Tuesday, December 30, 2008

High School Math in Seattle

From Harium's Blog since May 2008 there are 227 comments addressed to high school math.
------------------------
Clearly the High School math adoption situation like almost all math direction in Seattle Schools is an on-going disaster.

Check the confusion for yourself.
http://harium.blogspot.com/2008/05/high-school-math-curriculum-selection.html?commentPage=2

Accountability in Seattle .. or NOT

This analysis by Charlie Mas details the SPS failure to follow the Strategic Plan of June 2008.

http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2008/12/accountability.html
Exerpts follow....

The Superintendent talks about accountability - and she talks about it incessantly - as if it were something that we should expect next year or the following year. It's something that she is going to insist upon.

Where is the accountability for the Strategic Plan? All of the Strategic Plan initiatives were supposed to have goals set by now - they don't. They were all supposed to have their benchmarks set by now - they don't. They are all supposed to comply with the Community Engagement Protocol - they don't.

* Where is the aligned math and science curricula?
* The High School math curriculum was supposed to be adopted in fall of 2008. It wasn't. Who is accountable for the delay and who is holding that person accountable?

* The High School science curriculum was supposed to be adopted in the fall of 2008. It wasn't. Who is accountable for the delay and who is holding that person accountable?
* Alignment of the elementary and middle school instructional materials to the new State Performance Expectations was supposed to be completed during the summer of 2008. Was it?
* Every math teacher was to be provided with up to four days of professional development to learn to use the online resources included with the Curriculum Guide. Were they? Every math teacher was supposed to get training on the new state standards including math content and materials. Did this happen?

* Were new principals matched with a coach and are they getting monthly support meetings?
* The math and science curriculum alignment team was supposed to have the full scope of their work outlined and timelined by fall 2008. Where is it?
* Expanded professional development programs were supposed to be implemented in the fall of 2008. Were they?

Math in Lebanon, Oregon

Here is an article from the Oregonian by a reporter that follows math closely.

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/12/math_education.html

The Northwest Regional Education Laboratory, a Portland-based research and training agency, helped train more than 60 Lebanon teachers in the new math approach.

It is based largely on a teacher training technique called Cognitively Guided Instruction, or CGI, developed by education researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.


Among the core ideas, according to CGI co-developer Thomas Carpenter:

Young children know more about math than most adults think they do. Ask kids to talk a lot about their mathematical reasoning and then add to what they already know. In Lebanon, teachers strive not to say "That was the wrong answer." They lean toward, "Can you tell me about your thinking?"

----------------------
Anyone know much about the Math Content of the Oregon tests referred to below:

Lebanon schools shine in math...
Percent of students who met state math benchmarks in 2008:

Lebanon:
• Grade 3: 77
• Grade 5: 86
• Grade 8: 82

Similar schools*:
• Grade 3: 77
• Grade 5: 78
• Grade 8: 66

State average:
• Grade 3: 77
• Grade 5: 77
• Grade 8: 69

* Schools similar to Lebanon, where about half the students qualify for federally subsidized meals based on low family income.

-- Source: Analysis by The Oregonian of Oregon Department of Education figures

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Math Gender Gap is real

Here is a well researched article that states the there is a Gender Gap in school mathematics that favors males after puberty when the problems are less than trivial.
Prior to puberty no math gender gap.
This Gap shows up in High School and College.

http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/math2.htm


---------------------------------------
As an aside there apparently is a Chess gender gap among the best chess players in the world.

Friday, December 19, 2008

State Education Funding cuts could have been worse

For Education things could have been worse.
(Here is the Gov's plan)

The Gov's proposals:

Check the story in the Tribune.
http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/education/story/572223.html

highlight this:

Eliminating the math helping corps and reading corps.

Refocusing two state-funded training days on math and science.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

NMAP aftershock - Edu-Speakers speak

It appears that the National Math Advisory Panel report has ruffled some of the feathers of those who support entrenched edu-speak views.

http://edr.sagepub.com/current.dtl

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Math instruction via You Tube

The Kahn Academy is here

http://www.youtube.com/user/khanacademy?ob4


From the AP:

Need help with class? YouTube videos await

By RASHA MADKOUR –

MIAMI (AP) — When University of Central Florida junior Nicole Nissim got stumped in trigonometry, she checked out what was showing on YouTube.

Nissim typically scours the video-sharing Web site for clips of bands and comedy skits. But this time she wasn't there to procrastinate on her homework. It turned out YouTube was also full of math videos. After watching a couple, the psychology major says, she finally understood trig equations and how to make graphs.

"I was able to watch them at my own pace and if I didn't get a concept, I could easily rewind it," Nissim says. "It was a lot clearer once I watched the video."

YouTube is perhaps best known for its cavalcade of homemade performances and TV clips, but many people like Nissim are turning to it for free tutoring in math, science and other complicated subjects.

full article is here:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j27byHk1EAb3KhBo1ePXyg0h7rogD950NKS80

Saga of a top 5 high school
as rated by
US News & World Report

The solution of how to improve schools involves better decision making by those running the schools or perhaps changing the decision making structure.

See this letter by Jim Milgrim about a top 5 school:

By far the most interesting school on the list is #3, Pacific Collegiate, which was #2 last year. This school, in Santa Cruz, as is the case with all charters in California, is an open admission school. Santa Cruz is not known for its school system. They tend to be fuzzy, and the cost to the two teachers from Santa Cruz that helped me and Wu with the California Math Framework was to be forced out of their jobs. As a consequence, as you might imagine, the student tend to not be very well prepared for advanced work.

The school had been started by Reed Hastings, but he has not been directly involved for a long time. And initially it wasn't that successful. Then, about 8 or 9 years back they hired Jan Keating as the principal/directore ss. She, in turn, took the perspective that teachers who knew what they were talking about were far more important than teachers with a certificate. So she started hiring subject matter Ph.D's. Some had been retired, others ????, but she got them.

From that point on she had to spend a lot of her time finding ways to keep them, not because they wanted to leave, but because,
being Ph.D's, they refused to jump through Calif.'s certification hoops. And the school started showing results amazingly fast. Within two years they were #1 or #2 overall in Calif. on the state tests.


Of course, interestingly, once the school reached that level, political types on the school board saw that the director position was a valuable commodity, so Jan, more or less totally oblivious to these things, had to start fighting for her position. She lasted another two years before she finally resigned. She's now the director of EPGY's virtual high school.

Jim

-------------------
PCS--A School that Challenges and Rewards:
Pacific Collegiate School ’s mission is to provide exemplary, standards- based college preparatory and fine arts education for public middle and high school students of Santa Cruz County and bordering areas. Our vision is to offer any student the same quality of education offered by the most academically distinguished schools in California . Our graduates will be prepared to enter and thrive at the world’s finest colleges and universities.

In addition to a core college preparatory curriculum, Pacific Collegiate School will emphasize international, cross-cultural, and technological education in order to prepare graduates for life in the 21st Century. Pacific Collegiate students will be introduced to the rich variety of world cultures and become fluent in at least one foreign language. They will become proficient in the basic information technologies essential for cultural literacy in the 21st Century.

------------------------------
Founded in 1999, Pacific Collegiate School is a college preparatory public charter school for grades 7-12 located in Santa Cruz, California, and accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Due to our rigorous graduation requirements, we attract a highly motivated group of students who flourish in the school's academically challenging environment.

Friday, December 12, 2008

SPS second math meeting was 12-11-2008

Here we go again.....second meeting for the coming high school math adoption in Seattle happened on Thursday 12-11-2008.

There can be little improvement without an admission that there is a problem. I am not talking about a recovery from alcoholism or the AAA rated bonds that turned to junk almost over night, I am talking about Seattle Schools math direction.

Over the last decade there has been a widening math achievement gap and an increase in percentage of students in need of math remediation at Seattle Community colleges, the Seattle Schools still operate as if there is no problem. This district has ignored their own policies for over a decade by refusing to offer interventions for those lacking grade level necessary skills in math. Now the district is choosing to ignore the state math standards. The SPS have posted k-8 grade level performance expectations for elementary and middle school on the SPS website. These expectations come from the state math standards. Unfortunately the SPS instructional plans for the classroom have nothing to do with these expectations. K-5 the district prefers to follow the pacing plan from Everyday Mathematics. It seems that to do otherwise would be an admonition that all is not well. That the multimillion dollar Everyday Math adoption was not well planned or researched.

Fact 1: The SPS still has the same defective definition of math guiding them.

Fact 2: The SPS is ignoring the National Math Advisory Panel recommendations in following the Everyday Math pacing plan.

Fact 3: More than 50% of students are coming to high school unprepared to be successful as 9th graders in an authentic algebra class. So look for the SPS to adopt a program like the differentiated instruction integrated math selections that they pushed in the past {perhaps not IMP but something that requires less than a good knowledge of arithmetic}.

Fact 4: There is a High School math adoption coming. Since the SPS has never changed direction or admitted inadequacy it is likely a third poor math selection will be made.
Spring 2006 – Connected Math Project 2 - for middle school
May 2007 – Everyday Math – for elementary school
Spring 2009 - the selection high school selection will probably make the district 0 for 3 on recent successful math adoptions.

Fact 5: The people have lost control of the administration at not just the National Level but also at the local school level.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

TIMSS blog in the Washington Post

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/x-equals-why/2008/12/guest_blogger_intl_math_tests.html?sid=ST2008120901507&s_pos=list

Philly Inquirer reports on
Singapore Math

From the end of the article:

Opinions vary on how to best tackle the international competitiveness problem. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics hopes to work with states to narrow and focus what they teach. Schmidt advocates a single national math curriculum.

"What Singapore has," he said, "is a coherent, focused, rigorous set of standards, and that's the competition our kids are facing."


Check it out here:
http://www.philly.com/inquirer/education/20081209_Singapore_math_makes_a_difference.html?page=1&c=y

Bail out Banks or Schools?
....from Robert Reich

Check out this TPM...

Talking Points Memo
http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/12/03/of_financial_capital_and_human/

Former Labor Secretary: Invest in schools, not banks
Even as Congress grants billions to Wall Street, public schools face unprecedented cuts, writes former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich in a blog. "It's absurd," he writes. "We're squeezing the main sources of our nation's human capital. Yet America's future competitiveness and the standard of living of our people depend largely our peoples' skills, and our capacities to communicate and solve problems and innovate not on our ability to borrow money."

More on School teachers and Quarterbacks

A response to the New Yorker article...

http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/12/09/quarterbacks_financial_planner/

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.


http://mathunderground.blogspot.com/2008/12/what-is-nsf-possibly-thinking-my.html


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.

Sincerely,

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.

TIMSS Results for 2007 just released

Here is your link:

http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009001.pdf


NPR on TIMSS results:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98046322

Monday, December 8, 2008

The New Yorker looks at Teaching

So who would make a good teacher?

The NFL has certainly struggled to be able to determine who will make a good quarterback.... think Ryan Leaf, Joey Harrington, Rick Meier, etc. lots of bonus money but no results.

This New Yorker article looks at teaching and how can we find the individuals that will make excellent teachers .... hey who are the excellent teachers? What is it that they do?


http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/12/15/081215fa_fact_gladwell


So where will these teachers come from in this Math teacher shortage?
Is it a shortage of teachers or a shortage of good teachers?
Is there a shortage of good administrators?

With poor administration, teachers become frustrated and look elsewhere.
Math teachers can find other employment quite easily.

How much math does an elementary teacher need to know?
How will it be learned by Elementary teachers?

Seattle has offered professional developement but often it centers on anything but math content. Teachers are content weak in math so the SPS offers more classes on teaching methods and technique rather then math.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

High School Adoption Schedule for Seattle.

The first meeting was on December 4, 2008.


March 12 -- Final recommendations from "Core" committee
March 17 -- Final recommendations from "Advanced" committee
March 18 - 31 -- IMC approves final recommendations
April 8 -- Board work session
April 22 -- Adoption proposed at board meeting
May 6 -- Board vote

----------------------------------
I am still amazed that a school district that is ignoring the WA k-8 math standards and the National Math Advisory Panel recommendations, expects to be taken seriously about a high school math adoption.

Since the district administration has chosen not to efficiently teach children arithmetic and does not prepare them for success in an authentic algebra class, why would they be having a high school math adoption?
----------------------------------
As Director Darlene Flynn said: "The district does not have a good record with math adoptions."

The SPS seems headed to consistent choices .. just one disaster after another.
.

A better use of SPS money ... from the Colbert Report

A great suggestion from Marta.

Dan Dempsey wrote:

Now a large expenditure of both time and money is producing substandard results but the SPS administrators continue on as if all is going well.

*It is time to end "Club Ed" decision making and focus on making decisions that will produce substantial academic improvement in a cost efficient manner*.

Dan,

Maybe Seattle should consider this exciting new pilot program in the hopes of producing substantial academic improvements:

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/164944/december-01-2008/roland-fryer


I think this idea has merit.

Marta :)

--------------------------------
This is from the Colbert Report on Dec 1, 2008
Roland Fryer, PhD Economist from Harvard
offers a plan to improve urban schools currently being tested in NYC, Chicago, and D.C.

It sure looks like this might even be a better idea than spending money on Math Coaches and a bloated Bureaucracy that has failed to provide significant academic gains.
--------------------------------

In regard to the achievement gap for African-American students that Dr. Fryer references, I can only say from a Seattle Analysis that "It is the curriculum".
Over a decade of widening achievement gap in Math for African Americans in the SPS and still no change in the reform math ideological thrust pushed by the SPS administration.

For the Superintendent to say that the IMP high school math adoption process only failed because of politics is most enlightening. It shows her continued allegiance to the nonsense peddled by the UW and her CAO.

There can be little doubt as to why Singapore Math was not implemented in the manner expected by the SPS Board during the 5-30-2007 Elementary Math adoption. The Central Administration just did not want to do what the board told them to do.

There is little doubt as to why the SPS has ignored the WA k-8 math standards this year for the k-8 math curriculum. The Central Administration does not like them. In fact it appears that the Math Program Manager and the CAO do not like the National Math Advisory Panel recommendations.

Let us not forget why the Promotion / Non-promotion polices of the Seattle Schools that require defined grade level necessary skills and on-going interventions for those not acquiring the defined skills have been totally neglected.
The Central Administration does not like those policies.

It is indeed interesting that the Board imagines themselves to be anything other than a rubber stamp for the central administration on at least 95% of their decisions.

WOW!!!! get ready for the coming High School Math adoption. Should we look to the board for leadership??

Friday, December 5, 2008

After the recession.... then what?

When we come out of the recession,” Mr. Callan added, “we’re really going to be in jeopardy, because the educational gap between our work force and the rest of the world will make it very hard to be competitive. Already, we’re one of the few countries where 25- to 34-year-olds are less educated than older workers.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/03/education/03college.html?_r=1&ref=education

.

Secretary of Education will be ..... ???

Here is a Washington Post article:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/04/AR2008120403655.html

and a New York Times article from David Brooks:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/05/opinion/05brooks.html?_r=1

.

Irrational decision making Cubed

It was reported that the following statement was made at the first meeting (of the current cycle) of the Seattle Schools High School Math adoption committee on Dec 4, 2008.

The Superintendent spoke for a couple of minutes. She said that the last high school adoption process failed because of "politics" and that the actual committee process was just fine.

This is not the case. The IMP adoption failed not because of politics but because the school board acted in a responsible manner.
IMP had previously failed in Tacoma and in University Place. The fact that the UW's Dr James King used NSF dollars at Garfield and Cleveland to implement IMP was hardly a reason to adopt a failing curriculum. We can also see that recommendations in regard to math k-12 by OSPI were extremely flawed. IMP was recommended by OSPI until recently. The fact that the School Board had the courage not to waste millions on IMP should not be viewed as anything other than wonderful. If only they had done the same for Everyday Math, instead of following the recommendations of their hired professionals and wasting millions.

Some members of the administration have apparently cooperated in a conspiracy to subvert the intention of the School Board in regard to the Elementary School Math adoption by neglecting the intent of the board in regard to Singapore Math. Our k-8 students continue to be poorly prepared to take high school algebra because of a very poor k-8 math curriculum. Cleveland used IMP in SY 2006-2007 and SY 2007-2008. Take a look at the WASL Math data from Cleveland for spring 2007 and spring 2008... it is a disaster. This is what happened using IMP with support from the UW directed NSF funds (PD^3 project) and UW guidance. Imagine what the IMP implementation would have been like district wide without additional resources. (Think Tacoma). The SPS IMP high school adoption failed because the selection was extremely flawed.

The fact that SPS administrative politics and deception did not push IMP through was a blessing as this process was terribly flawed. That made the last attempt at a high school math adoption not much different from most SPS math decisions of the last decade with the exception that this recommendation did not become an expensive mistake.

I testified to the school board questioning how TERC/Investigations, Everyday Math, CMP2 and IMP could be finalists. When four extremely flawed programs are the finalists, the process is a disaster.

The fact that the Superintendent believes the last high school math adoption process was just fine, is a cause of great concern.


Given that the first year of EDM was a statistical and economic failure and that in year two of EDM finds the WA k-5 math standards not being addressed and the NMAP recommendations being ignored, makes the SPS math future look like more of the same disasters of the past repeated.

The thought that IMP was in anyway a reasonable choice for high school level mathematics is unbelievable. This shows how far out of touch the SPS administration still is in regard to math. Where are the results? There clearly is no accountability for bad judgments in the past and as a result it seems flawed decisions are viewed as acceptable. We must stop continued flawed decision making. This district is still avoiding dealing with the k-8 math disaster apparently preferring to think an excessive dollar expenditure is producing acceptable results.

A quick look at EDM reveals that High School Math will be a continuing problem as students are not properly prepared to do mathematics in the critical k-3 grades. Again the district chooses to ignore relevant research on disadvantaged learners k-3 in math. This district has publicly voiced concern about the achievement gap and for a decade usually expanded that gap in math on an annual basis.

Now a large expenditure of both time and money is producing substandard results but the SPS administrators continue on as if all is going well.

It is time to end "Club Ed" decision making and focus on making decisions that will produce substantial academic improvement in a cost efficient manner.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What is the NSF possibly thinking?
My thoughts on PD Cubed (PD^3) follow:

What is the NSF possibly thinking??
My thoughts on PD Cubed (PD^3) follow:

In the 2006-2007 School Year, I taught at West Seattle High School.
The University of Washington was a grant recipient from the NSF for Professional Development Cubed. This was a program that involved 3 cities, 3 Universities, and three high schools in each of the 3 cities: Seattle, Cincinnati, McAllen TX.

Seattle’s three high schools were Cleveland, Garfield, and West Seattle. Cleveland and Garfield started the implementation of planned projects SY 2006-2007. West Seattle did not. In spring 2007 Dr. James King of the University of Washington met with WSHS Math Teachers and asked if we would be interested in beginning a project of our choosing as there were resources available to fund a project. He stressed that we did not need to have a project but if we wanted a project we could choose to have one. He also said we could determine what the project would be.

Later that spring after conversations with WSHS math department head, Mark Drost, and other Math faculty I told Dr King that WSHS was interested in using Singapore Math in a remediation program and that would be our project. Dr King told me that Cleveland and Garfield projects centered on implementing Interactive Math Program and that our Singapore Plan was unacceptable. He made it clear that WSHS need to be planning a project similar to Cleveland and Garfield. When I asked him for data that would be supportive of implementing IMP, Dr King could only provide anecdotes. As IMP was unsuccessful in Tacoma and in University place …. there is data to show this, I was less than impressed with anecdotes being as a basis for a questionable project. This made the WSHS choice very easy. WSHS was the first high school in Seattle to begin using Interactive Math Program materials. Most WSHS faculty had no interest in an IMP project. Thus WSHS had no project. We were denied the opportunity to have a Singapore remediation project by Dr King.

In the fall of 2006, Cleveland began using IMP and received additional resources beyond those normally available. Nicole Davis a UW post-grad student with extensive teaching experience was teaching some classes (perhaps 2) at Cleveland and coordinating the IMP implementation at Cleveland.

So how did it go at Cleveland?

You will find the WASL data on the next page.

My question is why does the NSF fund programs that require projects like IMP and discourage trying something that has not already failed?

I think that Dr King exceeded his authority in requiring WSHS to have a project based on IMP or no project.

-----------------
Let us take a look at Cleveland WASL math pass rates from two years before the PD^3 IMP introduction. Cleveland enrollment: 55% Black Students and 25% Asian Students
Cleveland Seattle State for all students
Spring 2005 23.2% 40.8 47.5
Spring 2006 21.1% 55.7 51.0
Spring 2007 17.9% 50.2 50.4
Spring 2008 12.0% 50.3 49.3

Cleveland Seattle State for Black students
Spring 2005 16.5% 12.9 20.4
Spring 2006 8.5% 21.7 23.2
Spring 2007 11.1% 19.6 22.5
Spring 2008 6.3% 15.9 22.0

Cleveland Seattle State for Asian students
Spring 2005 38.0% 45.7 56.9
Spring 2006 42.4% 57.7 59.7
Spring 2007 31.8% 51.9 59.9
Spring 2008 25.0% 56.6 61.1

Cleveland for Continuously Enrolled Students
Spring 2005 25.3%
Spring 2006
Spring 2007 19.4%
Spring 2008 13.1%

Cleveland for Limited English
Spring 2005 8.3%
Spring 2006 18.8%
Spring 2007 15.4%
Spring 2008 4.5%

Cleveland for Low Income
Spring 2005 15.7%
Spring 2006 22.2%
Spring 2007 17.1%
Spring 2008 8.8%

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

------------------------------

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.

Dan

----------------------------------------------------------

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:

http://www.seattleschools.org/area/math/index.xml


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.

On 21st Century Jobs by Sudhakar

Check out the latest on Sudhakar's blog:

http://itsactiontime.blogspot.com/

Data driven decisions.... well maybe

Here is a nice piece on the use and more likely misuse of data in educational decision making.
http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational_leadership/dec08/vol66/num04/Driven_Dumb_by_Data%2b.aspx

Horse Laughs in Singapore

This is a piece from 2005 that I just saw for the first time.

http://www.kitchentablemath.net/twiki/bin/view/Kitchen/HorseLaughsHeardInSingapore