Saturday, July 26, 2008

Does the SBE College Prep plan signal even fewer resources for others?

I have large concerns with the SBE's actions this last week.

It still appears to me that we are turning the vast majority of resources toward College Prep for all. There will always be a local economy that needs plumbers, electricians and skilled trades people as well as retail sales employees etc. Children aspiring to be truck drivers may fail to see the need for College Prep high school and choose to drop out.

There still seems to be a large denial of the large variation of the human population.
The Algebra II for all for WA HS graduation (with some opting out allowed) suffers from some of the same shortcomings as the California Algebra I for all in in grade 8.

See the following EdWeek article......
Math Experts Question Wisdom of Calif. Algebra Rule

Which contains:

Yet Mr. Loveless, a former elementary school teacher in California, said policymakers there were wrongly assuming that simply enrolling students in 8th grade algebra will result in more of them becoming proficient in the subject. An examination of students’ math course-taking and test performance, he said, shows that premise to be false.

Another panelist, Vern Williams, echoed another of Mr. Loveless’ concerns: California schools, when faced with the reality that many of their 8th graders are not ready for Algebra 1, will simply water down those courses and craft classes that are Algebra 1 “in name only,” as Mr. Williams put it.

Mr. Williams, who has taught algebra for much of his 36-year career and now teaches in Falls Church, Va., said some students, even motivated ones, are not ready for algebra until 9th grade. By forcing students into that class early, schools risk not only discouraging struggling learners, but also holding back higher-achievers, who have to wait for classmates to catch up.

“Sometimes, it’s strictly the [lack of] math preparation” that causes students to struggle, Mr. Williams said. “But also, there are just kids, even bright kids who ... need to be exposed to a bit more math in 8th grade, or to a prealgebra course.”


Anonymous said...

The Algebra II plan is not the same because as you saw during the alignment process its actually "authentic" algebra II - a watered down version of algebra II and it doesn't look at all like traditional algebra II. It was being aligned to the Achieve Standard - which goes with the reform textbooks that will be used for the American Diploma Project or Core 24.

This model of a society is based on a super-human archetype. Anytime you divide a population into two classes you are propelling that society toward Fascist Doctrines.

Why do you think OSPI is supplying the Alliance with grants so it can sue the state on how it funds special education? Never mind the fact, that Title I money in this state, is now thrown into a gigantic melting pot, managed by the School Leadership Team.

Gates Sr. represents the Alliance and guess what, the case gets thrown out of court based on a technicality - the fact, districts can't sue basically themselves.

The eighth grade algebra standard is not perfect either, but you have to see the underlying difference between the two philosophies. The expectation in California is that all students will strive to achieve the same goal and if the goal can be attained in other countries, than why not the US.

The reform-based math and science textbooks reject the doctrines of formalism and causality in favor of Christian moralism and mystical teaching. They placed more importance on educating the soul, than the mind.

Don't forget California rejected the math reform textbooks, while Washington leaders whole-heartedly accepted them. The public was definitely misled into this and lets not forget it was education researchers who misled them.

Anonymous said...

The belief system you are attacking is based on Ancient Greece idealogues - these are Neo-Platonists using 19th century ideas about socialist utopian societies.

The argument they are using is that children have to be spiritually and morally prepared before they can discover what is naturally inside themselves or what God has given them (e.g. algebra). Hence, non-causality is consistent with their belief system which favors a statistical, discrete or probabilistic treatment versus rational empiricism.

Warfield's father-n-law started the Orthodox Presbyterian Church - that should shed some light on the nature of this debate.

See for instance Princeton Theological Seminary.

JG Machen - Calvinist, evangelical
BB Warfield - from Grand Rapids!
Geerhardus Vos - from Grand Rapids!
Dutch reform

Loyola!! spiritual exercises?? St Augustine.... You get my drift.

Most of us are operating in a completely different reality from these people. You don't have any notion of what your dealing with. Look at the strong connections between Grand Rapids and SPU.

Learn about exigetical translations (UW flakiness) which are at the heart of most religious debates and in some people's minds the educational debate.

Anonymous said...

More about exigesis, because its a whole subject within theology itself.

Is the reason children don't learn because of the teacher?

Does success in learning have to do with how closely teachers follow the book or how we, as teachers, interpret what the book meant and supplement to scaffold learning?

Would students learn better if they simply followed the book without any teacher? The teacher as a passive sheperd who assesses and guides learning.

Part of the difficulty has been how the movement has created confusion through spewing facts - like revisionism, junk science, obfuscation, cognitive dissonance, and ritualized violence (both social and asocial).

As an example - What is the purpose of pornography and why do we receive mixed messages from the media and our culture? That's cognitive dissonance.

For one, in a socialistic culture, it creates a chauvinistic demagogy. Also, it builds a culture that shames individuals (scapegoating) and we learn to distrust people in power.

What do people in control fear most?
1. their own oppression
2. retribution.

Anonymous said...

Human capital development - combining captital theory with early Christian humanism in the extreme case (Carkhuff, Verwoerd) favors protecting elites from encroachment by restricting access to post-primary education. That is the policy that gets generated. It is no different in South Africa, Netherlands, and Great Britain.

By providing open and free access to pornography and similiar content in popular media (you don't have generate emotions with just sexual images), you are restricting access to post-primary education and protecting elites by controlling illicit behavior. The biggest industry in California is entertainment.

The policy aims for education appear no different. Politicians create an open, backward shell of a society that generates a small share of the wealth, most of which gets returned to a closed society of manipulative elitists.

Anonymous said...

Nine Characteristics of High Performing Schools was initiated by Bergeson and has been adopted by the MASB (Michigan Association of School Boards).

Her links to Grand Rapids through WMU in Kalamazoo and Emmanuel College, Boston (liberal catholic background) put her at the forefront of the reform movement which I would characterize as Reformed Christian evangelical and Calvinistic in its interpretation of scripture.

So you are often being presented with one side of the issue.

for instance -
the 100 "possibility" schools (Griffin) that benefited from federal and state grant money for doing community outreach for four years.

When you examine "possibility" it is applied in a larger context of two cultures competing for resources (Carkhuff). The superior culture has infinite potential as opposed to a "probability" culture that has no future. This is the same racialist theory that was promoted by Schopenhauer and Lytton in 1871.

What is even more striking about this particular grant was that of the $13+ million that was appropriated to benefit 2 million? disadvantaged children, only a fraction of the money was actually spent on them which only goes further supports critics who complain about layers of elitist, socialistic bureaucratic parasitism centered around OSPI, the ESD's, and every other private charity that wants to do good for the American people - a Christian welfare society with premillennielist tendencies is not what I'd like to stake my patriotic faith in - it looks like government run by Amway.

Anonymous said...

This basic belief in literal interpretation or exigesis of scripture (or textbooks) is so powerful from within the intransigent group that critics will have great difficulty trying to improve upon it, since all change, for better or worse, is perceived as originating from outside the group (exemplary curriculum) and therefore viewed with suspicion and skepticism. The applicable rule in classrooms is that teaching morals and acceptable behavior takes priority over students learning useful content.

The myth or socially constructed truth is that children are born with talent given to them by the grace of God and the purpose of self-discovery is to find one's own talent or connection to God. God is a Montessori Teacher. You can't communicate with God unless you can think for yourself. I'm reciting a narrow belief system that is marginal and very misguided. It sounds interesting and convincing, but not really. People who think like this can also believe in UFOs, superior beings that live underground, the earth is hollow, Atlantis, the Sasquatch, little green men living on Mars, Thule, etc. Why not be a Rosicrucian or base all education policy on Success of the Secret?

dan dempsey said...

In this first comment it is stated that in regard to 8th grade Algebra:
and if the goal can be attained in other countries, then why not the US?

I believe that most countries begin some type of tracking prior to grade 8. California is perhaps one of the few places on earth that will be attempting to move such a huge extremely diverse population through Algebra I.

In Washington given our direction over the last decade and focus on reform math, it appears with CMP at the middle schools in 80% of the State we are hardly trying to prepare anyone for Algebra in grade 8. At least a rigorous treatment of Algebra I topics is not present; thus there is abundance of watered-down math criticism.

Anonymous said...

We've had this discussion before.

The Singapore curriculum is really reverse engineered and the issue is a question of access to children, not ability or cognitive development.

The reform approach is psychological and that is why the thrust of the debate is developing age-appropriate standards. Reform propagandists argue some children aren't mature enough to learn algebra and so they advocate values and moral development over content.

It is not coincidental that the advances in mathematics education have mostly occurred in ELL classrooms where the focus was on literacy as well as content. The reform group does not allow for differences in reading level. That has been one of the reasons Washington's students have done so poorly.

We track at least as much as other countries do, but the US is different in that we socially promote students, we use standardized testing, and provide a variety of textbooks that come loaded with controversial ideas about educating children.

Math reform and the WCC have created a Tower of Babel.

Anonymous said...

The two place in California where you will see the greatest gains in math scores will be Sacramento and San Diego, because the literacy rates of Latinoes have gone up. You can already see the improvements. California has had the eighth grade goal for as long as I've been a teacher there and it wasn't much fun, mostly because the ms teachers took it hard from the high school teachers and elementary school teachers were struggling as well. A strong elementary program is absolutely essential for an eighth grade goal. And you can't teach algebra to kids with Connected Math or Glencoe.

Adopt Singapore in its entirety and you will see massive improvements in student achievement.

Anonymous said...

I mean San Diego county - Bersin and Alvarado did a hack job on San Diego, so I'm not sure what's going to happen there, a few more years (who knows).

That's why I don't see Portland, Seattle, or LAUSD improving at least for another decade. In fact, it will get worse before it gets better.

Anonymous said...

This is how you do a reverse process.

You ask the following types of questions:

What segment of the kid population becomes an engineer?

What sort of advanced math classes did that kidx take in hs?

When did the kidx take physics and chemistry?

When did kidx start learning algebra?

What skills did kidx need to enroll in collegey?

What skills did kidx have when they took algebra?

That's reverse engineering. This has nothing to do with psychology and that's why your district, as well as others, isn't making any progress. SPS might as well be in bed with the devil. They're learning a difficult lesson in ethics - a society that preaches commits gluttony. But I suppose in the US that's not a sin, since stupidity isn't either.