My son’s well-regarded elementary school had lost its K-2 science teachers the year he started kindergarten. Other resources had been cut, too. He lucked out that a classmate’s dad taught science at a charter school and came down to the school once a week to do science with the kids. The more time I spent in the classroom and at the school, the more I caught a case of severe mother-panic. It was that, omigod-I-cannot-send-my-child-back-next-year that drives a person to consider paying for private school or moving to the suburbs.

**almost no focus on the kids in the middle who could be pushed to high-achievement or to high-achievers**. And still no science. I’d missed the deadlines for the lottery schools and if I was going to pay for private school, well, why not move to the suburbs and pay taxes.

**And that’s what we did. Not for more space. Not to build equity in a house. Not for a guaranteed place to park my car for free. For schools.**

So, when my son came home with odd-looking math problems, I thought nothing of it at first. Actually,

**I mostly thought it was too easy since my son was doing double-digit work at the end of kindergarten and**

Real MATH assignment + four more variations of it over 3wks |

**could subtract basketball and football scores in a matter of seconds. Maybe this program was just slow-paced**, I thought. That is, until some new iteration of the same old problem kept coming home week after week and my son kept drawing bizarre pictures and never doing any actual math.

**It was peas and carrots**. It started off ok enough. A foursquare grid that asked the child to show four different combinations of peas and carrots on a plate to get to 7 (another day it was 9, another I think it was 8, etc.).

**Only the children were not allowed to use numbers. Or plus signs. Or equal signs. Drawings only, my friends. Or number lines. Or number humps. Why not just write the problems out and then draw to show your work, I asked my son. Oh no, mom, not allowed. WHAT? My son was not supposed to use numbers or algorithms to do, umm, MATH.**

**I finally told my son — and his teacher — that he’d be writing the algorithms because that’s what math is. (I’ll note that he rarely gets “stars” on his papers with algorithms, while he gets them for the other nonsense.) It’s +, -, * and / and all sorts of other related things. Not peas. Not carrots. Not feathers. Not number lines or humps or boxes representing 100 that assure our kids get the problems wrong (this one is seriously disturbing).**

**This math, TERC Investigations,**

**was a radical-constructivist math program, the king and queen — all rolled into one– of fuzzy math.**

**Districts across the country had abandoned it. Parents fought to have it removed from schools. Math professors around the country spoke out against it.**

**The program doesn’t teach multiplication or long division, encourages calculator use as early as kindergarten**and by second grade, encourages kids to use calculators to solve hard problems (no need to learn the hard stuff, my friends).

**It encourages estimating and nearly forbids practice. Let me repeat: TERC Investigations**DISCOURAGES use of any algorithms.

**Because, you know, those won’t be useful when you get to algebra**

1st grade from Jan, algorithms only b/c I insisted! |

and one of the numbers is x and another is y. **And those peas and carrots. More than halfway through the year, they’re replaced by drawing cookies, or feet or **button-sorting. **This program never moves from pictorial to concrete and that’s a disaster for kids as they get older.**

**Well, of course, you;d think revealing all of this information to the smart and education-oriented folks in the district would be enough to get them thinking about whether this was the best math we could do for our kids. Au contraire, my friends.**

**You see, I violated the unwritten code of the quiet, high-performing suburbs. I made noise. Making noise makes it clear all is not well behind those manicured lawns and $500,000 starter-houses.**

**Reasonable people can disagree, but what I faced — along with other parents who were getting angrier and angrier about this math — was absolute disdain for anything that questioned the school administration’s decisions or choices. And, it turns out, people had been complaining for years — although less publicly.**

**Many board meetings and much research later, I became a founding member of the Pelham Math Committee, a group of concerned parents working for high-quality math in our schools. Our website is full of research, data and info that will make your head spin and your anger gene go into overdrive. We have a petition, we hosted a math night with three professors, we’ve received some local press and we push on to both educate parents (come on, admit it, math is scary and frankly this new picture-drawing, fun-times math seems so much less scary, right?) and get better math in our schools.**

**Along the way, I’ve somehow found myself fighting back against a lack of transparency in our school district and so much back-door dealing that it’d make an cub reporter a star to uncover it.**

**disappointed that others can so easily dismiss FACTS and who hasn’t learned how to reason with people who operate under alternate rules for rational thinking and reasonable behavior.**And I sometimes feel I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life putting all my money into a home (I’m stuck now), believing I was trading for greener grass. It’s greener in some spots. But my kid is still getting crappy math, which I backfill with workbooks and will soon be forced to pay a tutor to backfill and I pay high taxes for this bad math. And guess what, this program teaches such bad habits of mind, backfilling isn’t usually enough.

**Peas and carrots, people. They are for eating. They — and their cousins, feathers, feet, cookies, pizzas, marbles, buttons and boxes — are lovely alongside a number sentence, but they should not be the primary means used to teach a child math.**

MONDAY, MARCH 5, 2012 Click here for the entire story and comments

I’m meeting with my principal and our District Math person who is pushing this in our schools this Friday. Wish me luck.

Kristy, good luck in your meeting. Are you a Connecticut school district? Let us know how it goes.

We have this program and I detest it!!! It’s been in our school for 4 years now. Once it’s in it is hard to get it out. Thankfully my older son missed it, but my youngest has had it all 4 years. In 4th grade he has not mastered basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. I’m now paying a tutor weekly to work with him along with my husband and I constantly working to get him where he should be. This program has students ability for automatic recall necessary for advanced math. We will have a generation of relying on calculators and drawing pictures with programs like this. Worst math program on the planet. Other countries ahead of us in Math do not have their students in a program like this. Wake up school administrators!!!