Sunday, June 22, 2008

Math Wars again in California ( over Algebra)

From the San Francisco Chronicle


Anonymous said...

This story is true and its been going on since the standards were rewritten in 2002, reformers (with textbook publishers) have been eroding the eighth grade algebra standard. The support interestingly comes from communities, not all, that use traditional textbooks.

Communities that use CPM and Singapore don't have the same problems because the textbooks are designed for younger ages.

Communities that use the reform textbooks are totally against the eighth grade algebra standard since they have no methods-examples based curriculum that works for any age group.

Why would publishers support lowering math standards by erasing the eighth grade algebra standard is because they sell more curriculum.

dan dempsey said...

so the driving force is...
because they sell more curriculum.

Anonymous said...

States set the achievement bar for students with the standardized test and they also set the achievement bar for textbooks with standards.

When you create rigorous standards then theoretically you limit the curriculum that school districts can buy. So publishers or their reps write their own standards to match their textbooks and then insert that language into a state's own standard that matches the language of their textbook. It defeats the whole purpose. Its reverse engineering - which came first the chicken or the egg type thing? What should happen is you write standards and then you create and refine the curriculum that will match those standards. The two factors that are most critical are uniformity and readability - precisely the two qualities that reform textbooks lack.

Anonymous said...

In S. California everything is standards based except the textbooks in our district are at least traditional.

Micromanagement is an understatement and the district administrators want to know where every teacher is every day so everyone can be aligned. They think you can tweak education by riding rough-shod over everyone. Its quite a monster - if that's what they mean by data-driven, then its clearly big brother running an incompetent dictatorship (they can't keep track of where money gets spent). A district official contracts his millionaiere wife to decorate the school offices. How many times should we repaint all the buildings? Who says education doesn't pay?

dan dempsey said...

We have a system in which Standards based Math is a clear disaster.... and yet all the job postings for math coaching and most for teaching talk about a commitment to Standards based math.

I have a better idea ... how about a commitment to improvement?

Anonymous said...

Bandwagon effect means every principal has the same loaded response - "We're a standards-based school." The phrase loses all its meaning, and you can't tell schools apart.

Anonymous said...

Its easier to teach math in California than Washington. The kids learn more with traditional textbooks. At our school about 65% of the graduates met the A-G requirements for college and half were eligible for tuition scholarships. The majority of the students were non-white and about half of those kids spoke another language, other than English, at home.

All these students had to take 3-5 years of advanced math to be ready for college - one of the incentives for taking more math was our teachers' willingness to negotiate grades in return for taking more classes. They imagined I think what most others imagine is impossible.

In California, it is possible to teach regular physics to a young group of teenage Latinas eager for college.

Washington standards won't ever come close to achieving that, because OSPI sets too low of a standard. It has to do with curriculum. At least give the teachers access to curriculum so they can teach those who desire to be educated. Washington standards are unfair and discriminate.