Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Instructional Materials Review
...............Flawed Thus Far

Dear Porsche,

To Improve a System requires the intelligent application of relevant data.
(-- W. Edwards Deming)

I think that W. Steve Wilson and my comments on Slavin's work stands up pretty well in pointing out the inadequacy of Slavin's work.

Tim C. sent me Dr Sandra Stosky's comments that he sent to you. I think her comments support most of my positions quite well, as does most of her published work.

I will not take the time to rewrite my earlier submission on Categories and Criteria.

I think the position that you found yourself in and the extremely poor quality of draft#1 has little to do with any inadequacy that you may have as a consultant.

I think the principal reason that draft#1 is close to worthless is that the situation which you were tossed into has so much disinformation floating about that your task given your lack of background in school mathematics was impossible. The disinformation that is accepted by most of the persons that were assigned to the IMR criteria panel is astonishing but not uncommon.

Still after the publication of NMAP Foundations for Success, I found Seattle Math Program manager Rosalind Wise insisting that Everyday Math aligns well with this NMAP document. That says it all: No contact with reality in any way shape or form.

I think from what I've seen thus far that you are very talented in what you do. Unfortunately most of the best practices and research that would be worthwhile to use in a business setting DO NOT exist in this framework of USA math education. This left you with little but disinformation to work with.

Most businesses are really big on following process but those businesses invest heavily in their professionals. It is very clear that large school districts are big on following process unfortunately their professionals are not qualified to make decisions in mathematics. Witness the lack of academic progress and rising remediation rates at the college level as well as nose diving USA Math Scores on international tests as just one testament to their inadequacy.

This situation came about because it is far more important that one espouse positions that support the current politically in vogue ideological philosophy of math than have any contact with materials that produce success. I submit to you as evidence the many math teachers in Seattle that are really in touch with what is happening and has happened in school mathematics, as opposed to the math decision-makers in the central office. This situation is non uncommon throughout Washington state. Unfortunately Dr. Wilson, Dr. Stotsky and I can easily shoot holes in almost all the best practices and recommendations in which these central decision-makers believe through the intelligent application of relevant data.

Having been heavily involved in attempting to correct the deplorable condition of Washington Mathematics over the last 18 months, I am continually astonished by how little relevant data is related to decision making.

It is astonishing that anyone could be expected to make much progress in this field with 16,000 worthless studies.

The best way to make a judgment these days is to get a highly effective well informed teacher to look at the books, because the field of research is so flawed how else could an estimate of success be determined. This indicates how far a field and a muck this has gone. The 22 members of the IMR criteria team are for the most part removed from the factory floor and buyers of the nonsense. I make this statement of buyers of the nonsense based on the quality of draft#1.

The question now becomes what to do?
Given the suggested time line and likelihood of simply continuing the current Washington Math disaster through a totally inadequate IMR process, what to do next?

A friend of mine Dick Padrick sent me a listing of math materials used in each district in this state. It was slightly out of date but it was a disaster list as only remote small school districts are using materials that are in alignment with NMAP's focus on Authentic Algebra.

All of the school districts represented by individuals on the IMR criteria team are currently using very inadequate k-8 materials. I find the likelihood of these individuals reaching a stage of enlightenment rather low given the quality of draft#1 contents.

As I earlier mentioned it has seemed from the outset that OSPI has had a short list of acceptable outcomes and has a distorted process to bring those outcomes about.

If the background materials had been:
1... NMAP Foundations for Success

2... WA K-8 standards

3... NCTM Focal Points

4... Project Follow Through results

5... 2004 MSSG

6... and a listen to these folks from the NMAP given two weeks prior to the NAMP release

These is no possible way that any informed knowledgeable group would have produced draft#1.

Given the reading background material suggested for the IMR criteria team there is an excellent possibility of continuing the statewide math disaster that has been authored by NSF, OSPI, and UW et al.

I see this mess as unlikely to be corrected as OSPI continues to make extremely flawed decisions just like the last decade.

OSPI apparently has little use for mathematical experts from industry or in fact anyone not in alignment with the ideological failed philosophy that OSPI has pushed over the last decade.
The OSPI Standards Revision Team and the Instructional Materials Review Criteria Panel are a true testament to the above statement. The fact that the first meeting of each of these took place in secrecy shielded from public view is likely not an administrative oversight. In fact Dr Bergeson was even hesitant to allow observers to other SRT meetings until confronted by SBE MA Panelist Dr. Chis Carlson.

Again I appreciate the fact that you are willing to attempt to undertake a seemingly impossible task given the resistance of OSPI to actually act in a responsible manner.


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

SBE Math Advisory Panelist
BA Mathematics, M.Ed.
NCLB Highly Qualified in Math, Chemistry, and Science

but clearly unqualified to be on any OSPI selected team due to harsh ideological and philosophical misalignment as I have a preference for relevant data and OSPI has little use for it.

OSPI prefers best practices and researched based decisions of which there are essentially none. Which of the 16,000 flawed math studies will OSPI be using next?


Anonymous said...

Could you post the list you received from Dick Padrick?


dan dempsey said...

Dear T^2,

The list is an excel spreadsheet.
It is easier to send.
Send me an email request to

and I will send it as an attachment.

....It sure blew me away that k-6 hardly anybody uses anything worthwhile.

A real testament to giving away local decision making to OSPI's most WASL aligned materials.

dan dempsey said...

Dear T squared,

Hey I figured this out a piece at a time here is piece #1

the Puget Sound ESD 121 school districts are HERE.

dan dempsey said...


This is the one you need to see it has all the IMR criteria Panelists and the materials used in their districts. Check out the middle schools almost 100% Connected math.

Might this be a conflict of interests or has TB managed to so containate the brains of the public that 100% of the middle schools are opposed to preparing students for authentic algebra?


dan dempsey said...


This list HERE, contains all the districts but it has errors it is not as current or accurate as ESD 121 list posted earlier.

It appears we should be flying all the children in to Trout Lake at the base of Mt. Adams.

Check with the district in question in regard to curricula before calling the movers and packing up the house to get out of Seattle.


Anonymous said...

Well done, quite an assortment.. color coding would be in order to help categorize the programs - identify which are exemplary and so forth. There's always confusion between CPM, Chicago Math, CMP, connected math, everyday math,etc. So this is a diamond in the rough.

dan dempsey said...

What the sheets tell you is that the cancer of reform anti math is rampant.

Good job by the Bergeson Centralized dictatorship over supposed local control of schools.

No we are not allowed to think rationally we must follow the Queen and use the aligned materials.

I like the color idea I will forward that to the creator of the original sheets.

He is attempting to up-date them but that is like trying to transfer between to buses while both are in motion.

Anonymous said...

Also two other ideas, since it looks like there are possibly two or three or more tracks in each district - it would be good separate the textbooks and identify the primary textbook used for the mainstream track.

Also, group the districts by county or region because then you will see patterns start to emerge. Another possibility is the size of the district.

CT seems like its being used at both the middle and high schools.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again! What is the CMP textbook? Are those suppose to be CPM?


Anonymous said...

Just so you know, cmp is not cpm - but probably cmp2, this is a 2-year transition class (eighth grade connected math) how the high school is supposed to count this, I don't know. If it won't work with traditional textbooks, then it probably won't work for connected math, which is just inquiry based learning (no models or examples here)

This has got to be one of the worst classes a student could ever take and still hang onto their sanity. I've seen kids banging their heads on the table trying to stay awake in a class like this. I'd like to see who did the research on this one. The authors don't haven't have a clue what they're doing. Its sort of like you've used up all your excuses, so what else is left. Life really looks short when you compare it to how long the math reformers have been harping on everyone to get in step with their magical math program (illusionary vs. illuminary). The Disneyland of number nonsense.

MADMOM said...

we just moved to missouri where cmp2 is used in the math program. As a chemist and an MBA it is obvious this program will not provide my daughter with the skiils she needs to suceed in math Please let me know what you have been able to acheive in your district to get this program removed