Petition to Remove TERC "Investigations" K-5 Math Curriculum From Prince William County Schools (PWCS)

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    Prince William County School Board and Superintendent of Schools
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In 2006, PWCS mandated countywide implementation of a controversial reform math program known as TERC Investigations in Number, Data, and Space. This mandate makes Investigations the only allowable K-5 core elementary math instruction program in PWCS. Instead of teacher-led instruction for math mastery using quality traditional texts and materials, reformist programs like "Investigations" abandon proven approaches to the teaching of fundamentals and instead promote self-discovery of math concepts by children. Renowned mathematicians, university professors, engineers, scientists, parents and individuals who use, advance, and rely upon mathematics in their careers and daily lives have condemned programs like TERC Investigations which abandon teaching of proven math fundamentals to elementary school children.

Of all the elementary school math programs listed by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), Investigations least adequately supports the Virginia mathematics Standards of Learning (SOLs) and is excluded by VDOE for Grade 5 due to its inadequacy. Investigations has an ongoing record of failure across the United States. Math experts from Harvard and Stanford University assess such reformist math programs as falling short of giving students the essential mathematics skills to reason accurately, and regard Investigations as especially deficient resulting in children falling roughly two years behind where they should be by the end of fifth grade (as referenced through the website: http://www.pwcteachmathright.com).


DOCUMENTED DEFICIENCIES OF Investigations:

DOES NOT teach proven standard, simple efficient and effective methods of solving mathematics problems.
DOES NOT promote mastery of basic arithmetic facts.
DOES NOT teach mastery of multiplication tables.
DOES NOT teach simple long division.
DOES NOT provide sufficient practice for children to master math concepts and applications.
DOES overemphasize the use of calculators.
DOES rely on group think and discovery by children vice individual mastery through teacher instruction and quality materials.
DOES progress at a remedial pace.

The overwhelming majority of Prince William County elementary school students were excelling in traditional mathematics prior to implementation of Investigations. This is evidenced by PWCS annual average grade 3 and 5 SOL scores for the last several years and the nearly 50\% of all PWCS elementary school students who, in the last two years running, scored high enough in annual SOL testing to qualify for advanced/extended mathematics programs in middle school (http://www.doe.virginia.gov).

PWCS abandoned a successful, proven traditional approach to math education and replaced it with Investigations. PWCS continues to invest tax dollars in an experiment on the countys elementary school children. Given the nationwide failures of Investigations and programs like it, we are not willing to allow PWCS to gamble with our childrens mathematics educational future.

For the benefit of our children, our school district, and our community, we, the undersigned parents and citizens of Prince William County, Virginia, hereby formally request PWCS remove Investigations from PWCS core elementary mathematics instruction. We specifically request that PWCS:

Stop adoption and/or further implementation of Investigations beyond the current 2007-2008 school year.

Remove "Investigations" as the core PWCS elementary math program no later than the start of the 2008-2009 school year.

Allow PWCS parents to opt out of Investigations immediately and be provided with an appropriate traditional mathematics education for their children in every PWCS elementary school using either the legacy PWCS traditional core mathematics courseware or any of the top four recommended traditional elementary math text/materials series approved by VDOE (Harcourt Math, Houghton Mifflin Math, Scott-Foresman Addison Wesley Mathematics, or Saxon Math).

Offer immediate summer remediation for students whose parents assess their children have not received sufficient and appropriate grade level instruction in basic math facts and standard arithmetic algorithms under Investigations so PWCS children have an opportunity to "catch back up" in math to where they would have been under a sound traditional math program.