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September 9, 2008

Scaling The Abyss

Farrell Keough

Many have heard or read about the new math system being instituted by the Frederick County Board of Education. This program, TERC (now called Pearson Math Investigations) has a poor foundation and virtually no books or parent involvement. In short, the child taught under this program will fall well behind within a few short years.


Look into the articles on this site: Frederick Education Reform. This organization is composed of local citizens: parents, teachers, and people involved in our children’s education. I have been involved in a Yahoo email group with these people for more than a year. They are impressive with varying levels of training and views. But, one thing they virtually all agree upon is that this new math program is bad and will harm our children.


Just to be on the up and up, my son does not attend Frederick County Public Schools; however, we pay the bills just as you do. In short, more than one half of our local taxes goes to the Board of Education. Now think about this – we all pay. So, whether we have children in the school system or not, we are all a part of this expenditure and we will all reap or suffer the consequences of these decisions.


We cannot allow the next generations of children to suffer the consequences of such a poorly designed program – we will suffer as they do. Take the time to look into this issue even if you do not have children in the local school system. If you agree, you can sign a petition requesting that the school board reconsider and remove this program. Remove TERC Math Petition.


I will give you some further links to make your comparisons and decisions, but first I want to note a couple of interesting responses I have received about this plea to sign this petition.


One individual noted that by signing a petition, you basically close the door to compromise or open-mindedness. This is a very valid point and should not be dismissed.


But the school board has closed ranks on this issue. Hence, unless we, the community to which they are accountable, do not speak up and speak up loudly, this program will be fully implemented and we will face years of problems. So, while petitioning the school board to close this door may seem a hard stance, its response has been equally hard.


In another reply, one person pointed out that a petition will mean nothing to the school board. We need to send letters, write Letters to the Editor, and attend the Board of Education meetings. This has a lot of merit.


The school board may well simply put the petition aside and determine it is only a handful of fanatics, misled people, or just plain angry citizens. Fortunately, a recent article in The Gazette has noted this petition. This may well help ensure that the school board takes this seriously.


But, do not let this second point go without considering its merit. Letters and attendance at meetings carry significant weight. Take the time to either compose a letter to the school board, a Letter to the Editor, or – if your schedule can fit it in – attend a meeting! This serious situation will not just simply go away.


The Board of Education is hoping that we will lose our momentum and just let our children slip further and further into mediocrity. But, we cannot allow that! Not only is this our next generation, but it is each and every one of our tax dollars being spent in an unwise fashion.


Now, for those who want to delve a bit further into this, here are some references you can read for more information.


10 Myths About Math Education and Why You Shouldn't Believe Them


Myths About Teaching and Learning - PowerPoint Presentation


Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth - Video


If these are not enough for those few who want to further pursue this issue, join the email discussion group for Frederick Education Reform. You will be amazed at the level of study, thoroughness of the reviews, and diversity of viewpoints. This is a well organized group and their interest is solely to benefit our children.


For those convinced, decide how you would like to help pursue this issue. Every bit of effort helps – and this is a serious issue for our future!


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