Most self respecting kids will probably be joining the parents who are demonstrating against the PWC Schools math program. Aren’t kids supposed to hate math?

I just interviewed a 7 year old who is visiting. He told me he loved math and he got to use manipulatives and pencil and paper. He also knew that 8 + 9 = 17. Last night I interviewed a long- time PWC English teacher who sat through several in-service presentations of Math Investigations. She told me that for the first time, math made sense to her.

So what’s all the fuss about? Math Investigations. Apparently a few parents are upset that kids aren’t taught math they way they were taught back in the day. Student needs change. Technology changes. The skills that kids need to be successful in the 21st century are not the same skills kids needed who attended school back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. To quote Bob Dylan, ‘The Times They are A’Changin’.

Anyone who wants to learn more about the elementary math program in PWCS should talk to their child’s teacher or go to the **PWCS Mathematics Web site** where they can see program evaluation reports and many other valuable resources for parents. Parents can also access all materials for teachers and administrators, such as planning calendars and pacing guides at the site. Any parent wanting to see the materials may contact their child’s school or visit the PWCS Staff Library.

Turn PW Blue –

I “get” that dual tracks would cost less then Investigations because I’ve taken the time to actually run the numbers. While I may be a mere parent and opposed to Investigations because of it’s severely lacking content, I’m not a complete idiot and wouldn’t make such a statement without evidence to quantify it.

PWCS still has the old SFAW VA Mathematics textbooks for grades 3, 4, & 5 in storage and available for use, so switching in those grades wouldn’t require any additional cost. As such, the only outlay necessary would be purchasing textbooks for grades 1 & 2 which PWC never purchased before.

Investigations has only been implemented to grade 4 county wide. Grade 5 teacher texts and student materials still need to be purchased as do the annual consumables for Grades 1 – 5.

Here’s the math that justifies my statement on savings:

The SFAW Grade 1 & 2 textbooks cost $27.25 each. With 30 text’s for each class that’s a total of $817.50 for each class.

Start up costs for Investigations grade 5 are $1,197.75 for each class at full list price for teacher guides and student math handbooks. Because students use consumable workbooks those have to be purchased each year at a list price of $17 each, or a per class cost of $510.

The assumption underlying dual tracks is that there must be at least one class in each grade level that switches from Investigations to SFAW. In order to make that switch we’d have to purchase 1 set of Grade 1 texts and 1 set of Grade 2 texts at a total cost of $1,635. No additional purchases would be necessary because the old Grade 3, 4, and 5 texts could be used.

So so far we’ve had an outlay of $1,635 for textbooks for one grade 1 and one grade 2 class.

However, because we’d have one class in each grade that was no longer following Investigations we have one fewer class to purchase Investigations grade 5 start up materials and 5 fewer classes to purchase annual consumable student workbooks. Grade 5 start up costs are $1,197.75 and annual consumables for one class each in grades 1 – 5 would cost a total of $2,550 (5 * 510). That’s $4,547.75 that we would not have to spend purchasing Investigations materials.

Netting our outlay of $1,635 against our reduced costs of $4,547.75 results in a net savings of $2,912.75. Even if we assume a 25% discount off list price on Investigations materials we’d still have a net savings of $1,775.81 for each non-Investigations track.

And that’s just in year one. Each subsequent year we’d realize a $2,550 savings (or $1,912.50 with a 25% discount) for each alternate track because of reduced purchases of consumable student workbooks.

There are currently 54 elementary schools in PWC. If we assume 1 alternate track at each elementary school in the county that’s a savings of $157,000 in year one and $138,000 each year thereafter ($96,000 and $103,000 at a 25% discount).