KTM User Pages
01 Dec 2006 - 13:35
Johnnie's Math Page
Yeah, that'll work.
meet the parents
What does a focus on the language of math mean for students at home?
How about no.
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I would change this to say: Parents should be encouraged to enroll their children in Kumon. It is important for children to realize that math involves lots of practice and not all of it is fun :( Schools and teachers need to recognize that parents who use math in their work and their lives often have good ideas. It is okay to listen to their suggestions. -- RobynW - 01 Dec 2006
no kidding WE NEED REFORM PARENTS NEED A VOTE A VOTE AND A VETO -- CatherineJohnson - 01 Dec 2006
Or at least a choice. What if schools held a big parental math meeting, laid out two separate tracks, honestly and in the light most favorable to each track, one constructivist, one traditional, direct-instruction type approach? I'd love to have the choice. I'm sure they'd get takers on both fronts. Then they could really see which works for this school, and which doesn't; or which works better. It would also get parents more intimately involved in the real education of their children. But maybe we just need more school choice all around. -- LynnGuelzow - 01 Dec 2006
Lynn, On the surface, your idea is a good one. Practical implementation meets many hurdles such as: 1. Politics, not only at the district level, but at the individual school level 2. Purchasing: There will be great temptation to buy traditional books from the same publishers that sell the constructivist tests. It's therefor doubtful the traditional texts are really "traditional". 3. Our HS has "dual tracks" but the teachers are so very proud that they help the traditional students by contaminating it with as much "discovery/constructivist" methods as they can. As I'm sure you know, by HS if not much sooner, the teachers only want you involved if you agree with them! -- ChrisAdams - 01 Dec 2006
What if schools held a big parental math meeting, laid out two separate tracks, honestly and in the light most favorable to each track, one constructivist, one traditional, direct-instruction type approach? I've been saying that for YEARS. Although I'm sure Chris is right that the whole thing would get subverted. Chris I'm a little surprised, though, that you don't have a group of "traditionalist" math teachers - ?? -- CatherineJohnson - 01 Dec 2006
I absolutely believe we need school choice within schools. Colleges do this; our own school did it one year when they offered a "projects" course. A lot of parents signed up for that. They'd get takers. I can't predict how the teaching staff would fall out - how many teachers would choose a teach-to-mastery approach & how many would choose spiraling? Don't know. -- CatherineJohnson - 01 Dec 2006
Chris - how did your high school get dual tracks?? -- CatherineJohnson - 01 Dec 2006
They tried something similar to a dual track approach in Danbury, CT. The NYC HOLD site has an article published by the News-Times of Danbury entitled "Parents Grade Math Programs" dated March 4, 2006. The district was using Everyday Math and parents were complaining. So last year, fifteen teachers in three district schools were selected to pilot Singapore and Saxon. The rest of the teachers stayed with EM. The district planned on deciding at the end of the year whether to keep EM or try Saxon and Singapore. I'm not sure of the final result, but last March initial surveys showed parents appreciated "the pilot programs' more traditional approach, and saw both programs as an improvement over Everyday Math." It's not clear whether the district ever implemented Saxon or Singapore school wide. I don't know what the final surveys or standardized test results showed. There were also budgetary concerns. School officials said it would be cheaper to stick with the existing program. -- RobynW - 01 Dec 2006
Sorry, it was not Danbury, it was the New Milford school district. Their website has the results of the experiment. They concluded: Singapore was only suitable as an enrichment; No single program works well with all students all the time; A combination of EM and Saxon would be best; Saxon is better at helping students master basic facts and operations, but for students in the older grades, it does not provide enough exposure to higher level thinking; EM has wonderful activities, but has not produced the "automaticity" in math operations that they want to see in students. They proposed a new program in which Saxon would be used in early grades and then a hybrid approach would be used. A "large number of students prosper with EDM materials" but 20-30% of students do not fare well with it. The "judicious use of Saxon" would help those kids. Three cheers for New Milford for trying to educate ALL of its students. -- RobynW - 01 Dec 2006
"School officials said it would be cheaper to stick with the existing program." When they don't want to do it, they say "it would be cheaper to stick with the existing program". When they want to do it, they say, "Give us more money so we can make this change." (Or build this athletic field ... for a completely random example.) -- DougSundseth - 01 Dec 2006
"It would also get parents more intimately involved in the real education of their children." What exactly constitutes a "real education"? My husband and I have been asking that very question since the beginning of school. What exactly are our children learning or should I say in our case not learning? Parents can only get more intimately involved when they are on board with what the school is doing...whether it be EM or Mathland or whatever. Go against the tide and you get the cold shoulder. At least, that is what has happened in my case. However, I have come to realize that it no longer matters to me to know every little detail of what both my children are doing in school. Not because I don't care, but I've accepted that my questions and concerns will be mocked. My principal actually patted my leg and said, "I think mom is making a big deal out of nothing." Obviously, I am not going to get anywhere with my principal regarding curriculum. Same goes for the teachers. They follow her lead. So I smile and go my merry way. The last time I commented on KTM I was considering testing my third grader for ADHD, but have since decided not to go ahead with it. My son continues to do well at Kumon. My husband and I supplement math, reading and other subjects at home. I continue to read KTM and d-edreckoning and am validated continously by knowing I am not "making a big deal out of nothing" as my principal would have me believe. Again, thanks to all of you who continue to fight the good fight! --PaulaVal -- PaulaVal - 01 Dec 2006
-- DeeHodson? - 01 Dec 2006
Val- You are one cool cat! I think if anyone (especially a principal)had patted my leg and said that to me, I would have gone ballistic. -- DeeHodson? - 01 Dec 2006
Well, thank you Dee! I am a southern woman (think Paula Deen with an attitude) and my mama always said, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." So needless to say, I bit my tongue...choked on my tongue...and just looked at her. However, you can only imagine what I was thinking and saying in my head! Speaking of the quote, I think Thumper said that in the movie Bambi. Anyway, after the nice little pat, I went home and immediately called my best friend, a former teacher, and she couldn't believe it... I think her exact words were, "She actually said that out loud?" We had a good laugh. Laughter was a surefire why to stamp out any ballistic thoughts I may have had. Laughter and wine. Lots of wine. --PaulaVal -- PaulaVal - 01 Dec 2006
Catherine, I'm not sure how the school came up with dual tracks. I'm sure it wasn't done w/o the approval of the District school board. I can only cynically surmise that they were concerned there might be an uproar if the didn't have classes called Algebra I, II, etc. Regarding traditional math teachers, the senior (by age) member of the dept retired last year, but even she was all for TI-84 calculators. She was the closest they had to a "traditional" teacher. Now the whole department consists of "youngsters" that (I guess) have been indoctrinated with constructivist/discovery math at their Educational school. If the school district were to change their math teaching philosophy back to "traditional" I firmly believe there would be a substantial backlash from the Math teachers in the district. -- ChrisAdams - 01 Dec 2006
Oh, and I forgot to mention, that then I called my best friend, who happens to be a New Yorker, and she said, "That...bleep...bleep...bleep." More laughter. --PaulaVal -- PaulaVal - 01 Dec 2006
When EM was adopted at my school, it was billed as "cheaper" than the pre-existing system. They were going to save lots of copying costs from all those worksheets. That justification was never raised again ever. Since we've implemented, costs have skyrocketed. Not only do we have to repurchase "math journals" every year, but there is still a tremendous amount of copying (homelinks). Plus, all of the supplementation, lots of copying. We have all the copying costs of the prior program, plus all the consummable costs of EM. Also, we have a whole lot of new staff to cover all of the remediation that is needed to pass kids over the low threshhold of the CMT. This has been a very expensive program. And I'm just counting the direct costs of keeping EM. The administrators that implemented never did a reasonable lifetime cost estimate. But no one on the board is troubled by how wrong the costs turned out to be. -- LynnGuelzow - 02 Dec 2006
The district was using Everyday Math and parents were complaining. So last year, fifteen teachers in three district schools were selected to pilot Singapore and Saxon. The rest of the teachers stayed with EM. Needless to say I sent the article on this to our assistant superintendent in charge of curriculum. The one who closed down my afterschool class in Singapore Math. -- CatherineJohnson - 02 Dec 2006
When they don't want to do it, they say "it would be cheaper to stick with the existing program". When they want to do it, they say, "Give us more money so we can make this change." (Or build this athletic field ... for a completely random example.) lol! -- CatherineJohnson - 02 Dec 2006
5.5 mil for fields! -- CatherineJohnson - 02 Dec 2006
This is causing me to feel that if we've got 5.5 mil for fields, I don't need to fork over eleven bucks for test prep -- CatherineJohnson - 02 Dec 2006
I think mom is making a big deal out of nothing Let me at her! -- CatherineJohnson - 02 Dec 2006
Paula This is the way things start. But this isn't the way things end up. Two years ago the assistant superintendent was calling in the PTSA president for a private slander session against me using anonymous (and fabricated) sources. Today they're vetting emails with their attorneys before sending. Things change. Your principal should never, ever have patted your leg and said mom-is-making-a-big-deal-out-of-nothing big mistake Keep reading ktm & d-ed reckoning (read Instructivist, too!), and keep sharpening your arguments - and most of all keep talking to people at the grocery store. Believe me, they've all got the same story After awhile.....it builds. -- CatherineJohnson - 02 Dec 2006
If the school district were to change their math teaching philosophy back to "traditional" I firmly believe there would be a substantial backlash from the Math teachers in the district. boy that's very distressing do you think that will be true in a couple of years??? (I ask because my hypothesis is that teachers trained in constructivism, I believe, tend to move towards direct instruction as they confront the reality of a class filled with students.) -- CatherineJohnson - 02 Dec 2006
I bit my tongue...choked on my tongue...and just looked at her. I've been told I have a loud stare. That happens to be correct. -- CatherineJohnson - 02 Dec 2006
She actually said that out loud? LOLLLLL! That reminds me of a story. Years ago Ed and I were involved in a whistleblowing situation at our autism school (we were the whistleblowers - never again!) We were in major battle with other parents (also a big mistake, but in this case they were donor-founder parents who'd gone after one of our kids; had to be done) Ed's rhetorical skills in these situations are second to none; he can out-talk an attorney (and the enemy parents were both attorneys). So Ed was holding the floor at one parent meeting, and he so ticked off the major donor-founder parent that the guy shouted, "Shut the f*** up!" Of course, that gave the win to Ed. Later I told this story to a friend of ours who also has an autistic kid. I said, "How often do you hear 'Shut the f*** up' at a school meeting?" He said, "Never. You think it all the time. You never hear it." -- CatherineJohnson - 02 Dec 2006
They were going to save lots of copying costs from all those worksheets. snort -- CatherineJohnson - 02 Dec 2006
Also, we have a whole lot of new staff to cover all of the remediation that is needed to pass kids over the low threshhold of the CMT. Lynn - do you have figures on this? -- CatherineJohnson - 02 Dec 2006
Milford is wrong about Saxon and conceptual understanding. That series is brilliant, amazing. I've been testing myself on every scale I can get my hands on; I'm also doing "informal" self-tests of reasoning...(can't think of examples at the moment)....Saxon is incredible. HOWEVER, I can see why a person who isn't a mathematician OR who hasn't sat down and worked through every lesson himself would think it's not. For a very long time I relied on Carolyn to reassure me that the series was mathematically sound and "rich." It didn't seem "rich" to me (though it always seemed rigorous and mathematically correct - even I could see that). Having worked through all of Saxon 6/5, Saxon 8/7, Algebra 1, and now 43 lessons of Algebra 2, I no longer need a mathematician to tell me how good this series is. -- CatherineJohnson - 02 Dec 2006
Parents need to recognize the math found in their work and in their homes matters to their children. School math and life math must be connected. Yes, I was sooooo inspired by my Dad's maths at work when I was at primary school. He'd come home and I'd beg him to allow me to do calculations of the inter-period volatility of the NZ-US exchange rate. He'd only be able to distract me by suggesting I do mum's business's accounts. Do the people who wrote this ever remember being kids? We develop our own interests. I couldn't have understood the maths my Dad was doing, let alone have it matter to me, until I'd done a fair bit of statistics and calculus - which took me to the last year of school. And I like the image of maths as something to be found in a home or the workplace - like gloves perhaps. -- TracyW - 03 Dec 2006
I doubt that I could get agreement from the school on the true cost of EM. At the same time that EM was introduced, a teacher was hired as a math consultant. This was not originally for EM remediation -- but that is how it has evolved. From what I've seen coming home in the 5th grade, there is a tremendous effort being made inhouse to supplement (remediate) EM piecemeal. At a budget meeting a couple years ago, someone asked about the "savings" from EM, and the Supt admitted that they never really saw that materialize. Then they moved on to some other subject. When the proponents control the information and the budget, its always a challenge to define true costs of a program. I wish I could be more specific. Plus, if really pushed, the administrators could always blame NCLB and state tests for the increased costs. -- LynnGuelzow - 03 Dec 2006
Do the people who wrote this ever remember being kids? Do they even remember what it's like to be an adult? -- CatherineJohnson - 03 Dec 2006
I like the image of maths as something to be found in a home or the workplace - like gloves perhaps. Just wait 'til you're walking your property with a 5 year old discovering patterns! -- CatherineJohnson - 03 Dec 2006
At a budget meeting a couple years ago, someone asked about the "savings" from EM, and the Supt admitted that they never really saw that materialize. Then they moved on to some other subject. When the proponents control the information and the budget, its always a challenge to define true costs of a program. Our district never speaks of costs or savings at all. They still haven't copped to the fact that they have a