Monday, January 26, 2009

How odd is this ????

From the Seattle Public Schools....

Adoption Committee Application and Selection Process

The goal was to develop a committee representing a wide range of skills, knowledge, experience and working style, reflecting diversity in race/ethnicity, gender, school/student population representation, and perspectives. We asked that potential applicants bring an open mind, with passion about student learning in mathematics, and avoid approaching the process with a specific textbook or set of materials in mind.

It is worth noting that the expressed goal mentions nothing about specific knowledge of mathematics being desired in committee members.

It should be fairly obvious as to why the last two math adoptions produced such defective finalists ... I guess we are now looking for a three peat.

Hey it is hockey season will the SPS go for the hat-trick of incompetence?
We will know in a few months.


Anonymous said...

It is ridiculous. This is like working with alcoholics. Here's a good idea, lets run the books through an electrical field - we'll turn their cheap, nasty books into fine vintage books,

MOST people have got one lying around somewhere: a textbook of cheap, nasty activities left over from a classroom just waiting to be offloaded on someone else - or read late one night when all the good books have run out.

But what if you could turn that bargain-basement plonk into fine activities in minutes? In these desparate times it could be just the thing a math lover needs.

Traditionalists, of course, would insist that nothing can replace genuine quality plus long, slow ageing in a classroom and years of storage in cool, cobwebby libraries. But could there be a short cut?

Over the years, inventors have come up with dozens of widgets that they claim can transform the undrinkable or bring the finest wines to perfection without the long wait. Sadly, there's little scientific evidence that most of them work (see "Faking it"). Looks like you're stuck with the plonk.

Or are you? Fortunately, there is one technique that stands out from the rest. It is backed by decades of research, the results have been published in peer-reviewed journals and the end product has passed the ultimate test- blind reading by a panel of math experts. No fewer than five publishers have now invested in the technology.

The secret this time is an electric field. Pass an unreadable, raw textbook between a set of high-voltage electrodes and it becomes pleasantly quaffable.

"Using an electric field to accelerate ageing is a feasible way to shorten maturation times and improve the quality of young books," says Professor Harvey at the University of Michigan, close to some of Michigan's finest schools.

No matter how impatient or undiscriminating you may be, fresh problems can have horrible after-effects. Expect an upset stomach, a raging thirst and the world's nastiest hangover. The youngest textbook can be read is six months. Most, especially IMP, take longer to achieve the required balance and complexity. The finest can take 20 years to reach their peak.

During ageing, books become less readable as the fine print reacts with organic air molecules to produce a plethora of the fragrant compounds known as esters. Unpleasant components precipitate out and the book becomes clearer and more readable.

Voilah, no more math hangovers.

Anonymous said...


Having seen the initial recommendations from OSPI, which curriculum do you suggest a district adopt?


dan dempsey said...

Are we talking High School Math?

I would suggest that most students in WA are not ready for high school math.

I'd be looking for a one year intervention program to get kids some knowledge of arithmetic. The pre-Algbra that most of these kids need it pretty well spelled out in NMAP. Fractions, Decimals, Percents .... rational numbers ... then looking at proportional relationships.

Thanks to the total deemphasis (or neglect) of arithmetic we have many students at least a year or more away from algebra unpon entering high school.

I would recommend that districts stop social promotion and the unfounded belief that differentiated instruction produces crditable results in classes with enormous skill differences among the students.

I would also recommend that districts start listening to people who know math.

Anonymous said...


Yes, high school math. If you had to choose one, which would you pick? I do agree with the basic skills.


dan dempsey said...

dear T^2,

I met with Sen. Eric Oemig and Paul Kurose on Saturday morning. Sen. Oemig is all for collecting some data on what works and what does not over the next few years. Oemig doubts that the state could pick the top math texts having observed the performance from the past.

I am currently using Paul Forester's Classic Algebra it is good for the kids I am teaching at Lummi.

I like most of Larson's stuff. He is from Penn State I am currently using his Geometry Book, which is well done but my students have a fairly weak background so we are slowly moving along. Geometry by Larson, Boswell, etc. from McDougal Littell.

We are currently using Saxon grade 6 materials for our 6th, 7th, 8th grade students as we attempt to recover from a decade of Everyday Math and some Connected Math Project.

I just have not followed this High School IMR very carefully. At Bright Star Schools in Hispanic LA they do an amazing job with the Current version of Mary P. Dolciani's Algebra Structure and Method. I find that Dolciani is a good text but usually the kids I've seen using it need more review than is built into it.

My oldest son used this as a Freshman in 1987. I wound up teaching him a Saxon Algebra I Lesson every weekend for review as some of the Dolciani was not sticking very well. He eventually went on to major in drama but for his three math or sciences courses he got a B in first semester Calculus and A grades for both semesters of General Chem. clearly his high school math was adequate.

Warning these books may not adequately teach the data and statistics that were tossed into the Algebra I standards.