Friday, May 2, 2008

Carl Chew In the Tacoma News Tribune

The article said:
Guess what? We can no more count on our leaders to listen to us and change the WASL than we can convince them to follow the law and fully fund education in this state.
Lets not stop the Guess What's there.
Here is another Guess What for Seattle:
Guess what? The Seattle Public Schools have school board grade level promotion / non-promotion policies ( D44.00 and D45.00) that require learning defined necessary skills at each grade level. The students should be judged on their attaining these skills, that effective interventions be given to students struggling to attain these skills. If students fail to attain these skills, that non promotion to the next grade will be the usual result.
Take a look at Phi Delta Kappa's $124,000 curriculum audit of the SPS presented in February 2008.
This is a big report almost 400 pages.
See pages 167 and 168 for a summary of Math and Language arts.
Seattle currently is using a new K-5 adoption of Everyday Math.
Everyday Math is a spiral curriculum ( noted for ineffective results due to never staying on a topic long enough for students to learn it ).
EDM has far too many topics at a given grade level.
EDM had been shown to be ineffective in similar urban situations prior to adoption. In fact on April 7th Denver's Rocky Mountain News reported on the Math disaster in Denver Middle Schools. Denver uses EDM and follows it with Connected Math Project at middles schools. CAO Santorno came from Denver. Since she became Seattle CAO she has put this exact same failing combination in place in Seattle.
EDM has calculator usage at all grade levels even Kindergarten.
All these were known facts when CAO Carla Santorno unilaterally made the decision that Everyday Mathematics would be the Math Adoption.
The School Board approved this 6-0 on May 30th 2007.
The K-8 Seattle Math program is now in direct opposition to what the National Math Panel recommended in their report on March 13, 2008.
See if you can find any required necessary grade level skills in Math? Other than the extremely confusing WASL Grade Level Expectations that are so vague they make little sense, and could hardly be considered grade level necessary skills, I can find nothing. Then realize that a full one third of entering 9th graders could not score above level 1 ( the totally math clueless level) on their 8th grade WASL.
Here is another Guess What for the State:
Guess what? The Legislature passed SB6534 attempting to get OSPI to correctly write math standards by July 15th.
OSPI moved the deadlines for k-8 to April 15th and 9-12 to May 15. The State Math Advisory Panelist met on May 1, and need to have their input in submitted by May 8th.
Several people have objected to this time line.
OSPI fouled up HB 1906 (passed in 2007). Requiring the legislature to pass SB6534 (passed 2008). We just can not get OSPI to follow laws very well. At least Mr. Chew believes in civil disobedience. OSPI just does not follow laws as written.
I filled a legal complaint in Superior Court on April 24th for injunctive relief of having OSPI follow the law. The mess we have in Seattle and in this State has a lot to do with School Diectors and Public Officials both elected and appointed not following the law or their own policies.
See my Posting of April 23rd at my blog for my full legal complaint.
The Math Underground
The Legal Complaint
The Why of the Complaint
Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.
State Board of Education
Math Advisory Panelist
Teacher Clover Park School District
Alternatives for Individuals High School.
So What is Seattle's Math Plan Now?
Guess What they really do not have one.
Other than Stay the Course because CAO Santorno blew all the money on Defective Materials EDM and CMP2 and $2+ million per year in academic math coaches for teachers.
At the State Math Panel meeting yesterday noted Math Expert W. Steve Wilson of Johns Hopkins University said if districts would use real math books with clear examples the the children could learn better, the parent's could help the children and significantly even the teachers could learn the mathematics. We are continually heard about content deficient math teachers. Ridiculous textbook selections assure districts like Seattle of needing expensive coaching which still does not work, and expensive interventions which do not work either.
Seattle School Board heard positive things about the EDM several year pilot at Green Lake from the Principal acting as Cheer leader. What they never saw was the test data from Green Lake. These folks live in a Fairytale land removed from objective reality, just like most educational decision makers in Washington.
To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data.
-- W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993)
No wonder we have such a mess in this state.
Dr Bergeson believes in Philosophical alignment with a philosophy of education that does not work. Results are not important. Alignment with what supposedly we would like to have work apparently is.


Anonymous said...

The Oak Harbor school district is asking the school board to adopt Core-plus for its high school math curriculum even though a vote of the high school math teachers was 6-4 in favor of CPM. A curriculum review team voted 8-5 for Core-plus. If the votes are combined the tally is 12 for core and 11 for Cpm. Hardly a ringing endorsement for Core-plus. Guess the teachers opinion is not worth much even though they are the ones who must make it work. A sad situation indeed. Any ideas or comments on this situation

dan dempsey said...

Read the National Math Advisory Panel report. Clearly the Oak Harbor School District wishes to be totally out of touch with the direction of Mathematics in the USA and wants to prepare none of their students for Engineering careers.

Oak Harbor SD wants to prepare their students to succeed only in the land of McJobs.

Many school districts wished they had waited for the NMAP report before selecting curriculum during the last year.

Are Oak Harbor School Directors and administrators unable to either read or think?

Anonymous said...

Oak Harbor is interesting because you have two middle schools sitting next to each other with entirely different math programs and teaching philosophies.

Not surprisingly, math scores are sharply different between these two schools, as is teacher retention.

There is one parent on the school board who to my knowledge was strongly opposed to adopting the standardized curriculum.

Oak Harbor is part of the Math Science Partnership Grant for North puget Sound. Once again, the SMATE Director is the cousin of the Core Plus Regional Consultant for McGraw-Hill.

The district gets a textbook subsidy and free teacher training if they adopt a standardized curriculum.

They also get the benefit of science curriculum and free training (free meaning its paid for with matching grant money) The science stuff is about as good as Core Plus, so this is nothing to write home about. They're building paper houses as an end of school project in algebra class. I'm returning to California, this is so disgusting just writing about it.

Burlington and Bellevue are the models for WASP education. They are what school looks like for social democrats. Picture what schools might have been during apartheid. What you don't see won't alarm you. Not a joke.

Not to mention, certain administrators are friends of Bergerson's. A minor in education with a business degree is an expert in mathematics?

I'm surprised, but not really. The airwing families are strongly opposed to anything that remotely resembles Burlington's math program. They network and families I've spoken with prefer the schools in Anacortes overall. The seniors at Burlington are more white than in Anacortes.

I like La Conner's math program (CPM) and this district is diverse. Its like going to a small private school. There are very few houses for sale in La Conner.

Anonymous said...

CPM can be used grades 7-12. It would be a logically better fit than Core Plus 9-12. The way to win this game is incorporate a middle school adoption with the high school adoption. And yes, both CPM and Core Plus are standardized. However, CPM is totally methods-based. Core Plus in inquiry. Also, teacher training and parent materials are superior in CPM (100 hours vs. 25 hours.) Some districts balk at the teacher expense. The middle school curriculum is extremely interesting - developed after Core 1. My last recollection was they were writing curriculum for grades 1 - 6. But they may already have something for sixth grade.

The writers for CPM write the test questions for teh Golden State Exam in California - a standardized test for Algebra!

Anonymous said...

When school districts accept grants, they should be informed of the stipulations and ask for more accountability from administrators. There are too many ways to spirit away public funds, especially if you don't have a school site council. The school improvement plan does not qualify as oversight.

And board members are fools for believing that administrators won't be tempted to abuse perks and privileges. That is what I've learned from my experiences working in small districts in Washington - no accountability, no oversight.

Anonymous said...

2400 years ago, Socrates noted in Protagorus that assemblies behave differently when dealing with buildings and ships to be constructed than matters concerning the governance of the city.

If a building was to be built than a builder would testify; but if someone not regarded as an expert were to testify they would be derided.

Now if a matter concerning the city were under discussion, all matter of persons would testify with no training or direction given anywhere under any teacher and no one would think to rebuke them.

In the US it is the same - schools are no longer managed by experts. Textbook representatives disguise themselves at school board meetings to give their expert opinions.

Anonymous said...

Some good reading is Joseph Margolis The truth about Relativism.

Most people don't understand rhetoric - but there is an alternative to understanding that is truly didactic.

While we naively presume that content standards are practical, well-reasoned, insightful, etc.
Its historical basis stems from Aristotle and the approach is often criticized as 'dogmatic' which means its difficult to have didactic instruction. You either get it or you don't type of thing.

Another school, labeled pre-Socratic, but was around at the same time as Socrates was called the School of Abdera. And its most famous proponent was Protagorus, no less a democrat, than Pericles (good friends). His contribution to rhetoric was an approach or method for finding a better argument by throwing out less viable ones.

Textbooks are a practical example. In an oligarch framework, all of them are equal, but none is really good, so all the sellers benefit (relativism). With an egalitarian framework, the best textbook rises to the top (absolutism).

It is up to the state and voters to decide when it is in society's best interest to adopt a curriculum like Singapore versus Everyday Math, IMP, or Core Plus.

Don't expect a higher authority to make the decision for you. Its not going to happen unless they are coerced into it.

dan dempsey said...

Very Interesting points are brought up above.

These came up in conversation surrounding Maria Cantwell's interest in Education and economic opportunity.

Schools are bribed to use less than optimal math programs. This can be greatly reduced by simply requiring the NSF to stop assisting programs that are in direct opposition to the National Math Panel Recommendations.

Thus the March 13, 2008 Report becomes the road map for success.

That will end TERC/Investigations, Everyday Math, and Connected Math Project. IMP and Core-Plus would be gone also.
By gone I mean that without the grant funding given to UW and other Universities to push this stuff as well as school district help coming from NSF funds, it would be likely this stuff would disappear.

Example Based instruction that aims at bringing about a level of competence before teaching a new topic produces the positive academic results results that spiral curricula have not, do not, and will not.

Anonymous said...

What's your source regarding Maria Cantwell? I'll look it up if you're not sure.

Anonymous said...

The board meeting with the Green Lake poster child touting Everyday is reminiscent of a meeting I attended where the Principal, Ms. Bovine gave a 45 minute presentation on Core Plus. There is a silver lining in every cloud.

She was chirping about the fact that by staying the course and using 100% core-plus their all-white school was 2 points above the state average and their WASL scores had remained unchanged, whereas the state's scores had gone down.

Incoming 9th grade Latinoes 27%
Outgoing 12th grade Latinoes 4%
Dropout rate 23%
Attendance rate 88%

How many students consider a college career in math or science? Not one - I asked the career counselor

How many students considering college?
About a third, but most are starting out at community college.

Pathetic - this twit principal thinks all systems are normal, I'm doing my sos job guys what's the problem.

Signed Bazagra

Anonymous said...

I am in the minority, but it is because I believe humans are more complex than we give them credit.

We accept standards-based instruction because it appears so simple, but reducing instruction to a prescribed set of rules I argue is not at the heart of any good instruction.

Today's 'experts' seem to be using a computer as a template for the way people learn. Spiraling is a misnomer and really does not do justice to describe what good teachers do.

Prescriptive teaching is the antithesis to good teaching, since students who learned something once would not have to see the same instruction repeated.

Kids are correct when they say school is boring, because they are attempting to describe what they see each of their teachers do every day - writing standards on the board and then attempting to point out something relevant in today's lesson. This is very misguided almost to the point of parodying. Put yourself in the seat with the student.

But its true, I would be fellow in the back of the room throwing paper at the teacher accusing school of being cruel to children. Give me Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty anyday and I'll whip their a.....

Didactic instruction means refining and having the student make the connection. Its not about filling a cookbook with recipes for making omellettes.

Anonymous said...

I am thinking of presenting an opinion on Core plus to the Oak Harbor School Board and would like to find good information on why they should not adopt this material at this time. Any ideas? The superintendant does not believe anything will be achieved by waiting to see the new high school standards or curriculum choices the state is suppose to recommend. Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Does the Sup intend to use Core 1 in eighth grade or ninth grade?

I'm looking at the second edition

Eighth grade standards (if any) throughout the textbook.

Unit 4 is not a Washington standard.
Vertex-edge graphs.

Algebraic emphasis is non-standard - solutions are obtained by graphing points on calculators and having the calculator do a linear regression. Most of the times kids are actually eyeballing the line, but they can't properly find either the slope of the y-intercept. The book wants them to use now-next to find the slope. This is not explained in the book, and I think it was edited out by mistake.

There is no computation done by the student. The most serious pedagogical flaw is how students are supposed to show their answers on paper, since many try to draw pictures of their calculator displays.

y = a + bx ; non standard format

Unit 3 Linear functions

This is a misnomer. The actual title is Modeling Linear Relationships with a graphing calculator. p. 150

Each unit has an investigation. In this case the situation is unique. "Barry represents a credit card company on a college campus. He entices students with free gifts if they fill out a credit card application."

The graph is drawn out for the student. (applications, daily pay)

The daily pay represents what Barry gets paid. So the reality is that students are looking at Barry's pay as a function of applications that get completed. this has nothing to do with free enticements. So already you will see students begin to ask questions, like what happenned to the enticements? p. 152 Is a question that sort of wraps up what was learned from the previous page.

1.e. Use the words now and next to write a rule showing how Barry's daily pay changes with each new credit card application. What the heck is Now-Next? The class will be baffled because no where in the last 150 pages have you seen anything that resembles now and next. I looked in the index. Nothing. I looked ahead and I see in the summary on p. 156 (table, graph, symbolic rule (y=a + bx), now-next rule) but there is still no explanation for how to find any of the above.

p. 152-155 How many problems?
1. a-e
2. a-e
3. a b
4. a-f
5. a b
6. draw the graph a-d

The book presumes students have an awareness of what a line is. That's the only explanation I can come up with.

Given a table that you fill out.
Emily purchased a television for $480 using a credit card. Suppose she pays for the minimum monthly payment of $20 each month for the first 12 mos. What is the account balance?

This is wrong by the way. The problem ignores interest accrued?!!
So we'll ignore that and push on.

4. e. Determine the rate of change, including units, in the account balance as the number of monthly payments increases from:

Have your sup work out that problem...

copy the first six pages of unit 3 and trust me, your sup will get the point.

This book will make anyone believe the reformers are the sickest bunch of weirded out wackoes this side of the Mississippi.

I like the title of Investigation

Its an iterative calculation and I think very misleading, because you have to start with a seed and then add a constant to find each successive point.

This is actually much harder than it looks and gives students an entirely different definition of a line than what we are accustomed to visualizing in the normal world. This is how you create fractals. So it is not a line either, except in the remotest sense, that it resembles one, but a discrete set of points that are bounded on one side. Philosophically, it is closer to Aristotle's model of reality, but that is another story.

So already you see problems with the first three pages of Unit 3. And what may you ask has this to do with Barry's problem and why should students even care about Barry's pay or his enticements like water bottles.

p. 155 Linear functions without contexts (another exercise at throwing darts)


Somebody named stupid wrote Unit 3.

Trust me the book never gets beyond much more than that - it is a serious exercise at wing flapping. By unit 5 everyone is ready to call it quits, algebra is just too hard....or stupid.

Plato's definition works for math reformers - featherless bipeds (with smooth nails).

The biggest change is Unit 7 Parabolas - because it didn't exist in the previous edition and they were dinged. McGraw must have thought solids were more important???

p. 464 Punkin' droppin'??

This is a unit that just sort of drops in without any explanation and already you can see on p. 464there is going to be a steep learning curve. I'm not sure how a teacher would prepare students for this. My administrators certainly weren't concerned. Lesson 2 involves factoring. Lesson 3 solving - about 60 pp altogether, but mostly fluff - nothing to do with recognizing different forms like:

a squared - b squared???

Michiginians make s..... mathematicians.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know from Reggie Nelson (Core Plus sales rep) which districts in Washington have adopted Core Plus as their math curriculum?

And how many are being funded through his cousin's grant at SMATE?

Has he updated his last study - A matched study of 22 Washington Schools ....Using Core Plus?

What are the current results? How many of those schools still use Core Plus?

I wonder which schools were matched?

The odds of an administrator losing their job as a result of Core Plus cheerleading is maybe 3:1
so just sit back and watch the fireworks explode when parents encounter core-plus for the first time. Students have been known to throw such textbooks at teachers out of complete frustration. Ask strawman Merlino.

dan dempsey said...

I would be most interested in the names of the Core-Plus districts and the adoption years.

If you can get that super!!


Anonymous said...

Washington is going to have big problems - I just met a former student working at Arby's and its exactly as I've said - her and her friend are both 18 and one is now married.

She's got a kid and husband is a temporary worker. They both want to go back to school and finish high school but they don't know where to go. I told her to enroll in Skagit's GED program. She said she woulld try, but I'm doubtful. They tried two alternative schools and two high schools, before dropping out.

Some people accept this as life, but I'm convinced its school and definitely its the way we teach kids math. It is the only possible explanation left.

I've already got my old position back in California. You have too many kids wandering around at loose ends in Washington. The poverty and ignorance here is endemic...Unless teachers and principals change their attitudes about serving the community, things will never progress satisfactorily.

I hope Washington is preparing itself for a wave of lawsuits.

Anonymous said...

The QL faction is really out of hand. Pinky Nelson leads the charge.

Lynn Arthur Steen is Professor of Mathematics at St. Olaf College and a former president of the MAA.

- he was writing standards with Boeing for the Bellevue School District.

Pinky - "He suggested that the social sciences may be best suited to take the lead in supporting QL across the curriculum"

"Quantitative literacy is about the democratization of mathematics" ... George (Pinky) Nelson, director of AAAS Project 2061

There is an insufferable group of of "experts" working against progress in this state. Much of this having to do with the msp grant for north puget sound and

One wonders if you had a decent math program would there be any need for the relics currently trying to steer washington's education plans. Will they ever be able to leave the dock.

I hate to say it, but there might be a conflict of interest between the Transition math project and the Math Standards Committee.

Anonymous said...

Here's an OSPI presentation
2007 WASL Test Results

Lynn Steen (MAA) was referenced, along with George Bright (Center for Math Science Education, UNC) and Uri Treisman (Dana Center).

This is the QL faction. Washington is paying for a whole lot of BS.

Anonymous said...

This is the link for the previous note - 2007 WASL results

I should note here the state now adds reading and math scores to hide the obviously low math scores. Like we can't see the obvious. A third of the kids aren't eligible for graduation and worse we're missing another third because they're just not going to school.

Throw these idiots out of OSPI and be done with this, the world will run a lot more smoothly.

Do you seriously want to go through another cycle of rewriting standards, aligning curriculum, and rewriting test items? It will cost this state at least another $2Billion and you will get no more reward than what you have now.

QL literacy is sheer folly. Democratization of mathematics???? What on earth are these guys about? Washington is buying snake oil and Bergerson is selling it.

Anonymous said...

There's one association I didn't understand

Warfield and Steen (MAA) Now it makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Dan, Thielk is at Central Kitsap.
Everyday Math

Central Kitsap 12,324 students (2006); 12,642(2005) 12,760(2004); 13,202(2003)

Math 54%(2006); 58%(2005); 55%(2004); 49%(2003)

Looking at Central Kitsap's new alternatives. This is a non-standard district by-the-way.
Old school

Lots of in-between stuff in the alternative area.

Central Kitsap HS (Wikipedia) Top 2% nations high schools.

East Alternative School
enrollment 71 (I bet!)
Total ethnicity 76%??
reduced lunch 30%

West Alternative School?

New Frontiers Secondary?

Klahowya Secondary 51% math

Off campus 22% spec ed math 42%

Alternative High School 25% math

Central Kitsap High School 60% math

Olympic High School
Total ethnicity 90%
math 52%

For the most part these figures show very little change has occurred in the last 5 years. Population growth since 2000 4% Yet student enrollment has dropped in the past five years. Not by much, but enough to be concerned.

What you are seeing is indicative of the entire state - schools created to accommodate climbing dropout rates. They're not showing up in WASL test scores or in the mainstream.

WASL scores are a sorting mechanism - you have two classes of students - meets proficiency and below proficiency.

If you are below proficiency than you go to an alternative school where you get less direct instruction.

This is the worst possible outcome for support programs, you have a social disaster in the making.

Anonymous said...

Central Kitsap math program
Connected Math
Core Plus

Anonymous said...

Bellevue World-class standards rewrite - still a process, not a reality (here's one reason why...)

Reflections on Articulation Roundtable

Its their problem

Words scatology???? courtesy Warfield "the didactic diva"

"The same options exist for dealing with the challenge of articulation between industry and education.

Much the simplest solution is to label each other "them" and walk apart.

The alternative is to find each other (which is not as easy as it sounds), learn each other's language (definitely tricky), focus on the points where we connect (a moving target), articulate the problems (more language) and try out some solutions, not all of which can possibly work (frustrating.)"

Your dollars at work....

Signed featherless biped

Anonymous said...

This is rather flawed paper, but appropriate for reading if you ever want to engage Lynn Steen sometime on what's wrong with school (his pov of course)

Model Mathematical Citizen

This harks back to Jim Leizel at drum roll, Ohio State -- you might recall that these are the data
mavens who reported SUCCESS!! Project Seed proved minorities could succeed with socratic teaching. Uri Treisman's claim to fame. Too bad it isn't true.

Where are they now??? Kalamazoo at the Testing Center.

Life moves in mysterious ways...

Here's Steen's thesis:
My thesis today is that by virtue of our training, mathematicians have distinctive habits of mind
that can enhance public discussion of public issues. Moreover, and most importantly, we have a
professional obligation to move beyond the boundaries of our own discipline to bring our special
skills of analysis and clarification to bear on important public policy discussions.

One of the criiticisms he attempts to explain is the high school graduation rate. Steen doesn't refute it, but he says the public doesn't understand it either. His claim I believe is that we use a different formula for calculating it and that's why there was a noticeable drop.

He also uses Bush's proclam "low expectations of soft bigotry" implying that schools are setting college level expectations for students, whereas that was not the case before Bush??

So first, he should probably look at the Core Plus book and decide for himself if this is appropriate reading material or even appropriate for classrooms. I didn't think so...

Once again I'm demonizing, but someone has to do it.

Anonymous said...

The Evaluation of Project SEED, 1990-91.
by William Webster and Russell Chadbourn (1992)

In the Dallas (Texas) public schools the Socratic group-discovery approach of Project SEED was used with all grade levels in elementary schools with high percentages of minority and low-income students. The 1990-91 evaluation considered the impact of Project SEED on students in the Dallas Learning Centers program as well as on those not in the Learning Centers. Achievement test results of more than 1,300 students in grades 4 through 6 were compared with those of non-SEED students. An immediate impact could be measured after one semester of SEED instruction, and there was a cumulative impact of more than one semester. Retention of mathematics skills was apparent as long as 4 years after SEED instruction, and Project SEED students were more likely to enroll in advanced mathematics in secondary school.

and Webster did a second evaluation in Detroit with similiar results.

Anonymous said...

Dan, another study was cited that I wanted to locate.

Project Through - that might be of some help to shed a little light.

Anonymous said...

I think it was an editing error and it should be Project Follow through - the one you reference.