Back to Basics: Mastering the fundamentals of mathematics
Jun 30, 2014 — Dearest fellow petitioners,
With summer upon us, I just wanted to wish you all the gift of Time and good health. May I say how blessed I feel to have been on this journey with you, for I have learnt along the way how many of our lives are intertwined in six degrees of separation and how wonderful you are as fellow advocates for our children.
Yesterday, I was moved to tears while sorting through boxes and boxes of books and school supplies that were donated to me for a children's charity. What was so amazing was that these items were from a woman who, before her illness, just happened to be a math teacher. If you could see all the children's literatures she had for her students, the lessons she had scribbled in her daily planners, the sharpened pencils ready to be used, all the construction papers, blocks and sticks, and the countless textbooks she had studied to enrich her skills (even John Mighton's Myth of Ability!), your heart too would be captivated by this bittersweet moment. Though I knew her not and her memory has faded, what she had speaks to the love she had for teaching and for all her students. Her legacy will live on in all the young lives she had touched and all the children she will be helping from this day forth. Today, I honour her, Marilyn Reid.
To see how profoundly loved our children are by this teacher is a great reminder of how wonderful so many of our teachers are. They have truly dedicated their whole lives to teaching, guiding, and nurturing our children and they deserve our utmost respect and deepest appreciation for all that they do.
That is why, though summer is here , we should not forget that our work is not quite done. Among many educational issues, two points of contention from our math perspective:
1. The fight has been about the content of the curriculum. Johnson still needs to take the bold step of making "the standard algorithms" an expected outcome for all students. It cannot be left as optional. The standard algorithms are an essential part of the math basics.
2. The fight has been about returning our teacher's autonomy. Ensure that their Inspiring Agenda to mandate discovery/inquiry-based learning does not take hold and threaten teacher autonomy and our children's quality of education.
Have a great summer and a wonderful Canada Day!
Dr. Nhung Tran-Davies
p.s. My thanks also to the following individuals who have played prominent roles in effecting the change that we have achieved so far:
--Dr. Robert Craigen, Dr. Anna Stokke, Dr. Vladimir Trotitsky, Cornelia Bica, Dr. John Bowman, Dr. Litvak, Dr. Cornelia Anton, Dr. Hadi Kharaghani, Dr. William Hackborn, Dr. Gannon, Dr. Subhash Karnik (Wise mathematicians)
-- David Staples (Journalist extraordinaire)
-- Michael Zwaagstra (Teacher and Advocate)
-- Dr. Ken Porteous (Engineer and advocate)
-- Mr. Stuart Wachowicz (Eminent Chair of Cogito and Advocate)
-- Mr. Leif Stolee (Eminent teacher/principal, education advocate)
-- Bruce McAllister (Education Critic passionately and tirelessly holding Johnson accountable to our children, teachers, and parents in and out of the Legislature)
--Jerry Manegre, Marion Leithead, Maurya Braun, Cynthia Cheung, Kerry Bezzano, Mae Chow, Glen Saunders, Sharon MacLise, Angela MacLeod Irons, Debbie Hoover, Ryan Prins, Nicky Addo-Bond, Lyndon Dorval
-- Brian Greene (Painted for me an image of a lone rider amidst the vast, endless prairie...cheered me up after the rally).
-- Diana McQueen (gave Johnson the last push to meet with us)
-- Dr. Raj Sherman and Deron Bilous (for showing us support at our rally)
-- Wilma, Wade, Lily, Orville, Cheryl Joseph, Melody and Fred, Shelley Berry, Stephanie Chan, Ryan O'Farrell, Audrey Russell, Theresa Balko, Barbara Silva, Bao Thoai, Blaine Mah, Clint Sunjens, Colleen LaPerle, Licia Corbella, Corrine Newbury, Erin Brierle, Cristina Cotfasa, Dr. Hans Herchen, Dr. Douglas A Craig, Elizabeth King, Emanoil Theodorescu, Greg Oberti, Hilary Nicol, Humaira Palibroda, Teresa Murray, Tara Houle, Susan Monar, Sybille Wunsam, Caroline Simon, Scott Digweed, Sharon and Milton Gibertson, Sandy Crux, Priya Chellasamy, Nawaz Jiwa, Natalie De Roij, Nargess Khosrowshahi, Michael McIntosh, Lynnea Waselenko, Carrie Day, Carmen and Peter Markowski, Vicky and Phil Baril, Linh Truong, Hoa Nghiem, Kim Petire, Jennifer Burgess, Sylvia Krogh, Randi Kehler, Linh Le, Bonnie Islam, Elke Aippersbach, Kanna Narayana, Pao Lao, Bonnie Lorne, Lynn Lourance, Layla Pretzlaff, L Rimmer, Kev, Ken Ference, Juliana Dueck, Julie Miller, Karl Airey, Carmen and Peter Benkoczi, Ken Corbett, Cal Beaudoin and many, many more....Thank you for all your kind words and for steadfast support.
Just for fun, you can vote against discovery math also: http://www.costcoconnection.ca/connectioncaeng/20140708#pg16