Tuesday, December 9, 2008

OSPI makes last minute recommendation of Bridges for K-5

Dear State Board of Education Members, Dec 10, 2008

Unlike some members I have been to every SBE Math Advisory Panel meeting. As I carefully watched this math process, it became apparent to me that it turned into something other than what the Legislature intended and what the citizens desire for their children.

I have a lawsuit filed in Thurston County Superior Court because of this matter. The Legislature attempted to remove the excessive OSPI influence over mathematics but this failed in regard to the math standards as they are not the internationally competitive standards desired. ... think about it Singapore Math finished last rated as an outlier.

Now here comes another OSPI surprise Bridges in Mathematics as a last minute k-5 math recommendation.

Read the following carefully:

Acting on the SBE’s advice to revisit Bridges in Mathematics, my staff commissioned two additional, independent mathematicians to review the three mathematical concepts which were called into question by Strategic Teaching’s review. They thoroughly analyzed the development of multiplication, area of a triangle, and fractions over Grades 2-5 for mathematical soundness. Their approach aligned closely with the mathematical review conducted by Strategic Teaching’s mathematician. Dr. Jim King from the University of Washington’s Department of Mathematics and Dr. George Bright, Professor Emeritus from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro conducted OSPI’s review for mathematical soundness. They concluded that the mathematical content in this program was sound and well developed overall.

This is beyond belief. George Bright was hired by Dr. Bergeson to push her math agenda. He was her hired gun. To call him an independent mathematician is fraudulent.

Dr Jim King ran the PD cubed professional development project using NSF funds to push the reform math program Interactive Math Program into Seattle Schools Garfield and Cleveland. Cleveland, Garfield, and West Seattle were all part of PD Cubed. Dr King told West Seattle that WSHS could pick their own project. Then when WSHS selected as a project to use Singapore Math for remediation of incoming freshman.... WSHS was not allowed to do so ... because Dr King wanted WSHS to have a project using IMP and only IMP.

So WSHS chose no project for WSHS had used IMP longer than any high school in Seattle and it does not work if the goal is to produce significant increase in student competence in mathematics. There is lots of data from Tacoma and University Place to support this. Each of these districts adopted IMP and then got rid of it as scores plummeted.

Take a look at IMP results in the two years it has been used at Cleveland .... just a disaster.

To call Dr King an independent mathematician is simply not true.

Before you make a decision

As yourself why you wish to make the next big mistake.

Look at the Cleveland data here.


The Seattle Public Schools have had an achievement gap in math that has steadily widened over the last decade. Certainly some of that can be traced to Dr King's reform math efforts and his close proximity to Seattle Public Schools.

The Stuff that OSPI and the UW have been pushing does not work.

It is time for the SBE to end the support of irrational decision making for the sake of Washington's children.


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

SBE Math Advisory Panelist
Math Teacher at Lummi Nations School
Bellingham WA 98226

NCLB Highly Qualified in Math and Chemistry
B.A. Math, M.Ed.


Anonymous said...

Excellent reporting of the news and keeping us informed. It makes no sense to adopt Bridges unless Bright and King have a stake in this curriculum and its use is most certainly tied to their NSF grant. They should have to publicly disclose this during a board meeting. That would be ethical.

Anonymous said...

Integrity is telling yourself the truth; honesty is telling other people the truth. - Spencer Johnson

What do you call a dishonest scumbag lacking integrity?
A textbook writer.

Anonymous said...

Would it be equally ethical to point out the SBE contracted with an organization, Strategic Teaching, who in turn hired ONE mathematician, W. Stephen Wilson, who has close ties with Where's The Math and Mathematically Correct, organizations who have a highly biased and ignorant viewpoint on the mathematics needed in the 21st century to do the review of the top four programs from OSPI's initial review? To whine about bias is naive and manipulative.

What ended up as the three recommended programs were those that started out as the three of the four recommended programs after the initial review by OSPI. Dan is equally uninformed about that.

Shouldn't there be a little more trust in the local review process. If any of these programs are so onerous, won't that come to light. Why is Dan feeling so threatened?