Laying Requests Before the School Board of Trustees

About fifteen parents of Blaine County students, concerned about the new Math textbooks purchased by the BCSD Administration, attended tonight’s BCSD Board of Trustees Meeting. Not only did they attend, three of them spoke. Kathy Baker carried a letter addressed to the Board and signed by the parents in the room as she made her way to the podium.

“I am here to request that the Board of Trustees inquire into the process by which the Blaine County School District Administration chose Mathematics textbooks to be purchased. Specifically to inquire into its lack of compliance with District Policy Number 602.3 and Idaho Legal Code 33-118A,” stated Mrs. Baker. Previously this group requested the Board of Trustees review Idaho Statute Title 33 as it pertains to the math adoption process.

She continued on to refer to the letter in her hands. This letter concludes:

This is a formal request that the Board of Trustees:

  1. Obtain independent legal review of the School District Administration’s compliance with Blaine County School District Policy Number 602.3 and Idaho Code 33-118A.
  2. Reinstate the 2005 Mathematics Curriculum, which is still active by default of no new mathematics curriculum in existence.
  3. Have a new Mathematics Curriculum written, the process of which follows BCSD District Policies and Idaho Legal Code.
  4. Submit their finding on the legality of the June 14, 2011 text book adoption to the public not later than the next School Board of Trustees meeting.”

Jamie Sharp and Dan Beste also spoke to the Board of Trustees.  Mr. Sharp, through many examples, questioned the validity of teaching children Mathematical concepts prior to Mathematical facts. “Unfortunately the new Math Investigations curriculum is too heavily weighted toward the reform side to be effective,” he said. He made the case that Math facts create an internal mental framework upon which a student can then incorporate Math concepts to strengthen the frame.

Mr. Beste spoke after Mr. Sharp to summarize the sentiments of the group of parents in attendance. In his remarks, Mr. Beste expressed the groups concerns regarding the District implementing Investigations and Connected Mathematics 2 as core Math curricula textbooks. He made the point that the publisher’s claims of success has yet to be verified even “after 20 years by independent studies.” He requested that

  1. District Teachers have an anonymous forum in which to make their own assessment and suggestions regarding the current K-5 and 6-8 curricula.
  2. Visit and get better familiarized with the overwhelmingly negative reviews of the math curricula.
  3. A request for questions and concerns to be properly replied to by District Administration.
As well, he asked many more questions, which you can read in his remarks referenced above.

1 Comment

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One response to “Laying Requests Before the School Board of Trustees

  1. Dan Beste

    I did not ask this question at the Hemingway meeting, but I would really like to see a detailed reply to it by the BCSD.

    The question was not acknowledged or replied to.
    From the Hemingway meeting minutes published on this site:

    “8. Another parent demands that speaker talk about the actual Investigations text books

    Did the Math Task Force evaluate any research performed on negative sides?
    I would really like to review the negative research and know who the selection committee reviewed the information and how it was downloaded to the rest of the committee and School Board. I think the BCSD should make this information publicly available.

    A request by Eric Ruggeri and accepted by Patty McClean on 10/10/11 at the Hemingway meeting was to supply him with the positive research that supports the TERC pedagogy. Still waiting….

    I think the BCSD should make this information publicly available.

    At Dr. Brendefur’s Hailey meeting, Lonnie Barber was explaining how successful the previous K-5 math program has been. I believe he said BCSD K-5 ranked #1 out of the largest 31 Districts on the ISAT and 6-8 ranked 2 or 3 I think. He went on to say his concern is that High School (I would understand that as 9-10) ISAT ranking drops to 17th when ranked against the 31 schools, if I recall correctly.

    I interrupted to ask how bad the actual scores dropped by. Asking something like, “Did the scores drop by 20 points or .2 points, relative to the schools that over took us” .

    I wanted to know if our team took a beating in the ISAT Match or if it went to penalty kicks and was actually a close game.

    He did not know, which I thought strange since the drops in the 9-10 ISAT scores relative to other schools are one of the supporting reasons, I’ve heard over and over now, used to justify totally discarding a successful traditional K-8 math program and replacing it with an extreme reform/constructivist math curricula.

    He offered to make available manipulated/ranked/sorted ISAT data, that the BCSD had to petition the State for, so they could easily re-sort and rank the data results to their liking. I’m going to take him up on the offer, as I am very curious to see the sorted/ranked results. It is very time consuming to attempt to correlate the state published ISAT results from my experience. I think others would be interested to review the data ranked/sorted this way also and believe the documents should be made available on the BCSD website.

    He went on to explain the problem with the 9-12 ISAT score drops are actually a result from the traditional pedagogy starting in K-5, if I recall correctly.

    How this reach of logic can be made/connected is beyond me, but that is what we are being told. In order to increase the High School scores the District must scrap the ENTIRE traditional K-8 math program that has had such a solid and consistent ISAT performance record and transition, over the summer, to an extreme Reform Math Curricula across the entire school district in every grade.

    I don’t get it, but am looking forward to reviewing the research and documentation.

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