Sunday, August 3, 2008

The so call Fast Learners are underserved

One result of the county's new curricular strategy is that while classroom math teachers are still involved in shaping the curriculum, experts in math education theory now play a much larger role.

Walstein and Bunday believe this change has led to a less effective curriculum. "It's top down . . . the county has it all figured out," Bunday says. "They know how to raise test scores . . . and we have to respond to directives that don't always make sense."

From the Washington Post click HERE

An article in Sunday's Washington Post Magazine talks about a revered high school math teacher in Montgomery County, Maryland who maintains that Montgomery County schools are pushing accelerated math kids too fast through the lower grades so that they are not prepared when they get to high school. They don't know the basics and are reliant on calculators. (FYI, Montgomery County adopted Everyday Math a few years ago. It was also the County that piloted Singapore Math in 4 schools and dropped the pilot despite its own findings that it was successful.)

HERE is a link to Barry Garelick's posting on the above article


Anonymous said...

A strong elementary math program, other than EDM would help naturally. duh... not to mention Connected Math bites. I'm surprised they didn't have a balanced-disciplined quote from the dynamic math duo, Tripeman and Pharo (when cornered lie) Great strategy for convincing parents and teachers that reform math really works.

Better yet NSF-slush funder, Goldielicks (he can't get beyond swearing 101) or the Philadelphia Krisna Merlin at Lafayette (why can't I ever get respect? oh boo hoo.) or the peanut domme who says teachers only need to teach for 8 1/2 minutes and then let kids construct learning from inside themselves...and you wonder why we have to listen to these gutless, spineless, brainless, headless, ratcastless wonders?

Anonymous said...

Mar 9 2008
BS never ceases - here's Merlino and Isaacs informing the public that EDM works....when the teachers get trained...

Here's a bit of the typical song and dance they do....trying to cover all the bases.

A fair amount of the mathematicians who criticize our program don't know beans about the psychology of learning," he [Isaacs] said.

Isaacs, who taught elementary math near Chicago for seven years, used the analogy of a child practicing piano. Students should practice 15 minutes a day over the course of a week to learn a song, rather than spend an hour and 45 minutes on it in just one day.

Isaacs says in Everyday Math, that concept is represented by spending just a few days on a topic and coming back to it later, which ensures that concepts become part of a student's long-term memory.

Joseph Merlino, project director of the Math Science Partnership of Greater Philadelphia, said professors who are critical of Everyday Math are too harsh. Merlino said most elementary teachers do not hold doctorates in mathematics, but if they are provided with adequate training, he said, the Everyday Math program works.

Here's the chauvinistic side of Gupta Merlino.

"It's very easy for male, elite math professors to bully (elementary) math teachers," he said.

[Next beleaguered administrator getting paid to promote EDM]

Seamon is not concerned with criticisms of the program.[She ought to]

Nothing, she said, can ever be perfect.

"With any program, you can have as many pros and cons as possible," she said. "This is substantiated by the schools in our area that are using it."

Anonymous said...

Stafford County Schools - Parents against EDM

Even curricula criteria for grading is inflated

So how does Investigations stack up in terms of adequately addressing the Virginia Standards

Harcourt Math – 92.2% adequate
Houghton Mifflin Math - 92.2% adequate
Scott Foresman Addison Wesley Mathematics[2] – 87.1% adequate
Saxon Math – 78.4% “adequate”
Everyday Mathematics – 69.0% adequate
Investigations 64.7% adequate

dan dempsey said...

I just added a link to Barry Garelick's thoughts at the bottom of the original posting.

Anonymous said...

Isaacs taught elementary school for seven years and then he had an insight and wrote Everyday Mathematics.

Anonymous said...

Isaacs background is interesting - he has a BA Ancient Greek. Why would you have a degree like that? Old Testament.

ndy Isaacs received a BA in classical Greek from Northwestern University in 1974, an MST in elementary education from the University of Chicago in 1977, an MS in mathematics from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in 1987, and a DA in mathematics (with concentrations in abstract algebra and theoretical computer science) from UIC in 1994. Philip Wagreich directed Isaacs’s dissertation, "Whole number concepts and operations in grades 1 and 2: Curriculum and rationale."

From 1977 to 1985, Isaacs taught fourth and fifth grades in Chicago-area public schools. In 1985, he joined the Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science at UIC as a lecturer in mathematics education. Beginning in 1986, Isaacs worked closely with Wagreich and Howard Goldberg on the NSF-funded Teaching Integrated Mathematics and Science Project (TIMS). In 1989 and 1990, he worked with Wagreich and David Page on UIC’s Maneuvers with Mathematics Project, another NSF-funded curriculum development effort. From 1990 to 1995, he was a full time writer for Math Trailblazers, a comprehensive mathematics curriculum for grades K–5 based on TIMS and funded by NSF.

In 1995, Isaacs joined the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project to work on the Bridges to Classroom Mathematics Project, which was directed by Sheila Sconiers. Isaacs was an author on the second edition of Everyday Mathematics, published in 2000 and 2001, and directed revisions that led to a third edition of Everyday Mathematics in 2007 and California and Texas editions of Everyday Mathematics in 2008.

Isaacs wrote a math book that is based on neo-Platonic ideas.

Anonymous said...

You should read Garelick's comments at the end of the article - because he has found the right or rather wrong idea behind the logic that reform math advocates use when comparing Singapore Math and Everyday Math.

This requires some hand-waving, EDM teaches lower standards to promote equity and reduce the disparity. So this is how Isaacs and ilk redefine 'balance' when they do comparisons between the DOE's 'exemplary!' curriculum and Singapore.

This is a bogus argument and nothing in the research comes close to supporting their claim. Its pretty, but not reality.

The biggest factor that Isaacs fails to address is the difference in reading levels between reform textbooks and Singapore. Singapore is written for lower age audiences and that is irregardless of the content.

In terms of content, Singapore is superior, because the problems have been appropriately tested and selected with careful research and feedback from teachers and students. Isaacs and the other curriculum writers are simply to vain [or lazy] to rewrite their curriculum. It also requires a lot more work because of the way the content gets presented. Revisions are simply too expensive and time-consuming. Look at the differences between Core 1 and Core 1 (rev.) There are very few changes, except for the addition of a chapter on parabolas which was not even close to the depth of treatment in a traditional textbook. Its unthinkable that they failed to include anything at all about parabolas in the first edition.

That is how stupid Isaacs and the Michigan no-nothings are. They care more about their religion than real math.

Anonymous said...

I have a new idea that what is being posted as vedic math by math reform authors is actually being lifted from quantum field theory - The videos posted on you-tube are claiming Pascal's binomial theorem is 3000 years old and originated from the Vedas. So now we have new, new, new math.
This is not to say that Vedic math is not authentic or important, but once again not everything being treated by the reform movement as vedic should be considered vedic. They (gurus at Maharishi U.) just say that it is.

(12)**3 can be solved with the expansion 1 3 3 1 - kind of nifty, but the Vedas didn't write about it first.

a3 = 1
3a2b = 6
3ab2 = 12
b3 = 8

+ 1

This is the one of the strangest aspects of the reform movement and I believe the incentive is from the authors' and the publishers' own religious fervor. Vedic math was primarily used for making religious calendars - this is not algebra by the way.


a2 = 100
2ab = 2*10*1 = 20
b2 = 1

+ 2

I'll do one more just so you see how it works.


8*8= 64
2*8*8 = 128
8*8 = 64

77 4 4
+ 64 6 4
13 128

I heard a rumor this was in Washington's new standards.

Anonymous said...

No staying power.

They watch the polls and know when its time to exit. HTH didn't do any better than public schools in terms of math readiness.

Not surprising since they didn't figure EDM was as bad as it was. Next time, Bill should start a High Tech elementary school and use Singapore. Then he'd have something to show the world besides an operating system (that works like crap!)

Its going to take a decade and at least $10 billion to start cleaning up this trainwreck and we have yet to start - maybe they should declare Washington a superfund site.

signed, npc.

Anonymous said...

You can't fail with Singapore, because it would automatically select for the best students. If a kid didn't what to take Singapore, they would go volunatarily and take something less difficult. Everyone else uses EDM or TERC?

The way to correctly open a new school is start with first grade and work your way up slowly. You will eventually build a great program. It is the only way to do it well. Pruzan in San Diego was definitely on the right track, although I'm not sure which math program they are using.

Anonymous said...

Someone should have told Isaacs to stop after Mathtrailblazers. Only an idiot could be responsible for writing so much rubbish. And who did the research for Trailblazers? His thesis advisor, Wagreich.

The first edition of Math Trailblazers was completed in 1997. The roots of the curriculum,
however, date back to the late 1970s and the work of Howard Goldberg, a particle physicist at the
University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

Building on the work of Robert Karplus (Seattle) and others, Goldberg developed a framework for adapting the scientific method for elementary school children and applied that framework within a series of elementary laboratory investigations (Goldberg & Boulanger, 1981).

Goldberg was joined in 1985 by UIC mathematician Philip Wagreich and, together with others, formed the Teaching Integrated Mathematics and Science Project (TIMS).