Wednesday, June 18, 2008

SBE needs to Just Say NO
to vague Standards as presented

Dear Decision Makers,

As most of you are aware, I filed a Complaint in Thurston County Superior Court seeking to have OSPI and SBE obey the laws as written.

The k-8 Math Standards process was accelerated beyond what the law in SB 6534 specified. It is my contention that resulted in specific portions of SB 6534 being violated. As a result standards were approved that were of lower quality than what are needed to produce large and significant improvements in student mathematics performance. Currently "The World Class Internationally Competitive Standards" sought cannot become a reality in Washington.

Mr. Bob Dean sent you his analysis of the Algebra II standards. I am in agreement with him.

Mr Dean is concerned about a lack of uniformity of what will be taught in the classrooms of this state using these standards. I am also.

I have a further concern as to what Instructional Materials are likely to be selected. The IMR criteria process is exceptionally flawed thus far for k-8 as most of the secondary source materials in draft#2 have no business being there.

Of further concern is the likelihood of producing more of the same type of results we are currently living through.

Here are the scores for reading, math and writing at grade 10.
The testing of Spring 2006 was supposed to be the year of the big improvement as that was the first class that the WASL counted for graduation.. . Supposedly even Math counted... well we know where that went...

... Year...... Read ...... Math .... Write ..
... 2005 .... 72.9% .... 47.5% ... 65.2%

... 2006 .... 82.0% .... 51.0% ... 79.8%

... 2007 .... 80.8% .... 50.4% ... 83.9%

... 2008 .... 79.6% .... 49.7% ... 84.0%

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------
net change .. +6.7% ... +2.2% .. +18.8%

Clearly things are not getting better. With 2/3 of elementary students using either TERC/Investigations or Everyday Math and 80% of middle school students using Connected Math Project materials, do not look for a large improvement in grade 10 scores any time soon.

I remain concerned about the following language in OSPI IMR criteria draft#2:

One of the goals of the Content/Standards Alignment process will be to identify the necessary supplementation for existing materials to meet state standards. When did this become part of the task required in SB6534?

When Standards are are as vague and imprecise as those coming from Strategic Teaching they leave the door wide open for huge interpretation.

One of my concerns is that virtually no one is taking any responsibility for the sorry state of Washington Mathematics. It is much easier to save face than save the children.

Comments like this One of the goals of the Content/Standards Alignment process will be to identify the necessary supplementation for existing materials to meet state standards leads me to believe that the imprecise standards produced by Strategic Teaching will result in lots of saving face.

I urge the SBE to reject these standards as they are so vague in many places that they can be twisted to mean whatever the reader prefers.

OSPI has performed an incredibly poor job thus far.
#1 Dana Center hired
#2 SRT teams stacked
#3 Extremely poor composition of IMR criteria team chosen by OSPI, this team is largely composed of those who need to save face.
#4 Secret meeting of IMR criteria team in producing draft #1
#5 No public input for draft #1
#6 Highly suspect draft #2

The SBE will be allowing the mismanagement of Washington State Mathematics to continue with the adoption of these vague imprecise standards. Vote NO.


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

SBE Math Panelist


Anonymous said...

There's only one way out and that is add Singapore to the adoptible curriculum. That way no matter what OSPI did (because they are prepared to grind this out), districts would have the flexibility to do what was needed. As it stands, local leaders don't have an antidote for OSPI's poison pill.

Anonymous said...

If the state put saxon on the adoptible list of textbooks then it should adopt the harcourt achieve standard (2003) That was the Alabama solution. But unlike Singapore, it won't correct your current/future problem(s) -

1. lower 'authentic algebra' track
2. supplementing nonstandard enrichment curriculum
3. WASL alignment
4. costly alternative programs
5. merit pay - stipends for math coaches, creating teacher shortages.

Anonymous said...

AHa I get it

Washington public schools have been Waldorffed.