Sunday, March 16, 2008

So What is the Seattle Math Plan Now???

Dear Directors of Seattle Schools , 3-16-2008

The following information from the MSSG report may be of help to you.

Al Tucker's ending comments in the MSSG study "What is Important in School Mathematics? " follow.
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In most states, committees to make up such standards are composed overwhelmingly of school teachers and lay people. This reflects a belief among elected officials and state education departments that school mathematics standards are a relatively straightforward matter. As noted in the lead chapter, the authors of this report disagree strongly with this viewpoint. We believe that creating good school mathematics standards and associated curricula is an intellectually complicated project requiring the best mathematical minds.
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So let us look at the Math Adoption Processes in Seattle that have produced recommendations so far removed from the NCTM Focal Points issued in September of 2006 and the National Math Panel Recommendations of March 13, 2008.

Although I am talking about selecting curricula not creating it, look at what has happened. It is both startling and troubling that High School Math Department heads have such little say in math text selections. What best mathematical minds are making these selections?? It is certainly appears that districts are not following the advice of knowledgeable mathematicians in their curricular selections. Both Seattle and Olympia have defied the wisdom of their High School math department heads in recent adoptions. Preferring to follow the misguided direction provided by their experts who know little math content compared to their high school department heads. I urge you to stop making our children fodder in the UW's quest for NSF grants by using materials that have clearly demonstrated they do not work.

Remember the Saxon in Tacoma comparison with CMP2 in Seattle.

You really need to trash the entire K-12 program and start over as your current direction is nowhere near the national math panel recommendations.

Given that the district had specifically stated that they we interested in closing the achievement gap, why do we keep using and selecting materials that clearly widen rather than close achievement gaps?

Can anyone at the SPS apply the relevant statistics to math selections.
This clearly has not happened in recent years.

The game of follow the leader, OSPI, in math selections must end. The OSPI failed standards are trashed. It is way past time to stop adopting the texts that OSPI recommended as aligned as those produced this disaster, and will continue to damage Seattle children if left unchanged.

The is no modification possible for Everyday Math it is simply a text that should be avoided. It would have been avoided if the school board had made a decision based on relevant data presented prior to May 30th, 2007.

So what is the plan now?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dr. Bergerson,
Subject: Regarding your choice in selecting Dr. Treisman and Dr. Warfield as advisors on mathematics education.
1. As usual, your judgment flies in the face of reason. How can their expertise be greater than the combined expertise of the Chairs at the CUNY senior colleges, a large group of distinguished mathematicians at the Courant Institute, and now 60 University of Washington Faculty? This is ludicrous. Plainly, you have not consulted with the ‘other’ mathematics experts. Despite public appeals to do so, you have caused even greater harm to Washington’s children.
2. You are ignorant of the fact NSF funding of NCTM reform math is surrounded in controversy regarding the integrity of the Education and Human Resources Division (EHR) within the NSF. In fact, many of those same people are present in Washington directing MSP grants and using financial incentives to lure school districts into purchasing the same poorly written textbooks that have now become the ‘Dog and Pony Roadshow’ of public education’s critics. Are you daff?
3. The common perception at NSF is that the EHR division is a constant source of both embarrassment and amusement. Sparing no expense, for the last five decades. they have liberally funded development, implementation, and evaluation of all experimental and content deficient ‘constructivist’ math programs including Everyday Math, Connected math, and IMP. To date there is not one solid piece of research, yet to be produced, that supports any of the reform math programs.
3. Funding for the last ten years has averaged about $1 Billion per year. The full research effort supported with NSF dollars still has not produced a shred of scientific research that would justify adopting a standardized-math program.
4. Finally, this is not only my opinion. These are the findings of the National Research Council released in 2004 by the National Academies that pointed out in simple detail how all 13 NSF funded mathematics programs lacked scientifically valid evaluation studies.