Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dr Paul Ruiz of Education Trust .org

Last Tuesday I attended a presentation on the Achievement Gap presented by Dr. Paul Ruiz of the at the Cedarbrook Center (WAMU conference center).

Dr Ruiz had lots of statistics to present but little in the way of concrete solutions that I think will produce significant results in the large arena of public education. In the recent years in Washington State the NAEP 8th grade Math test shows an increasing math achievment gap for both Black and Hispanic students. [Terry Bergeson and Seattle can take a bow for this one as the national trend is the opposite].

What I heard was more rigor and raise the bar to get success.
Get these goals in place and then the leadership and the curricula will follow.
More money for teachers to raise the quality of teaching in schools with high poverty.

My view is as long as we continue down the ill fated road of school reform where process trumps content and inquiry and exploration trumps knowledge, I see little to be optomistic about. I do agree that salaries may increase the teaching force's competence but given the absurd professional development direction and really poor curricular choices in math I see the leadership vacuum as an even bigger problem.

Dr Ruiz said that smart superintendents and smart principals will make this improvement happen if these higher goals are put in place.

He emphasized the necessity for better 9th grade performance but said little about k-8 preparation. (Amazing how increased rigor will solve everything).

I pointed out that nothing that he said was bringing about improvement in Seattle. In Seattle Math the district refuses to acknowledge reality.

I mentioned Project Follow Through and the Everyday Math professional development.
The fact that Seattle adopted Everday Math despite a preponderance of negative data.
The results in Seattle from Spring 2007 to Spring 2008 WASL results pretty much confirm that EDM was a terrible choice. Raising the bar at grade 9 is ill advised when k-4 is a total disaster. You need to fix k-4 first.

I got a nice round of applause from the audience.

Dr Ruiz's presentation was not about curriculum so the line on appropriate curricula was not pursued.

What is the matter with this picture?
We are going to discuss the achievement gap but not talk about curricula.
I guess we are not really interested in real solutions but rather just talking.

It is a lot more convenient to just raise the bar than actually have a plan to successfully educate children.

More Government, more centalized control, better alignment, how has that worked out for WA state education over the last decade?
Even the WASL which is more a public relations instrument than a test reveals we are going nowhere in math.

Look at the creation of the Segmented Math curriculum by OSPI (to educate students who failed the grade 10 math WASL) .... check the dollars in the PAS program and the results ... little wonder the legislature ended this boondoggle.

In regard to reading, WASL scores showed great improvement but from 2000-2005 the IOWA tests showed a flat line at grades 6 and 9. It must be harder to create a fake math test than a fake reading test.

Project Follow Through results clearly show the superiority of direct instruction over the cognitive curricula that feature inquiry and exploration but the College schools of education are allowed to live in an alternate universe.

Check Project Pro here:

and Project Follow Through here:


tanyaa said...

WASHINGTON – According to a report released today by The Education Trust, low-income students, Hispanic students and African-American students in the 50 largest school districts in Texas are less likely to be assigned to fully certified teachers, less likely to be assigned to experienced teachers, and less likely to attend a school with a stable teaching force than are other students educated in those very same districts.

"These children often enter school behind and need strong teachers to help them catch up. But too many school districts do exactly the opposite of what fairness and common sense would suggest," said Kati Haycock, President of The Education Trust. "Not only does this pattern of teacher assignment undercut the life chances of hundreds of thousands of young Texans, but it also undercuts the future of the state as a whole."
Internet Marketing

dan dempsey said...


The biggest problem I have with Ed Trust is that it will take more than just better teachers which are certainly needed. It will take more than raising the bar and greater rigor. In math and many other areas the curricular materials are terrible. This needs to be addressed but is continually avoided.