to Corl Street. I
hope that there would not be any retribution from the school district
to anyone who stands up in opposition to this program. I will not be
intimidated, but I am just entering this disagreement- I don't know
how deeply this thing goes, and it seems that the teachers are acting
awfully scared. The school district cannot hold a paycheck or
teaching contract over my head, but they could make life miserable for
my kids.

I'll email Steve with what I would say if I am asked to speak to the


Steve Piazza

May 16, 2009, 8:47:41 PM5/16/09
to Parents for Quality Math Education
My wife Sarah and I have had this discussion about retribution since
our names have been prominent in this debate. I just can't believe
that any teacher would take out whatever feelings they might have
against me on my kids. I'm more concerned for teachers who have
expressed anti-Investigations sentiments - will they be let go, or
reassigned, or encouraged to quit? This is something we need to watch
out for.

I'm glad that there is a new superintendent coming on board in SCASD
- it's a great opportunity to assess the climate in the workplace for
all the teachers and address any problems. I hope they do an
anonymous survey of all District employees like we do regularly to
evaluate our department heads and deans at PSU.


Steve Piazza

May 17, 2009, 8:04:31 AM5/17/09
to Parents for Quality Math Education
It now looks like we've identified a lineup of four speakers for
tomorrow's meeting, in case Rick Madore is able to follow through on
his plan to use representative speakers. We've got a mix of parents
and researchers who will effectively make our case to the board, but
to avoid overplaying our hand the four speakers will work today and
tomorrow over e-mail (i.e., not on this board) to plan and coordinate
what will be said.

I just want to say it again: Even if you are not planning to speak,
it to 131 W. Nittany Ave. at 7:30 tomorrow, it will make an impression
on the Board - they have told us so (if Rick Madore can limit the
number of speakers, the math part of the meeting should be over by
9:30 or 10). Bring a friend. If you have watched the May 4 Board
Meeting*, you know that we can expect many pro-Investigations SCASD
teachers to be there (I completely understand why the anti-
Investigations teachers won't be there).

I'll be bringing our set of Singapore Math books for anyone who wants
to see them firsthand, and I hope other parents who are supplementing
at home do the same with whatever materials they are using. I'll also
bring a box of coffee, in case we wind up going later than expected.
See you there.


* This meeting may be viewed online at http://cnet.pegcentral.com/index.php

On May 15, 3:42 pm, Steve Piazza <steve.pia...@gmail.com> wrote:
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