Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Standards - My Opinion

The Standards - My opinion

I think that far to much homage is paid to the OSPI-Dana Center Math Standards fiasco by Strategic Teaching in the introductory pages of the New Washington Math Standards documents. This is especially true for high school. There is a total distortion of the truth in regard to the OSPI – Dana Center contribution to the high school math standards.

Perhaps undeserved backslapping is a requirement for continued work in the educational consulting field.

Regardless the absence of truth in many of the opinions given public promotion in the field of k-12 education is most troublesome.

Unfortunately any homage paid by ST will certainly be used by OSPI to continue their well-planned bogus math hokum of the last decade.

The inclusion of any Probability & Stats in any courses will likely be used by OSPI to exclude books that teach Authentic Algebra well or prepare students to take Authentic Algebra.

There has been little if any consideration for how well a textbook actually teaches topics or rather how well the text assists the teacher in creating an environment in which the student can efficiently and effectively learn the material.

We seem still on our way down the same fashion runway that produced the virtually worthless US Department of ED 1999 Exemplary and Promising math programs. OSPI appears to be wedded to these defective programs until death do them part.

Given the level of blatant corruption from OSPI at virtually every stage in the processes required by (unfulfilled) HB 1906 and SB 6534, I see very little hope for a successful long term correction to OSPI's continuing Malfeasance and Misfeasance in regard to Math.

Has OSPI made any step aimed at a correction of the Math Mess that they created?

1...Selected Dana Center (cost 6 times low bidder)

2...Chose an incredibly biased Standards Revision Team

3...Selected an Instructional Materials Review criteria team with little math knowledge and enormous conflicts of interest based on materials in use as well current positions held by the members.

To rise in the Education Kakistocracy of Washington Ed it is best to follow the leader.

4...OSPI has yet to select a single highly knowledgeable math professional from industry on either the SRT or the IMR criteria team.

Both the Standards Revision Team and The Instructional Materials Review Criteria Team were stacked from Square One by OSPI.

The Standards as currently presented by Strategic Teaching will be perfectly worthless in bringing about any change in this environment. Unless the Standards are a part of Dr Bergeson's OSPI math plan they are only the equivalent of roadside litter in the long run.

I remain totally disgusted by the perversion of this entire process.

Originally I was opposed to the selection of Math Materials by the State, I remain so to this day (more on this another time). The state in the form of OSPI has shown itself to be totally incapable of either selecting appropriate materials or generating them. Math Modules = worthless (Wade Cole researcher of WSIPP says so).

OSPI is incapable of even assessing the actual high school level math competence of students despite spending multi-millions on testing.

In the interests of brevity I will not go into further detail of the blatantly corrupt manipulation of process OSPI used to arrive at a predetermined outcome. Let me just say that the Closed Meetings of the Initial SRT team and the Closed Initial meeting of the Criteria team were less than accidental.

The people hardest for OSPI to control in this process are highly math knowledgeable representatives from industry. OSPI solved that very easily by never picking any until it is too late (even though the recommendations produced by ST in regard to the Standards Revision Team required OSPI to put highly math competent professions from industry on the SRT – OSPI just ignored the Law again HB 1906). Once the Criteria for materials selection are finalized - it is game over. Then everyone will check the appropriate check box that corresponds to the criteria already finalized by the Covertly Selected IMR Criteria team and once again most of the children can continue with the pathetic materials that Dr Bergeson et al. believe they should be using. These materials will be used because they match the likely bogus IMR draft#2 (soon to be finalized) developed checkbox criteria. Here the requirement is likely to be alignment with a pathetic failed philosophical and pedagogical ideology that has yet to produce any positive results anywhere.

Notice the additions to the SBE Math Advisory Panel as replacements were needed, again no Highly Math Knowledgeable individuals have been added since the Panel’s formation over one year ago. Here we are talking the SBE’s actions not even OSPI’s.

That's my story and I am sticking to it.
Until I see evidence to the contrary, I remain convinced that as long as Dr Bergeson calls the shots NO SIGNIFICANT MATH IMPROVEMENT WILL BE ALLOWED.


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

The Subtle Voice of Math Education Improvement

To improve a System requires the Intelligent Application of Relevant Data - Now you know why significant improvement will be very unlikely unless the public chooses to mount the barricades in the streets like 1789 France. Singapore uses real math texts while our kids get Cake.


Anonymous said...


One of my concerns for the new standards is end of course exams for the two different tracks being proposed. The standards in Geometry are different than the standards for Math 2. How can a valid instrument be devised to test a high school sophomore in Geometry as opposed to Math 2? I do not think one can because the standards are different. So if said sophomore in Geometry fails the test, must he repeat the course? Is the test comparable to the math two test? Is the two track system fair? I suppose it won't matter if so many districts are using the integrated material. The state is continuing to dig a hole which they not be able to recover. Math is a simple discipline, but not an easy discipline. As my favorite math problems direct, "simplify".


Anonymous said...

Your comment is a good one and I think it applies equally to the WASL - with so many approaches to math being used, it hardly makes sense that we are comparing achievement on that basis. For example, students who have been taught with Everyday Math are not taught long division and from what I can see they cannot multiply numbers with decimal points. Is it appropriate that we give them tests that expect students to have learned material that wasn't taught to them.

In our district, the end of course exams were created by the teachers for each of the classes taught. There would have to be separate tests for integrated math and traditional algebra and integrated math relies heavily on calculators.

Personally, I think it is a waste of student time and it serves nothing in terms of making comparisons.

Once again it might be tied to funding aimed at rewarding high achieving schools and punishing low achieving schools. It is definitely not equitable.

dan dempsey said...

It will be interesting if Semler defeats Bergeson then we can begin looking at rational solutions to problems rather than politically based nonsense.

I am so disgusted with OSPI at this point, I am reluctant to take any additional time with future "What Ifs".

If Dr Bergeson is allowed to continue with her disregard for both the children's welfare and the law, deal me out. I am so disgusted I may head for points obscure.

I am sure that Ms Santorno will rejoice if I move out of school Board meeting testifying distance of the SPS.

The idea that the residents of this state would be so totally uninformed as to sign up for another four years of Bergeson's direction is beyond my comprehension.

Being an old codger now, I remember the late 60s with the thought of where one would need to be living to avoid possible nuclear fallout in the future.

Take a look at the math curricula used in this state and if you are a math teacher that cares about a quality program, there is apparently almost no place to live in Washington.

It is really easy to see why Department heads in Seattle and elsewhere were replaced because they refused to promote the consumption of the reform math Kool-aid being poured by the NSF et al.

Just think of me applying for a Job at OSPI how far would that application travel?

During the last decade I'd applied a few times at a couple ESDs for math employment. At those times when I did not get the jobs, I figured they had better applicants.

Now in retrospect I am certain they had a more philosophically aligned applicant to the supposed best practices of the day.

Since reading a bit of NMAP Dr Sandra Stotsky's stuff, it is really apparent how far out of whack the Dr Bergeson train wreck has traveled.

It is still amazing to listen to SPS "super" Dr MG-J's plans to get and retain high quality teachers in Seattle.

In the Words of the AFT leader in NYC -- what is the matter with all these people that are so concerned that an extremely small percentage of poor teachers may be teaching while neglecting the fact that by comparison large numbers of extremely able teachers leave this field annually?

Dr Bergeson have you ever looked at a Core-Plus book? No math professional of sound mind would ever use that book as a primary un-supplemented source and expect their students to know any valuable math content.

Oddly enough of those on the Instructional Materials Review criteria panel - Core-Plus is the most used high school textbook among the districts they represent.

You can see why I have such confidence in Dr Bergeson's OSPI to corrupt every decision in regard to improving math direction in this state.

The NSF has been a prime sponsor of Math terrorism over the last decade and Dr Bergeson has been a most cooperative War Lord

-- welcome to the Afgan theater of Math, Washington State.

I received a couple of great links via emails from east of the Mississippi -- maybe this blog is expanding beyond Seattle and Washington State. These emails provide a very direct funding link to the NSF and promotion of garbage math curricula.

We seem to be a nation bent on funding our own disaster. Write your legislators in WA DC after you read these.



With practices like this, it is likely we will be eating our young in the not to distant future if we do not turn this around.

Anonymous said...

I said earlier and I know first-hand Core plus was never intended for young audiences. It is at best a textbook written for low achieiving seniors who have barely passed algebra and perhaps failed geometry, we called it Math 12.

When Core Plus was written and piloted the idea was to write a textbook that would also teach students how to use a graphing calculator. Students had to have some knowledge of algebra in order to use the textbook.

At some point, the decision was made to call it something else. Ask Hirsch, Fey, Isaacs, and Treisman they will know better than I do.

I remember at the NCTM Conference in San Diego when it was announced and the center was hushed momentarily. It was unbelievable the silence I heard at the center, because everyone in that building knew the exemplary textbooks committee had been rigged.