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.**

## 14 comments:

Here's a Fennell essay from Feb 2008 a well-worn cliche. Fennell should know most kids aren't prepared for algebra even when they get to high school.

Nerve... that's what this a..hole has, nerve....

Algebra is a student’s first experience with higher-level mathematics." "Algebra is the serious study of the last three letters of the alphabet."

"All students should be doing algebra by grade 8."

Algebra is talked about a lot these days. Alan Schoenfeld (in Lacampagne, Blair, and Kaput [1995]) describes algebra as "an academic passport for passage into virtually every avenue of the job market and every street of schooling."

Hyman Bass (2006) notes that algebra is viewed as foundational for all mathematics and science. Currently, about 40 percent of eighth-grade students in this country are enrolled in first-year algebra or an even higher-level math course (for example, geometry or second-year algebra).

(Hyman Bass chaired the Exemplary Textbook Committee - this is an excerpt from a $4.5 million k-8 grant)

The project proposed here would aim to help redress this problem in the area of K-8 mathematics, building on previous work to continue developing measures of teachers' mathematical knowledge for teaching. These measures will then be made available to MSP mathematics projects in hopes of improving the evaluation of those with programs for teacher learning and preparation.

At a time when maintaining our nation’s competitive edge means encouraging more students to consider math- or science-related majors and careers, should we address the challenge by moving more students into higher levels of mathematics earlier? Well, I am not so sure.

(this is completely false - we do not have more students taking higher-level math - they take more math, but they don't get beyond algebra, because it isn't taught, thanks you bunch of jerks)

Yes, we have more students taking higher-level courses in mathematics, and yes, the path to a good job often begins with algebra. But is mandating algebra for all seventh- or eighth-grade students a good idea? Teachers of algebra frequently tell me that far too many of their students are not ready for algebra, regardless of how it is defined (first- or second-year algebra, integrated mathematics curriculum, etc.).

I regularly ask teachers (since when do you listen), "What do you wish your students knew—and knew well—before taking their first course in algebra?" Although I was initially surprised, I have grown accustomed to hearing some teachers reply, "Basic multiplication facts." (more lies)

Actually, most teachers indicate that their students don’t know as much about fractions as they would like. By fractions, I (jerk) mean fractions, decimals, percents, and a variety of experiences with ratio and proportion. Another major topic on the wish list of algebra teachers is problem solving, but that’s on every teacher’s list.

So, if teachers could wave a magic wand (they can't you birdbrain), they would ensure that students beginning to study algebra—whether in a course with algebra in the title or an integrated curriculum—bring with them a strong background in the mathematics that precedes this first experience with higher-level mathematics.

As Chambers (1994) notes, algebra for all (that's cliche and we're tired of it, you don't make any sense) is the right goal—we just need to make sure that we’re all targeting the right algebra in our teaching. This algebra would focus on topics like expressions, linear and quadratic equations (right, integrated math doesn't teach it, you lying frog), functions, polynomials, and other major topics of algebra. (Note that these ideas will be discussed in the National Math Advisory Panel’s report on algebra topics.)

(just apologize and resign this minute)

If students were better prepared for introductory algebra courses, their teachers could think more seriously about how and when to have them use technology or solve problems that engage them and help them connect algebra to everyday situations. Who knows? Such experiences might eliminate the age-old question, "When am I ever going to use this stuff?" Furthermore, these opportunities will allow students to see the need for reasoning as they learn how to generalize relationships.

Of course, we must not overlook the importance of integrating the essential building blocks (more jerk comments) of algebra in pre-K–8 curricula, especially during the middle grades. Work with patterns is probably overemphasized in some quarters as the defining component of algebra with younger learners, but early experiences with equations, inequalities, the number line, and properties of arithmetic (such as the distributive property) are foundations for algebra. Silver (1997) notes that integrating algebraic ideas into the curriculum in a manner that helps students make the transition from arithmetic to algebra also prepares them for what occurs later in algebra.

So is early access to algebra a good idea? Sure—for some—probably for many. More importantly, however, all students who are working to secure this valuable "passport" should begin their study of algebra with all the prerequisites for success, regardless of when the opportunity comes their way.

References

Bass, Hyman. Presentation to the National Mathematics Panel, Chapel Hill, NC, June 29, 2006.

Chambers, Donald L. "The Right Algebra for All." Educational Leadership 51, no. 6, (1994); pp. 85–6.

Lacampagne, Carole, William Blair, and Jim Kaput (eds.), The Algebra Initiative Colloquium: Papers Presented at a Conference on Reform in Algebra. December 9–12, 1993, vol. 1–2, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement. 1995.

Silver, Edward A. "Algebra for All—Increasing Students’ Access to Algebraic Ideas, Not Just Algebra Courses." Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School 2 (February 1997), Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, pp. 204–7.

You go teach out of a core plus textbook or better yet, connected math, you are just an obnoxious pathetic liar. Children despise reform math.

Reform math needs to slip into a black-hole. It is a racist policy, making schools purchase textbooks that don't teach children. Frauds and Liars. Your books are lousy and you know it. Two years to publish a report - 10 years of bad textbooks and flawed evaluations - what do you think?

Here's another grant for $1.5 million dollars -

Central to this work is a large longitudinal NSF-funded database, documenting an entire year of Ball's third grade public school teaching during 1989-90. By analyzing these detailed records of practice, we seek to develop theory of mathematical knowledge as it is entailed by and used in teaching, to consider instruction over time, examining the work of teachers in developing mathematics and their students across the school year.

Products of this project will include detailed analyses of the mathematics entailed in elementary school teaching, as well as grounded theory about the nature and uses of mathematical content, practice, and sensibilities in the day-to-day work of teaching. Written products will target different audiences with interests in this work.

Has mathematics improved in the US? Look at the results, more kids are failing school and its because of fakers like Fennell. Did you ever bother to open a textbook and read it - imagine how children and teachers feel when they have to use your worthless curriculum.

Here's more Fennell

Here’s an example of how analyzing data can help us discern what the facts tell us and what the truth is. Did you know that the data indicate that the average age of an NCTM member is 54 years? At least one NCTM staffer really dislikes my reference to this piece of information. Why? It is a classic example of “lying with statistics.” This information doesn’t reflect the fact that the majority of our members do not furnish their age on our annual survey. That notwithstanding, the analysis of the data is based on the information received and allows the current NCTM president to make the claim that there is great need for “emerging” (can I say “young”?) leaders in mathematics at the NCTM Affiliate and national levels.

(I don't join the NCTM because it supports weak standards and weak curriculum for all students - they are the enemy)

Now here’s an example of how an understanding of probability can affect our decision making: I once led a first-grade class discussion concerning five counters in a paper bag. There were four blue counters and one red counter. I asked a student to predict the color that might be selected from the bag. His response? Red. Why? Because red was his favorite color. No amount of modeling or discussing would change his mind. Could red have been selected—absolutely! (Fabrication, this is anecdotal, designed to put down students, maybe he should work on this lesson plan some more.)

Would such a selection have been likely? Nope. The lesson this activity reinforced was to consider the developmental and curricular appropriateness of all activities, especially those involving probability at the early childhood level.

NCTM has been negligent, because

1. They have no data!

2. They support bad textbooks!!

3. They have no leadership!!! They all come from MSU Ann Arbor. Michael are you listening. Jacka..

Here's what Fennell says about parents and students NCTM presentation

• Important, but NOT for me

(this is a number 1 jerk)

– Parents are aware of the importance of math, but remain complacent

(parents and most of the teachers don't understand the textbooks)

– Students pay lip service to the importance of higher level math…

(students pay lip service to the textbooks)

More lip service (empty words)

…math and science are the keys to

innovation and power in today’s world, and

American parents had better understand

that the people who are eating their kids’

lunch in math are not resting on their

laurels.

Tom Friedman, 2005

Skip Fennell does more of a disservice - this is just too much

I'm taking this right off his NCTM presentation

A math teacher’s recurring nightmare (NCTM textbooks)

• “Ya, know, I was never good in math

either.”

• What you might like to say?

– Can ya read the newspaper?

– Do you think parents from Singapore say

that?

– Wouldn’t you want something better for YOUR

child?

I think you keep forgetting, parents and teachers don't have choices. You helped create the recurring nightmare. I hope you eat those words, creep.

You know this story from Fennell cannot go unchallenged -

There were four blue counters and one red counter. I asked a student to predict the color that might be selected from the bag. His response? Red. Why? Because red was his favorite color. No amount of modeling or discussing would change his mind. Could red have been selected—absolutely!

If I wanted a teacher to go away, I'd probably say red was my favorite color too. No offense, Skippy, but somebody should probably take another look at those books the NSF just spent a few billion fabricating research so your friends could sell their stupid textbooks. Why would anyone want to add their name to such stupid curriculum?

People will cheer when they get Singapore, after being tormented by such egotistical 'standardized' a..holes. It even shows in the writing. You would think algebra was magic after reading the c... you guys put out.

Math losers, that's what the reform movement is all about and making bad writers rich.

Learn??? integrated math and trust me, you'll never get past algebra and you'll lose out on your education.

Love Skippy and his pals at MSU Ann Arbor

I agree that what is taught is important. Once that issue is addressed another important concept must be decided upon. Time on task will become the next issue to discuss. If we are really serious about math education, more time must be spent learning math. The school day and school year seem to be getting shorter and shorter. Math is a simple discipline, but not an easy discipline.

T^2

The real problem in this country is with the leadership and it starts with the NSF, MAA, and the NCTM, who will only be too happy to recommend spending more money for research and teacher training.

It is ridiculous to accept the accusations these people are making with regard to teachers, parents, and children.

There are millions of children in this world, some without shoes, learning algebra. Get rid of the government sponsorship and you will see more districts adopt Singapore and align themselves to what the rest of the world is doing.

Hey anon !!

why don't you try writing in a manner which random, incoherent, jumping from tangent to tangent, garbled ...

then we won't know what you're saying!

I can't help it!~! I'm so pissed at these jerks. I'm ranting, but I'm used to winning and eventually, these dogs will learn if its not one way, it'll be another.

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