Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Acceleration in Math in the Washington Post

Here is an article from the Washington Post
on Accelerated Math.

"I don't think any teacher has trouble with acceleration," said a teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of displeasing his principal. "The problem is when the school district creates a quota for the school -- in other words, 'We want 80 percent of your eighth-graders in Algebra I, and 40 percent of your seventh-graders in Algebra I, and 20 percent of your sixth-graders in Algebra I.' "


Anonymous said...

WHINY protected union teachers !!

see, this is why we need the private sector running schools, so they could fire teachers like that!

-- snark, sarcasm, satire - labelled for the dense.

I'd love it if all 8th graders took algebra 1 and did well ... is there a strategy involving more than waving hands and setting stupid quotas and blaming the people who get popsicle sticks and elmers glue as resources, and then who are blamed because a wooden mansion wasn't built with popsicle sticks and elmers?

Anonymous said...

Montgomery County did the Singapore Implementation. Barry Garelick wrote about it in "Miracle Math."

Both Seeley and Burrill were against Singapore, saying Singapore was homogeneous (like Japan) they don't know what they're talking about -- I think it was a parent group that reacted negatively to the Connected math grant and implemented Singapore - they stopped the implementation because they didn't have the funds and the administrators.

Skip gets quoted in this article and I think his 40% estimate for eighth grade algebra is optimistic. Also, he says this is a relatively new idea and once again I have to disagree. Singapore implemented its plan at about the same time the US did in 1989.

"The notion that students can master high school algebra before high school is relatively new, said Francis "Skip" Fennell, an education professor at McDaniel College in Westminster, Md., who is past president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The share of students completing the course in middle school nationwide has gone from next to nothing a generation ago to about 25 percent in the late 1990s to about 40 percent today..."

You can't get numbers like that using any integrated curriculum, except College Prep grades 6 - 10. And we already know, the numbers of students using this curriculum is too small to have an impact nationally.

This is a comparison and discussion of the history of Singapore and NCTM Standards, from a Singapore perspective, which is far more interesting and brutally honest.

For one, if you look at the Standards Framework 1989 there is no discussion of whether algebra should be taught in the eighth grade. The NCTM is a private organization. Singapore Standards (SMCF) were written by the Minister of Education and all schools follow that one standard.

The standards movement provided a vision for individual states, but not the materials or syllabuses for achieving that goal. The SMCF did.

I think Americans accept without questioning that the NCTM is a government organization. In fact, they are a government-subsidized private organization. Stop funding the NCTM sponsored programs with grants and pretty soon we'll all be using Singapore.

Anonymous said...

Math reform in the US is a failure. Throw out the NCTM standards and adopt Singapore standards for all schools, then what will become of all those obnoxious reformers. They'll have to start learning real math for one thing.

When you adopt Singapore standards, you'll be adopting a curriculum, inclding one textbook, and its the best national math program k - 12(public curriculum) in the world.

NCTM needs to go.

Anonymous said...

NCTM has vision, but no curriculum.

A dose of reality for NCTM is in order. The majority of high schoolers can't even do basic algebra.

When 40% of college students are enrolled in remedial math classes, how can Skip honestly say 40% of eighth graders are taking algebra.

Some people live in a dream world; and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.”

The NCTM faces reality by living in a dream world. If NCTM were a psychopath, this is what I would say.

Lies for no reason. Twist words, dodge and evade questions, divert the topic, and omit important facts in his ever-changing, self-serving goals.

A hypocrite that claims high morals then proceeds to exploit, manipulate, and abuse others.

His lies are emotionally cruel.

He will accuse you of being crazy.

He will blame others and take no responsibility.

Defense Strategy: Verify what he says. The grain of truth he drops occasionally is disguised manipulation. Do not try to negotiate. Head for the door when things don't add up.

Sounds like a few math reformers I know. Anyone been saddled with a constructivist lesson plan lately.

Our unions are s... because they've been eunuchized.

Anonymous said...

There isn't one grain of truth in a constructivist lesson plan. Give these monkeys (NCTM math luminaries) a wrench and they'll succeed in blowing themselves up.

Anonymous said...

The NCTM rarely wipes its feet before stepping into the debate over standards and curriculum.

Must be difficult living in an ivory white tower with all that vision and no curriculum.

What do we have for textbooks after 20 years of blathering...

Interactive Math 9-12
Everyday Math k-8
Core Plus 9-12
Connected Math 6-8
TERC Investigations k-5

Why do we even have the NCTM?

Anonymous said...

Did you see this headline?

NCTM-sponsored curriculum joins the Circus!

Some highlights!
Connected math is the bearded lady.
Core plus is a martian.
IMP as the wolf boy.