Sunday, June 15, 2008

Coming on 6-18-2008 Board testimony

Board Members, I am Dan Dempsey 6-18-2008

Today Seattle administration finds itself faced with a choice.
The choice is whether to save face or save the children.

Administration, unsupported by relevant data or logic, often does whatever it wants.

Statewide many administrators believe that reform math materials and pedagogy improve both student conceptual understanding and increase minority access to mathematics.

Such administrative belief ignores local district data. Preferring instead the refrain of research shows.

Dr Jo Boaler, of Stanford University, produced a research paper titled:
Promoting ‘relational equity’ and high mathematics achievement through an innovative mixed ability approach.

This paper showed that Students in a diverse urban high school…
1.. achieved at higher levels
2.. learned good behavior
3.. learned to respect students from different cultural groups, social classes, ability levels, and sexes.

The goals of high achievement and equity were achieved in tandem through a mixed ability mathematics approach.

This sounds great doesn’t it? How democratic …mixed ability grouping in High School Mathematics… no entering proficiency needed to take a class. This was increasingly promoted during the last social promotion decade… except it does not work in real life.

In Washington Mathematical competence declined and achievement gaps widened significantly in Seattle, Bellevue, Clover Park, and Marysville.
Dr Jo Boaler….. She faked the research ….. She is no longer at Stanford.

Under the irrational direction of the CAO we’ve dumped millions of dollars into the reform math dead ends called Everyday Math and Connected Math Project. Irrational direction?? Strong wording??… You bet but stronger wording is needed.

Reform Math results from Denver.
In 2006 the Denver Superintendent apologized to the mayors for poor performance.
In early April 2007, Denver’s consultants reported on the Middle School Math disaster. Denver is using Everyday Math followed by Connected Math.

Ms Santorno knew all this and irrationally led a unilateral adoption of Everyday Math.

Ms Santorno had no answers then but she had the political power to misdirect the spending of millions including $90,000 for calculators for elementary school while taking about arithmetic fluency.

In looking at the Strategic Plan’s Mathematics direction the administration is planning on saving face and sacrificing the children. There is no correction planned for the Reform Math agenda. Why is Ms Santorno never held accountable?

Yes today Seattle is faced with a choice of whether to save face or save the children.

Face saving is really popular in Seattle. It is a lot easier than saving children.


Anonymous said...

Jo Boaler, Summer Math Institute 2007, Transition Math Project

Where is Jo Boaler now?
University of Sussex

Jo Boaler is now the Marie Curie Professor at the University of Sussex, England. At London University, she was the deputy director of the national consortium for mathematics assessment and testing in the UK. She managed a team of people who researched and designed mathematics assessments for all 14 year-olds in England and Wales. Between 1998 and 2006, Jo was the professor of mathematics education at Stanford University, California.

And guess who else writes about Jo in her brown bags #112

For a start, I need to go all the way back to the quarterÕs first Brown Bag, because I have a follow-up. Our guest that time, Lani Horn from the College of Education, responded to my plea for some convincing research that documents the impact of constructivism-based teaching by whipping out a copy of Jo BoalerÕs ÒExperiencing School MathematicsÓ and waving it. I reported at the time that I was planning on acquiring a copy on short order, and you might hear more. Well, hereÕs the more. I am now most of the way through it, and I find it really exciting. She did a three year heavy-duty study comparing students in two middle schools which were very carefully matched in terms of social and economic status of students, but diametrically opposed in terms of pedagogy. The schools were in England, but, as Alan Schoenfeld points out in his introduction to the current edition, they could just as well be anywhere in America Ð aside from occasional lovely phrases like ÒIt used to be my first thought in maths class was who to chuck something atÓ. That comment was made in the progressive school, and indeed there clearly was a certain amount of apparent chaos throughout, but it had to do with student autonomy and the open-endedness of the schoolÕs project-based teaching. In the traditional school, very little was chucked, quiet reigned, and during the unvarying lecture-and-drill class times, heads nodded and pencils moved. Brains, on the other hand, did not. Beautifully extreme examples in both cases Ð and beautifully clear outcomes. Even on the standardized test at the end of middle school, preparation for which at the traditional school was long and arduous and at the project-based school was downright slipshod, the results generally favored the progressive school. On issues like attitude toward mathematics and toward their own mathematical capacity, the contrast becomes dramatic. And for me, perhaps the most dramatic (so far Ð I havenÕt finished yet!) is her line of questioning about how useful what they have learned in math class is outside of school. At the traditional school, the response was in effect ÒYouÕve got to be kidding!Ó At the other, most felt that it was indeed useful, best expressed by one studentÕs: ÓItÕs more the thinking side to sort of look at everything youÕve got and think about how to solve it.Ó Me, I call that doggoned impressive!

This is an odd coincidence, because so much of the 'strange' reform movement begins here.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what research Boaler did that you are referring to - is there a link? Is it really faked or really not faked? Who came to that conclusion?

dan dempsey said...

Write me for the debunking.

Here is the report in question

Anonymous said...

Rand Mathematic Study Panel

Deborah Loewenberg Ball, Chair, University of Michigan
Hyman Bass, University of Michigan
Jo Boaler, Stanford University
Thomas Carpenter, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Phil Daro, New Standards, University of California
Joan Ferrini-Mundy, Michigan State University
Ramesh Gangolli, University of Washington
Rochelle Gutiérrez, University of Illinois
Roger Howe, Yale University
Jeremy Kilpatrick, University of Georgia
Karen King, Michigan State University
James Lewis, University of Nebraska
Kevin Miller, University of Illinois
Marjorie Petit, The National Center for the Improvement
of Educational Assessment
Andrew Porter, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Mark Saul, Bronxville High School
Geoffrey Saxe, University of California–Berkeley
Edward Silver, University of Michigan

Who else works for Rand education - Anthony Alvarado! former chancellor of instruction at San Diego, graduate of CEL at UW.

The audit of the school system's books from September 1981 to November 1983 cites cases of school employees receiving "per-session" pay for work they may not have done, of double billing, of thousands of employees working longer hours than allowed by the board of education's regulations, and of payment for work done at home.

"Virtually every regulation" regarding per-session pay "was ignored,"...

Here's what I mean by faking it -
this is a fascinating account of how the reform movement changes the facts and gives undeserved credit to so-called educators like Alvarado:

In Making Schools Work, District 2 is the story of Anthony Alvarado, a charismatic administrator who became the head of the district in 1987. (At the time, there were 32 separate school districts comprising the New York City system.) At the start of his program’s second hour, Smith sets the scene for this story:

SMITH (10/5/05): By the mid-90s, leading education reformers and some cities had grown impatient with re-engineering America’s 90,000 schools one-by-one. To make real progress, they said, America needs to ramp up, go to scale. And so cities like Sacramento, Houston and Charlotte decided to launch wholesale reform across entire school districts, affecting tens of thousands of students at a time.

“As it happened, a bold district reform was already under way in New York City’s District 2,” Smith continues. “So all eyes turned to District 2.” Smith then plays tape of Kati Haycock (The Education Trust) praising the District 2 example—and he narrates an extended segment featuring the aforementioned Rigney. “Principals like Daria Rigney were the key movers of Alvarado’s reform,” Smith says. How bad were things when Rigney arrived? Soon, Rigney is describing her school—P.S. 126—at the time she first showed up for work there:

RIGNEY: What I remember from that time was coming and passing all the parks where people were just hanging out and smoking dope, lots of drinking; hardly any places to play; very, very poor neighborhood. Mostly Latino, African-American, Chinese. If you walked into any classroom you would just find kids misbehaving, kids not paying attention, lack of engagement. There was a sense of helplessness. I needed the school to be calmer so that we could move on with instruction. But I also felt as though the best discipline plan was a good lesson plan.

Rigney described a difficult neighborhood—and a failing, disorderly school. “At P.S. 126, Daria discovered that the teachers were not reaching the students,” Smith intones. “Reading through hundreds of report cards, she realized the kids were turned off. So Rigney set out to show her teachers how to engage students, get kids to think aloud, not just lecture them into boredom.” In a lengthy passage, Smith interviews Rigney, Alvarado and some teachers at the school, discussing the way Alvarado’s reforms worked at P.S. 126 under Rigney—and throughout the district generally. “Collaboration paid off,” Smith declares. “Low-performing schools, like P.S. 126, saw dramatic improvement under

Daria Rigney.” No, that last sentence doesn’t make sense—Rigney only worked at one school—but its intended meaning is clear. Elaine Fink (identified only as “Deputy Superintendent, 1990-98”) describes Rigney’s success:

FINK: Daria did great things. Look at that school [P.S. 126]. It had some of the lowest performance in all of Chinatown. Also started out in the 20s, with kids performing on grade level. And Daria has—
SMITH: You mean 20 percent of the—

FINK: Twenty percent of the students. And Daria has taken it over 70 percent of the kids are now performing at very high standards. It’s just been incredible and it’s holding.

Rigney took over that disorderly, failing school—and its numbers went to the roof. In the fourteen-minute segment on District 2, this is the prime example of the success created by Alvarado’s reforms. To quote Smith’s introductory statement again: “Principals like Daria Rigney were the key movers of Alvarado’s reform.” Smith does go on to say that Alvarado had “success in all kinds of schools—higher scores in reading and math across the board.” But Rigney is the featured example. Her success is also widely discussed in the program’s web site.

But readers! One question: Where are standards? This story is pleasing, but it has a big problem—it’s driven by a kooky chronology. In fact, Rigney never worked in District 2 during Alvarado’s eleven-year tenure; in fact, she was hired by the district in 1998, shortly after Alvarado left New York to become second-in-command in San Diego’s public schools. That’s right—Alvarado was District 2 superintendent from 1987 through June 1998. After that, Rigney was hired as principal of P.S. 126—hired by Fink, who originally served as Alvarado’s “deputy superintendent” but then succeeded him as District 2 superintendent. In fact, Rigney started at P.S. 126 in the 1998-99 school year. She served at the school through 2003—leaving to become an instructional superintendent for the city system.

Why does this kooky chronology matter? Here’s why: That failing school which Rigney describes—the school where all the kids were “turned off;” the school where “if you walked into any classroom you would just find kids misbehaving”—that school didn’t exist at the start of Alvarado’s reign. No, Rigney is describing the way she found P.S. 126 after eleven years of Alvarado’s reforms—the reforms for which Smith is vouching in this section of Making Schools Work! Rigney doesn’t describe the school as Alvarado found it, as you’re led to believe by the program. Instead, she describes the school as the wunderkind left it—in chaos and disorder, with the kids all “turned off.”

That’s what School 126 was like after the reforms Smith promotes in this program. But you, the viewer, don’t get to know that. Smith makes you think that Alvarado’s reforms produced the success at 126. He doesn’t tell you that the school was still a miserable mess after Alvarado left New York.

Anonymous said...

Look at what Alvarado said in the same interview and don't forget he left before Rigney was hired. Rigney took over a school that Alvarado helped create.

ALVARADO: Let's look at PS 126. When you look at the faculty that was developed and recruited by Daria Rigney, who was able to produce the student achievement gains in one of the lowest performing schools in the city, it was, first of all, the quality of leadership at the school level. So the attention you have to pay to the knowledge and skill base and leadership level of people who teach in those schools is paramount to solving the problem.

Anonymous said...

ALVARADO, Anthony "Tony" - Former
New York City chancellor, sup't-CSD 2 and former San
Diego USD (California) chancellor (Alan Bersin era).
"Every deputy to a San Diego Superintendent in the past 50
years has been present at board meetings for questioning.
But now Alan has given Tony Alvarado permission to be
anywhere he wants any time he wants, and Mr. Alvarado
has taken full advantage of the freedom. He started with
perks like free housing in Coronado, and cross-country
first class travel, and he continues his good fortune. And
Alvarado and his staff continue to make important
curriculum errors." (SOURCE--John DeBeck/SDUSD bd.
member) Also, exec. dir.-Campaign for Fiscal Equity,
established by NY City Council to determine how to
allocate $23 billion for education. Featured in Hedrick
Smith's PBS special, "Schools That Work" (Oct. 2005).
Last reported whereabouts: Guest lecturer, USD and

Anonymous said...

Bas Braams and Ze'ev Wurman's excellent website

Houston drop-out statistics and education 'miracle'
Education 'Miracle' Has a Math Problem. Bush Critics Cite Disputed Houston Data, by Michael Dobbs, The Washington Post, November 8, 2003 (front page).

The article reports on the fraudulent drop-out statistics in the Houston school district during the tenure there of now education secretary Rod Paige.

Conceding that individual "indiscretions" may have occurred in a school system that serves more than 200,000 students, Paige described the Houston Independent School District as "the most evaluated school district in the history of America." He said he places great stock in the credibility of an accountability system that demands quantifiable results from administrators, teachers and children.

"The whole system for me rode on integrity," Paige said.

This image of integrity is not supported by the Washington Post article, or by earlier reporting on the Houston drop-out statistics. The WP article reports on clear fraud at one high school and continues:
An investigation by state auditors showed that at least 14 other Houston high schools, including Austin, reported unusually low dropout rates in 2000-2001, although there is no evidence administrators falsified data. By reporting a dropout rate of less than 0.5 percent, school principals increase their chances of winning bonuses of as much as $10,000 and earning top accountability ratings for their campuses.

After years of relying on dropout statistics as a key component in their annual accountability studies, school officials concede that they were worthless all along. "The annual dropout rate was a crock, and we're not [using] it anymore," said Robert R. Stockwell Jr., the district's chief academic officer.

Anonymous said...

Bas Braams posted this quote and i have to disagree with his notion of egalitarian - its a piece written by Barry Goldwater in 1960 and it sounds very similiar to the problems we face today.

"In the main, the trouble with American education is that we have put into practice the educational philosophy expounded by John Dewey and his disciples. In varying degrees we have adopted what has been called "progressive education."

Subscribing to the egalitarian notion that every child must have the same education, we have neglected to provide an educational system which will tax the talents and stir the ambitions of our best students and which will thus insure us the kind of leaders we will need in the future.

In our desire to make sure that our children learn to "adjust" to their environment, we have given insufficient opportunity to acquire the knowledge that will enable them to *master* their environment.

In our attempt to make education "fun," we have neglected the academic disciplines that develop sound minds and are conducive to sound characters."

The Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater, published in 1960.

The part that I have to disagree with in this interpretation is the idea of egalitarian which suggests all children are given the same curriculum - because 15 years after the reform movement incorporated QL literacy into the math curriculum, we see a society that is hardly egalitarian and we read about daily criticism from parents, students, and teachers.

Anonymous said...

The bottom fell out on Amato his first week, and, God bless New Orleans, they never let him get back up. He ran into immediate resistance from the locally elected School Board members, who bristled under his authority and massive reforms. To understand the School Board’s unflappable reluctance to help Amato, it is important to realize that the School Board is an entry point into New Orleans politics.

Saturday, June 05, 2004By Brian Thevenotand Aesha Rasheed%%par%%Staff writers
In an 11th-hour legal maneuver orchestrated by two Orleans Parish School Board members, a federal judge Friday blocked the board from firing schools Superintendent Tony Amato.

The move sets up a legal battle over whether the board can move swiftly to oust Amato or whether it must abide by a tenet of his contract that requires a 10-day notice before moving to fire him. And this action will take place as incensed state lawmakers consider a bill that would make it more difficult for the School Board to fire Amato.

No Kansas City citizen should be upset about Superintendent Tony Amato’s departure. Living in New Orleans, I can assure you that his behavior in Kansas City was almost identical to that here.

Amato was an eloquent speaker and often invoked the phrase “research shows” to justify what he said. Consequently, no one challenged his claims. As director of Accountability/Assessment for New Orleans Public Schools, I often found little or no definitive support for them.

Amato judged staff as either a team member or the enemy. The enemy was anyone who voiced any reservations or concerns about his ideas. Disagree, and he portrayed you as trying to deprive economically disadvantaged children of a quality education.

Amato often shot from the hip when making claims about how much he would increase student performance. Unfortunately for New Orleans, no one held him to these claims.

Under Amato’s guidance, our systems’ finances slipped into further disarray.

It took your board 18 months to end his reign; ours over two years. However, the results were the identical. He resigned, took the money and left.

You may not like how your board went about it, but the end result will definitely benefit your school system.

Jim Anderson
New Orleans, La.

april 19, 2005

Dozens of employees indicted or convicted on corruption charges. Tens of millions of dollars unaccounted for. Eight superintendents in seven years. Rock-bottom test scores. Shootings, sirens and police uniforms, often. The threat of bankruptcy and bounced checks, constantly.

In the dismal gallery of failing urban school systems, New Orleans' may be the biggest horror of them all.

"Urban districts, in general, will often have problems with instruction, with finances, with operations," said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of Great City Schools in Washington. "But they don't always occur at the same time. And New Orleans is really facing a three-front challenge."

New Orleans "is almost a national scandal," said James Harvey of the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington. "The consistent gossip about favoritism and corruption is extremely troubling." And the city has become "murderers row for superintendents."

Long ago abandoned by this city's middle class, New Orleans public schools are in sad shape academically. New Orleans accounts for 55 of Louisiana's 78 worst schools. More than two-thirds of the school system's fourth-graders do not have basic competence in math.

The latest crisis in the 64,000-student system broke two weeks ago. First, teachers nearly missed a paycheck, the system was so broke. Then, the state threatened a takeover. Finally, the superintendent — a reformer from New York who, like many before him, entered with grand plans — was forced out by a school board disenchanted with his reform ideas.

Superintendent Anthony Amato's fate was sealed last week at a board meeting crackling with racial hostility. Much of the hooting was directed at him and his white supporters in the school system, which is almost 94 percent black.

Financially, the school system is a "train wreck," Louisiana's top government watchdog, legislative auditor Steve Theriot, told lawmakers in Baton Rouge. No one knows for certain how much money it has, or how much money it owes.

At the glass-and-steel school administration complex across the Mississippi River from downtown New Orleans, FBI agents and other federal and state investigators have opened an office to pick through the evidence of graft.

Just last week, a payroll clerk was sent to jail for stealing $250,000 — she had kept her job with the New Orleans schools, even after being indicted on charges of stealing from a bank. A year ago the district's insurance manager pleaded guilty to taking kickbacks. One of the bribe-givers was former Mayor Marc Morial's aunt.

Anonymous said...

This is an update on the mess in New Orleans, they are cleaning up more than a hurricane.

In Louisiana, Political Corruption is a Family Business

Posted by jcrouere June 22, 2007 12:39PM
June 22, 2007...On the HBO series, "The Soprano's" viewers were given an inside look at the family business, organized crime. In Louisiana, every day voters are given an inside look at our political family business, organized corruption. Unfortunately, keeping up with the criminal investigations and indictments of Louisiana politicians and their family members is very difficult. There is literally a new one every day. The most recent embarrassing episode involves former Orleans Parish School Board President Ellenese Brooks-Simms, who pleaded guilty to federal fraud and kickback charges, which could land her a $250,000 fine and five years in jail.

According to published accounts, Brooks-Simms accepted $140,000 in bribes, reportedly from Mose Jefferson, brother of indicted Congressman Bill Jefferson (D-New Orleans). Mose Jefferson worked as a lobbyist for a software company looking to land a contract with the Orleans Parish Public School System. For the right price, Brooks-Simms was happy to oblige. Now, we learn that she had recorded conversations with Mose Jefferson on behest of federal prosecutors, hoping to receive a lighter sentence for her crimes. According to Orleans Parish School Board member Jimmy Fahrenholtz, the "I CAN Learn" algebra software was good and helped children in the system, but "we paid too much for it."

It is now clear why the system paid too much for the software, since at least one school board member was being bribed and Mose Jefferson was supposedly paid at least $900,000. Fahrenholtz was not surprised by the news of the guilty plea, recalling Brooks-Simms as an obstacle for reform during her tenure on the school board. Brooks-Simms often tangled with former school Superintendent Anthony Amato and helped drive him from his job.

The guilty plea is just the latest in a long string of political corruption cases in this area, often involving family members. Currently, former Governor Edwin Edwards and his son Stephen Edwards are both serving time in jail. While Mose Jefferson is being investigated, his brother-in-law former Judge Alan Green is serving time in jail. His brother, Congressman Bill Jefferson, has been hit with a 16-count indictment. Just this week, the son of former State Senate President Michael O'Keefe, who will be in jail until 2016, has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Government, conspiracy to commit money laundering, mail fraud and a variety of other charges in a purported "house flipping" scam.

Investigations are ongoing involving the former mayoral administration in New Orleans, and, obviously, the Orleans Parish School System, while the long running Wrinkled Robe investigation of the 24th Judicial Court in Jefferson Parish seems to be near completion, after the conviction of two judges.

It is sickening that our tax dollars are being wasted; while certain politicians are being bought and sold like a sack of potatoes. According to Fahrenholtz, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten is the "hardest working man" in the state, with all of the investigations he is pursuing. Keeping up with the corrupt politicians is a time consuming job, but it has to be done.

As long as voters continue to elect criminals like Brooks-Simms, then they deserve the corrupt result they get. The problem needs to be taken care of at the ballot box so that unethical politicians are never elected. Once they assume office, it is almost impossible to get rid of them by political means, which is why federal prosecutors have to step in so often and file charges to remove them.

Brooks-Simms was an exception. Voters saw through her "reform" act and correctly concluded that she was an obstacle to change and sent her packing in 2004. If voters did that more often, we could clean up the dirty political system in the state.

Anonymous said...

Jo Boaler - Funded by the Noyce Foundation - you publish what your benefactors want to hear.

Middle School Mathematics Video Cases:
A project funded by the Noyce Foundation

The United States faces an enduring problem regarding the mathematics education of students. This is demonstrated by low levels of numeracy in the general population; inequitable distribution of attainment among students (Schoenfeld, 1992; Tate, 1997); declining numbers of mathematics majors and a shortage of well-qualified teachers (Darling-Hammond, 1998). The key to the advancement of mathematics education lies with future generations of mathematics learners in schools and the preparation of students with a deep understanding of the mathematical domain, combined with a desire to teach others. The attainment of such goals requires that we understand more, not only about effective learning environments, but about the ways in which we may support the teacher knowledge, beliefs and practices that encourage such environments (Shulman,1986; Darling-Hammond, 1998).

There is increasing recognition among the education community that ‘teaching occurs in particulars – particular students interacting with particular teachers over particular ideas in particular circumstances’ (Ball & Cohen, 1999 p10), and that teacher education should harness the power of learning through practice. Black and Wiliam illustrate this point well when they say that:

Anonymous said...

The Great City Academy Fraud references Jo Boaler's research

Here's a review and I think it parallels the problems we are seeing in the states. I'm checking Amazon.

This controversial and compelling book exposes the government's city academies project: the ways in which companies and rich individuals have been persuaded to sponsor academies, their real reasons for sponsoring them, the lies that have been told in support of the academies project, and the disastrous effect it will have on Britain's schools. It brings together existing research, by the author and others, and adds new research, to build up a picture of a deeply flawed idea, which is educationally disastrous and inherently corrupt. In his provocative yet fascinating tour de force, Francis Beckett pulls the plug on the most high-profile educational scam for decades.

Anonymous said...

This is more about the same book and its eery, but it makes sense.

In this brilliant book, journalist Francis Beckett exposes Labour's destructive `city academies' programme.

In the 1980s, Thatcher introduced City Technology Colleges, which opted out of local authority control and had local management and local pay. This caused great inequality and injustice in educational provision. Avon County Council, for example, spent £8 million on 900 pupils at Kingswood in Bristol, leaving just £4.5 million for the county's other 150,000 children.

Labour, when in opposition, denounced this policy, then when in office promoted it. If a local council opposes an academy scheme, Labour deprives it of any money for education. So however the local people vote, for or against academies, they get academies.

The government is ending all democratic control of schools by elected local government. The academies are accountable only to the sponsor. All schools are to be `independent', destroying our education service.

There are 46 academies now, and the government hopes for 200 by 2011 and 400 later. Those great charities, the `public' schools, are starting to sponsor them. Half of these academies are `faith schools' -divisive and sectarian. Half specialise in `enterprise'. In one, every Friday is given over to lessons in `enterprise'.

The government is spending £5 billion on its academies programme. It puts an average £25 million into each city academy, the average sponsor just £1 million. In Lewisham, a CTC was turned into a city academy. The Haberdashers' Livery Company put in less than £300,000; the taxpayer paid the rest - £37.7 million. Guess who gets the control.

The government tells us that academies are about putting private money into public education, but really, as in the NHS, public money is going, not into a public service, but through it, into private companies. Sponsor your local capitalist!