I find it peculiar for the SBE to be in such a hurry to create the next crisis. Can some one please forward me the data that can be intelligently applied to reach this decision of Algebra II required for HS graduation? The extended rant that follows this seven point introduction contains lots of data and reasons not to do this. I will be happy to forward any additional data or sources to which I refer.

Overview

Revising the high school standards will be an excellent start if they are internationally competitive. At this time it remains to be seen if appropriate curricular materials will be put in place and whether the current infrastructure is sufficient or can be made sufficient to produce anticipated improvements in mathematics.**An Algebra II graduation requirement is not advised for a variety of reasons.**

1.

**It fails to take into account the poor mathematical content preparation of our teaching force.**When compared with high performing nations like Singapore, Finland, and Korea, we are ill prepared to teach math. Although 62% of our WA teaching force has Masters degrees, the over-emphasis on process and neglect of core knowledge has the teaching force unprepared to teach math very well. Many teachers are math content deficient and the supply will likely remain so for some time as replacement teachers will often be Washington High School graduates.

2.

**It fails to take into account the current tremendous knowledge and skill deficits in math of at least 50% of our students.**If you cannot get k-3 right the rest is a guaranteed disaster.

3.

**The idea that high school graduation implies College Ready has never been true**and this very thought stems from a myopic view of population variability.

4.

**I believe it is absolutely essential that each child be placed in a situation where with effort they can succeed.**This has not been done recently and it appears there is no plan to do so in the future.

5.

**An Algebra II requirement is unlikely to change anything other than greatly increasing a high drop out rate and assuring that Authentic Algebra II will be even harder to find in the future than currently**.

6. We should now be entering big time math repair mode. Students have a great diversity of needs and talents.

**Our job is to educate each child. Equality of opportunity should mean allowing each child to maximize their potential instead it appears we are trying to assure equal outcomes**. The thinking process behind increased requirements like Algebra II for all is destroying and will continue to destroy the equality of opportunity for many children.

7. The idea that children rise to higher expectations is total nonsense unless the children have adequate supports in place to reach those higher expectations. We have yet to demonstrate that we can provide such supports.

**We have yet to demonstrate ever teaching much math successfully to significantly more than half the full student population**. This is an unreasonable ill-advised mandate at this time.

My complete rant follows

I am greatly concerned about the possible content of the third math credit.**At this time I see that decisions may be influenced by numbers but not by true attribution analysis.**Nationally and locally we are living through a colossal math failure.

**I believe the primary cause of this failure was a complete disregard by decision makers to intelligently apply the relevant data.**In our state we have collected hardly any relevant data for three years. This tragedy will hardly have a decent resolution should this failure to make intelligent applications continue.

This is the first time I’ve carefully examined the Power Point from:

**Math Update to the Legislature**January 24, 2008

Found at http://www.sbe.wa.gov/

under math update to legislature

Why Algebra II? Preparing Students for Success

(slide 16 and following)

After teaching in four states at a large variety of diverse locations,

**I notice that the failure to use the principles of attribution analysis are producing what I believe are erroneous recommendations that will harm a large number of students rather than help them.**

I base my thoughts not just on data analysis, but also on my career experiences that include the following:

1) Teaching 21 seventh grade students in rural Idaho who initially were substantially lower in math skills as measured by annual standardized testing than in language skills and continuing as their math teacher in 8th grade. Students from this class include one internationally successful architect, one electrical engineer, a grocery store owner/manager, a mortician, a successful farmer, a successful cattle rancher, and two others with college degrees requiring intensive math. I have not accounted for all 21 students – there may be more very technically competent members from this group of 21.

2)

**Pre-high school adequate foundational math preparation is extremely important. This is far more important than a blanket Algebra II requirement.**None of the above group of 21 had Algebra II required, but they did have a very intensive rigorous two-year study of authentic mathematics in seventh and eighth grades.

3) Teaching summer school in South Central LA at the corner of Martin Luther King and Main Street.

4) Teaching at Bellflower MS/HS on the former Compton Blvd. just East of Paramount and Compton CA

5) Teaching a large Hispanic population at Royal High School in Eastern WA.

6) Teaching at Fife High School where about 50% of the students were in Algebra I as 10th graders. There I designed and implemented a changed Algebra I program. WASL math 10th grade scores dropped from 30.1% at level 1 to 16.2% at level 1 and level 4 scores rose from 16.9% to 26.6%

10th Grade Math - For Fife High School

Year ........District ....... State

1998-99 ... 40.2% ... 33.0%

1999-00 ... 41.3% ... 35.0%

2000-01 ... 40.3% ... 38.9%

2001-02 ... 44.5% ... 37.3%

2002-03 ... 53.2% ... 39.4%

2003-04 ... 44.6% ... 43.9% ..FHS level 1 : FHS level 4

2004-05 ... 47.7% ... 47.5% ...... 30.1% ..... 16.9%

2005-06 ... 56.8% ... 51.0% ...... 16.2% ..... 26.6%

2006-07 ... 44.7% ... 50.4% ...... 25.4% ..... 11.8%

**Typical of many School Systems, where professional prejudice far out weighs results, the program that began in the 2005-2006 school year was discarded for the 2006-2007 school year**. Also of interest is the fact that 2006-2007 was the first year of WASL support classes at FHS. The data above for 2006-2007 looks more like WASL score demolition than support.

7) In 2006-2007 at West Seattle High School, I was teaching Pathways Math, a special program aimed largely at 11th graders who had scored at level 1 on the tenth grade WASL. This was when it was believed that students would need to pass the 10th grade math WASL to graduate.

8) Currently I am the Segmented Math teacher at the Alternative High School for Individuals in the Clover Park School District.

**Segmented Math materials are based on the Math Modules that Wade Cole of WSIPP found largely ineffective as an intervention.**This program is no longer funded as the PAS program funding disappeared for the 2008-2009 school year. That is a good thing as

**OSPI has demonstrated that custom Washington materials are expensive and ineffective**. The Student Learning Opportunities funding provided by the legislature should be a much better use of resources.

My Analysis of the current situation:

1)**OSPI’s most aligned math materials were most destructive for Black, Hispanic, and Low Income students**. {I’ve done significant statistical analysis on Seattle, Bellevue, and Clover Park were these most aligned programs were heavily used and the math gaps increased annually for Low Income and Non-Asian minority students.}

**These materials were selected from the list of Exemplary and Promising Math Programs of 1999 US Dept. of ED. Recommendations that were based on NO field data. In fact these still have no evidence of success.**

The following statement was taken from a publication written in 2006 by Sandra Stotsky of the National Math Advisory Panel:

………the status of the body of research in mathematics education. It is much smaller and newer than the body of research on reading and,

**by itself, does not provide sufficient evidence to guide policy or practice**. Moreover, after a comprehensive review of the studies evaluating the 13 mathematics curricula funded by the National Science Foundation and six publisher-generated programs produced during the 1990s, the reviewing committee concluded that

**no valid body of studies supports the effectiveness of any of those programs**.

(National Research Council, 2004).

2)

**The Seattle Schools k-8 math program has been in such disarray for the last decade that now 50% of the children entering 9th grade have little if any hope of passing an Authentic Algebra Class.**Success in such a class is a primary focus of the National Math Advisory Panel.

3) Slide #20 states that: Requiring Algebra II will help ensure they don’t have to take remedial math when they get there (to college).

Fact: at Seattle Central Community College data complied over four years showed that recent high school graduates place into a college level math class at a 22% rate. Particularly disturbing is the fact that a full 50% of entering recent HS grads can not place above the equivalent of a high school math one class and a full 20% of recent grads are placed below the equivalent of high school math one.

**This problem has its origin long before high school**. In Seattle the k-8 grade level promotion /non-promotion policies D43.00, D44.00, and D45.00 are routinely ignored and have been for over a decade. In particular the statement of grade level Necessary Skills (there are none), the requirement to test for those skills (it does not happen), the implementation of effective intervention programs for those not attaining the necessary skills (can not happen as there are no skills listed or tested), the usual non-promotion of those students not attaining the required skills (does not happen).

**There are now massive numbers of mathematically unskilled children through out this state.**

Slide #24:

**Percentage of students who feel that they would have worked harder if schools had demanded more of students is 80+%**.

To attribute the above as

**a call for Algebra II is without foundation**. I see the above as far more likely to be

**a request to end the blatant social promotions of unskilled students from grade to grade**.

**An Algebra II requirement is unlikely to change anything other than greatly increasing the drop out rate and assure that Authentic Algebra II will be even harder to find than currently**.

Seattle is poised to adopt Interactive Math Program materials for high school

**completing their plan of no Authentic Algebra ever**. This IMP program defers the distributive property at best a seventh grade topic until the second year of a four-year high school program.

In testimony before the Senate Ed committee Shannon Edwards, of Chief Leschi Schools, spoke in favor of the Algebra II requirement. Under questioning from Senator Joseph Zarelli she said:

**“no not an easier algebra II than you took in high school but a different Algebra II”**.

The WASL Math pass rates at the Chief Leschi Schools:

10th Grade Math - Chief Leschi -

Year .......... School

1999-00 ..... 6.7%

2000-01 ..... 0.0%

2002-03 ..... 0.0%

2003-04 ... 10.3%

2004-05 ..... 5.3%

2005-06 ..... 8.9%

2006-07 ... 11.5%

The idea that children rise to higher expectations is total nonsense unless the children have adequate supports in place to reach those higher expectations.

**Huge numbers of children have been denied an opportunity to succeed mathematically due to the prejudices of educational decision makers**. In mathematics education we are in a chaotic mess largely produced by supposed

**math education experts – many of whom are without math degrees**– Dr Ruth Parker springs immediately to mind.

**To escape this mess will require a lot more thought from mathematically competent professionals than is currently being given to remedy this situation**. OSPI and the Dana Center’s Standards Revision Team had only one technical professional from industry a PhD Micro-biologist. In 2004 the NSF funded Mathematics Standards Study Group produced an excellent document to guide any state in the revision of their Math Standards it specifically stated:

--------

**The design of school mathematics standards and curriculum is a very complex, intellectually challenging task**. We offer the following advice about this task.

A. States should seek out the best mathematical thinkers from schools, higher education and the private sector to serve on committees to design school mathematics standards and curriculum.

The outstanding credentials of members of such committees must reflect the intellectually challenging nature of designing of school mathematics standards and curricula. ……... These panels are chosen free of input from governmental officials or interest groups.

Such an expert panel for school mathematics would ideally be composed of distinguished scholars in mathematics and in mathematics education, along with representatives from the schools where the instruction occurs-- practicing teachers-- and representatives from companies and institutions who employ graduates-- mathematical experts from the private sector. The expertise of these groups is needed to design a focused, incremental curriculum, as outlined in the previous section, and to resolve conflicting objectives, e.g., simplicity and age-appropriateness versus mathematical correctness and completeness.

--------

**Since the Strategic Teaching hand off of the Standards improvement to OSPI about a cool million has been wasted because of OSPI’s failure to follow HB 1906, Strategic Teaching recommendations and The MSSG advice.**

**We should now be entering big time math repair mode. I see the Algebra II requirement as written as continuing the nonsense and as an absolute disconnect from reality.**

Students have a great diversity of needs and talents.

**Our job is to educate each child. Equality of opportunity should mean allowing each child to maximize their potential instead it appears we are trying to assure equal outcomes. This process is destroying and will continue to destroy the equality of opportunity for many children**.

If you wish to begin repair, I urge you to do no further damage. An excellent start would be to heed what can be learned from Project Follow Through, The MSSG recommendations, and the National Mathematics Advisory Panel report.

PFT was the largest study in the history of education and focused specifically on improving learning in grades k-3. It has been continually ignored in Seattle and throughout most of the state much to the detriment of our children. This pattern of ignoring the obvious is rampant in USA math education, often because of NSF funded programs by NSF HED. Most of the curricula recommendations that came out of the UW College of Education have not produced improvement, because initial success was based on a variety of other interventions that could not be replicated elsewhere when the curricula were put in place. Insufficient attribution analysis was done on what really produced the supposed improvement in the experimental setting. From my participation in the PD^3 project thru UW it is clear that so many other helpful interventions are put in place that there can be no accurate way to attribute anything to the curricula or particular practices as there are too many uncontrolled variables.

**Look at the result of the Seattle Public Schools close alliance with the UW → Ten years of a continually widening achievement gap for Black, Hispanic, and Low Income students in Mathematics.**

Slde #23

(1) More low-income students complete college when they take a rigorous high school curriculum.

(2) Actors who graduate from Julliard are more likely to win Oscars and have greater lifetime earnings than those who do not.

(3) People taller than 6 foot 6 inches have a greater likelihood of success in the NBA than those under 5 foot 10 inches in height.

**The above three statements I believe are all equally irrelevant to whether a child should be denied the opportunity to attain a high school diploma because of an Algebra II math skill deficit**. Such a requirement will either produce more algebra II nonsense curricula or increase an already too high drop out rate or both.

**The requirement to pass an Authentic Algebra class would be an incredible upgrade from our current situation and require a great deal of focused attention to successfully bring about.**Remember at this time 50% of tenth graders are unable on first try to pass WASL Math grade 10 in which 83% of the Algebra is rated at a pre-algebra level. The attempts by Dr Bergeson and others to minimize our current math crisis condition should not lead anyone to believe that Authentic Algebra II is just around the corner for 100% of the students. This stands on a historical par with WPPSS’s attempt to build 5 nuclear plants when they had never built one successfully – that turned into an enormous financial default.

**The idea of an Algebra II graduation requirement at this time appears built on the same foundation as the WPPSS debacle**. We have yet to demonstrate ever teaching much math successfully to more than half the student population. It is difficult to fly to the moon when you cannot leave the ground.

The demand for a significant improvement in student math skills has been largely unsuccessful.

**Until OSPI and the SBE come to the realization that the job is to radically improve instruction based on the individual needs of each student little overall improvement will be seen and drop out rates will continue at the current unacceptable levels or increase**.

Math Leadership in education in this state has been irresponsible for at least a decade punishing even more children for a decade of administrators’ failures is beyond belief.

**I believe it is absolutely essential that each child be placed in a situation where with effort they can succeed. This has not been done recently and it appears there is no plan to do so in the future.**

My recommendations are:

1) Implement MAP testing Statewide and use it as a measure of AYP ( as soon as possible). Yearly progress needs to be measured by each student’s progress not by jumping over an arbitrary bar.2) In the electronic age make lots of student data available online to colleges and employers with applicant permission. This gives colleges and employers what they want in the way of information about student skills and performance. This will produce much more accountability for both student and school. Course ending test scores would be wonderful.

3) Require School Districts to either actively enforce their policies or revise or abandon them. Currently if you read and believe the Seattle School District policies D43.00 D44.00 D45.00 and D46.00, you will be the clear victim of academic fraud.

4) Be sure that teachers and administrators are aware of the State classroom disruption law RCW 28A 600.020 and that accompanying laws are also followed. The practice of making life miserable for teachers who wish to use this law must be stopped.

5) Use some of the language of Seattle’s neglected policy D45.00 to bring about the working harder referenced in Slide #24:

Percentage of students who feel that they would have worked harder if schools had demanded more of students is 80+%.

6) Start using data to drive decisions and realize there is very little relevant data available at this time.

**To advocate for a major change like Algebra II required for graduation without any relevant data is inexcusable and a continuation of extremely poor decision-making practices**. Dr Bergeson states that our SAT participation rate is 70% (it is really 53%). The Iowa tests were discontinued after spring 2005. NMAP wants the NAEP test changed. There is no need to hurry up and make the next big mistake.

I recently attended a High School Principals meeting in Renton where SBE’s Mary Jean Ryan spoke as well as a representative of the Higher Ed board and various others. I was shocked to see that High School graduation requirements are morphing into assuring College Ready at high school graduation. This is unrealistic nonsense and fails to recognize differing maturity rates as well as interests. It certainly reinforces my belief that decision-makers have an extremely narrow view of the diversity of individuals attending school.

Still sadly missing is the idea that adequate funding and well planned and carefully devised programs will be required to effectively bring about significant positive changes in mathematics …….

**The disconnection from reality is shocking but hardly unusual**

**. This was nicely brought into focus by Garfield Principal Ted Howard’s question: “This is nice but what about the other 50% of students?” That would certainly have been seconded by Stadium High's principal had it been in the form of a motion.**

I remain concerned not just about decisions but also about the process that seems to continually produce such poor ones.

7) Three years of required math in high school is a fine idea except at this current time for many students

**Singapore Math grades 3, 4, and 5 would be a much more accurate placement than Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II**. I am completely serious about this. It is time for an intense reality check.

8) Please carefully study the relevant data (that can be found) and intelligently apply it. This has clearly not been done with any recommendation for Algebra II as a High School graduation requirement.

**The appalling lack of attribution analysis in the Power Point of January 24, 2008 is typical of what passes for supposed intelligent data based decision-making in education. Graphs, data, numbers, etc. are continually tossed into the air by Edu-Crats, in supposed support of their various philosophically biased thesis statements. Our ongoing crises are bound to continue with such leadership so prevalent in education.**

"To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data"

--- W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993)

Sincerely,

Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

dempsey_dan@yahoo.com

Teacher at the Alternative for Individuals High School

Clover Park School District

Lakewood, WA

## 5 comments:

The SBE does not realize that what students learn in IMP3 is not the same as INT3 is not the same as Algebra 2.

By the third year of high school, there is such a diverse range of skills and non-skills that I don't see how anyone could say kids were learning the same thing.

The SBE overlooks the majority of students struggle passing IMP1 and INT1.

The SBE overlooks children struggling to learn algebra in support programs, like Alt Ed.

I don't understand either.

This game supposedly could change radically. The new standards will likely precisely describe what should be learned in an Algebra II class.

If you look at the NMAP description of Authentic Algebra. It becomes really clear that the only use for Core-Plus and IMP will be for garden mulch.

It also is crystal clear that by extension from the Authentic Algebra description there is no way the SBE has any idea of what they think 100% of the children should be doing.

Remember the number of individuals of the SBE with degrees in mathematically technical fields and using them is zero.

These folks can likely not do Algebra II. They are now beginning to convince me they can't even recognize the topics if they are recommending this for a graduation requirement.

I think you are right, perhaps without realizing it, they've rendered standardized textbooks obsolete. I wonder what the progressive math folks are thinking now?

It would be interesting to see if the WASL gets revised to reflect the higher standards? or if it remains unchanged?

This seems like a split personality disorder - if one arm of the government knows what the other arm is doing.

I like the addition of an extra year of math - in our day it was the standard. I probably won't be satisfied with the solution - either do nothing (usual) or revert to traditional curriculum.

Not choosing a curriculum like Singapore is sort of like saying Americans aren't as intelligent as Singaporans?

This is a dilemma. Rhetoric and ideas don't move kids through school. There has to be practical application somewhere. Why are we paying idiots like Treisman to tell us kids aren't learning in the US and he's not responsible.

If you sent him and his buds over to Singapore, they'd say the same nonsense - "IMP and Core Plus teach kids how to think." They won't say what they think about. So yes, kids are always thinking, but its not about math.

Progressive math is US propaganda for a dumb society.

1... The WASL will be revised to reflect the New Standards. The huge fight over the OSPI (fraudulent selection of the Dana Center not even considered nor the OSPI packing of the Standards Revision Team with supporters of the current failing programs) directed content in the standards was precisely because:

a.. The Standards will hopefully drive the textbooks selected (this is what is theoretically to happen; but since OSPI selects these teams also - unless Dr Bergeson has learned something in the last 6 months - it may be deja Vu all over again).

b.. The Revised WASL will be driven by the Standards.

Since Ms Plattner ( ... so smart she surrounds herself with real experts - Maybe someone in this state will eventually try that!!!) employs W. Stephen Wilson PhD as one of her team currently fixing the Standards that OSPI spent about a cool million to produce. The New WA Math Standards will reflect a lot of the Nation Math Panel thinking, which is 180 degree away from OSPI thinking of the last decade.

The split personality disorder to which you refer is a characteristic of Education in the USA where philosophical alignment, publisher profits, and the advancement of politically correct administrators trumps intelligently applied relevant data every single time.

Hop on over to Beth's Ending Math Wars piece at the Seattle Schools Blog and read the post and latest comments.

You said...

....

I like the addition of an extra year of math - in our day it was the standard. I probably won't be satisfied with the solution - either do nothing (usual) or revert to traditional curriculum.This was supposed to be all about Standards driving the curriculum outcomes and the choice of how to do it in the hands of the trained professionals, which is exactly what "Where's the Math?" has continually advocated in favor of doing.

So first we get Bergeson saying the line about a traditional and a reform in each of the three selections. Wow she has not seen the New Standards since they do not exist. She won't be on the Material Selection Teams, so how does she know this? Now Rosalind "politically correct always facing down wind" Wise is saying exactly the same thing.

Here are the actual problems with those statements:

1.. in Elementary the Reform math kids attempt to learn mental math facts and then receive calculators to go blazing off through a myriad of topics. That can not possibly match with NMAP recommendations and by extension the New Standards.

2.. look at the description of Authentic Algebra preparation and wave goodbye to Connected Math.

3.. look at the topics described in Authentic Algebra described by NMAP. Wave goodbye to Core-Plus and IMP.

At the K-12 Standards roll out at Roosevelt HS (before our legislature ripped this process away from OSPI), Dr Bergeson stated that if EM and CMP were not on the Selected Materials list OSPI would put together a support team for users of those materials to help them adapt to the new standards. Her justification was that these were the most commonly used curricula in the State.

Contrast her statements with the statements 12 months ago on the need for a more unified program to help students moving from district to district. What is that EM team going to do arrive at each school with box cutters for all and guide the teachers through the selected removal of 75+% of the pages in each book.

you said ...

...

Not choosing a curriculum like Singapore is sort of like saying Americans aren't as intelligent as Singaporeans?No its like saying the Edu-Crats do not wish to use the relevant data available at an increasing number of sites that shows the top curriculum in the world can be successfully implemented even in our math sorry nation, when enough attention is paid to successful implementation focusing carefully on a few instructional techniques and a lot of math content.

Our local math gurus only know how the focus 100% on instructional techniques many of which are mumbo-jumbo and 0% on math content. Perhaps the reason for this is a decade of putting philosophically aligned but often mathematically ignorant personnel in place in decision-making and training positions.

We have one huge infrastructure mess at this time....

Not choosing a curriculum like Singapore is saying American Edu-Crats do not know as much math content as Singaporeans, and you can't teach or train those to teach content you do not know, so we are not going there.Check Ms Santorno's careful avoidance of the Sigapore supplement promised....

Why are we paying idiots like Treisman to tell us kids aren't learning in the US and he's not responsible. Because every Edu-Crat in the nation likes riding on the NSF gravy train and comfortable habits are hard to break, especially when there is no wish to do so. Until Congress tells the NSF there will be no funding of programs in direct opposition to the NMAP recommendations look for gravy train riders to continue the comfortable ride that takes us further into national math oblivion.If you sent him and his buds over to Singapore, they'd say the same nonsense - "IMP and Core Plus teach kids how to think." They won't say what they think about. So yes, kids are always thinking, but its not about math.Read my comments about Japan and the 2002 standards change under Beth's Math piece for April 2 on her Blog.

Progressive math is US propaganda for a dumb society.Keeps the publishing industry healthy and assures Microsoft et al. of more Visas for Asians.

Nice wrap up of the situation in Math LaLaland - didn't the Greeks have a battle cry - Alala Alala. I wonder if its related. Anyways, a hunting we will go....

"March on the double time."

Progressivists with their fuzzy arrows can't hit s...

Post a Comment