Saturday, May 31, 2008

Everybody Cheats especially the teachers
Wonderful System
No one wants to be Honest

Check this link HERE

That's Outrageous! Caught Cheating
Cheating is becoming a problem in schools across the country ... and teachers are the culprits.

By Michael Crowley

Edmonds SD coming Math Adoption IMPROVED

Check this Math Blog from Edmonds HERE

It looks like Edmonds is making the escape from reform math.

After this adoption they will have greatly improved Elementary and High School texts but they are weak linked by Connected Math at the middle school.


Friday, May 30, 2008

NMAP reporting in WA DC published 5-30-2008

CLICK HERE for the National Math Panel Report goes to Washington DC

from Ed News on May 30, 2008

Barry Garelick author

from the article it sounds like a lot of distortion occurred in the information given to the Congressional leaders in the House.....

from the article:

Mathematicians, educators and parents have been testifying in front of Committees for years about fuzzy math. But after attending last week's hearing full of praises for math coaches, technology, and interdisciplinary studies, the only thing I felt was missing was the ritual chorus line kick and singing of Kumbayaa by the Committee members.

I don't know what report the Committee was talking about, but what I heard that day didn't sound like the NMP report I've been reading.Skip Fennel, former president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and a former panel member lead the charge in testimony. While the NMP report talks about the need for more content knowledge among the teachers of mathematics, particularly at the elementary school level, Skip seemed to think that professional development of teachers and math coaches to help teachers were recommendations of the report.Or at least he made it sound that way.In fact, while the report does talk about the use of full-time elementary math teachers in light of having teachers who know the content they have to teach, it does not mention coaches or professional development programs.

Great Video Series from 4-24-2008

This is a wonderful primer on the Current USA Math situation.
These are videos from April 24, 2008.

1. Business Speakers

Dr. Craig R. Barrett ,Chairman Intel Corporation
Alfred R. Berkeley III (Moderator) Chairman, Pipeline Trading Systems, LLC
Joe Turnage Senior VP, Constellation Generation Group

2. Why U.S. students are falling behind

Dr. William H. Schmidt of Michigan State University

3. It's a New World Out There

Dr. R. James Milgram, Professor of Math at Stanford University

4. Math Education in Maryland

Dr. W. Stephen Wilson, Professor of Math at Johns Hopkins

5. Questions and Answers

Drs. Schmidt, Milgram and Wilson take questions from the attendees

I received the following from a You Tube viewer... Factor this comment in with the above:
In 6th grade I had Connected Math, and it was horrible. I am now in high school, going into honors geometry. I would never be here if my mom hadn't bought those Singapore Math books.

The following Parent Video is incredibly clear.... Unfortunately this lady in not a Superintendent nor was she on the Seattle School Board on May 30, 2007.

Watch this amazingly clear 5-minute video of a Parent.. CLICK HERE

Then think about Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson's Strategic Plan that has Everyday Math as its cornerstone on which Seattle will build Connected Math.... with that k-8 the district will then attempt to teach High School Math.
Good Luck with that plan.... Bill Schmidt would find the Everyday Math adoption as morally reprehensible... so why doesn't the School Board?... and why is the Superintendent basing a five year plan on one of the most pathetic math curricula available?

In Seattle Singapore Math was a tiny add on supplement and even that went largely unused. Singapore Math remains largely neglected by the SPS. Although Singapore Math was mentioned in the Superintendent's recent Strategic Plan. It continues to appear that Singapore is a minor Tambourine player in the background for Major Super Star Everyday Math...... at least until further notice.

Seattle is still without a plan for fixing Connected Math at grades 6,7,& 8.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

2 Million Minutes Interview

Check this more on Two Million Minutes

Finally a response from OSPI - 2 days late and only after prodding

Dear Mr. Dempsey,

My greatest apologies in the delay with the timeline. I certainly respect the timeframe you face and will continue to work with the program office and the agency to provide these documents as quickly as possible.

As previously communicated, due to the heavy workload by the program office, they required time to adequately determine the resources available to meet your request. Due their workload and staff commitments in May and June, plus the critical deadlines associated with the math trainings and events, the program office needs to use a phased approach to provide you with documents responsive to your request. A timeline for response is provided below. In the event that it is possible for documents to be prepared and made available at an earlier time we will notify you of such changes to the timeline.

Request # 08-0100 Timeline:

1. Instructional Materials Review (IMR) and Professional Development (PD) facilitator applications – July 18, 2008

2. The rating criteria – June 13, 2008

3. Scores sheets for IMR and PD facilitator applications – July 18, 2008

4. The final list of IMR and PD facilitator members:

a. K-8 core IMR team – June 25, 2008

b. K-8 PD facilitators – June 13, 2008

c. K-8 supplemental IMR team – TBD (OSPI has not yet scheduled the review event to invite and received acceptance of attendance from identified members)

d. Grades 9-12 core IMR team – TBD (OSPI has not yet scheduled the review event to invite and received acceptance of attendance from identified members)

e. Grades 9-12 supplemental IMR team – TBD (OSPI has not yet scheduled the review event to invite and received acceptance of attendance from identified members)

f. Grades 9-12 PD facilitators – (OSPI has not yet scheduled the training event to invite and received acceptance of attendance from identified members)

5. RFP/RFQ for math curriculum adoption process (Work Request #19352) – June 13, 2008

6. Responses/bids from Work Request #19352 – June 13, 2008

7. Contract between OSPI and successful bidder to Work Request #19352 – June 13, 2008

a. Deliverables will be considered final upon completion of the contract performance period.

8. If additional costs of services are necessary for the performance of the contractor for the facilitation of the math curriculum adoption, OSPI will address such costs within an amendment to the contract.

In response to your interest about the 22 members of the “IMR criteria panel” and question of public notification about the April 25th meeting of this group, OSPI chose to involve input from individuals identified given their curriculum-level roles within school districts and their experience leading/participating in instructional materials reviews and/or mathematics adoptions processes. This group is working with OSPI to develop the review instrument and criteria, and are not the group that will participate in the review of materials.

Subsequent to the April 25th meeting, the review instrument and criteria were shared with the State Board of Education (SBE) Math Panel members, from which the input provided was considered as representative of that from public citizens.

The IMR Advisory has met one more time to review the input from the SBE Math Panel and to finalize their recommendations on the review instrument/criteria. This meeting occurred on May 21st. OSPI will be sending the second draft of the review instrument/criteria to Edie Harding in the SBE to be shared with the SBE Math Panel members for final input prior to the IMR for K-8 core mathematic materials which is scheduled in June 2008.

To view the documents at the agency, I will need to make arrangements for a staff member to be available and a conference room. Please let me know if there is a specific date and time that will work with your schedule.

Again, the program office and the agency continue to work diligently to address your request as quickly as possible. If the time table can be moved forward for any of these items above, I will let you know immediately.


Susan Wilson

Public Disclosure Officer
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction

My response follows

Ms. Wilson, 5-29-2008

Thanks for the reply and the apology. The response was two days beyond the requirements of the RCW that pertains to the need for prompt responses.

Dates of July 18 are unacceptable as my complaint against your agency goes to court in July.

Why not June 18th?

I do not care about who chooses to accept invitations to join the IMR team at this time. That can be sent in July.

What I require for the prosecution of my Complaint and request for injunctive relief from OSPI and SBE actions are the the applications the scores and the rubrics.

This has clearly already taken place. I need these documents as soon as possible. Why do you believe it will take OSPI until July 18th to provide documents that are already in existence? If this was a priority, I find it hard to believe this could take more than a week. Your time-line at this point is that I need to wait 7 weeks.

Please explain how your agency that employs I suspect hundreds is unable to provide me with this simple information in less than 7 weeks and yet I as an individual will have only 7 days to refine my court case against your agency through the use of these documents.

Let me again remind you that my contention has been that the reduction in the maximum time-line as specified by the legislature was done by your agency and SBE, in fact I testified against this reduction in time at the public hearing.

Now again it appears because OSPI shortened the time-line OSPI is in too big a hurry to accommodate the Law -- (busy 2 days late on the FOIA time-line response) -- busy can not deliver documents already in OSPI possession for 7 weeks.


Either give me the documents substantially sooner and a date in June - early June or give me a much better explanation that you believe will stand up in court, as to why my freedom to information is being impeded by your agency.


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

“Change in requirements” = “Increase the rigor”
Good Luck with that

Charlie Hoff wrote this response to the SBE recent thinking or lack thereof.

Just by the magic of a “change in requirements” the State Board of Education is going to “increase the rigor” of our state’s high schools?

I don’t think so!
The State Board of Education can pass as many “regulations” and “aspirations” as they have time to, and this will not change the deplorable state of academic achievement for the vast majority of pupils who are attending our high schools.

The statistic of 17% of Seattle Public School Seniors meeting the modest admissions requirements for this state’s public colleges tells it all. If we make a reasonable estimate that includes the drop-outs in this equation the number is closer to 13% This is approximately the incarceration rate for our youth!

But even before we get to this point, we need a very exact definition what it means to “pass” any class. Not something that is locally developed in each school district. Until we do this we are going to find grade inflation will “solve” the problem without any change in learning.

We don’t need more credit requirements to solve this problem either. The level of diversions that schools already have far exceeds the offerings of any of the schools in this world that we wish to match.

What we do need is some direct relationship between success in academics in school and privilege.

If we linked extra-curricular activities, driver’s licenses, and ability to work during the school year to passage of Algebra 1 by the end of 9th grade, and Algebra II in the 10th grade we could change the achievement levels in a year.

As long as there are no consequences for failure, until it is too late, we are going to face a significant portion of our student population that is not in school for “learning.” These students will, as the President of UW stated, “be preparing for a career as a car wash attendant.”

When we close our juvenile social halls and open places of learning, this achievement problem is very likely to minimize.

Charles Hoff, School Board Member (Ret)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Open Government.... When??

Previously posted in regard to the Fix it is HERE.

Clearly the FIX is in. As in the process is FIXED and as a result the inadequate public education Math Fiasco will NOT be fixed by the current OSPI directed Math Instructional Materials Review etc.


My Original Request For INFORMATION is HERE

Dear Ms Wilson,

Given your position of OSPI Compliance Officer please respond to the attached letter of 5-28-2008 in regard to:

I have an action filed in Superior Court. I require documents to make a case. The IMR process is well under way. Meetings that should have been public were not. The selection process documents are now still not being provided. I have yet to receive a reasonable estimate time-line as to when access to documents will be provided as required by law (five business days have elapsed).


Danaher M. Dempsey


Ms. Wilson, 5-28-2008

I am not a lawyer. You being the Public Disclosure Officer of the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction could perhaps clarify for me as to exactly how you are in compliance with your responsibilities under RCW 42.56.520, which requires prompt responses. Excerpts from 42.56.520 follow:

Responses to requests for public records shall be made promptly by agencies, ... Within five business days of receiving a public record request, an agency, … (2) acknowledging that the agency, … has received the request and
providing a reasonable estimate of the time the agency, … will require to respond to the request; … Additional time required to respond to a request may be based upon the need to clarify the intent of the request, to locate and assemble the information requested, ….. Agencies, … shall establish mechanisms for the most prompt possible review of decisions denying inspection.
A summary of our communications follows:

Dear Ms. Wilson, (Sent Friday May 16, 2008 10:45 PM)

On April 24, 2008 I filed in Thurston County Superior Court a "COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF", requesting that OSPI and the SBE follow the Law.

Please immediately supply the information I am requesting below.
(I list 4 of the 8 numbered items from the request below)
1. The applications for the Instructional Materials Review Team and the Professional Development Facilitators.

2. The rating criteria for the Instructional Materials Review Team members and the Professional Development Facilitators.

3. The score sheets for each of the Instructional Materials Review Team applicants and the Professional Development Facilitators applicants.

4. The final list of the Instructional Materials Review Team members and the Professional Development Facilitators.

In addition I am particularly interested in how the 22 Members of the Instructional Materials Review Criteria panel were selected. I would also like to know why the public was not informed prior to April 25, 2008 that these 22 individuals would meet on that date and produce draft #1 of the instructional materials review criteria document, which will be finalized in one more meeting and then this criteria will be used to select the math materials that will be recommended by the State.

Please give my request your highest priority, as it will be used in my legal action asking for injunctive relief, which seeks to have OSPI and the SBE follow the Laws of the State of Washington.

Susan Wilson wrote:

Mr. Dempsey:

This e-mail confirms receipt of your public records request under RCW 42.56. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) received your request by e-mail on May 16, 2008 and it has been logged as 08-0100. I will be in contact with you on or before May 27, 2008 regarding availability of the documents you are requesting.

Mr. Dempsey, Sent Tuesday May 27, 2008

OSPI has reviewed your request for information regarding the statewide math curriculum adoption process. Due to the heavy workload in May and June, plus the critical deadlines associated with the math trainings and events, the program office will need to use a phased approach to provide you with documents responsive to your request.
(My complaint for injunctive relief requiring OSPI and SBE to follow the law goes to court in July. This delaying is unacceptable.)

We are working on a timetable and I will get back with you the by early next week with an estimation of when selected documents will be available for your review.

Thank you and I look forward to working with you.

Susan Wilson --- Public Disclosure Officer
End of email summaries

Although I am not a Lawyer, it appears to me that you are in violation of the Law.

The Law clearly states:
Within five business days of receiving a public record request, an agency, … (2) acknowledging that the agency, … has received the request and providing a reasonable estimate of the time the agency, … will require to respond to the request.

You received my request and stated you would contact me on May 27th, 2008. Which you did fulfilling the responsibility of responding by responding on the fifth business day after receiving my request.

You did NOT provide me with a reasonable estimate of the time the agency, … will require to respond to the request. Instead you provided me with the following statement:

“We are working on a timetable and I will get back with you by early next week with an estimation of when selected documents will be available for your review”.

It appears that you are lengthening the time to respond from 5 business days to perhaps 10 or more business days. At this time I have no idea as to the time that OSPI is going to take to actually allow me access to the requested documents. Under RCW 42.56.520, I should have been notified of this by May 27, 2008.

It looks to me that you are delaying and not in compliance with the law. I originally requested several items. I believed all of them would be easy to access.

I believe that requested items #1 through #4 are particularly easy to find and provide access to. My additional requests after item #8 appear to require simply an explanation from Ms. Jessica Vavrus or perhaps the contractor Ms. Porsche Everson. I restate those for clarification purposes here:
I am particularly interested in how the 22 Members of the Instructional Materials Review Criteria panel were selected. I would also like to know why the public was not informed prior to April 25, 2008 that these 22 individuals would meet on that date and produce draft #1 of the instructional materials review criteria document, which will be finalized in one more meeting and then this criteria will be used to select the math materials that will be recommended by the State.
My action filed in Thurston County Superior County involves OSPI’s failure to follow laws. One of my contentions was that by advancing the time line OSPI and the SBE were unable to fulfill certain requirements of the law.

Your communications thus far seem to validate this contention in yet another way.

So far your argument appears a lest partially to be:
So sorry, we are busy with the rapid time-lines that we need to operate under so we are unable to provide you the information you request rapidly.

I have an action filed in Superior Court. I require documents to make a case. The IMR process is well under way. Meetings that should have been public were not. The selection process documents are now still not being provided. I have yet to receive a reasonable estimate time-line as to when access to documents will be provided as required by law (five business days have elapsed).


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

The title of the law is
RCW 42.56.520
Prompt responses required.

Who could have imagined that title "Prompt Responses Required" given the above actions by OSPI's Compliance Officer Ms. Wilson?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Spreadsheets galore can be yours just write

I just ran 5 spreadsheets...

Broadview-Thompson really dropped off the map over the last four years

TT Minor Black males are already performing very poorly by grade 4 WASL Time.

Green Lake the pilot school for Everyday Math is an absolute Math disaster

North Beach using Saxon is an Academic Steamroller it has very little poverty.

All SPS elementary Schools were lumped together for comparison purposes.

If you want the sheets write me at

I am posting the Green Lake School sheet HERE but it is
not very user friendly much better as an excel sheet.
Write if you want it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Wimping out on Standards

From the Thomas Fordham foundation

Core-Plus ..... why??

Check the following link:

Core-Plus Information HERE

From the Conclusion:

Given the expertise and prominence in the mathematics education community of the authors of the 1997 and 1998 reports and the February Phi Delta Kappan article, I find it difficult to believe that they would actively engage in an attempt at deception. But many of the points I have made in these posts show a pattern of attempting to place Core-Plus in as attractive a light as possible while obscuring or withholding data that might lead to alternative conclusions about the efficacy of the Core-Plus system of instruction.

regards, Kim Mackey

Kim Mackey
Box 1996
Valdez, Alaska 99686

How Do Washington's Graduation Tests Measure Up?

How Do Washington's Graduation Tests Measure Up?

A Report from Achieve

* Full Report can be accessed HERE

Achieve was asked by the Washington State Academic Achievement and Accountability Commission, Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction, and the Partnership for Learning to conduct a study of the 10th grade Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL). The intent of the study was to compare the content, rigor and passing scores on Washington's tests with those of six other states that participated in Achieve's earlier study Do Graduation Tests Measure Up?

Achieve determined that Washington's writing test is exemplary and its reading test is relatively strong as well. Although its reading passages are not as demanding as those in other states, the test contains challenging questions. The cut score for proficiency sets a standard comparable to other states in Achieve's study. The math test proved to be the least challenging of the three when compared to other states, mainly because the content is less rigorous. The cut score required to pass the test does not appear to set an unreasonable standard for high school graduates.

On this less than rigorous 10th grade Math test with a cut score that is not unreasonable. Here are test passing rates state wide:

For all Students:
10th Grade Math
Year ... State
1998-99 ... 33.0%
1999-00 ... 35.0%
2000-01 ... 38.9%
2001-02 ... 37.3%
2002-03 ... 39.4%
2003-04 ... 43.9%
2004-05 ... 47.5%
2005-06 ... 51.0%
2006-07 ... 50.4%

For White Students:
10th Grade Math
Year ... State
1998-99 ... 38.1%
1999-00 ... 40.1%
2000-01 ... 43.7%
2001-02 ... 41.9%
2002-03 ... 44.0%
2003-04 ... 49.2%
2004-05 ... 52.4%
2005-06 ... 56.5%
2006-07 ... 56.3%

For Black Students:
10th Grade Math
Year ... State
1998-99 ... 9.5%
1999-00 ... 11.7%
2000-01 ... 11.9%
2001-02 ... 13.0%
2002-03 ... 14.2%
2003-04 ... 16.1%
2004-05 ... 20.4%
2005-06 ... 23.2%
2006-07 ... 22.5%

For Hispanic Students:
10th Grade Math
Year ... State
1998-99 ... 11.6%
1999-00 ... 12.6%
2000-01 ... 14.6%
2001-02 ... 14.3%
2002-03 ... 16.2%
2003-04 ... 19.7%
2004-05 ... 23.9%
2005-06 ... 25.4%
2006-07 ... 25.6%

For Asian Students:
10th Grade Math
Year ... State
1998-99 ... 37.3%
1999-00 ... 42.1%
2000-01 ... 47.6%
2001-02 ... 44.9%
2002-03 ... 46.8%
2003-04 ... 52.0%
2004-05 ... 56.9%
2005-06 ... 59.7%
2006-07 ... 59.9%

For Limited English Students:
10th Grade Math
Year ... State
1998-99 ... 7.8%
1999-00 ... 7.3%
2000-01 ... 12.0%
2001-02 ... 8.7%
2002-03 ... 8.1%
2003-04 ... 9.0%
2004-05 ... 11.9%
2005-06 ... 12.8%
2006-07 ... 10.7%

For Low Income Students:
10th Grade Math
Year ... State
2002-03 ... 24.1%
2003-04 ... 24.6%
2004-05 ... 28.1%
2005-06 ... 30.4%
2006-07 ... 30.5%

Low Income vs Non-Low Income:
Grade 10 Math
Year ... Non-Low_Income ... Low_Income
2004-05 ... 55.5% .... ... ..... ... 28.1%
2005-06 ... 59.2% .... ... ..... ... 30.4%
2006-07 ... 58.8% .... ... ..... ..30.5%

Bulletin: Seattle seems to find these numbers so impressive that Dr Maria Goodloe-Johnson has decided in her Strategic Plan to use the currently most widely used Math texts in the state k-8 for the next five years

Connected Math for grades 6, 7, & 8
and Everyday Math for grades k-5

All together now lets say
"we believe in data driven decisions".
We have yet to have any but we believe in them.

Yes, where has there ever been any relevant data intelligently applied in regard to these math decisions????

Seattle's plan is to do the same thing over again for the next five years but to get different results.... well.. good luck with that.

On a happier note, Seattle's textbook selections will likely be right in line with the Fixed Pre-determined math text selections that OSPI is working so hard to produce.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Seattle Unvails Strategic Plan

5-24-2008 .... I waited 10 months for this and the SPS website still thinks that Mathematics is only the language and science of patterns and connections. Doing mathematics is an active process of constructing meaning through exploration and inquiry. Clearly the SPS has no interest in producing carpenters, plumbers, accountants, electricians, engineers, doctors or scientists. Now if we can only run an economy based on the output of philosopher kings, we will be in phat city dudes.

The SPS continue to advocate for the use of math materials in direct opposition to Project Follow Through results and yet the SPS administration still maintain that there is an interest in Equity and Accessibility. The district has used materials that have expanded the achievement gap over the last decade and it is clear the plan is to continue to use the same type of defective materials for the next five years. But the five year Strategic Plan tells us this time this stuff will work, except comparison data from Seattle's CMP2 adoption and Tacoma's Saxon adoption 2006-2007 tell us the exact opposite is true. This stuff still does not work. The kids know it. The parents know it. The teachers know it. Unfortunately Dr MG-J and the CAO prefer to believe otherwise.

Here is the Strategic Plan as it was presented to the Board at their regular legislative meeting on the 21st. This is a living document and it will change both before and after Board adoption. As reported HERE.

I am becoming progressively more and more disgusted with the direction of k-12 Mathematics Education in this State and in the Seattle Schools.

I’ve spent sometime reading…

Rigorous Evidence: The Key to Progress in Education?
Lessons from Medicine, Welfare and Other Fields

A forum with The Honorable Rod Paige
U.S. Secretary of Education

Forum Proceedings – November 18, 2002

From the report…

Life skills training, which is a substance abuse prevention program for junior high students that teaches social skills including techniques on how to say no to your peers who are offering you drugs.

That program has been shown effective in several large randomized controlled trials, involving thousands of students in different sites, different populations. In long-term follow- up, it reduces serious levels of substance abuse by over 40 percent by the end of high school - -It used comparative controls.

Given the theme of this meeting, let me give one example from outside education.
There's a program of nurse visitation for women who are poor, pregnant and single, which has been shown in a number of randomized trials to have a major effect on the life outcomes of both the women and their children.

For the children at age 15 it results in 50 to 80 percent reductions in arrest rates, alcohol abuse, the number of sexual partners, as compared to the control group.

Now, at the other end of the spectrum, I think it's important to mention that randomized trial have also identified some interventions that are not effective. One illustrative example is the DARE program, Drug Abuse Resistance Education, where the policeman comes into the junior high school and talks about drugs.

DARE is the nation's most widely used school based substance abuse prevention program. And randomized trials have shown that it has no affect on substance use.

In the last two SPS math adoptions of CMP2 and EDM, the School Board on the advice of staff selected the DARE programs of math; the widely used programs with no evidence of producing positive academic improvement.

The SPS staff was headed to complete the trifecta of math disaster with IMP, less than two months ago at the school board work session in early April. Am I now to believe that all is well because there is a strategic plan?

It remains apparent that the Fix is in Statewide and was in place when Ms Santorno unilaterally selected EDM in the Spring of 2007.

I see virtually nothing in the Strategic Plan to inspire confidence for math improvement. The SPS remains wedded to EDM and CMP2. This pair still have all the defects they had when adopted.
The solution seems to be to devote more student task time and more dollars to keep the sinking ship afloat.

This is clearly a decision being made in the best interests of certain administrators not students or families.

In regard to the USA's manufacturing crisis...

In 1980 Deming wrote "Out of the Crisis" addressing the manufacturing difficulties and was heeded. Improvement resulted.

About the USA's education crisis...

In 1993 Deming wrote “The New Economics for Industry, Government and Education” he addressed the education situation and was ignored and no improvement resulted.

W. Edwards Deming said:
“To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data”

In Washington with the WASL we have no relevant data. With job postings like the one for the ESD State Wide Math Science coordinator at $100,000 to $130,000 per annum which requires no knowledge of math or science we are assured there will be no intelligent application of relevant data even if we could find some.

Forest Gump said it best: Stupid is as stupid does.

The following from Seattle’s Strategic Plan certainly demonstrates several things; here are five.

#1… The plan reveals a belief in the factory model of education in which equal outcomes are incorrectly equated with equal opportunity.

#2… The plan denies the relevant field data in preference for continuing to use the prejudices of the profession. EDM is a disaster in Urban settings as is CMP2. Example based instructional materials are superior to the multi-millions that the SPS is spending on inferior materials and practices that have yet to demonstrate positive results.

#3… The plan looks to increase reliance on SPS centralized decision makers that have not produced anything worthwhile for SPS math.

#4… The idea that culturally competent and accessible materials can be determined while ignoring the performance data is hardly a research driven idea. Look at how well or NOT the CMP2 adoption is doing in comparison to Tacoma's Saxon - exactly same initial adoption year 2006-2007 HERE

#5… The plan is in apparent denial of the fact that students do not have uniform capabilities for learning. The factory-pacing model of this year’s EDM adoption is certainly in line with the prejudices of the profession just in total misalignment with the realities of human variation or the needs of the children.


SPS will adopt an “aligned curriculum” for grades PK-12 in math and science. An aligned curriculum means that students in any one grade in the District are held to the same high expectations (with the same high quality materials- The SPS is using EDM and CMP2 how can these folks claim to have any understanding of NMAP and yet still say high quality materials) and that those expectations build on one another as students advance in the system ( Note the similarity in the language from the 2004 MSSG: The value of a mathematical education and the power of mathematics in the modern world arise from the cumulative nature of mathematics knowledge. A small collection of simple facts combined with appropriate theory is used to build layer upon layer upon layer of ever more sophisticated mathematical knowledge. The essence of mathematical learning is the process of understanding each new layer of knowledge and thoroughly mastering that knowledge in order to be able to understand the next layer. The principles presented here are designed to promote such mathematical learning. EXCEPT EDM and CMP2 Do NOT do that). An aligned curriculum allows the District to provide targeted support for teachers and schools, and a common set of expectations across the District will allow us to better focus our professional development offerings. All SPS curricula are designed to meet cultural competence and accessibility standards.

SPS will write a scope and sequence for math and science. SPS will adopt common grade level instructional materials where not already in existence. ( So clearly the SPS are planning on staying with common but defective math materials, What kind of plan is this? A plan to get a lot more families to leave the SPS over the next five years. I wonder what this plan would look like if Dr Goodloe-Johnson was not focused on math and science achievement and had not taken ten months to produce this document.)

• Grades K-5 Everyday Math and Singapore Math (implemented 2007-08)
• Grades 6-8 CMP2 (implemented 2006-07)
• Grades 9-12 (to be developed Fall 2008)..... Say when?? High School materials??

In Spring 2007 the 8th grade students on the Math WASL 50% did not pass and a full 1/3 could not score above level one. What high quality High School Math Materials will be selected for this group. This district needs to step up to the plate Twelve Step style and admit their enormous past failings and start a repair process. Instead more flim-flam nonsense educationese floats about the Edu-Sphere.

In doing this work, SPS will ensure there is coherence (no unnecessary overlap and no gaps) (in my opinion and the opinion of many others the SPS are using mathematically incoherent materials) and will address the following components: curriculum/instructional guides; pacing guides; identified best practices (the only known best practice that I can find is to use example based instructional materials and that is not being done) or high leverage practices; common understanding on use of manipulatives, equipment, and technology (which with the adoption of EDM means calculators for all from kindergarten on); common understanding on use of grading; identified mastery/core standards for PK-12 in math and science; common assessments and pre-post assessments; exemplary lessons for each grade; use of rubrics; and modifications for Special Education, English Language Learners and Advanced Learning students.

(Reading through the above could be an excellent argument for banning schools of education from practicing.)

SPS will support this math/science work through an integrated effort. The school performance framework (referenced later in this plan) will help identify which schools are struggling and in what areas and then provide targeted professional development that will directly support teachers in building the skills they need to effectively deliver content. (To effectively deliver content try using textbooks with example based instruction. There is no reason to make this as hard as possible just so we can spend $2+million on Coaches annually to say nothing of increased expenditures for professional development. It seems that in the SPS we see more methodology and little increase in teachers math content knowledge despite these large expenditures.)That framework will also allow SPS to provide targeted student-level supports.

page 16:

Immediate Actions

• Math: A Math Project Team will develop an implementation plan and timeline for action during summer 2008. Alignment of the elementary and middle school instructional materials to the new State Performance Expectations will happen this summer. Teacher leaders from each elementary, middle and high school will be trained during the summer of 2008 to facilitate professional development sessions for their schools around the mathematics content and the pedagogy needed to support implementation of an aligned K-12 program. Every math teacher will be provided up to four days of professional development to learn to use the online resources included with the Curriculum Guide. ...........

Longer-term Actions

Project teams will outline the full scope of work for development and implementation of key materials and related support for both math and science and will have detailed timelines complete by fall 2008.

page 17:
Recommended Work

SPS will design, develop and implement common district-wide formative and summative assessments in math and reading from kindergarten through grade 12 with full implementation beginning in 2009-10. These assessments will inform instructional practice, provide an additional measure of student achievement, track student growth and inform district-level decision-making.

Immediate Actions
Good News MAP testing is mentioned, that is one of the few cost effective ideas presented by the SPS in regard to assessment in recent years.

A project plan will be completed by fall 2008, with an immediate focus on refining current assessments, specifically redesigning grades 3-8 math benchmark assessments. SPS will develop improved assessment reports and provide training to instructional coaches. For the 2008-09 school year, the District is planning on piloting the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment system, which incorporates a growth model that will allow teachers & principals to more effectively measure student growth over time.

Longer-term Actions

A comprehensive assessment system will be developed during 2008-09 and implemented beginning in the 2009-10 school year.

I am hardly optimistic after reading the Strategic Plan.

WOW what a choice:
“a”… Dr Bergeson’s plans or
the “b”… Strategic Plan.

Multiple choice which of the two Fixed Flawed plans is the best.

I am going for “c” … none of the above.

Until the Strategic Plan undergoes substantial revision in the area of Mathematics Education I am sticking with “c"
Page 3 of the plan under Setting the Context says...

The plan outlines a set of foundational strategies that must be undertaken immediately and accomplished within the next few years to ensure equal access to excellence for every student in Seattle’s schools.

Sorry I see nothing in regard to mathematics in the Strategic Plan that leads be to believe the above sentence.


National Math Panelist Speaks at a
Virgina School Board Meeting

Mr. Vern Williams to PWCS Board 5-21-08

"Well, thanks for allowing me to speak, and it should definitely be less than ten minutes. Before I read the comments, I'd like to mention that I should update my resume. I've been, I believe this is the 36th year that I've been teaching in Fairfax County. I decided to become a teacher when I was in junior high, back then, now they're called middle schools I guess. And the teachers were so fantastic at that time, that I decided I wanted to be like them and have been doing it for 36 years and I've loved every second of it. In fact the first 23 years, I didn't miss a day of school. The first day of school I missed was the week that my mom passed and I have missed very few since then. Now this National Math Panel thing sort of put a dent it that. They had me all over the country for a couple years but just wanted to let you know that I absolutely love teaching and am pretty impressed with what I've heard from you today.

So here is my presentation. During my tenure on a National Mathematics Panel, I heard testimony from many sources, including parents, teachers, textbook publishers, college presidents, mathematicians, technology specialists, and a host of researchers. I also listened to and learned from the other panel members, even though at times, we had varying opinions on many topics. One item that we all seem to agree on from the start was the need for focused, coherent K-8 mathematics curriculum leading up to algebra. (Seattle's choice to continue with EDM and CMP2 indicates disagreement with Mr Williams and the NMAP). We were tasked with determining the critical foundations for success in an authentic algebra course. Skip Fennel, NCTM President, at the time headed up the Conceptual Knowledge & Skills Task Group. He along with Mathematicians and researchers on the panel suggested a list of algebra topics and the critical foundations necessary for learning those topics. As a practicing middle-school Mathematics teacher of 35 years, my input was valued heavily by Skip Fennel's Task Group.(Seattle's current direction in the Strategic Plan indicates that input identical to Mr Williams input is not valued). After two years of peering over many reams of research, the panel reached conclusions that I had always assumed were no brainers. For instance, students need to use and understand the standard algorithms in order to succeed in grasping the critical foundations leading up to and including the topics of algebra. (clearly these were not no brainers for SPS math decision makers, as Dr Ruth Parker espoused an opposite view and she was employed as a consultant by SPS. The SPS adopted defective texts that almost any experienced teacher would have found defective.) This is my own opinion here. If one cannot make use of the division algorithm, it is highly unlikely that they will be able to understand and perform division of polynomials, nor will they be able to solve higher-level equations. Your Mathematics program should require fluency with the standard algorithms for addition and subtraction, multiplication and division. Fluent use of the algorithms not only depends on the automatic recall of number facts but also reinforces it. Your math program should also require that students have proficiency with whole numbers, fractions, and particular aspects of geometry and measurement, which will be found in of course the NMP report. Our students' proficiency with fractions seems to be presently lacking in many classrooms. Your task is to select Mathematics curricula that will allow your teachers to teach the critical foundations of algebra so that students will be prepared for an authentic algebra course, not just an algebra course in name only. You need to adopt focused coherent textbooks that students, parents and teachers all understand and at the very minimum, I suggest that you allow your individual school faculties and their students a choice in textbook and teaching methods.

I served on the Instructional Practices Task Group and one of our main findings was that all encompassing recommendations that instruction should be entirely student centered or teacher directed are not supported by research. If such recommendations exist, they should be rescinded; if they are being considered, they should be avoided. High quality research does not support the exclusive use of either approach. I suggest that you offer Mathematics programs and textbooks that will not force teachers to exclusively use one type of instruction.

During my 35-year teaching career, I have always had the following minimum expectation for even an average textbook. I would assign myself, if I were looking at a textbook and evaluating it; I would assign myself a topic to learn. I would find that topic in the textbook and pretend that I was a student or teacher who had a weak background on that particular topic and I would ask myself these questions: Was the presentation of the topic in the textbook focused and coherent enough for me to adequately learn the material? Were there clearly written non-infested examples? In other words, where the math comes out loud and clear. Were there enough practice problems of varying levels and were they actually related to the topic? At a minimum, a Mathematics textbook should possess the above traits and should also cover the critical foundations found in the National Math Panel Report. And that's it."

Dan's comment is:
..... Using the above criteria established by Mr. Williams the State of Washington, Seattle, and most school districts have failed miserably in the selection of math texts currently in use.

Chairman Johns-

Thank you very much Mr. Williams. Board members, we are going to allow about five minutes or so for questions since the presentation was less than ten. Mr. Latin.

Grant Lattin-

"Mr. Williams, I just want to tell you how much respect I have for a man who has spent 36 years teaching middle school, I just have so much respect for what you have done."

Vern Williams-

Before you continue, I need to tell you that whenever a neighbor or anyone else find out that I teach middle school period, they want to buy me something, just cry for me, anything they can do.

Grant Lattin-

"I have a couple of questions and I really appreciate your insight. Have you, especially with Gifted and Talented students, and you've been teaching them for so many years... It has been my own experience that they're with that group that a textbook is certainly useful but there are many other supplemental materials that a good teacher uses when they're teaching math. Is that an accurate statement?"

Vern Williams-

"Absolutely, absolutely. Many people may peg me as a traditional stand up at the blackboard and feed math to students type of teacher but when you walk into my classroom, you'll find that I teach varying, that I have varying teaching styles depending on the material and of course, the students so there are some gifted students who have impeccable math backgrounds, that I can say go home and play with this problem for a couple of hours and hopefully invent a way of doing it but on the other hand, if I'm teaching someone how to add fractions, I don't want anyone inventing anything. I want to actually teach the concept and then they can take that concept and apply it to some of these high level problems that I do with the gifted kids. But you're right it's a whole different world."

Grand Lattin-

"So if you had a textbook that kind of focused more in one direction, on conceptual things, then you'd probably be supplementing it with some of the more traditional methods and or vice versa, if you had a textbook that leaned to heavily in one direction, then you'd probably be bringing in conceptual, in other words?"

Vern Williams-

"If I had a textbook that leaned more towards conceptual, I would want my students to be already prepared in the basic material so that they will have something that will allow them to handle these concepts. In other words, you can't just do higher level concepts without some kind of arithmetic background because the arithmetic background allows you and helps you to make these mental leaps so I really would not feel safe with a textbook that strictly went towards the conceptual."

Grant Lattin-

"And if you had one, what would you do?"

Vern Williams-

"If I had one, I would sneak under the table and find a textbook that wasn't of that ilk and make sure that my students had the basics and use both of them." ........ It seems that Mr Williams would likely be dismissed if he taught 5th grade in Seattle for insubordination and conspiracy to over-throw the Reform Math empire ... ditto for any similar course of action Mr Williams might use in Bellevue.

Grant Lattin-

"Would you focus on a textbook or there's lots of other materials besides textbooks?"

Vern Williams-

"Well, in spite of what people say about textbooks not controlling the curriculum or really setting the tone for the curriculum, they do. There is no doubt about it, especially for the newer teachers. You look at that textbook as your guide and if the textbook is focusing a certain way, you tend to focus that way.
Now, I've been teaching long enough that in fact with some of my classes, I don't even use a textbook but if I had to use a textbook."

Grant Lattin-

"And by the way, I think that's really typical of really good teachers, isn't it?"

Vern Williams-

"I can teach without a textbook whenever, it doesn't matter what the course. But if I had to have a textbook, I want one that I could look at and find some kind of focus. For instance, math teachers in general, there is so much math out there that if I don't teach calculus, and I don't, I'm not going to remember all the calculus that I was taught. So if I want to do some cool concept with a really bright eighth grader and its really more of a calculus concept and I need to go back and revisit that concept, I want a calculus textbook where I can find the concept and it's focused, it's well explained, it's well presented. I don't want a story about giraffes if I'm looking to go back and review a calculus concept and if I were learning it for the first time, I would especially need that focus."

Grant Lattin-

"I have one other question, and I really appreciate your insight as a middle school teacher on this question because it is something that has troubled me quite a bit and that is, in 2005-2006, that was the first year that middle schools were given an SOL in math at grade 7 and I'm looking at the Virginia SOL results and your county which was the best county in the state was a 60% pass rate at 7th grade math and the state pass rate was 44% so I'm wondering, what were we doing wrong that would not allow us to pass at a rate that is a failing rate by any measure. I'm wondering why you think we did so poorly on those SOLs in 7th grade math."

Vern Williams-

"Well it was the first year, and I remember the first couple of years when we administered the SOLs period, how dismal the scores were. And I believe one reason why they were so dismal is that many people thought they were going to go away and that we really didn't need to prepare the students for them if we just wait it out it was going to go away. And I think now, the 6th & 7th grade teachers are going to concentrate a lot more on preparing students for the SOLs at that level. Prior to then, we only had to worry about the SOLs for the 8th graders and I hate to use the word worrying because I think it's a good indication of how the students are doing. I know there are, well let me put it this way, the SOLs I think are probably too low level, but at least there is a floor. All right, at least there IS a floor. I know that a kid can at least do the bare minimum. So all the people who are against the SOLs, at least it reports something. Prior to SOLs, we of course had the POS but the POS didn't at one time, well I'm thinking Fairfax County. Sorry about that; they had a Program of Studies, and prior to the SOLs the Program of Studies was just something that you tested the kids on but the test meant nothing, only the classroom teacher saw it. So, I think because there is a product to achieve now, there is an end result to achieve. I don't care how low level it is, I think teachers are more prone to do some real teaching."
Chairman Johns-

"Thank you Mr. Williams, we appreciate your presentation. We appreciate your comments tonight. We definitely would invite you to come back for our Math Investigations work session. Board members we're out of time."

(Dr. Otaigbe expressed interest in asking a question as well, Chairman Johns asked for board consent and it was given.)
Dr. Otaigbe-

"Thank you. I'd just like to seize this opportunity to thank you for coming to speak to us tonight. I really appreciate it. I think when we talk about success in math, we talk about books, we talk about whether the books are the correct books, but the two elephants in the room, do we have a motivated student and family involvement. I just wanted you to comment on that from your honest feelings. "
Vern Williams-

"I think that in this day and age, we're giving students too much of an excuse not to be motivated. When I was in Elementary and Junior High, I was told by my parents and my teachers, that I had to work five times harder to get the same job as some other people were going to get and that part of your job was to go to school and learn. Whether it's fun, that is a bonus, but that's your job. The Asian students seem to do that and they go to our schools, they have the same teachers, they use the same textbooks, but somehow, that intrinsic motivation is there. And I always tell the Asian parents; it was like that for everyone here when I was growing up. And I think we need to get that back. I don't know exactly how to get it back but I can tell you with my students, I set an example myself; I'm excited about math. I'm motivated. I make sure I take care of them and I expect them to do their job. If you're going to have an exciting math course, part of it has to come from you...... This is virtually impossible to do when school districts like Seattle use a pacing plan to force teachers through defective materials ..... If I give you homework that is going to take an hour, you can't tell me about your soccer game. You have to actually buy into it. And I think if we do more of that instead of giving excuses about our horrible school system is causing you problems that the student has to be a part of buying into the system also."

Chairman Johns-

"Thank you very much Mr. Williams."

HERE is the LINK

Dr Semler Drops Out of the Race

Dr Richard Semler is no longer a candidate for Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Saturday, May. 24, 2008

Saturday May 24 2008

The two links above go to different stories.

Richland superintendent out of state race

By Sara Schilling, Herald staff writer

The superintendent of Richland schools is dropping out of the race for the state's top education job to be with his wife as she deals with a health problem.

Rich Semler announced his decision Friday in an interview with the Herald......

Friday, May 23, 2008

Great News -
More Singapore in Schmitz Park

The News is in.......

Schmitz Park Elementary in West Seattle will be allowed to continue with 100% Singapore Math for another year. Schmitz Park began by ducking Everyday Math in 2007-2008 as they were already committed to other non-math projects and did not feel they could devote adequate time to the demands of Everyday Math. Interestingly they were able to find the time to use Singapore Math.

WOW!!! does that mean that the SPS could save $2+ million per annum on math coaches by using Singapore Math instead of Everyday Math?

Los Angeles Math Coaches

The best thing that has happened for me as a classroom teacher with a math coach, is that the math coach mostly leaves me alone. He's a nice young man, but he's an idiot. I doubt *very much* that he was a math major. He just wants to work his way up to being an administrator.

His solution to any and all math is Marilyn Burns because that's all he's learned from district trainings. He doesn't know our standards. He doesn't know our framework. He knows little about different math curriculums. I said recently that I was sure that we would be getting EM when the LAUSD adopts a new math program. (I am a pessimist.) He didn't have a clue what EM was, but that will not stop him from saying what a wonderful program it is when the district does adopt it.

We had a third grade level meeting about math in the coaches' (two literacy and one math) office. I raised a question about a standard at our grade level, and asked to see the math standards book. He didn't have one. Then I asked for the framework. He didn't have one. Like I said -- nice young man, but not incredibly bright, a future LAUSD principal.

PLEASE, before you all think that coaches are a good idea, think again.

-- Anonymous in the LAUSD

Math Standards Thoughts - Good Enough???

It is not sufficient to ask if the K-8 standards are better. Simply put [that means] they are [still] deficient and work remains to eliminate problems with measurability, clarity, specificity and vagueness.

David Orbits writes for the Blog as follows:

Standards are the critical foundation upon which accurate and effective assessment systems are built. These standards are inadequate. Standards with ambiguity, non-specificity, poor clarity and excessive breadth are anathema to a quality assessment system. The desire of many people to get these standards rapidly buttoned up is understandable but this desire should not be satisfied at the expense of clarity or a high quality and meaningful assessment system. The poor quality and expensive Math WASL assessment system should serve as a warning to all of the consequence of building an assessment system atop vague and nonspecific Math standards. The high math remediation rates at WA colleges underscore today’s problems with Math education. Worse still, one can only wonder how many promising students have veered away from a technical career because of inadequate math training.

The SBE accepted the K-8 standards anyway.

Think about the following points.

An inadequate standard leads to inadequate curriculum which leads to inadequate teaching which leads to inadequate student learning which leads to narrowed career options for WA students as they enter High School and later the workforce or College.

It is not sufficient to ask if the K-8 standards are better. Simply put they are deficient and work remains to eliminate problems with measurability, clarity, specificity and vagueness. This could be easily done if the Superintendent of Public Instruction chose to do so.

If any legislators attempt to paint sunshine on this situation, should they not first own up to the role the legislature has played in all this over the last 10 years.

While the legislature has been trying to improve the poor state of math education in WA they also share the responsibility for letting it get this bad. The data below is from OSPI or from reports sponsored by OSPI (WSU SESRC) or the legislature (WSIPP).

1. An on-time graduation rate of
.... 70.0% for Class Year 2004.
.... 74.3% for Class Year 2005.
.... 70.4% for Class Year 2006.

2. The wide and sustained gaps between the graduation rates of White/Asian students and the Black, Hispanic and American Indian minorities.

3. A 20 point deficit for Black/Hispanic students and 25 points for American Indians.

4. There has been no reduction in this deficit over the four years 2003-06. (2007 data not yet available).

5. 40% of WA 4th graders can’t pass the Math WASL.

6. 50% of 10th graders can’t pass the math WASL.

7. This has been going on for the last 10 years.

8. The wide and sustained gap in Math WASL pass rates among fourth graders between White, Black and Hispanic students.

9. This gap of almost 30 percentage points hasn’t changed appreciably in the last 10 years.

10. 50% to 60% of HS students attending 2 year colleges need to take remedial math to prepare them for college work.

11. This has been going on for 7 years (class years 2000-06). See SESRC at WSU.

In summary,

The standards review process conducted by OSPI, the acceptance of inadequate K-8 math standards, and now the flawed current curriculum review process speak loudly that insular leadership and failing philosophies of the last 10 years are still shaping math education in WA.

How could it be otherwise with the same people in charge?

The New Washington Math Standards
.........Will the Laughing Continue?

“The newly revised standards represent an incremental improvement, but fall vastly short of the initial recommendations by Strategic Teaching (8-07-2007).

Under these new standards school districts can apparently continue to support the attempted learning of K-12 mathematics through non-example based instructional materials for their children and still believe that they are in full compliance with the new math standards.”

It is essential that the public insist on Textbooks with Example Based Instruction if our children are to make significant progress in mathematics.

USA k-12 math education could likely remain the laughing stock of the developed world with Washington State K-12 Mathematics remaining a prime source of the laughter.

from Sudhakar:

EXAMPLE BASED INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS should also be accompanied with sufficient material that allows SKILL BUILDING through PRACTICE

from Mike:

This all boils down to the main problem we face; getting people to realize that those in charge are not being truthful with parents or the public.

The reformists will cherry-pick data, draw inaccurate inferences, change the assumed meanings of words/phrases, unfairly marginalize and/or ignore contrary evidence, and outright lie in order to placate legitimate concerns. This includes those supporters of reform in your school, that you’ve spoken with face-to-face. You cannot trust them.

The most honest of them will tell you that they cannot share their honest opinions with you. It is very hard for parents to come to the realization that they cannot trust the people to whom they entrust their children on a daily basis. But they must, if they are to understand the magnitude of the problem.

Broken Baby ... Severely Broken

How Broken is WA Math? Is repair even a realistic possibility given current OSPI guidance?

Example based instructional materials can be considered a best practice; although not so noted by NMAP.

This whole SBE Math Advisory experience has certainly been interesting and enlightening on a variety of fronts for me.

Given the political framework in which everything seems to exist I've reached the following conclusion:

Panels often say what they are allowed to say and little more. In education what is said and often acted upon is often the result of certain adult centered interests rather than in the students' interests. This is becoming increasingly apparent in OSPI's direction in regard to the Legislature's effort to improve WA math, as well as in the SBE’s Algebra II for all thrust.

I am now thoroughly disgusted with what appears to be OSPI's continuing bias against example based instructional materials.

It now appears the Seattle School Board has reached the conclusion that it is likely pointless to look for further math guidance from the State in regard to math education beyond the Math Standards.

OSPI, SBE, and the legislature are engaged in a pissing match and no matter who wins... it will not be the kids. It is time for the SPS to step up to the plate and provide some real leadership to improve the mathematics education of kids k-12 in Seattle. Waiting for the State beyond the standards is a huge waste of time given OSPI's current distortion of process. Seattle had best use the NMAP and the new WA standards k-8 and soon coming high school standards. With these as guides the SPS needs to get started on thoughtful planning rather than waiting for the state and then acting mindlessly on state recommendations. The difficulty Seattle faces is their propensity for top down edicts from the central department of math ignorance. Remember these are the folks still trying at all costs, and those costs are really substantial, to make non-example based instructional materials work in math. Good luck with that; this is the math that made the USA into the international laughing stock of k-12 math education.

I do think that NMAP may have had more to say but did not risk saying it. NMAP was fairly silent on the clear superiority of example based instructional materials.

Given that most NSF funded professional development is directed away from example based instructional materials, I think that NMAP chose to leave that topic alone as it could have seriously threatened acceptance of what else they had to recommend.

In regard to k-12 math leadership in many places the Non-Example based leaders predominate. I think a lot of this has come about through NSF professional development. The PD^3 project from NSF, thorough the UW and Dr Jim King is just one example of a continuing preference for professional prejudice over positive results.

It is most apparent that in a great many WA school districts the people in charge know far more about district office politics than Mathematics. Even in districts with Mathematically competent leadership Non-Example based instructional materials predominate. I was astounded when a friend sent me a spreadsheet of instruction materials in use in this state at the k-12 level by individual school district. Let me say it is becoming increasingly difficult if not impossible to find a k-12 math teaching position in which one would be using example based instructional materials. It is almost equally unlikely that a school district system has any belief in the idea that the learning of mathematics is usually a process that requires the mastery of layer upon layer of increasingly sophisticated mathematics. {Internationally accepted but rejected in Washington…duh!!!}

In my most recent SPS testimony, I cautioned that Seattle has demonstrated little in the way of math decision making skills at the central office level that inspire any confidence in me. Director Martin-Morris is new to the School Board and a really sharp guy. I trust he will find a way for better process. To follow Dr Terry Bergeson in math or to follow Director Martin-Morris? That question is the biggest no-brainer of the last decade.

I am teaching in the Clover Park School District which has high poverty and was an early adopter of both TERC/Investigations and Connected Math both OSPI highly recommended non-example based text series.

At the better of the CPSD's two comprehensive high schools LAKES HS, testing indicates that 65% of incoming 9th graders are unprepared to begin an algebra or higher-level class. The school district offers no classes below Algebra at the high school level. {Logic demonstrated by CPSD = ZERO.} CPSD is not alone in this regard.

We have a system in place that is severely broken. In many places the political powers that be are waiting for an OSPI fix as they are unwilling to undertake responsibility for anything and certainly would not risk making a judgment in an area they are unfamiliar with... that area being how to improve mathematics education k-12.... after all that is only the job they are hired to do and supposedly know something about... BROKEN.... SEVERELY BROKEN.

It is now becoming more apparent by the day that if math teachers are expecting a better situation next year to occur without some direct action on their part, they will be disappointed.

As to whether a better math situation even happens in the next decade, all I can say is… the jury is out and the system is broken … severely broken.

Agent of Math Repair Dan Dempsey

There appears to be no shortage of math repair work coming any time soon.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Do NOT Buy a Car


Parallels drive me crazy.

If you were going to buy a new car, would you not carefully examine the models that you found likely to fill the bill?

Giving a huge weight to reliability based on Consumer Reports reliability rating and perhaps to J.D. Power's initial quality report.

Of course you would NOT do that you are an Educator.

You would imagine what the ideal car would be like based on smell, visual appearance, weight, load capacity, fuel mileage, politically correct country of manufacture, etc etc

You would put together a committee of people who only ride buses and bicycles and are without drivers licenses to help you refine your criteria. Then once the created and approved criteria produced by the automotive ignorant were finalized, an enormous panel of folks which actually had a few individuals that new a bit about cars on it would be convened.

Those who knew about cars were aghast at the criteria, but it did not matter as they were hardly noticeable with the size of the committee doing the ratings.

When finished although many had hoped for a Prius while others a Ferrari Testarosa it was agreed that a Kevlar Ox-Cart best matched the criteria. Now you the educator will drive it. While everyone else goes home and about their normal lives.

If you find this method of vehicle selection objectionable, why keep buying it for textbook decision making?

Suggestion: Check the relevant data this does NOT work for either cars or textbooks.

If you wish to produce positive results check out the reliable stuff that works and use it. The 2004 MSSG says so. Of course how we would determine that in today's climate -- well probably not allowed.

Me, I would use the top performing math curriculum in the English speaking world which even works for ELL and learn to use it.

My God the Israelis translated it into Hebrew, but we like Everyday Math because it smells better.

What a country!!!!

It is time for the Math teachers to discredit this entire process, not by selecting the best books, but by resigning.

Resigning and applying for jobs in the district, state, and national education offices. There is NO accountability for anything having to do with math or science at that level, but even better is the fact you can then base the pathetic performance on the math teachers need for more training. For goodness sakes do not blame it on the teachers lack of content knowledge because in your new position it is required you know absolute zero about math content.

We now have in place a system that expands the number of jobs for those who know nothing about math and has been continually enlarged over the last decade creating more and more math-decision making positions for the math illiterate.

W. Edward Demings said: if you can remove it and it has no detrimental effect on the production process, then do so. Here is something begging for removal that will actually enhance the production process with its removal.

Alas we are unable to see the obvious because we've been conditioned to keep eyes closed and blindly feel about for solutions.

The magic bullet is out there just keep feeling about for it. Good luck with that plan but it is the only plan given credence in this world of make believe.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Another Vote for FIXED process

Mike Miller votes for FIXED and provides his rationale.

There is no question (in my mind) that the standards revision process was designed at every step to produce a pre-determined outcome. The primary goal of OSPI (TB) was engineer the revision process in such a way, that ultimately the “framework” or “parameters” set forth by the new standards would allow for the continuance of the reform agenda (status quo).

Attached is a letter from Brogan (ISD Asst Sup) to Rasmussen (new incoming ISD Sup) from last summer. The main purpose of the letter is to assure Rasmussen that the recently adopted curricula (Everyday Math) would fit into WA State’s revamped standards & subsequent preferred curricula. This, before the standards revision process even began, and almost 1 full year before the decisions on preferred curricula. Hmmm… How could she (Brogan) have been so certain?

Additionally, it appears (to no surprise) that OSPI has engineered the IMR process to ensure the same pre-determined outcome. The first link in the Brogan/Rasmussen letter…

... is to the K-12 Computational Fluency Supplemental program review, conducted one year ago. To my un-educated eye, it appears that the review of these curricula was conducted with an entirely different “weighting criterion” than will be used by the present IMR process. Much more weighting appears to have been given to the pre-existing EALR’s in the Supplemental program review, than will be afforded the new standards (which were designed to replace EALR’s) in the present IMR process for curricula selection. Could it be possible that the new standards are given less weight, because it will be more difficult to justify reform curricula alignment than it was with the pre-existing EALR’s? I’ll leave the answer to that question to you… the more informed than I.

--- Mike

Surprise Meeting - didn't you know?

This just in .....

In yet another fine display of open Government OSPI will be holding the following meeting TOMORROW.

This may be the only place in the state you will see this posted.

It has somehow escaped any notification more broadly.

What are the OSPI and SBE websites used for???

The IMR Advisory Group meeting will be held on Wednesday, 5/21.

* Radisson Hotel Gateway, SeaTac

18118 International Boulevard
Seattle, WA 98188
Phone: 1-206-244-6666

* 8:00 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. Breakfast
* 8:30 a.m. Meeting
* Noon. - 12:30 p.m. Lunch
* 3:00 p.m. Meeting

Hey they are only finalizing the criteria for selecting the recommended math materials. We spent over a year on the Standards (largely because of OSPI's attempt to arrive at a pre-determined outcome)- only two meetings required for OSPI to foul this up even further.

Business as usual from OSPI
-- In regard to the Instructional Materials Review criteria.....
No notification of meeting #1 and now this for the second and likely last meeting.

Again I say:

Anyone with any confidence left in Dr Bergeson's OSPI is totally uninformed or thinks that thinking is over-rated.

Conflict of interest? In this day and age there is no
such thing. This is just business as usual. It is how businesses promote each other and manage to wangle the $770,000 contracts that roll right into contracts for curriculum materials, that is if things work the way they are supposed to.

Darn those gnats, they keep getting in the way.

Can't we get a bigger fly swatter?

Maybe if we don't tell anybody what, where, and when we are doing our distortions of the intent of the law, the gnats won't bother us.

Write Congress Today

HERE is your link.

Here is my letter.....

To: The Honorable Adam Smith,

I am on the Washington State Board of Education Math Advisory Panel.

It is my recommendation that any NSF activity that does not align with the Report "Foundations for Success" be canceled.

On 5-21-2008 US House Education and Labor Committee is scheduled to have a meeting in regard to the National Math Advisory Panel Report. It is my observation as a math teacher that one of the reasons for the US fall in math education have been actions by the NSF in regard to k-12 math education in the USA.

The USA fell a statistically significant 9 points from 483 to 474 on the PISA math test of 15 years olds from 2003 to 2006. We remain far and away the world's worst scoring English speaking country tested and we are getting worse.

I was involved in an NSF funded math professional development program run through the University of Washington during school year 2006-2007. My only comment is that it was abysmal. The NSF funds have established a math infrastructure that is focused on promotion of professional prejudices rather than on the intelligent application of relevant data needed to produce improvement.

The NMAP points out there are no best practices in Math because there are 16,000 bogus research studies that are used to advance the prejudices of the profession rather than any concern with better results.

If we examine international performance in mathematics not only will you find the USA's performance pathetic but worse yet is our NSF inspired insistence that we know what we are doing in Math-Ed and the rest of the world is uninformed as to our brilliant insights.

Please assist in shutting down from within what has in too many ways become our agency of domestic math terrorism.

The NSF spent close to $100 million dollars in producing 13 math curricula of which not even one has yet demonstrated the ability to produce significant positive achievement.

The NSF runs expensive programs in professional development that are specifically aimed at pushing reform mathematics. We are now the laughing stock of the industrialized world for our failure to mathematically educate our children. Our future economic health is threatened.

A huge number of math teachers are extremely frustrated with Bureaucratic Textbook selections of books filled with words rather than numbers. Then those same Bureaucrats wonder: why the children have little number sense?

Singapore is a nation in which all math instruction is in English and yet over 50% of the children come from homes speaking Tamil, Malay, or Mandarin Chinese not English. Singapore students score #1 in the world on TIMSS Math at both grade 4 and grade 8. In most US states their books would not be used because they do not come with multiple language editions.

The Singapore texts are written in very straight forward simple English and use lots of Numbers - that is a real key MORE NUMBERS and fewer words. The USA thanks to defective leadership still is headed for lots of words available in multiple languages rather than Numbers.

Please Congressman Smith see if you can restore some sanity to this system.

Danaher M. Dempsey Jr.

Washington State Board of Education Math Advisory Panelist
BA in Mathematics, M.Ed.
NCLB Highly Qualified in Math, Chemistry, and Science

and really disgusted with the last 15 years of NSF destructive direction in K-12 mathematics.... and Featuring the Best Math Practices that are NOT.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Capitol Hill to check out NMAP

Full House Committee on Education and Labor hearing
on "The National Mathematics Advisory Panel Report:
Foundations for Success,"

Scheduled at 10:00 a.m. on
Wednesday, May 21, 2008 in room 2175 Rayburn H.O.B.
Witnesses to be announced.

This hearing will be available via live webcast, which can be accessed by going to the Committee website:

There will be a link to the hearing the day of the hearing.

The House Education and Labor Committee will hold a hearing to examine a recent report released by the National Mathematics Advisory Panel on the state of math education and instruction in the United States. Among other things, the report found that the nation’s system for teaching math is “broken and must be fixed” if the U.S. wants to maintain its competitive edge.


Dr. Skip Fennell
National Mathematics Advisory Panel
Former President
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Westminster, Maryland

Dr. William Haver
Professor of Mathematics
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia

Laura Slaver
Vice President
Achieve, Inc.
Washington, D.C.

Dr. Wanda T. Staggers
Master Teacher and Dean of
Manufacturing and Engineering
Academy of Engineering
and Biomedical Sciences
Anderson, South Carolina

Mary Ann Wolf
Executive Director
State Education Technology
Directors Association
Glen Burnie, Maryland

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Conflict of Interest by Dave Orbits

Any educator, consultant or contractor that has a financial connection to a publisher or provider of educational programs or services should be required to disclose that connection. Is there a state law that requires this disclosure? This is the same problem that the medical community has been dealing with where researchers are taking consulting money from pharma companies. The peer reviewed journals are now requiring these researchers to disclose these connections because of the potential for bias / conflict of interest in both the research being performed and the outcomes.

We have a worse problem in the case of state curriculum selections since district curriculum people will be strongly biased in favor of their prior selections regardless of the fact that the standards have changed. Even if they weren’t their management will be pushing them to get their district curriculum approved as a cost saving measure.

To me this means that no one involved in prior curriculum decisions nor any person that can be pressured into a particular decision (and hence subject to harassment) can be part of the curriculum advisory committee or on the selection team. No one from the education consulting industry or the college Ed community who has provided consulting to publishers or providers of educational programs or services can participate either. They are all tainted. OSPI will of course fight this because they are selecting people aligned with their own math philosophy.

We need people who understand math and can objectively assess curriculum content against the standards. Let them develop their own rubric.

Testimony 5-21-2008 coming

Good Evening, I am Dan Dempsey. 5-21-2008

"The education profession has never been particularly interested in results, especially if they run counter to the prejudices of the profession,"
---Dr. Douglas Carnine

Director Martin-Morris, congratulations on your decision to focus on results and forego waiting on OSPI for Math guidance via the prejudices of the profession.

You may encounter significant problems in attempting to make decisions that can eventually produce positive math materials selections. The Seattle central staff still reference best practices in math. Remember there are none at this time. Differentiated Instruction is NOT a best practice.

Seattle’s selection of Everyday Math in a total collapse of rational process is just one example of the likelihood for failure if you choose to rely on Current Seattle Math decision makers. No one involved with recent math curricular decision-making processes should be acknowledged as a competent decision maker without a critical examination of their supposed qualifications. You will make better progress in achieving your goal by listening to more math teachers and fewer administrators; above all seek relevant data and apply it intelligently.

Dr Bergeson and OSPI are still derailing the process put in place by the legislature. The intent is to bring about better math for Washington Students. It seems clear that Dr Bergeson continues to guide us toward predetermined outcomes: like Connected Math, Core-Plus and Everyday Math.

Dr Bergeson’s selection of the Dana Center for six times the price of the low bidder was a clear vote for Everyday Math and Connected Math. OSPI's biased selection of the Standards Revision Team was a vote for Core-Plus.

Now after a covert selection process the Instructional Materials Review Criteria Panel has already had their first meeting, complete with no public notification and no observers. Math materials used in the districts represented by this hand picked OSPI criteria team and the contents of their first draft reveal this team of school administrators apparently prefers Connected Math and Core-Plus. There are no teachers on this team and no highly skilled math representatives from industry. To be selected to this criteria team knowledge of math was not a requirement..

Harium, help with successful execution of your plan will be needed.... But don't worry your plan will put Seattle in a much better position than where Dr Bergeson has Washington Math headed.

Thanks for your efforts.

You are correct Seattle does not need to waste another year with OSPI’s defective math thoughts.

NSF dollars funding Math Decay

We seem to be a nation bent on funding our own disaster. Write your legislators in WA DC after you read these.



We are funding our own destruction. NSF bribes school districts with grants to reduce textbook costs and supposed professional development to use inferior materials.

Take a look at the Carefully selected OSPI Standards Revision Team that the Dana Center directed in the fall that produced the jumbled confusion called math standards that the legislature rejected.

It featured lots of those who pander for NSF largess. Perhaps those who are the beneficiaries of NSF largess should not have been on the OSPI selected Standards Revision Team, but then who would have been left?

Oh my where were those highly math knowledgeable representatives from industry that OSPI failed to select despite the ST recommendation that OSPI do so? Gee and I thought that HB 1906 required that to happen, what is up with that??

Saturday, May 17, 2008

More from the Dana Center - Your Thoughts??

Try the following and see if you can deduce why it was worth OSPI paying the Charles A. Dana Center of the University of Texas at Austin $770,000 instead of $130,000 for the low bidder.

Adapted from:
Mathematics Instructional Materials Analysis: Supporting TEKS Implementation
Copyright 2006, 2007, Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin

Components of Quality Instructional Materials

Simply checking the instructional materials’ topics against a scope and sequence chart is not sufficient for determining the quality of the materials. For materials to earn a rating of high-quality in the Instructional Materials Analysis, they should:

• include the major goals of developing student’s problem-solving, reasoning, and communication skills;

• emphasize the development of conceptual understanding and connections among topics;

• allow ample opportunities for students to apply mathematics in realistic and meaningful situations;

• reflect high expectations for all students;

• include appropriate student assignments;

• promote students’ active involvement in learning mathematics;

• reflect an appropriate developmental sequence;

• provide alternative assessment instruments and methods;

• integrate the use of technology;

• reflect current research in mathematics education;

and above all,

• teach all the TEKS (including Basic Understandings or Introductory Paragraphs, Strands, Knowledge and Skills, and Student Expectations)

• meet the needs delineated in the curriculum documents for the Houston Independent School District (Vertical Alignment Matrix, Horizontal Alignment Planning Guide, TEKS/TAKS Correlation)


The above aligns perfectly with the decade of math nonsense promoted by Dr Bergeson.

If fairy tales could come true they might happen to you - is apparently the OSPI math direction.

You will note the absence of any emphasis on arithmetic skills. Seemingly numbers are hardly needed in Math Classes. This Dana Center recommendation stands in almost total opposition to the 2004 MSSG document that speaks to how to revise State Math Standards.

• reflect current research in mathematics education;
I wonder what that means? Perhaps it means that everything that comes out of the Dana Center is current research so do what the Center tells you to do.

This sound more like a Science Fiction Movie than a plan to improve math performance in one of the world's math laughing stock nations. USA PISA math scores are terrible and still falling - pretty easy to understand why with math leadership like this.

When do you suppose that the National Math Advisory Panel recommendations will enter the OSPI psyche if ever?

The Standards - My Opinion

The Standards - My opinion

I think that far to much homage is paid to the OSPI-Dana Center Math Standards fiasco by Strategic Teaching in the introductory pages of the New Washington Math Standards documents. This is especially true for high school. There is a total distortion of the truth in regard to the OSPI – Dana Center contribution to the high school math standards.

Perhaps undeserved backslapping is a requirement for continued work in the educational consulting field.

Regardless the absence of truth in many of the opinions given public promotion in the field of k-12 education is most troublesome.

Unfortunately any homage paid by ST will certainly be used by OSPI to continue their well-planned bogus math hokum of the last decade.

The inclusion of any Probability & Stats in any courses will likely be used by OSPI to exclude books that teach Authentic Algebra well or prepare students to take Authentic Algebra.

There has been little if any consideration for how well a textbook actually teaches topics or rather how well the text assists the teacher in creating an environment in which the student can efficiently and effectively learn the material.

We seem still on our way down the same fashion runway that produced the virtually worthless US Department of ED 1999 Exemplary and Promising math programs. OSPI appears to be wedded to these defective programs until death do them part.

Given the level of blatant corruption from OSPI at virtually every stage in the processes required by (unfulfilled) HB 1906 and SB 6534, I see very little hope for a successful long term correction to OSPI's continuing Malfeasance and Misfeasance in regard to Math.

Has OSPI made any step aimed at a correction of the Math Mess that they created?

1...Selected Dana Center (cost 6 times low bidder)

2...Chose an incredibly biased Standards Revision Team

3...Selected an Instructional Materials Review criteria team with little math knowledge and enormous conflicts of interest based on materials in use as well current positions held by the members.

To rise in the Education Kakistocracy of Washington Ed it is best to follow the leader.

4...OSPI has yet to select a single highly knowledgeable math professional from industry on either the SRT or the IMR criteria team.

Both the Standards Revision Team and The Instructional Materials Review Criteria Team were stacked from Square One by OSPI.

The Standards as currently presented by Strategic Teaching will be perfectly worthless in bringing about any change in this environment. Unless the Standards are a part of Dr Bergeson's OSPI math plan they are only the equivalent of roadside litter in the long run.

I remain totally disgusted by the perversion of this entire process.

Originally I was opposed to the selection of Math Materials by the State, I remain so to this day (more on this another time). The state in the form of OSPI has shown itself to be totally incapable of either selecting appropriate materials or generating them. Math Modules = worthless (Wade Cole researcher of WSIPP says so).

OSPI is incapable of even assessing the actual high school level math competence of students despite spending multi-millions on testing.

In the interests of brevity I will not go into further detail of the blatantly corrupt manipulation of process OSPI used to arrive at a predetermined outcome. Let me just say that the Closed Meetings of the Initial SRT team and the Closed Initial meeting of the Criteria team were less than accidental.

The people hardest for OSPI to control in this process are highly math knowledgeable representatives from industry. OSPI solved that very easily by never picking any until it is too late (even though the recommendations produced by ST in regard to the Standards Revision Team required OSPI to put highly math competent professions from industry on the SRT – OSPI just ignored the Law again HB 1906). Once the Criteria for materials selection are finalized - it is game over. Then everyone will check the appropriate check box that corresponds to the criteria already finalized by the Covertly Selected IMR Criteria team and once again most of the children can continue with the pathetic materials that Dr Bergeson et al. believe they should be using. These materials will be used because they match the likely bogus IMR draft#2 (soon to be finalized) developed checkbox criteria. Here the requirement is likely to be alignment with a pathetic failed philosophical and pedagogical ideology that has yet to produce any positive results anywhere.

Notice the additions to the SBE Math Advisory Panel as replacements were needed, again no Highly Math Knowledgeable individuals have been added since the Panel’s formation over one year ago. Here we are talking the SBE’s actions not even OSPI’s.

That's my story and I am sticking to it.
Until I see evidence to the contrary, I remain convinced that as long as Dr Bergeson calls the shots NO SIGNIFICANT MATH IMPROVEMENT WILL BE ALLOWED.


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

The Subtle Voice of Math Education Improvement

To improve a System requires the Intelligent Application of Relevant Data - Now you know why significant improvement will be very unlikely unless the public chooses to mount the barricades in the streets like 1789 France. Singapore uses real math texts while our kids get Cake.