Saturday, May 31, 2008

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.



Anonymous said...

This really begs the question of why both Bellevue and Edmonds, chose the exemplary curriculum in the first place and why both their former superintendents went to such extraordinary measures to ensure those curricula were adopted. Superintendents, like Riley, should be condemned for their actions.

The new adopted traditional materials while excellent choices for privileged children, will continue failing to address the needs for the majority of Americans who continue being underserved and forced to use poorly written curriculum. Indeed learning from handouts is mostly a waste of time.

There are far too many obstacles discouraging children from going to college, algebra should not be one of them.

It is bitter sweet that Edmonds and Bellevue have announced adopting an improved, although unproven, curriculum, when they have done more in the past 10 years to discourage children from attending school, either by supporting the integrated mathematics reform movement through national training programs or created alternative schools that tracked students, especially minorities, some have dared call dropout factories.

Where was the logic?

The McDougall textbooks while sufficient for high achieving ninth graders will not be appropriate for eighth graders, nor most kids struggling with math. What do we purchase for those kids?

American public education continues to underserve our students. We continue to have two standards - privileged and enslaved.

How can you not feel our leaders are racists?

Anonymous said...

I think there are 2 kinds of policy people messing up public education.

1. the right wingers who don't want ANYONE competing against their brats' privelage. If you're some shade of non their white, you're worse off than those who are NOT their shade of white, but, only slightly. These people don't want ANY competition with their privelage, and they want NO accountability for their evil.

2. the utterly clueless, credentialed, noble, selfless, clueless, clueless lefty kind of bureaucrat who seem genetically incapable of making anything work well, other than working well at employing lots of bureaucrats accomplishing little useful.

We ALL have predujices, some of us just are honest enough to acknowledge it and try to not act on / develop it. This 2nd group is quilty of oppressing us lower class peeee-ons because they are relatively affluent, hence they set up systems and processes with little or no clue what life is like for the non affluent, hence the systems don't work very well for the non affluent.

anon sat.

Anonymous said...

Spread the word, get the news out and demand schools provide equity in education. There are so many ways that they create or promote inequity and school boards need to be educated.

1. Tracking and curriculum
2. Testing
3. Alternative programs
4. Bilingual education
5. Support programs
6. Title I
7. Grants

Its public money and school reform, like NCLB, means losing control of where it goes and what gets funded. Its also clear that more students are failing high school. Its the truth you won't hear from the media because its politically incorrect.

Words are weapons, and it is dangerous . . . to borrow them from the arsenal of the enemy.
~ ~ ~George Santayana "Orbiter Scripta"

If the word has the potency to revive and make us free, it has also the power to bind, imprison and destroy.
~ ~ ~Ralph Ellison

dan dempsey said...

Dear Anon,

Please describe exactly what you mean here:

1. Tracking and curriculum

I can present a really strong argument for ability grouping to improve the math perfromance of all students ... if that is tracking I do not want it disparaged.

Please tell me about tracking as you see it.


Anonymous said...

Tracking does not adequately describe all the variations that exist.

As always, American tracking is unique to the US, unlike tracking or streaming as it is called in other countries is not at all the same. For one, tracking is heterogeneous in other countries, both in gender and ethnicity. American school culture tends to track and group homogeneously, so we separate by gender and ethnicity. In alternative programs it is mostly through attrition that we arrive at large numbers of Latinas, who value education so highly that they will stay in a program until they are 20 years old and still don't earn a diploma. A total waste of effort and a failure of public policy.

US tracking starts primarily in high school. Most tracks in other countries start earlier. Also, like in Mexico, the lower track has a positive outcome, US does not have a vocational track for non-high school graduates, you need a GED, which is significantly lower in quality just if you compare numbers of hours of classroom instruction.

In Mexico, you could get a certificate to be a secretary as young as 15 - so this person knew short-hand and typing for instance.

You could start teaching English as a second language in Mexico when you were 15 years old.

How would like to be given the responsibility of teaching English to a classroom with 45 first graders and not yet be able to drive?

That's how you mobilize societies to succeed.

One of the promises of integrated math was reduce the achievement gap between minorities and whites. Quite the opposite occurred.

In fact, we track more than before - it is disguised in the form of alternative programs. We have Latinos taking ELL classes, who speak better English than they do Spanish.

Washington can't even seem to mainstream correctly. I still hear teachers use sped which I consider in poor taste.

Once you are placed in a track it is very hard to move up. Certainly, in the US, you can go down, although in other countries this is not done. Also, the US has more tracks than other countries. In a suburban school, there might be upwards of six tracks of students who are separated from other tracks during the day. So its a way to segregate children within a school.

Tracking was criticized in California (Jeannie Oakes was required reading in my teacher program), but this has not been an issue as controversial in Washington.

I suspect it is due to the disproportionate numbers of language minority students in both states, mostly African American and Latino. Washington is 12% Latino and African Americans number even less. In California, Latinos outnumber whites.

In the Urban League, moving up was called jumping the tracks. The goal was to improve curriculum and instruction in the lowest track, to make these students prepared for community college and above. It takes a lot of hard effort from teachers to make that happen. Certainly the politics of the times have changed in the past ten years, to make that goal harder to achieve.

When I sit at meetings about what to do about WASL scores - the usual proposal is forget about the lowest quartile and teach the ones who are slightly below proficient. This is bad policy (for one - it encourages cheating. you probably want to know why? If the average kid is one or two questions away from passing, then who will notice if I give my average kids one or two extra correct answers. Or what good is instruction if you only teach the average kids. I had a kid placed into my class from Sunnyside last year (18 yo taking Core 1) who didn't speak English. The school provided no assistance and he left after two weeks. That's immoral.

US Tracks (Wikipedia criticisms)

1. Low-track classes tend to be primarily composed of low-income students, usually minorities, while upper-track classes are usually dominated by students from socioeconomically successful groups.[7]

2. Jeannie Oakes theorizes that the disproportionate placement of poor and minority students into low tracks does not reflect their actual learning abilities.[8]

3. In addition to the unequal placement of students into tracks, there is evidence to support the assertion that the appointment of teachers to classes is disproportionate. The most-experienced, highest-status teachers are often assigned to teach high-track classes, whereas less-experienced teachers are usually assigned to low-track classes.

4. Teachers of the high-track courses were found to be more enthusiastic in teaching, better at providing explanations, and more organized than teachers of low-track courses.

5. In my former district, we were able to do away with lower tracks, by threats and intimidation (I can remember bringing my brass knuckles with me to the meetings.)

The teacher euphemism in this district for this particular track was 'zoo track' or 'classrooms for animal crackers'. This is the 90's we're talking about here, not the 60's. We eliminated the unapproved curriculum (relics from the 60's) and started using direct instruction. It made a big difference, when we started teaching those kids. Some had never had a math or science teacher.

So I am extremely angry with a school system that doesn't care about its failing students, and they are absolute innocents when it comes to knowing about their rights. So hopefully by writing plainly about public education, maybe an angel will listen.

I would find it very hard to believe there aren't schools like that in Seattle.

I was on a campus, that housed an alternative school and a community day school and teachers didn't know even existed.

I don't mind ability grouping but lets all have the same textbooks to learn with - that's equity and lets make sure all kids can read the textbook and it does what it claims to do, like prepare kids for higher mathematics so they can go to college. The best way to do that is teach algebra to eighth graders from a textbook designed to be read by an eighth grader.

Calculators are an addition, not a replacement for textbooks and algorithms.

Anonymous said...

The process of documentation and tracking of IEPs in this state (504plans was a joke at the school I was at) In california we took it more seriously and parents were aware of their legal rights.

One of the games played was called find the permanent student record. Schools withheld it for all sorts of reasons.

Hmm.. you ever smoke pot? Yes, well I guess your not eligible for assistance, unless you want to go to a drug rehabilitated in Eastern Washington. Who pays for that by the way? The student of course.

Tourettes?? Prove it?

I had a student with a 504 and I wasn't notified until the parents told me. (hearing impaired).

What were the accommodations given for these students? Go ask the district person for help.


School from Hell


Putting children with disabilities into alternative programs is asking for lawsuits, especially if the alternative program has a substantially higher rate of failure than it graduates and the education of the students is marginal or worse, independent study. This is a loophole and should be revised - it can't be legal.

Anonymous said...

Why have a school that has an inflated official graduation rate of 17%?

Anonymous said...

Visit an in-school detention room sometime. We punish minorities more than we reward them.

No wonder school gets so much bad press. If you attended school for ten years and every day was the same as the next - your dumb, stupid, etc. you would have some nasty things to say about teachers and classrooms in general. Your superintendent I'm sure regrets the day she ever called public school plantations. That says immediately which side of the economic spectrum she represents. It is a truly hurtful and outrageous thing to say about any school.

Anonymous said...

Singapore nationalized its curriculum - they are not a homogeneous society, but a mixture of many cultures, like the US. All of the children use one curriculum and it is the best curriculum written in a language that everyone is able to understand.

Do you see my point?

Ability grouping is fair, so long as we both use the same curriculum, the students can understand what they're reading and therefore succeed in learning, and finally that the teachers are certified.

Anonymous said...

I have to add that we both agree that the curriculum is the best curriculum, which eliminates teacher's desire to blend curriculum to augment instruction and fill in gaps, but rather to support instruction, so higher ability groups would advance more quickly to calculas for instance.

So here is one trouble with current curriculum, we prolong math instruction where its not needed in higher ability groups. How many students do you know who refuse to take honors or ap classes because its more work?

With a nationalized curriculum using world class materials, students naturally rise to the rigor of more difficult classes. Lower ability students get extra support. You are rewarded for being in a higher ability group, not punished.

A superintendent with a plan like this could be the next president.

Anonymous said...

In the US tracks are paths through school, support tracks are remedial and often channel students out of high school into alternative programs or home study that offer very little opportunity for finding more than menial work -in the US we rely on this population for seasonal farm labor and home construction.

The higher ability groups are more differentiated but it pretty much represents the way education has always been when you look at percentages of students enrolling in colleges and vocational programs.

I think the primary difference is that most students are choosing not to enter math or science related professions and we already know that most students are not getting past first year algebra at least when you look at SAT scores - those scores are substantially lower than in the past and proportionally lower than in previous years. Another way schools lie with statistics when they say more students are taking the SATs - yes, but lets be more clear in what we mean - proportionally no and on the average test scores are lower.

College curriculum has not changed substantially content-wise in the past fifty years although students are now asked to do different types of tasks and specific areas are more stressed than other areas - but you see this in more advanced series. A textbook on dif eq. or calculas is about the same.

dan dempsey said...

Some interesting thoughts above like the Mexican fifteen year olds that are trained to work by the schools....

Consider our reverse of the above..

I went to the Unemployment office in Olympia and looked at a number of postings for State employment. In the job description for at least 60% of these, the job could clearly be carried out by an able high school graduate with ability. BUT a College degree was required... clearly we have a system that forces the populace to use the higher education services to meet the academic requirements for the job.... even though those requirements have nothing to do with being able to adequately perform the job.

This is how a bungling educational hierarchy feeds itself with tuition dollars... providing services whether needed or not by the consumer (but required to be employed).

Those in substantial debt are easier to control.

Anonymous said...

To a certain extent I agree but this is a game where employers hold the cards, not their employees. Most employees are overeducated and underpaid. The advantage of being an employee is there is less risk earning a paycheck. An employer will usually hire a college graduate over a high school graduate. Rarely will they say honestly "I think you are overqualified, find a better job."

I think it is unrealistic when employers attach college degree required in all their job descriptions, but it does help lower the risk of hiring someone inept, dishonest, or untrainable. Especially, when high school curriculum is well, questionable.

I would like to know when I hire a high school graduate that person knows algebra. A student attending public schools in Mexico knows algebra, so why can't Americans do the same thing? So we hedge our bets and hire college graduates.

dan dempsey said...


I know what you mean I had a friend who was a hospital administrator that did a lot of hiring.

He wanted College grads. He did not care what they graduated in.

His reasoning was that the person had completed something that required substantial dedication and effort at least once in their life.

He liked the results he got and stuck with it.

Your point is well made.

But it still keeps many poor but talented kids disenfranchised.

It also keeps that tuition rolling in.


Anonymous said...

What has just been explained here, is the why and how Singapore has succeeded where other curriculums have failed so miserably. If Singapore appears difficult it is because you have to start at the beginning. This is how schools can be used to mobilize young people into highly skilled, professional jobs. Our elected leaders should stop pretending that they have all the answers, start earning their paycheck, and get with the program. This is not rocket science.