Monday, December 1, 2008

SPS letters and thoughts

I got a response from Anna-Maria de la Fuentes in regard to my letter of 11-29-2008which was posted on Nov 30, 2008.

Here is her response and my reply:
--- On Mon, 12/1/08, delaFuente, AnnaMaria wrote:

Hello Dan,

I have written an update for our math website that addresses some of your questions. It is currently being reviewed by the Communications department, and I expect it will be posted within the next day or two. I am also in communications with other local districts (and urban districts across the country) who are using Everyday Math, which does indeed spiral, and who have successfully implemented the materials to support their new standards.

As part of the alignment project, our elementary math coaches are examining Everyday Math materials and determining where the new PEs are mastered, and where they are not. When they determine that a standard will not be mastered at the appropriate grade level, they will be identifying what move to make – either supplementing or actually moving a particular lesson or unit. During this year, they will also be developing model math block lessons that teachers will be able to access.

The elementary math adoption was already completed, as you know. Our current funding allows us to complete our adoption process with high school mathematics, which is in progress now. I appreciate your concerns about student learning. Once the update is posted on our website, I hope you will email me directly with any feedback or suggestions that you have.

Thank you.



Anna-Maria, 12-01-2008

The NMAP is particularly critical of the spiraling within programs like Everyday Math. The fact that EDM spirals is not a strength. I remain particularly concerned with the SPS definition of mathematics, which I believe is a cause of our poor direction in mathematics and has been for the last decade.

Do you think this definition is in need of correction? Please specifically address this definition.

Are you telling me that you believe that the current posting of the Math Grade level performance expectations is NOT deceptive given the current math practices of the SPS?

The funding is present for a high school math adoption ... unfortunately the past two adoptions leave the district currently a long way from addressing the posted Grade level performance expectations. Until the district can demonstrate a reasonable plan to address the posted k-8 expectations, it does not seem reasonable to have a high school math adoption.

The district seems to be very good at going through the motions ... but unable to effectively address how to bring about academic improvement. Why should anyone believe that the high school math adoption if it takes place this year will be any more successful than the recent EDM adoption. It should be noted that current district instructional practices and adopted curricula in math k-8 largely ignore the NMAP recommendations and the new state math standards. Why is the EDM pacing plan still being followed?

Ms. Santorno's testimony of 5-16-2007 indicated that it would be very easy to adapt EDM to any change in state standards. The k-8 standards were adopted in April 2008. It seems the SPS neglected to easily adapt EDM to the changes in state standards, but did post the Grade level math performance expectations and apparently ignore these expectations for SY 2008-2009.

Thanks for the prompt response.



It appears from Anna-Maria's answer that the SPS still believes that EDM is based on sound methodology. This district has a long way to go to improve things. Looks like that definition of mathematics is still in place and the SPS is still on the road to nowhere.

The definition of mathematics according to the SPS.
As found at:

Mathematics is the language and science of patterns and connections. Learning and doing mathematics are active processes in which students construct meaning through exploration and inquiry of challenging problems.

Now you know why we as a nation are doing so poorly on TIMSS and PISA math because many of our nations school districts have no idea what they are doing in math from the basic definition on up. Still no sign of change for the positive in the SPS.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see NCTM, WTM, or a few math education departments take the initiative and publicly recommend districts adopt a comprehensive curriculum, like Singapore where standards are already built into the program. With Singapore you get a complete curriculum from k-12 and it works with your ELL students. What is wrong with admitting you were wrong and moving on?