It appears that the marketing people for Everyday Math are earning their salaries. There's a new promo on the web for EM: http://www.everydaymathsuccess.com/pdf/EM_InstructionalDesign.pdf. (I've reproduced it below) The main site is located at http://www.everyday mathsuccess. com/ There are also YouTube videos containing testimonials, etc. Of interest is the one at http://www.everyday mathsuccess. com/video- results.html which features people from Woodbridge NJ (other districts are there also). All sound bites. "Allows higher level dialogue in solving problems" etc.

In a promo on how EM really does emphasize learning "basic facts" it offers this about the WWC results:

"In 2006, the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) stated that a handful of rigorously conducted experiments demonstrated that Everyday Mathematics had “potentially positive effects” on achievement compared with more traditional math programs. All other elementary mathematics programs reviewed by WWC as of this writing have been found to have “no discernible effects on mathematics achievement.” " See http://www.everydaymathsuccess.com/pdf/EM_ComputationalFluency.pdf

I've reproduced one of the PDF promos below. It looks like they've picked up on the criticisms of EM and are now using it in their advertising. To wit: "There's nothing fuzzy about it". EM is a difficult animal to pin down on fuzziness, mainly because the problems in the workbooks are fairly good. The problem is that students don't spend enough time on a particular topic to be able to do the problems much less understand them. But a casual glance through the workbook would not provide this insight. The sentence that got to me was "Everyday Mathematics is better than traditional, textbook-centered programs that produced generations of students who hated math." While some of the traditional text books of the 50's and 60's had their bad points, I think this statement is over-generalized and extremely misleading. Such approach also produced generations of students who liked math. And ironically, many if not all of those students who hated math, purportedly as a result of the "traditional textbook-centered programs" are probably more proficient in the basic skills than those who have received the EM treatment without benefit of Kumon, or outside help.

Of course, EM's solution to the "textbook-centered" approach is to do away with a textbook. Students only have workbooks. The EM promoters' disdain for such "scripted" approaches is pure hypocrisy, since EM does have a particular script which is contained in the teacher's manual and provides the outline of daily lessons. Not very good, mind you, but still, there is a plan there which parents and students do not get the benefit of seeing--except in the "family letters" that students bring home with them that explain what they will be learning in a particular unit. Every unit is a hodge podge of topics, nested inside some main topic. There is no concentrated focus on any one topic that allows any kind of mastery learning. But the EM promoters have an answer for that one as well, per the promo below:

"Content is taught in a repeated fashion, beginning with concrete experiences to which students can relate. Research shows that students learn best when new topics are presented at a brisk pace, with multiple exposures over time, and with frequent opportunities for review and practice. The sequence of instruction in the Everyday Mathematics curriculum has been carefully mapped out to optimize these conditions for learning and retaining knowledge."

They didn't bother to talk about what research it was that showed this, but there is another module on their "research base". Much of their research was conducted by William Carroll, who has been on the EM/U of Chicago payroll for some time. Anyway, here's the promo. Read and weep.

How Everyday Mathematics Offers a Better Approach to Mathematics Mastery

There’s nothing fuzzy about it. Everyday Mathematics brings more clarity and rigor to math instruction, so students understand and appreciate the role of mathematics in daily life.

Everyday Mathematics, a comprehensive Pre-K-6 mathematics curriculum, not only embraces traditional goals of math education, but also sets out to accomplish two ambitious goals for the 21st century:

• To substantially raise expectations regarding the amount and range of math that students learn.

• To support teachers and students with the materials necessary to enable students to meet these higher expectations.

To provide more rigorous, balanced instruction, Everyday Mathematics:

• Emphasizes conceptual understanding while building mastery of basic skills.

• Explores a broad mathematics spectrum, not just basic arithmetic.

• Is based on how students learn and what they’re interested in while preparing them for their future mathematical needs.

Changing the Way We Teach Math

The accelerating demand for competence and problem-solving agility in mathematics requires improved methods for teaching math in the classroom. Teachers are no longer preparing students for a lifetime of pencil-and-paper calculations, but for future careers that demand a true understanding of how mathematics works at much higher levels.

Everyday Mathematics is better than traditional, textbook-centered programs that produced generations of students who hated math. It is consistent with the ways students actually learn math – building understanding over time – first through informal exposure, then through more formal and directed instruction.

Content is taught in a repeated fashion, beginning with concrete experiences to which students can relate. Research shows that students learn best when new topics are presented at a brisk pace, with multiple exposures over time, and with frequent opportunities for review and practice. The sequence of instruction in the Everyday Mathematics curriculum has been carefully mapped out to optimize these conditions for learning and retaining knowledge.

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end of Barry's letter

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A response from a reader to what Barry Garelick wrote ...

<< EM is a difficult animal to pin down on fuzziness, mainly because the problems in the workbooks are fairly good. The problem is that students don't spend enough time on a particular topic to be able to do the problems much less understand them.>>

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*I disagree strongly. If you look through all the materials, you will find that the number of arithmetic problems in which both operands have two or more digits is very, very small. In other words, EM doesn't allow students to develop the ability to do sustained and error-free arithmetical computations.*<< EM is a difficult animal to pin down on fuzziness >>

------>>>

*It is extremely easy to pin down if you quote the teachers' guides. They state that they do not expect students to master material the first time around. They also state that not all students can be expected to master the long division algorithm.***I don't think it would be hard to put together an appropriate video response to the EM advertising videos that Barry describes.**

End of response ...

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Barry's response..

Good points. I should have clarified that a casual examination of the materials doesn't reveal these apparent weaknesses. Nor does it reveal that students are not taught the standard algorithms.

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## 11 comments:

In 2008, Wicci Works Clearinghouse (WWC) stated that a handful of wiggling eels demonstrated Eel Math (EM) had “potentially positive effects” on mathematics flux density compared with more traditional math programs in the Fifth dimension. All other elementary mathematics programs reviewed by Wicci as of this writing have been found to have “no discernible effects on mathematical flux”.

There's nothing fuzzy about it. EM was a difficult animal to pin down on fuzziness, mainly because eels are not fuzzy.

Eel1: “The problem is students don't spend enough time on a particular topic to be able to do the problems much less understand them. A casual glance through the workbook would not provide this insight.”

Eel2: "Eel Math is better than traditional, textbook-centered programs that produced generations of students who hated math."

Eel1: “While some of the traditional text books of the 50's and 60's had their bad points. If it had been a disciplined, balanced approach then it would also have produced generations of students who liked math. After all, this is the 21st century and we are eels.”

Eel3: “Quite. And you know ironically, many if not all of those students who hated math, purportedly as a result of the "traditional textbook-centered programs" are probably more proficient now in the basic skills after taking EM than those who received the EM treatment without benefit of Kumon, or outside help. “

Eel1: “An accurate observation, fellow eels. EM's solution to the "textbook-centered" approach is to do away with a textbook. Now students only have workbooks.”

Eel2: “How true. The EM critics' charge our lack of a "scripted" approaches is pure hypocrisy, since EM does have a particular script which is contained in the teacher's manual that naughty teachers never read and provides the outline of daily lessons. Not used, mind you, but still, there is a plan there which parents and students never get the benefit of seeing--except in the "family letters" that students bring home with them that explains what they will be learning for that particular unit.”

Eel1: “Every unit is a hodge podge of topics, nested inside some main topic. There is no concentrated focus on any one topic to allow for mastery learning.”

Eel2: "Content will be taught in wiggling fashion, beginning with flat rocks. Research shows that students learn best when new topics are presented at a brisk pace, with multiple exposures over time, and with frequent opportunities for review and practice. The sequence of instruction in the EM curriculum has been carefully mapped out to optimize for temperature and salinity."

Eel1: “EM Offers a Better Approach to Mathematics History. We believe in fuzzy research for fuzzy mathematics.”

Eel2: But there’s nothing fuzzy about us. EM brings more clarity and rigor to math history, so students understand and appreciate the role of mathematics in daily life.

Eel3: “EM, a comprehensive eel curriculum (1” to 6”), not only embraces traditional goals of math education. We want to help you learn math. We want to Change the Way You Teach Math.

Eel1: “The accelerating downward trend in eel intelligence and agility in mathematics classrooms requires improved methods for teaching math in the classroom. Teachers are no longer preparing students for a lifetime of pencil-and-paper calculations, but for futures that demand a true understanding of how mathematics works under slippery rocks in tidepools.”

Eel2: “EM is better than traditional, textbook-centered programs that produced generations of students who hated math. We love math. It is consistent with the ways young eels actually learn how to swim – building understanding over time – first through exposure to cold water, then through more formal and directed instruction in wriggling and threshing- you know wriggle, thresh, wriggle, thresh.”

Eel3: “Swimming is taught in a repeated fashion, beginning with thrashing to which students can relate. Research shows that young eels learn best when new topics are presented at a brisk pace, and with multiple exposures to water, and with frequent opportunities for review and practice. The sequence of instruction in the EM curriculum has been carefully mapped out to optimize for temperature and salinity.

Wriggle, thrash, wriggle, thrash…

This is a first Dan -

1. What was the intent of the law?

2. Why was OSPI running over the law?

3. Might it have something to do with Seattle's own adoption and the money that was already spent on staff development for EM?

Dear Anon,

In regard to intent...

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:

NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. The legislature intends that the revised mathematics standards by the office of the superintendent of public instruction will set higher expectations for Washington's students by fortifying content and increasing rigor; provide greater clarity, specificity, and measurability about what is expected of students in each grade; supply more explicit guidance to educators about what to teach and when; enhance the relevance of mathematics to students' lives; and ultimately result in more Washington students having the opportunity to be successful in mathematics. Additionally, the revised mathematics standards should restructure the standards to make clear the importance of all aspects of mathematics: Mathematics content including the standard algorithms, conceptual understanding of the content, and the application of mathematical processes within the content.

Try the LINK to .pdf Session Law HERE

Dear Anon,

The third page of the .pdf on SB6534 contains the following...

(c) By May 15, 2008,

the state board of education shall review the consultant's draft report, consult the mathematics advisory panel, hold a public hearing to receive comment,and direct any subsequent modifications to the consultant's report.After the modifications are made, the state board of education shall forward the final report and recommendations to the superintendent of public instruction for implementation.------------------

There is the problem. The law was not followed.:

1) There was no meeting of the SBE Math Advisoity Panel and

2) the public input was a sham as the last revision of the New Math Standards was published for public review less than 6 hours before the meeting.

See my letter to the SBE members, which informs them not to vote for these New Standards because the law was not followed ... it is in the blog Posting as update to complaint on 7/27/2008.

Everyone agrees that the law was not followed and its a bad way to run a public meeting - this is not a first for B. or her theosophical savants.

And well, you and others don't care for autotheocratocracies. Neither do I.

Trying to think like a guidance counselor from Kalamazoo - What was the purpose for bulldozing past a public hearing? Were they preparing for the coming solstice?

A delay in the adoption would have (fill in the blank).

It comes down to proving EM is not the best curriculum available for Washington's students. And that's the position of the Dana Center, SPS, and OSPI, and a host of TEP college profs? This is sort of like Scopes.

If the meeting had taken place what might have occurred and how would that have changed the outcome?

Dear Anon,

The Strategic Teaching drafts got progressively worse prior to the April meeting.

The Dana Center was still in this game.

Had there been a meeting of the SBE MAP, it is hard to say what would have occurred as there has been a certain innovative synergy at each of these meetings. What can be said is we would not have the product we wound up with for k-8 standards.

I think the procedure that was followed gave OSPI and the Dana Center far more control than SB6534 allowed. Had the law been followed the Dana Center and OSPI would have minimal effect on the k-8 standards. Instead they had too much influence.

There are two things -

1. What was OSPI's goal? They achieved something and that's easy to show, but what do you call it, since OSPI seems unwilling to divulge publicly what they are doing.

My opinion from observation - OSPI is using the Achieve Standard to create a new diploma.

2. Was the committee's plan substantially different from OSPI's own plan? What was the intent of lawmakers when they ratified the law, it really makes no sense to read it, except to make more clear what has already been spelled out many times before? This makes me even more suspicious...

California lawmakers made it exceptionally clear what they wanted to have happen in schools and they did this without the Sec. of Education Eastin, who was being investigated for defrauding Title I at the time. She was ordered to return over a million dollars.

I had a Title I administrator friend of mine lose her job - she blew the whistle on a superintendent that was taking Title I along with the Finance Director. The difficulty with fraud investigation is that it is a pyramid - friends and family members and Title I involves the Feds which operate under a whole different set of laws than the state. Your state does not have a whistleblower law for state employees - that is a very bad law and voters might have to ask why does Washington have a law like that doesn't protect state employees, like teachers. Duh...

Washington is going to have a huge mess to clean up when this is all done. It may not happen until after B. is out, but then again maybe not. You have lawmakers up to their ears and elbows in this business and so we sit and wait it out.

My criticism is with SB 6534 - it put OSPI in the driver's seat and they hung your committee out to dry. B. might have been a backhoe operator or a logger in a former life. Paul Bunyan even.

Your lawmakers are not doing their job. That's why your school system sucks eggs. B. should be investigated, Gregoire could have done that when she was AG. so why didn't she? Why don't teachers have whistleblower protection. Washington is ruled by scumbags.

Signed,

One pissed off butterfly flapping its wings.

What's very distracting about this entire line of debate is the law refers to standards and curriculum and teachers and parents naturally refer to the textbook. The intent of the law should be to replace EM with a curriculum that for one, teaches students standard algorithms.

I am not in favor of creating intervention strategies until the textbook is changed and students are using something in the classroom that is meaningful. What is the point of teaching standard algorithms as an intervention strategy?

Currently, there is no social contract between students and teachers or it is a weak one. Students don't feel they're getting a worthwhile education and the learning is a waste of time. The 'exemplary' textbooks are simply bad textbooks to begin with.

If lawmakers were sincere to the public, they would have bypassed OSPI and their supporters, and rejected the reform curriculum altogether. Standard algorithms plain and simple.

The most noticeable algorithm missing from EM is the long division algorithm, which Saxon and Singapore both start teaching to students in the third grade.

It is remarkable that EM only gets around to defining division as repeated subtraction in the fifth grade. In fact, one encounters honors students in the ninth grade who do not know long division because it has never been taught to them.

My opinion is that it was an oversight, not as the publishers claim intentional. Some muddlehead probably dropped the ball. We're dealing with chimps, not scientists.

SB6534 was supposed to be bottom line and all it did was allow OSPI and kind to manipulate standards so Washington could buy more defective textbooks like EM and Investigations.

Lawmakers knew from the start what they were doing - it was ineffective and wasteful - by avoiding the issue (adopting bad textbooks) - Washington elitists are promoting widespread failure in classrooms - outright fascism.

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