Thursday, May 8, 2008

Is IMR input really wanted????

Lexie and Porsche,

It is now Thursday May 8th and likely I will have no written answers from either of you in time to respond in a more organized way to the request for input.

It is extremely difficult to respond in an organized fashion when I cannot receive written responses to questions.

I believe that little input is likely wanted as:

1) this document was not made public

2) There has yet to be a notification of who was involved in the original team that produced the document --Open Government?

3) The selection of documents by this anonymous group of individuals shows a clear preference to discount the NMAP and new Washington Standards as it appears to be an attempt to start the process all over again by looking at three new states as well as failed documents from the past that the NMAP and the groups that produced the New Washington Math Standards all had access to.

4) OSPI apparently continually attempts to circumvent the law to produce the OSPI desired outcome.

a) Standards works bids $130,000 OSPI selects Dana Center at $777,000

b) OSPI selects an extremely biased SRT with not a single math knowledgeable professional from industry.

c) The Dec 4, 2007 SRT draft completely ignores the task at hand as written by the legislature.

d) Legislature refuses to accept defective product.

5) Looks like here we go again, with a defective OSPI vehicle.

a)The anonymous group meets at an undisclosed location at an undisclosed time to produce a flawed document.

b) Very large numbers of people are being assigned to teams that should be carrying out a focused action. Selection Criteria as well as those selected are still unavailable to the public.

6) Short time line for input. Clarifying questions not answered in time for me to submit focused input. Public entirely excluded from this process.

It is once again quacking and walking like a duck
- I think it might be a duck

My input in its current form is attached.

It would have been a lot better had I been able to get some written responses.


in regard to Internationally competitive performance in math.

1) It has clearly not been the NCTM standards or Standards based materials.
All 13 NSF funded math curricula produced to follow the NCTM Standards have yet to produce positive effects ( 2004 National Research Council).

2) Do not look at more states - the IMR task is not to do the Standards all over again.

3) The materials to guide this process toward internationally competitive standards are:
A... New Washington Math Standards
B... National Math Advisory Panel's document Foundations for Success
C... Mathematics Standards Study Group's "What is Important in School Mathematics?" 2004 -- a guide to states looking to revises their Math Standards from Park City Math Institutes NSF funded 12 mathematicians.

Contrast what you will find in the Above Three with this:

"...mathematical reasoning, problem solving, communication, and connections must be central.... Computational algorithms, the manipulation of expressions, and paper-and-pencil drill must no longer dominate school mathematics" (NCTM, 1991, p. 19).

A summary could be: "up with process, down with content."

from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (1991). Professional Standards for Teaching Mathematics. Reston, VA: NCTM.

Why anyone would consider using the materials that produced the ongoing failure of the last decade makes me question the likelihood that this IMR group will do much to improve a bad situation.

Given the fact I am unable to get written responses on which to based focused input. This makes me even more skeptical of Instructional Materials Review actions (thus far) that appear to violate almost every tenant of Open Government.


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr

State Board of Education Math Advisory Panelist


Anonymous said...

so open meeting laws apply to these people? or,

as public savants they needn't concern themselves with the basics of public service?

Anonymous said...

You are right, these are public savants, they don't believe there are consequences in the public sector. Its like putting Enron executives in charge of school.

So OSPI and the textbook divas spend more time looking for ways to circumvent the laws than follow the law.

They confuse the spirit, minus the ethics, with the letter of the law. You see it time after time, and without consequences, as though they were acting in the public's best interest. Humbug.

Manipulating committee meetings for their own political motives is a time-honored tradition. Trouble is, they confuse key ideas like, democracy with capitalism.

But its also clear that without enforcement, laws don't mean very much and as a consequence, neither does school.

I still think someone should try reading them their own book just for giggles. Its really a waste of time. I've already pointed out portions of the book that were poorly edited or untested. Imagine publishing a textbook that was incorrectly tested.

Core 1 shouldn't even be used in high school. The first 150 pages are a regurgitation of what kids learn every year in school about the mean, median, mode, and range. Except for the part about distribution of data and the mean absolute deviation, which isn't even a WASL item and once again nobody cares about either except for schoolteachers.

Did I not say that a criticism of standards is that it has made instruction appear to look more like dogma and bad sermonizing, than good pedagogy. The parallels to religious instruction are uncanny.

One has to wonder where their ideas were lifted from. But once again, the mind of an idiot is too cloudy to understand. And who cares.

So kids spend the first 14 weeks of ninth grade learning about things that have nothing to do with algebra or the WASL. Fancy that. Practically the entire world is teaching algebra in the eighth grade and kids here haven't started learning that x + x = 2x.

I won't write about my own disappointment, because it would be unintelligible and couldn't be printed.

These people are stupid and they've made the standards debate into their own profitable scam. They need to be taken out of the education sector for good, so we can get back to educating children.

Lets start first by removing Bergerson from office (preferably before the election.) Lets stop acting like polite gentry and start attacking what's really wrong with education. I'm all for mudwrestling and pie throwing.

Anonymous said...

While the reform movement is striving to improve leadership, we have a racial fight at Locke High School involving around 600 students. Here's an article about Locke High School that fits in well with what one sees occurring here in Washington.

How Schools Cheat
From underreporting violence to inflating graduation rates to fudging testscores, educators are lying to the American public.
(June 2005)

This is old news, nothing new here just districts don't seem to have a handle on the issues anymore.

But while federal and state legislators congratulate themselves for their newfound focus on school accountability, scant attention is being paid to the quality of the data they're using. Whether the topic is violence, test scores, or dropout rates, school officials have found myriad methods to paint a prettier picture of their performance. These distortions hide the extent of schools' failures, deceive taxpayers about what our ever-increasing education budgets are buying, and keep kids locked in failing institutions. Meanwhile, Washington--which has set national standards requiring 100 percent of school children to reach proficiency in math and reading by 2014--has been complicit in letting states avoid sanctions by fiddling with their definitions of proficiency.

The federal government is spending billions to improve student achievement while simultaneously granting states license to game the system. As a result, schools have learned to lie with statistics.

So is there racial violence in Seattle schools? Let's be honest, of course there is - the consequences for reporting it are so severe that students and teachers are afraid to acknowledge that it exists.

This is a consequence of the curriculum, not a social malfunction. Pick any diverse culture in the world and you will see those kids working cooperatively.

Why not the US? Could our reformers be suspects in this tale of misery. The out of sorts behavior we are observing on a large scale is called displacement.

Kids are angry with school. So give the kids something meaningful, that will engage them for the day, gives them hope, and then they will not be taking life's frustrations out on their classmates.

What is the common element for all schools in the US, that ties them altogher? Curriculum.

This is more from the article as I read further. (Eli Broad and Oprah Winfrey are mentioned.)

The newspaper obtained raw testing data for 7,700 Texas public schools for 2003 and 2004. It found severe statistical anomalies in nearly 400 of them. The Houston, Dallas, and Fort Worth districts are now investigating dozens of their schools for possible cheating on the TAKS test. Fort Worth's most suspicious case was at A.M. Pate Elementary. In 2004, Pate fifth-graders finished in the top 5 percent of Texas students. In 2003, when those same students were fourth-graders, they had finished in the bottom 3 percent.

Of the 41 states that have reported their 2004 No Child Left Behind test results so far, 35--including all of the states showing improvement--had schools meet the targets not by improving the schools but by amending the rules that determine which schools pass and which fail.

This is my comment here, which schools do you think are going to have the wherewithall to ask the state to bend the rules a little - its our funding that's at stake?

Its not the schools with overworked administrators, sort of a self-fulfiling prophesy isn't it. Schools reported a graduation rate of 85%, when the numbers look more like 70%. That's not what Lynn Steen said - he said it was a change in the definition of drop-out. That's it too complex for the average person to understand. Doesn't that sound familiar....Either you graduate, or you didn't - what's so hard about that OSPI?

Here's more and it gets back to the subject of racial violence and purposeful omission. Washington State is even mentioned in this piece - its lowered standards to meet the criteria for NCLB.

The federal government actually gives a seal of approval to states that are lowering the standards they had before Bush's era of "accountability." For example, the U.S. Department of Education allowed Washington state to lower its high school graduation rate from 73 percent to 66 percent and still meet No Child Left Behind requirements--with the promise of an 85 percent graduation rate by 2014. Apparently, the feds are spending billions to compel states to reduce their academic standards.

Lying by Omission
But the most common way school data deceive people is through omission. State and local education officials simply do not define their terms for the media or the general public. As we've already seen, "persistently dangerous" doesn't mean the same thing to officials that it means to you and me.

Proficiency does not mean grade-level performance - the cutoff level varies from state to state.

For example -
3rd grade reading cutoff -
Texas 13%
Nevada 58%

The consequences of following such an erroneous policy, like setting lower cutoffs (inflationary standards) are mind-boggling.

The Singapores achieve algebraic fluency by 8th grade. Most Americans will not achieve even that expected level of proficiency unless that pass an algebra class at the community college.

If Warfield has her way, well then we should consider another alternative, like guitar lessons so we can sing the standards-based blues...

Anonymous said...

The reformers couldn't make choice work, so now they have a top-down strategy, called the instructionist approach and its tied to state content standards. And this is really an exercise in futility. According to Sol Stern, school gadfly extraordinaire - Indiana's standards are tops and California is at the bottom of the heap.

I would like to know what idiot thought standards could improve education. Are not the textbooks the same in both states? Is it that teachers in one state can glean something from a textbook that teachers from another state cannot see due to one state having higher content standards than another. I don't get it. What am I missing that my eight years of college level classes cannot help me to understand. I have visited schools all over the world and I don't find kids all that different from each other. Its not the water either.

Read the thoughts of a curriculum writer and you will agree, the one pulling the strings aren't that bright. They can't think like a child, they can't make the connection to them. You hear it time and again from reformers and their frustration with children.
"Is it that they really want to learn?" - Isn't that write Ginger?

Teach Singapore and maybe you will be surprised that kids can learn math and enjoy it once again.

Bergerson smells like a wet dog.

Anonymous said...

Here's a connection I failed to see - what's with the interest in having students take AP courses?

It turns out that newseek rates school based on the number of students taking AP tests versus the number of graduating seniors, published to within three decimal points. Jay Matthews created this number and claims it is accurate. I think some administrator must have misunderstood that the student still has to take and pass the AP exam.

Here's another kick at Locke, but its not meant to be mean - I do feel compelled to prove my point - low standards (phony curriculum) begets frustration and violence in school. And furthermore, your government is spending a lot of money proving that its not to blame for our children's lack of an education. Not.

Los Angeles has 700 schools, and last year it singled out the nine lowest performing for reorganization. All failed to make adequate academic progress under the federal No Child Left Behind law for five straight years. On the city's nine-worst list were Locke High, 520th best on the 2005 Newsweek list, Fremont High, 872nd best on the list, and Roosevelt High, 990th best.

Locke's high dropout rate — two-thirds of the students leave between ninth grade and senior year — actually helps its Newsweek rating. It means the number of graduating seniors is so small that even if they take a modest number of AP exams, Locke's ratio looks great. (Not that it matters, but Locke students failed 73 percent of their AP exams with 1's or 2's.)

Wouldn't you know it American fascists use Locke High School as an argument for ridding the world of teacher unions???

"After months of battling the bureaucracy, Locke High School will finally join the charter revolution this year. The United Teachers of Los Angeles fought the community's effort to let Locke go charter every step of the way. It's a testimony to the will of Locke's parents, teachers and former principal that they prevailed in the face of such opposition. Watch what happens -- and watch the educrats and union bosses tremble. If the freedom afforded by a charter can turn around Locke High School, that freedom can work anywhere."

Go Charter schools. Not.

Warfield - "but do they really want to learn"

former charleston superintendent "plantations"

One final salvo at Locke at Green Dot --

"Green Dot’s plan for Locke calls for the large campus to be divided into several small, autonomous schools with separate faculties and principals.

With a small central office and administrative staff for their schools, Green Dot officials say, they funnel more state funds into classrooms than the district does and give teachers and principals considerable control over budgets and instruction.

Cubias said he worries that the relatively small Green Dot operation could be overwhelmed by the numerous needs and demands of the school’s 2,800 students. And he wonders whether the benefit of starting over from scratch and leaving the school district would outweigh the huge disruption to students and teachers that such a drastic move would entail.

Although much of the debate about Locke’s future has played out in heated faculty and community meetings after hours, at times it has spilled into the school’s wide cinder-block corridors."

Last year, 72% of Locke’s juniors tested either “below basic” or “far below basic” on California’s standardized English test, and 89% of students who enrolled in algebra classes scored at those levels.

If Green Dot is a failure - who is legally responsible?


I think reformers need to do some rethinking on this education business they are proposing - its not like beating an egg, you know. You just have to remember to use a bowl and not throw the egg against a wall and I'm not proposing you should use a hammer either. Honest, it will crack if you gently tap the egg against the edge of the bowl. reformers would probably recommend using ostrich eggs because they're bigger eggs and therefore better tasting. Did I say buffoon yet...

Anonymous said...

Further investigation into the curriculum reveals that Locke High School may now be under the management of Green Dot Public Schools (Gates endowed)

These are charter schools called Animos for short (very strange connotations). Locke looks more like a New York High School - an umbrella network for a federation of smaller more manageable units. One of the drawbacks, as you can see from the media, is that the staff is very young - so I can imagine the chaos created by 600 misdirected youths. I've been there and seen it happen.

Allowing it to escalate to the point where riot police are called and a lockdown is enforced says clearly these "educators" are not as informed as they should be about the students they have been given to manage. Don't ever underestimate the skills of a talented administrator (its an art and some luck is involved too) mostly don't let it get to the point where you have mass rioting on campus and people are getting randomly beat up by groups of excited and angry kids.

I cannot find anything about what the math program is at this school.

This gets even more intrigueing
Darling-Hammond (school reformer)
had these commments:

The study focuses on five urban, public high schools from across the state that represent approaches needed to close California's educational achievement gap and to enable students to be successful in college. The goal was to hone in on the methods and practices of Ánimo Inglewood and the other schools in order to integrate those practices statewide for greater systemic change in educating high school students.
"The work the schools in our study are doing is exceptional and occurs against the odds," says Stanford professor Linda Darling-Hammond. "Their successes can be replicated, but only if California implements substantive policy changes."
Darling-Hammond noted that each of the schools in the study include small, personalized learning environments; rigorous and relevant curricula that provide authentic learning and assessment opportunities; and extensive, regular opportunities for teachers to collaborate and learn with one another to improve their practice."

Curiously, Darling-Hammond is Obama's education specialist!!!

Obama's disappointing choice of Linda Darling-Hammond to be one of his education advisors

As an Obama supporter, I was very disappointed to learn that he recently picked Linda Darling-Hammond to be one of his education policy advisors.
While Sen. Obama is making many good moves and is closing (and in some places, reversing!) the gap between himself and Sen. Clinton, this selection of a wolf-in-sheeps-clothing ed advisor is troubling. This is an issue Sen. Obama could really win with by staking out positions that Sen. Clinton would be hard-pressed to follow, allowing him to speak to several vital constituencies in key states who crave genuine school reform, but instead he's making her look like the reformer! With the selection of Prof. Darling-Hammond, he continues a pattern of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory on this issue (for my comments on his recent education speech, see:

I can't see any difference between Clinton, McCain, or Obama on education - its the same thing. Why is that? A second rate institution for learning -- that's what we're paying politicians to come up with.

Anonymous said...

Green dot keeps getting better, all I have found on academics is that their teaching is based on inquiry-based learning. I'm picturing a group of noisy sophists having a food fight in the cafeteria. Sounds like a Kipp School.

Maverick Leads Charge for Charter Schools
Sign In to E-Mail or Save This
Single Page
Yahoo! Buzz

Published: July 24, 2007
(Page 2 of 2)

Mr. Mitchell said that only Green Dot was mounting such an aggressive challenge to the local school board. “Many charter organizations try to induce different behavior by providing examples of good new schools,” he said. “But only Green Dot is trying to provoke a school district to behave in radically different ways.”

Some people voice skepticism about Green Dot’s methods. Clint Bolick, a lawyer who has represented many charter schools, said: “If union bosses start patrolling their hallways, that’ll be the death knell of charters, as it has been for public schools. There has to be a genuine perestroika for Green Dot’s approach to work.”

Tactics aside, the chain has had promising results. An early high school that Green Dot founded, Ànimo Inglewood, has raised the percent of students proficient in math by 40 points since 2003, and 79 percent of its students from the class of 2006 went on to college. Green Dot keeps enrollment in its high schools below 525. Incoming freshmen who need it remedial tutoring receive it, and thereafter pursue a college-prep curriculum.

Three years ago, Mr. Barr negotiated with district officials about overhauling Jefferson High School, a dropout factory in downtown Los Angeles. When the talks bogged down, Mr. Barr concluded he needed clout.

Green Dot organized a parents union, and its members, buttonholing neighbors in supermarkets and churches, collected 10,000 signatures endorsing Jefferson’s division into several smaller charter schools.

Mr. Barr marched from Jefferson High with nearly 1,000 parents to deliver the petition to district headquarters. The authorities refused to relinquish Jefferson, but the school board approved five new charters, which Green Dot inaugurated last fall, all near Jefferson and drawing students from it.

Green Dot’s recent organizing suggests that many teachers are as frustrated as parents.

Locke, designated a failing school for much of a decade, is awaiting its fourth principal in five years. This spring, Mr. Barr drew up a charter plan and began meeting with teachers to explain it. He envisioned using the Locke campus for smaller schools that emphasize college prep and give teachers more decision-making authority.

He invited Frank Wells, Locke’s principal, to tour a Green Dot charter in May, a day on which Education Secretary Margaret Spellings would be visiting. Before parents, teachers and the secretary, Mr. Wells denounced the district as using Locke as a dumping ground for incompetent teachers.

“I went to Locke thinking I could turn it around, but I ran into a brick wall,” Mr. Wells said.

On May 7, teachers began circulating a petition endorsing Green Dot’s plan for Locke, and more than half of Locke’s 73-member tenured staff members signed. Bruce Smith, an English teacher who gathered signatures, said most young teachers were eager to sign; older teachers were reluctant.

“Among the people who opposed us, nobody said, ‘The district is doing a great job here,’ ” Mr. Smith recalled. “It was mostly, ‘What about our job security?’ ”

The district authorities accused Mr. Wells of fomenting the revolt, dispatched guards to escort him from the building, and dismissed him, Mr. Wells said. Binti Harvey, a district spokeswoman, declined to discuss Mr. Wells.

A decision by Locke’s teachers to break with the district would be an embarrassment for the school district and the teachers union. Both began lobbying the teachers. Last month, the district rejected Green Dot’s petition, saying 17 teachers had withdrawn their endorsement, leaving it without the majority necessary to comply with a charter conversion law.

But a newly elected board of education is to reconsider the petition in August.

Mr. Barr says that if he does not win the chance to use the Locke campus for his new charter schools, he will surround it with Green Dot’s next 10 charter schools, which are to open nearby in 2008, supported by a $7.8 million donation from the Gates Foundation.

“If the district doesn’t work with me, I’ll compete with them and take their kids,” Mr. Barr said.

So do standards-based reforms (inquiry based learning - whatever that means - some administrators use constructivism and don't have a clue what they are talking about) - cause children to act out violently? Philosophically, I wonder if Hobb's social contract holds water when the instruction given is school is meaningless. Sounds like the road to chaos.

What is important here is the media omits a crucial piece of information - Locke High School is a network of smaller charter schools and it did not stop the student violence. How can you proclaim that kids are achieving more, when the very next day, ABC spotlights a story that 20% of the student body are attacking each other and the students say that it is racially motivated.

For the record, I don't know Wells, but I dislked his comments about the staff at Locke - I don't think its fair that teachers get demonized in this assault to reform public education. Economically, its not sustainable, eventually we will get back to reform measures that are viable, because they will be the only choices available. No more green dots, sounds like LSD used for medical treatment.

Anonymous said...

Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous

Confucious Proverb

My interpretation:

Writing sentences is a waste of time; Reading a book for the sake of reading it and not learning what you are expected to know will start a revolution that will make tars and feathers out of Bergerson and Barr.