The SPS continue to advocate for the use of math materials in direct opposition to Project Follow Through results and yet the SPS administration still maintain that there is an interest in Equity and Accessibility. The district has used materials that have expanded the achievement gap over the last decade and it is clear the plan is to continue to use the same type of defective materials for the next five years. But the five year Strategic Plan tells us this time this stuff will work, except comparison data from Seattle's CMP2 adoption and Tacoma's Saxon adoption 2006-2007 tell us the exact opposite is true. This stuff still does not work. The kids know it. The parents know it. The teachers know it. Unfortunately Dr MG-J and the CAO prefer to believe otherwise.
Here is the Strategic Plan as it was presented to the Board at their regular legislative meeting on the 21st. This is a living document and it will change both before and after Board adoption. As reported HERE.
I am becoming progressively more and more disgusted with the direction of k-12 Mathematics Education in this State and in the Seattle Schools.
I’ve spent sometime reading…
Rigorous Evidence: The Key to Progress in Education?
Lessons from Medicine, Welfare and Other Fields
A forum with The Honorable Rod Paige
U.S. Secretary of Education
Forum Proceedings – November 18, 2002
From the report…
Life skills training, which is a substance abuse prevention program for junior high students that teaches social skills including techniques on how to say no to your peers who are offering you drugs.
That program has been shown effective in several large randomized controlled trials, involving thousands of students in different sites, different populations. In long-term follow- up, it reduces serious levels of substance abuse by over 40 percent by the end of high school - -It used comparative controls.
Given the theme of this meeting, let me give one example from outside education.
There's a program of nurse visitation for women who are poor, pregnant and single, which has been shown in a number of randomized trials to have a major effect on the life outcomes of both the women and their children.
For the children at age 15 it results in 50 to 80 percent reductions in arrest rates, alcohol abuse, the number of sexual partners, as compared to the control group.
Now, at the other end of the spectrum, I think it's important to mention that randomized trial have also identified some interventions that are not effective. One illustrative example is the DARE program, Drug Abuse Resistance Education, where the policeman comes into the junior high school and talks about drugs.
DARE is the nation's most widely used school based substance abuse prevention program. And randomized trials have shown that it has no affect on substance use.
In the last two SPS math adoptions of CMP2 and EDM, the School Board on the advice of staff selected the DARE programs of math; the widely used programs with no evidence of producing positive academic improvement.
The SPS staff was headed to complete the trifecta of math disaster with IMP, less than two months ago at the school board work session in early April. Am I now to believe that all is well because there is a strategic plan?
It remains apparent that the Fix is in Statewide and was in place when Ms Santorno unilaterally selected EDM in the Spring of 2007.
I see virtually nothing in the Strategic Plan to inspire confidence for math improvement. The SPS remains wedded to EDM and CMP2. This pair still have all the defects they had when adopted. The solution seems to be to devote more student task time and more dollars to keep the sinking ship afloat.
This is clearly a decision being made in the best interests of certain administrators not students or families.
In regard to the USA's manufacturing crisis...
In 1980 Deming wrote "Out of the Crisis" addressing the manufacturing difficulties and was heeded. Improvement resulted.
About the USA's education crisis...
In 1993 Deming wrote “The New Economics for Industry, Government and Education” he addressed the education situation and was ignored and no improvement resulted.
W. Edwards Deming said:
“To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data”
In Washington with the WASL we have no relevant data. With job postings like the one for the ESD State Wide Math Science coordinator at $100,000 to $130,000 per annum which requires no knowledge of math or science we are assured there will be no intelligent application of relevant data even if we could find some.
Forest Gump said it best: Stupid is as stupid does.
The following from Seattle’s Strategic Plan certainly demonstrates several things; here are five.
#1… The plan reveals a belief in the factory model of education in which equal outcomes are incorrectly equated with equal opportunity.
#2… The plan denies the relevant field data in preference for continuing to use the prejudices of the profession. EDM is a disaster in Urban settings as is CMP2. Example based instructional materials are superior to the multi-millions that the SPS is spending on inferior materials and practices that have yet to demonstrate positive results.
#3… The plan looks to increase reliance on SPS centralized decision makers that have not produced anything worthwhile for SPS math.
#4… The idea that culturally competent and accessible materials can be determined while ignoring the performance data is hardly a research driven idea. Look at how well or NOT the CMP2 adoption is doing in comparison to Tacoma's Saxon - exactly same initial adoption year 2006-2007 HERE
#5… The plan is in apparent denial of the fact that students do not have uniform capabilities for learning. The factory-pacing model of this year’s EDM adoption is certainly in line with the prejudices of the profession just in total misalignment with the realities of human variation or the needs of the children.
SPS will adopt an “aligned curriculum” for grades PK-12 in math and science. An aligned curriculum means that students in any one grade in the District are held to the same high expectations (with the same high quality materials- The SPS is using EDM and CMP2 how can these folks claim to have any understanding of NMAP and yet still say high quality materials) and that those expectations build on one another as students advance in the system ( Note the similarity in the language from the 2004 MSSG: The value of a mathematical education and the power of mathematics in the modern world arise from the cumulative nature of mathematics knowledge. A small collection of simple facts combined with appropriate theory is used to build layer upon layer upon layer of ever more sophisticated mathematical knowledge. The essence of mathematical learning is the process of understanding each new layer of knowledge and thoroughly mastering that knowledge in order to be able to understand the next layer. The principles presented here are designed to promote such mathematical learning. EXCEPT EDM and CMP2 Do NOT do that). An aligned curriculum allows the District to provide targeted support for teachers and schools, and a common set of expectations across the District will allow us to better focus our professional development offerings. All SPS curricula are designed to meet cultural competence and accessibility standards.
SPS will write a scope and sequence for math and science. SPS will adopt common grade level instructional materials where not already in existence. ( So clearly the SPS are planning on staying with common but defective math materials, What kind of plan is this? A plan to get a lot more families to leave the SPS over the next five years. I wonder what this plan would look like if Dr Goodloe-Johnson was not focused on math and science achievement and had not taken ten months to produce this document.)
• Grades K-5 Everyday Math and Singapore Math (implemented 2007-08)
• Grades 6-8 CMP2 (implemented 2006-07)
• Grades 9-12 (to be developed Fall 2008)..... Say when?? High School materials??
In Spring 2007 the 8th grade students on the Math WASL 50% did not pass and a full 1/3 could not score above level one. What high quality High School Math Materials will be selected for this group. This district needs to step up to the plate Twelve Step style and admit their enormous past failings and start a repair process. Instead more flim-flam nonsense educationese floats about the Edu-Sphere.
In doing this work, SPS will ensure there is coherence (no unnecessary overlap and no gaps) (in my opinion and the opinion of many others the SPS are using mathematically incoherent materials) and will address the following components: curriculum/instructional guides; pacing guides; identified best practices (the only known best practice that I can find is to use example based instructional materials and that is not being done) or high leverage practices; common understanding on use of manipulatives, equipment, and technology (which with the adoption of EDM means calculators for all from kindergarten on); common understanding on use of grading; identified mastery/core standards for PK-12 in math and science; common assessments and pre-post assessments; exemplary lessons for each grade; use of rubrics; and modifications for Special Education, English Language Learners and Advanced Learning students.
(Reading through the above could be an excellent argument for banning schools of education from practicing.)
SPS will support this math/science work through an integrated effort. The school performance framework (referenced later in this plan) will help identify which schools are struggling and in what areas and then provide targeted professional development that will directly support teachers in building the skills they need to effectively deliver content. (To effectively deliver content try using textbooks with example based instruction. There is no reason to make this as hard as possible just so we can spend $2+million on Coaches annually to say nothing of increased expenditures for professional development. It seems that in the SPS we see more methodology and little increase in teachers math content knowledge despite these large expenditures.)That framework will also allow SPS to provide targeted student-level supports.
• Math: A Math Project Team will develop an implementation plan and timeline for action during summer 2008. Alignment of the elementary and middle school instructional materials to the new State Performance Expectations will happen this summer. Teacher leaders from each elementary, middle and high school will be trained during the summer of 2008 to facilitate professional development sessions for their schools around the mathematics content and the pedagogy needed to support implementation of an aligned K-12 program. Every math teacher will be provided up to four days of professional development to learn to use the online resources included with the Curriculum Guide. ...........
Project teams will outline the full scope of work for development and implementation of key materials and related support for both math and science and will have detailed timelines complete by fall 2008.
SPS will design, develop and implement common district-wide formative and summative assessments in math and reading from kindergarten through grade 12 with full implementation beginning in 2009-10. These assessments will inform instructional practice, provide an additional measure of student achievement, track student growth and inform district-level decision-making.
Good News MAP testing is mentioned, that is one of the few cost effective ideas presented by the SPS in regard to assessment in recent years.
A project plan will be completed by fall 2008, with an immediate focus on refining current assessments, specifically redesigning grades 3-8 math benchmark assessments. SPS will develop improved assessment reports and provide training to instructional coaches. For the 2008-09 school year, the District is planning on piloting the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) assessment system, which incorporates a growth model that will allow teachers & principals to more effectively measure student growth over time.
A comprehensive assessment system will be developed during 2008-09 and implemented beginning in the 2009-10 school year.
I am hardly optimistic after reading the Strategic Plan.
WOW what a choice:
“a”… Dr Bergeson’s plans or
the “b”… Strategic Plan.
Multiple choice which of the two Fixed Flawed plans is the best.
I am going for “c” … none of the above.
Until the Strategic Plan undergoes substantial revision in the area of Mathematics Education I am sticking with “c"
Page 3 of the plan under Setting the Context says...
The plan outlines a set of foundational strategies that must be undertaken immediately and accomplished within the next few years to ensure equal access to excellence for every student in Seattle’s schools.
Sorry I see nothing in regard to mathematics in the Strategic Plan that leads be to believe the above sentence.