Taking Action

Explicit Instruction or a Reform Approach?

Parent and Community Action Plan

Are you satisfied with the math programs in your schools?
If you aren’t, here are some things you may do.

Take Care of Your Child First Do whatever it takes to ensure your child receives a solid math education
Educate Yourself About the Issues
At the School Level
  • Become familiar with the math textbooks/program used in your schools
  • Talk with your child’s teacher(s)
  • Talk with the principal
  • Apply/volunteer to serve on school site council
At the School District Level
  • Talk with district personnel—curriculum director, superintendent for elementary schools, middle schools, secondary schools, superintendent
  • Talk with school board members individually
  • Express your concerns at school board meetings
  • Write to your school board members (see related links below)
  • Advocate for rigorous college prep math programs
  • Apply/volunteer to serve on math adoption or textbook review committee
  • Request adoption of real solid math programs (recommend specific programs)
  • Request that schools offer a real solid math program as an alternative to reform math if one isn’t in use or adopted
  • Write letters to elected officials and legislators (see related links below)
  • Generate and circulate a petition (click to see sample)
  • Run for a seat on your school board
  • Identify, Endorse, and Campaign for school board candidates meeting your criteria
At the State Level
  • Become familiar with your state math standards
  • Learn about your state math assessments
  • Advocate for rigorous college prep math programs
  • Become familiar with exemplary math standards from other states (CA, IN, MA)
  • Write letters to elected officials and legislators (see related links below)
  • Write letters to state board of education members (see related links below)
  • Testify before legislative education committee
  • Testify before state board of education
In the Community
  • Network with other concerned parents & community members
  • Join or start an math advocacy group
  • Educate others and bring level of awareness re problems
  • Organize a local conference/forum re math education
  • Become familiar with issues, experiences, and efforts in other areas around the country (see websites)
  • Develop website for local effort
  • Write letters to the editor (see related links below)
  • Inform local media
  • Advocate for rigorous college prep math programs
  • If an alternative program is available, let other parents know there is a choice
  • Initiate a petition for a change in adoption or at least a good alternative program (click to see sample)
Math Textbook and Program Alerts
In texts, testimony, information literature, etc. watch and listen for mention of emphasis on calculator use, modeling and simulation, real world problems, integration, cooperative learning, higher order thinking, deep conceptual understanding, problem solving, evidence or research shows, etc. Check things out for yourself if you hear these things. It is not that these are bad things, they tend to be terms that are out in front of math programs of concern. Ask to see or have the research cited that is referred to.
Other Measures
  • Campaign and vote against school levy and bond issues until desired changes are made
  • Campaign for and elect school board candidates
Delphi Technique
Learn to recognize the Delphi Technique and ways to counter it.
The Delphi Technique — What Is It?
The Delphi Technique — How to Disrupt It
The Delphi Technique: Let’s Stop Being Manipulated!
The Delphi Technique. What Is It?
Informed Residents of Reading

Edu-SpeakEver wonder what that school administrator said? Learn to decode the language of the educrats.
Edu-speak, the dictionary
Education Terminology Every Parent Must Understand
Education Buzzwords: Image and Reality by Kevin Killion
Translating Educational Jargon by Phillip Paeltz
Public Meetings
A Practical Guide to Taping Phone Calls and In-Person Conversations in the 50 States and D.C.

A Practical Guide to Taping Phone Calls and In-Person Conversations in Washington State
A QUIZ FOR ACTIONSaxon Math Warrior is a website with information about the book A Math Warrior's Almanac by Nakonia (Niki) Hayes. One page of the website has a good quiz for action. Click on the link below to see the quiz.

Fighting Fuzzy MathFighting Fuzzy Math This is a great informative presentation by Larry Gipson Co-founder, Mathematically Correct.
Additional Information for Parent Action
How Parents Can Help Their Children Learn Mathematics
Writing Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor
Moving the School Choice Debate Forward with Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor
by George Clowes Senior Fellow at The Heartland Institute September 16, 2005
How to Write Letters to the Editor
Tips on Writing Letters to the Editor

Writing Letters to Elected Officials
Tips on Writing Your Elected Officials
Writing Letters to Elected Officials
Section 1. Writing Letters to Elected Officials The Community Tool Box

Math Placement and Practice Tests

Math Help

To share relevant information or if you have a question, you may send an email to MSFSoundMath at gmail dot com. If you are looking for information or resources we can sometimes point you in the right direction. There is no guarantee that your email will receive a response, but you never know.


A formula for school districts on how to handle parents uprisings against reform math programs.

FIDIWTS - (pronounced Fidiwitz)

Step 1. Feign concern - Listen sympathetically and change nothing

Step 2. Isolate - If complaints persist, tell concerned parents they are in the minority and everyone else is happy with the program

Step 3. Divide and conquer - If parents organize, offer multiple parent math nights spreading "all is well - don't worry" vibes

Step 4. Interest will die down over time - Form a Math Committee to look into things and report back at a later date

Step 5. We're doing something - Put in some band aids- a computer program, extra help

Step 6. Tell them what they want to hear - Talk about a blended curriculum and change nothing

Step 7. Show them what they want to see - Send home recognizable homework but continue to promote reform math at school

Repeat as necessary.

by Stefanie Nelkens

Taking Action - Mathematically Sound Foundations