Tim Roper is running for Davis School District’s board against current board president Tamra Lowe. Please like his FB page if you are in Davis school district and contact him to help with his campaign.
Tim’s son was just threatened with an “opps” ticket if he didn’t start doing math the right way instead of the way his parents taught him. An opps ticket gets you sent to the principal for a chat. The teacher sent a letter home this week telling parents to stop teaching the kids standard math and they would learn that in the 5th grade. She sent a packet with example division problems to work which was incomprehensible.
Unfortunately, Tim’s story is all too familiar. I got my start in education advocacy 10 years ago when my daughter’s teacher hadn’t been teaching students the times tables and I asked why near the end of her 3rd grade school year. The reply? “It’s not part of the curriculum.” Huh? I asked, “well how do you expect students to learn the times tables?” Teacher: “Well, the smart kids will just pick it up as they go.” (this was a 22 year veteran teacher). I bought flashcards that day.
The next year my daughter was in 4th grade under the same torturous constructivist math program known as Investigations math. One day I came home to find her sitting in the kitchen with a piece of paper with circles all over it. 120 to be exact. She was carefully drawing lines down the page and I asked what she was doing. She said, “long division.” I was stunned. I said, “why aren’t you doing it the way I taught you?” She immediately burst into tears and replied, “I’m not allowed to.” My math crusade had begun.
At one point I was invited by Brett Moulding, the state curriculum director, to visit him in his office. He asked me, “Oak, you’re a parent who is very involved in your children’s education. How can we get other parents so involved in their children’s education?” I replied, “Easy, just implement Investigations math statewide.” I had no idea that tongue-in-cheek suggestion would be taken literally and implemented through Common Core math.
When the state implemented Common Core, I knew it was only a matter of time until parents like Tim around the state became incensed. In Alpine School District, there was a flood of parents creating charter schools and putting their children in them to get better math (such as using Saxon).
If you are a frustrated parent, what can you do?
1) Run for school board. Even if you don’t intend to run all the way, toss your name on the ballot to send a signal to the district and state that you are frustrated enough to run. Find others to do it as well. By doing so, you’ll be taking out a low cost ad against Common Core. Let the media have a field day asking people why they are running and getting hundreds of “Common Core” answers. Look up on your county website if your area’s seat is up for grabs, both local district and state school board.
2) Attend school board meetings. Last fall when classes started, people were attending board meetings and complaining about Common Core. That has probably ended in most districts.
3) Teach your children math. They need to know efficient algorithms for solving problems. I love Singapore math (the Primary math series). I even created a site to tout its benefits a few years ago, hoping Utah would pilot this math series that allowed Singapore to become the math leader in the world.