I want an ‘opt-in’ program for traditional math and hopefully we can win this argument on its merit. My question with this video, is with the ‘unidentified school employee’ from Porter Traditional School. She gave her name, stated that she has a child attending Porter and clearly referenced that she is not a teacher. However, I will admit, during the meeting, I had the impression that she was a teacher, but after reviewing the full video it immediately became apparent that she’s not.

[Update: I’ve received an email that she could be a secretary at Porter.]

I haven’t had a chance to review the video to find out what exactly transpired at the end of the meeting. So, I can’t fully comment on Richardson’s statement but I will watch the end of it tonight.

Lastly, according to the PWC Teach Math Right website –

NEWS FLASH!! – on Feb 4, 2009 the PWCS Board will vote to suspend the further implementation of “Math Investigations” into next year’s 5th Grade classrooms. The specific language of the Board meeting agenda item reads:

Investigations in Number, Data, and Space Textbook Series (Johns):

Recommendation: That the Prince William County School Board direct the Superintendent that the textbook series “Investigations in Number, Data and Space” shall not be used as the primary textbook for 5th Grade instruction, but materials in the series may be used to supplement the currently approved 5th Grade textbook. (


Don Richardson, Gainesville magisterial district member on the Prince William County School Board, will host a town hall meeting on Tuesday, February 10 from 7-9 p.m. in the mini-theatre at Battlefield High School, 15000 Graduation Drive, Haymarket. The snow date is set for Thursday, February 12.

Mr. Richardson will present an update on events taking place in the School Division; then spend the remaining time answering questions from the floor. The public is invited to attend.

For additional information, please contact the Prince William County School Board office at 703.791.8069.

26 Thoughts to “New Math Investigations Video & Update”

  1. This is the bulls**t you can expect from bureaucrats. They flush your future down the toilet without a second thought:


  2. Alanna

    Just in. I got an email that the ‘unidentified teacher’, is actually a secretary at Porter.

  3. anon

    Not at all surprised that that website has false info. It’s not the first time. And I’m sure it won’t be the last.

  4. anon

    I also take some slight issue with the petition as well. There are quite a few names on it that I recognize – and they are folks who do not have kids in the school system. And of course many are spouses (yes, of course both spouses will be concerned). But if you factor this in and look at the actual number of FAMILIES in PWC with kids in – or about to be in – the target age range the number is far less than 1500. I’m not saying that those without kids in the program have no right to complain. But the number of dissatisfied actual “customers” are not really what they are purported to be.

  5. Alanna

    Well, as long as they’re voters because that’s probably what’s gonna change this thing in the end.

  6. Elena

    It’s really too bad that you can’t get an honest youtube video from this, representing both sides. That there is the usual bulls eye directed at one individual , Don Richardson, is no suprise either, there always has to be one villian that can be harassed.

    The lack of respect towards parents by some of the staff of PWC was astonishing to me. Parents have a right to question and wonder about the curriculum. Like I said, my husband, who holds a masters in engineering, was astounded when he saw the TERC video. However, what was clear to me, was that there are plenty of teachers who believe in this program, not because they their goal is to do some untold damage to children, but because they truly believe this curriculum creates excitment and interest in the concepts of math. I believe there can be some compromise met, but I doubt that one will come to fruition.

  7. Madam MoFo

    That video is the biggest lie I have ever seen. It is the quintessential cut and paste to assassinate the character of Don Richardson. Too bad the rude behavior at the end on the part of a parent wasn’t chronicled with equal footage.

    I watched the video of the meeting and I heard a parent calling out and heckling Mr. Lattin. I was told that remaining parents stood up and walked out while Mr. Lattin was speaking. It was pretty obvious from the original video that something was going down.

    Shame on the dishonesty of the person who did the cutting and pasting here. Thanks Alanna for bringing the ruse to light. Now what other purpose could exist other than to smear Mr. Richardson?

  8. DB

    What publisher owns MI? Scott Foresman does.

  9. DiversityGal

    An opt in/opt out program would be a tricky thing. I’ve heard some educators talking about how it would be an implementation nightmare…trying to figure out which teachers would instruct using MI and which would not based on the numbers of opt ins/opt outs. It would change from grade to grade, year to year…and would not allow for teachers to gain experience. It would honestly be easier to stick to county-wide policy, whatever that decision may be. I have heard that Math Investigations is supposed to be taught along with what people are calling traditional math. Reality is more complicated than that.

    I do understand parent concerns, and I would venture to say that most educators in that county sympathize with parent concerns about the issue (a survey of all elementary classroom teachers would likely produce interesting results). I think that people should be cautious of what they see at school board meetings. It is quite rare for teachers to buck the system at meetings; can you imagine what would happen? The fear of backlash from one’s supervisors is even greater in this job climate.

    I agree that parents should have input; they are partners in education. However, on the flip side, you can easily see horrible attitudes toward educators all over the net, including the dark site, and educators are confronted with parents on a daily basis who criticize every move they make. Most parents do not do this, but when you have 25-30 kids in a class, there are at least a few parents who are hyper-critical and do not respect teachers as professionals.

    In my job, I have parents coming to me all the time complaining about teachers. I watch as some complain about them in front of their children, thereby helping to keep the disrespect going.

    My point is that everyone deserves respect here. We have to tread carefully and communicate openly. There were some teachers at that meeting who obviously could have chosen their words better, and should not have disrespected the role of parents in education. There were some parents who could have acted more respectfully toward the speakers. All this controversy plus the poor feeling of SOME educators toward the program make me think that MI’s future in PWC is limited.

  10. A PW County Resident

    Sorry, Diversity Girl, but I have had experience with at least one teacher who should not be teaching. She took my youngest girl from being a school loving “A” kid to a “C” student in one year.

    My daughter is now in college and she continues to struggle. Good teachers should be encouraged but some can cause a lifetime of trouble. So some deserver the “horrible attitudes.” Especially when administrators permit it to happen. You don’t help when you think that teachers are always right.

    And my attitude? I taught my kids to respect teachers and never openly criticised them. I taught them responsibility to talk to their teachers. It didn’t work in her case since it was true incompetence. Your advice for those of us that play the game?

  11. A PW County Resident

    of course, I realize there are typos.

  12. DiversityGal

    PWC Resident…again, if you have concerns, you should share them. There is nothing wrong with that. I am very glad that you taught your kids respect and good communication. In life, those things don’t always mean that you are going to get what you want, but that certainly doesn’t mean that people should start going the route of treating each other nastily. Even if you deem a teacher incompetent, he/she still deserves respectful communication, as do parents. I would also recommend that parents try communicating with teachers FIRST, rather than jumping to reporting concerns to support staff or administrators (this is a very common problem).

    You are right, not every teacher is good at what they do (just like in any career). Administrators should take action when they find there is a problem, and not all of them are quick to do it. However, parents and administrators are not always in agreement about what should be done in these situations. Also, I have observed some parents that believe the ideas they have on handling a situation in the classroom should be enacted now, without discussion or delay. If they do not get exactly what they want when they want it, they fire off letters to school board reps and area associates. This happens A LOT where I work. Teachers and administrators start to feel like some parents believe they are in charge of the school, and feel threatened or bullied.

    I will share that there is not ONE teacher in the schools I have worked in, no matter how gifted and amazing, who does not experience “attitude” and disrespect from at least a few parents on a yearly basis. Either it could be that some parents have a poor attitude towards teachers in general, or some parents think it is within their right to strong-arm/communicate aggressively (“You work for me” kind of thing).

    I don’t think that expressing concerns in a respectful manner is considered a horrible attitude. It is just something that we all have to work at. Teachers (at least at the elementary level) are constantly encouraged and presented with information on how to positively and more openly communicate with parents during staff development. Do they always use it, of course, not all. When it gets to the point that teachers fear dealing with parents based on their experiences, and we have to have workshops on “dealing with difficult parents”…things are not great.

    Please realize that I am just presenting another side to things. Most parents I work with are WONDERFUL and take the time to consider their words; they are a blessing to work with. One more time…parents SHOULD express their concerns when they have them, and SHOULD definitely have input on the educational process. However, when teachers talk about letting them do their job, it is because the overwhelming majority experience being criticized, second-guessed, and disrespected on a regular basis. They are hounded by supervisors for test scores, they are monstrously overworked, and often not treated professionally.

    Sorry…we got off on a tangent here:)

  13. anon

    I agree that the video is misleading – it does seem to take comments out of context and portray them in a more negative light than they were intended. Because hose sorts of cut and paste things tend to do that so often, I hadn’t even intended to watch the thing until I saw it posted here. Having watched it I’ll give it about as much weight and time as it took to write these three sentences.

    To be entirely factual, however, the numbers of parents concerned with the MI program is much more than 1500. The math survey results indicated that from 25% to 40% of the K – 3 parents were dissatisfied with the program, with the percentage dissatisfied increasing each year. That’s not an insignificant number.

  14. jp

    I think DiversityGal hit right on the mark. The teachers are caught between a rock and a hard place with the strong arm of PWCS administration and I feel sorry for every teacher who spoke at that last board meeting. A few may have done it in hopes of getting ahead like the Occoquan Principal did last year but most just did it because they were trying to keep their jobs I suspect. Some of our teachers who were not supportive of this math program have showed up at the board meeting to sing its praises because they were “told” to do so by their principals. There are PWCS Regulations that clearly prohibit such interference in board and administration matters by staff and I think that needs to be looked into. The teachers that spoke at the last meeting should be questioned to learn their real motivation for speaking and to find out who told them to do it or as some commented at the end of their speeches “thank you for inviting me here tonight”, not sure who was doing the “inviting”. I have had a considerable number of teachers approach me in confidence to thank me for standing up for them on this math issue and ask me to please fight for them since parents can have a voice in this matter but teachers cannot speak up against it for fear of retaliation from the administration. Who is protecting our teachers? This is exactly why many of the good teachers leave PWCS!

  15. Out of the Loop

    What is all this conspiracy theory?

    If there are individual teachers or schools where there is a strong arm, then that needs to come out. The Central Office math dept does not strong arm or muscle. They do not do evaluations. Their role in providing anything other than instructional information is somewhat limited.

    If teachers are being put under pressure, then it is coming from the school’s administration.

  16. anon

    Yes. it is amusing that the one principal who spoke in favor of Math Investigations over and over last year was given the one open asst. superintendent slot.

    Coincidence?? I think not.

    I wish the “That is despicable.” comment had been included in the video. That was my favorite when listening to the meeting.

  17. Out of the Loop

    More conspiracy theories, Anon? Perhaps this person was given an area super job because of their knowledge of the curriculum. Perhaps they have a visionary approach to education.

    Tell us more about ‘That is despicable.’ I don’t recall that being said and really don’t fell like listening to the meeting again. Too time consuming.

  18. This is Greg Letiecq’s video.

  19. Moon-howler

    Noooo, tell me it isn’t true. When would Greg ever make a progaganda film with only 1/10th of the story?

  20. Anonymous

    MH – you just made me spit out my soda!!!! Thanks for the giggle!

  21. Sceptical

    I don’t seem to be able to post a link here but if you search for mathsanity on youtube, someone has posted a more complete summary of the school board discussion of the investigations opt-out.

  22. Moon-howler

    Sceptical, we are having wardrobe malfunctions. I saw 2 of your posts in the spam file when rescuing someone else. Anything that is linked is going in there today and I cannot retrieve it. I tried.

    If you will write your words and post them, let me know and I will go capture the links. Let me know though.

  23. Sceptical

    That last one went in spam too and there weren’t any links in that.
    Search for MI Prince william on you tube

  24. […] provided video clips from the January 21st meeting (here).  Here another ANTI-BVBL writer explains why she finds Math Investigations […]

  25. […] a comment » I have linked to a ANTIBVBL’s coverage of the subject meeting (here), but it’s importance should be emphasized.  Inside NOVA also provided an announcement. If […]

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