Thursday, January 3, 2008

Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe meets with math concerned constituents

State Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe convened with 14 Northshore School District community members at the Bothell Police Station on Dec. 15 to discuss their concerns about the current NSD math programs, which were implemented as a result of state education policies in the last decade.

This diverse group ranged from elementary teachers to a university professor and Fred Hutchinson researcher, several engineers, a former attorney, business owners and executives, a nurse and some stay-at-home parents.

Their testimonies were clearly heartfelt and compelling. These stories encompassed the heartbreaking, where a business owner shared how a mother wept at her elementary child’s being tutored in math and having to pay $350 each month for the service.

A math teacher spoke of being guilt ridden when his son notified him of failing his college math entry exam and being placed in remedial math. He had entrusted his son’s high school math teachers to provide proper instruction on math and had not realized how insubstantial his son’s math program was.

In contrast, a retired Seattle school teacher, Carol Atkinson, shared how her elementary school deviated from her district’s mandated curriculum and successfully implemented Saxon Math to “teach children with severe learning disabilities as well as highly performing students.”

Sen. McAuliffe, who heads the Senate Education Committee, is among the legislators leading the path for revising and improving the current state (K-12) math education standards. During the last legislative session a bipartisan effort resulted in SHB 1906, which mandated that the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), led by Supt. Terry Bergeson, investigate, recommend, rewrite and oversee implementation of new state math standards that are comparable to high math achieving national and international standards.

During the summer, the State Board of Education (SBE) oversaw work by Strategic Teaching, which made recommendations to the current math standards that were widely supported by parent groups, bipartisan members of legislature and the business community. Some of the findings from the recommendations ( stated the state standards were severely lacking in rigor, content, clarity, specificity and measurability.

Furthermore, it was stated the state standards were heavily focused on conceptual knowledge and neglected the need for mastery of computational skills using standard math algorithms, thus creating a highly unbalanced math standard. Steve Wilson, professor of mathematics at Johns Hopkins University, was among the pivotal members in evaluating the state’s math standards.

Currently, OSPI has contracted the Dana Center (Texas) to facilitate rewriting the math standards. Dana has released its first standard draft (, which has been critically reviewed by the math advocacy group Where’s the Math? ( WTM recently issued its concerns to SBE, the legislature, and OSPI that the draft had not satisfactorily and successfully achieved those recommendations from the SBE.

In light of the concerns she heard from those at the meeting, Sen. McAuliffe stated, “The legislature and SBE are prepared to take action if we are not satisfied with the new math standards. We have several options available that we can consider.”

The community is counting on the senator to keep her word.

Submitted by:

Lying (Lyng) Wong
Bothell, WA

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Treisman was Plano's key witness in a lawsuit concerning testing. The case was settled and did not go to trial. You can bet Treisman is here in Washington for that very reason.

This was an interview with the TAAS attorney:

I was in sixth grade we had tracking, and in the top classes you got a pretty decent education. The bottom classes didn�t; the dropout rates were terrible. The dropout rates are still bad. That�s one of the real tragedies. There are a lot of missing kids. The TEA has been so terrible about covering that up.

TO: The Obfuscation Society?

AK: You bet. In the TAAS case, one of the state�s experts was Uri Treisman from the Dana Center at UT-Austin. They get millions from TEA and he is their big defender of the testing system. Even he said that he could not defend their dropout numbers. TEA changes its definition of a dropout almost almost every year. It�s a tragedy.

The dropout data in washington is very sketchy. Poor alternative and remedial programs. The numbers on the OSPI report card web site are a masquerade. Steps have been taken by administrators to hide low scores or not even test some students. Stop the holding tanks and dropout mills. They're a disgrace to minorities.

Bergerson should resign and the legislator should vote for an investigation into the possibility of fraud. There is a complete lack of public confidence in OSPI. There is absolutely no community oversight in some districts. The accreditation in this state is a sham. How is the Pugest Sound MSP connected to the textbook industry? Its a family thing and research like - Matched Study comparing 22 High schools to WASL results is a sham. It uses as its reference the OSPI website.

No standards for education research - charlatans and racehaters. A disgrace to the profession.