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Math Cedar Rapids Issues Communities Standards School Choice
by Richard Phelps

The Well-Trained Mind
by Susan Wise Bauer
and Jessie Wise


Parents for Evidence Based Education is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization with the belief that education policy should be instituted based on high quality, mainstream, relevant research, rather than by the unsubstantiated "beliefs", "philosophies" and "ideas" that guide our current system.



Parents in the Marion Independent School District are displeased with the implementation of Core-Plus as its high school math curriculum.

More about Core-Plus here...


Did you know:
  • Only 35% of Iowa 4th graders were at or above proficient in reading in 2002?*
  • Only 28% of Iowa 4th graders were at or above proficient in math in 2000?*
  • Only 18% of the nation's 4th graders are proficient in U.S. history?*
  • In spite of sound scientific research supporting explicit instruction in phonics and phonemic awareness, schools continue to embrace the discredited "whole language" approach to reading instruction?
  • Most locally used math curricula do not teach the standard algorithms for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, preferring "invented strategies" and calculators?
  • Despite evidence demonstrating its ineffectiveness, education schools continue to train teachers in constructivist and progressive theories of education?

*Source: The NAEP (the "Nation's Report Card")


On your journey to understand education reform, you will need to learn the language.  Here are several resources that will explain what the jargon REALLY means.
Education Terminology Everyone Must Understand
Education Buzzwords: Image and Reality A witty guide to the lingo.
Terminology exposed by Martin Kozloff
What is an Educrat?    

Reading and Language Arts:  The research is unequivocal: direct instruction in systematic, explicit phonics is the best way to teach children to read.  And struggling readers need it the most.  But many educators continue to resist this approach to reading instruction, because it contradicts their image of the child as a "natural" learner.   Arm yourself with information about the "Great Debate" here.

Math:  Cedar Rapids is finally taking notice of the math education controversy that has polarized communities across the nation for almost a decade.  Since the adoption of "fuzzy" math curricula, computation scores have dropped while problem solving scores remain mediocre.  Learn more about the state of math education locally and nationwide.

Evidence and Research in Education:  One of the fundamental problems with contemporary education has been the refusal of educational decision makers to base policy on sound scientific research.   This is slowly changing because of legislation and public pressure, but many educators continue to resist adoption of scientifically based teaching methods, such as Direct Instruction.  Find out what the experts say about evidence and research.

Educational Philosophy and Pedagogy:  Claims of "child-centered" learning, "progressive" schools following "best practices" and "constructivism" sound impressive to the uninitiated.  However, the real research on pedagogy demonstrates that these practices are actually the least effective ways of fostering academic achievement. 

Cedar Rapids Area School Issues: Includes information about local issues, links to Cedar Rapids Gazette articles, local test score data, and more.

Standards:  Iowa is the only state in the nation that does not have statewide standards. 

School Choice:  School choice, in the form of vouchers and charter schools, have been very successful in many communities.  Although Iowa now has a charter school law, it is among the weakest in the country, and will do little to improve choice for Iowans.  Learn more about school choice issues here.

See what other communities are doing: Many other communities share similar concerns.  This page provides a collection of links to websites created by other communities, as well as national organizations interested in education reform.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
-- Margaret Mead


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Parents for Evidence Based Education
PO Box 11144
Cedar Rapids, IA 52410-1144
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updated: September 3, 2003