Parent questions math curriculum at Katy schools

- A Katy parent is rallying others to get involved in his visit to Austin this week. John Pendergraff wants better curriculum in public schools, especially in math, and he's sharing with other parents his way of going right to the source.

"With so much of the work I've seen my daughter bring home, getting the right answer is irrelevant," says Pendergraff in an interview with FOX 26 News. Pendergraff is a mechanical engineer, but he doesn't recognize what's being called math in public school. He says it's become more about various ways to solve a problem, and he has one of his daughter's tests that show it's not about crunching the numbers.

"It was a multiple guess test," he says. "You had a one-in-four chance of getting any of them right. She told me she basically looked at the answers, and picked the one that made the most sense. She didn't necessarily know how to work the problems."

Pendergraff has found hope for a change by going straight to the Texas State Board of Education, the SBOE. He believes about half of the board members now realize there is a problem with math.

"Some people on the board have told me, the more parents we hear from the better," says Pendergraff. "They want to hear what the parents are seeing. They want to hear our point of view."

Pendergraff says if you have any curriculum concern, the SBOE is the place to go. Local local school boards follow state imposed mandates, and, unlike his experience in Katy, the state school board meetings are less intimidating.

"Several people I saw, they let them have a few extra minutes," says Pendergraff. "They didn't turn off the microphone, and then there was a give and take question and answers afterwards." He's getting a group together for this week's SBOE meeting. Pendergraff says he'd like to make an impression about numbers, with numbers, and may bring a star witness along with him.

"I might take my daughter," says Pendergraff with a smile. "She is not afraid of speaking in public, and she's not afraid to tell you what she thinks of the math right now."

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