Saturday, January 5, 2008

Texas Math Action reveals OSPI conflict of interest By Dr Bergeson

From the archives:
Texas School Districts Reject “Fuzzy Math” Textbooks
May 24, 1999
Major Defeat for Statewide Systemic Initiative
By Texas Public Policy Foundation

San Antonio
– According to an analysis of recent math textbook selections, Texas school districts have overwhelmingly rejected the latest fad in math instruction. Sometimes called “fuzzy math,” “whole math,” and “new new math,” textbooks based on this pedagogical approach received only 4% of the textbook orders for second grade math, 2% for fifth grade math, and 5.6% for seventh grade math. Ironically, those promoting this approach refer to it as “standards-based math”.

This rejection is particularly significant given the fact that this instructional approach was heavily promoted throughout the state by the Texas Statewide Systemic Initiative (SSI), with funding from the National Science Foundation, operated by the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin - both groups publicly funded by tax dollars.

“We are happy to see this educational fad bite the Texas dust. Fuzzy math has been shown to hurt children academically, especially disadvantaged and minority students. Thanks to discerning textbook committees in our school districts, parents can breathe a sigh of relief,” commented J.C. Bowman, TPPF Director of Research.

Parents should watch for signs that their children are enrolled in “standards-based” math programs when students: Direct their own learning; work in groups to teach one another; construct their own math language, facts, and computations; are not taught or required to memorize facts or formulas; are taught to use calculators as the first and primary form of computation; and, are taught that deriving correct solutions lacks importance.

TPPF, along with two other organizations Mathematically Correct and Education Connection of Texas released an analysis earlier this year to provide parents and school officials the information needed to make informed selections of elementary and middle school math textbooks. The analysis was sent to all school districts and local school board members throughout Texas and encouraged use of a “classical” instructional approach characterized by curricula that is taught directly, systematically, and incrementally in small structured and guided steps that progress from basic to more complex learning; instruction focused on specific academic content (not process or outcomes); repetition, practice, and memorization used to derive automaticity; and students receive immediate feedback and correction.

The “fuzzy math” textbooks that were unsuccessfully promoted by the Statewide Systemic Initiative and Charles A. Dana Center were: (second grade books) Everyday Mathematics published by Everyday Learning Corporation; and Investigations in Number, Data and Space published by Addison Wesley Longman; (fifth grade books) Everyday Mathematics; and Investigations in Number, Data and Space; (seventh grade books) Math Thematics published by McDougal Littell; and Connected Mathematics published by Addison Wesley Longman.
Texas Public Policy Foundation

This is amazing. Not only did Dr. Bergeson accept a late bid from the Dana Center for over $500,000 more than the second low bidder and over $600,000 more than the low bidder the experienced StandardsWorks in at $130,000, but in doing so she selected an organization, Charles A. Dana Center, far from the expected neutrality required in this game.

Clearly Dr. Bergeson, who with help from other experts (???), produced enormous confusion in Mathematics in Washington State over the last 10 years is failing to take responsibility for her part. She chooses instead to continue forcing teachers and students along her failed math path with only minor modifications. Look at her failure to speak out this spring as Bethel, Seattle, and Issaquah adopted Everyday Math, which is a very aligned text with Washington's failed math standards. If Dr Bergeson had planned to change things significantly would she not have urged districts to wait rather than lead them to believe things would be little changed? It appears she does not plan on playing her assigned role from SHB 1906. Dr Bergeson is now ignoring the law and directing not just the Washington Math Standards rewrite but also rewriting the role assigned her by SHB 1906. If 1906 is completed according to the legislature's plan before the end of school year 2007-2008, Washington will have new math standards and recommended text selections for schools.

Apparently Dr Bergeson has planned to have Everyday Math on this recommended text list for a long, long time. Hey wait, aren't the text selections supposed to happen later?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Standards is a political issue - The Texas Public Policy Institute advocates free choice while the Charles Dana Center in Austin advocates standardized math. What gives? These institutes are advocating racialist policies. Choice is not what poor people have or desire. Keep public education free. It worked before and it will work again. The exemplary textbooks was a scheme devised during the Reagan years to destroy confidence in public education. Michael Scribner did the debriefing for the exemplary textbook committee members. Rod Paige, former sec of education and former Austin School Superintendent was also present. His district was accused on his watch of misrepresenting the achievement levels of students in his district. The full misrpresentation of the math and science programs may never be completely uncovered, but much of it is outright fraud or of the poorest standard in research. I would begin with the NSF and Project 2061. I especially like the study that cites OSPI as its reference - Matched study of 22 washington high schools comparing textbooks to WASL test scores - that one gets used over and over. Its written by the regional textbook consultant - and his cousin pays school districts to buy the textbooks - absolute nepotism. Royalties - that's what the authors got and they sold our schools short. So unfair and undeserving - what a wicked bunch. Listen to your kids, the books are a pile of kak. There is no social contract in the classroom if the textbooks and teaching methods fail to teach kids. Fire Bergerson and the swine who created this fine mess. They made billions hoodwinking schools and made them into ghettos.