Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is there an Achievement Gap Industry?

In looking at the latest report out of OSPI
A PLAN TO CLOSE THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP
FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTS


I am beginning to think that there is actually little interest in Closing the Achievement gap but lots of interest in generating reports.

you can find a .pdf of the report linked from this page.
http://www.k12.wa.us/Communications/pressreleases2009/AchieveGapReport.aspx

Below you will find the Seven Experts listed from Appendix C. (seemingly no math connections here)

In the fall of 2008 I went and listened to Expert Dr. Paul Riuz at the WaMu center in Federal Way. His premise was that the achievement Gap could be closed by putting the correct goals in place. He stated that Superintendents and education administrators were sharp folks and they would find a way to meet the goals if they were in place.

I asked the third question:
Dr. Ruiz, I see no evidence that goals are realized by Superintendent's programs. The SPS has had a goal to narrow the achievement Gap and in math in the SPS the achievement gap has continually expanded over the last decade. The poor math curriculum is a major part of this problem.

Dr. Ruiz informed me that yes that could be true but curriculum was not the subject of his presentation.

How can closing the achievement gap be the topic and the curriculum not be a part? .. this report seems to have missed the curriculum component in the Achievement gap as well.

I also attended the community meeting at Cleveland High School,which is mentioned in the report. I raised a point that school improvement is related to curricular improvement and that the math curriculum pushed by OSPI over the last decade certainly had a hand in the current achievement gap. [The final report seems to have missed that fact.]

Also listed as an Expert is former superintendent of Clover Park SD Dr. Doris McEwen Harris. Over the last decade the CPSD has perhaps the worst math performance in the state. CPSD were early adopters of TERC/Investigations and Connected Math.
By what stretch of the imagination is the former CPSD Superintendent an expert, in regard to closing the achievement gap?

Also listed as an Expert is the Federal Way Superintendent. FW math results for African Americans are a disaster.

If you read through this paper on closing the achievement gap you will notice that it is absent any mention of math curricular recommendations. To solve a problem it would be good to investigate all of its causes.

Poor math textbooks are a significant part of the achievement gap but those who selected these defective materials for our children are not about to admit it. This seriously impacts the usefulness of this report in closing the achievement gap.

The legislature spent $150,000 on this report. The production employed a lot of people but I think this document looks more like a menu to spend lots of dollars than a plan to make current schools more effective.

---------------------------------------------
The 7 Expert Consultants

DR. JAMES ANDERSON
Dr. Anderson is Gutgsell Professor and head of Educational Policy Studies at University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign. An expert in educational history, Dr. Anderson’s scholarship and teaching explore and interrogate the institutional policy and intellectual trajectory of education in the United States. His in-depth and wide-ranging work examines crucial themes, including the history of African Americans in education in the American. Dr. Anderson is the author of several books and serves a keynote speaker on the achievement gap for African American students.

DR. RONALD FERGUSON
Dr. Ferguson is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-trained economist whose three decades of work has focused on economic, social and educational challenges in urban America, with particular focus on issues of racial and ethnic inequality. For the past decade, Dr. Ferguson’s research at Harvard
University has focused on racial achievement gaps, and has appeared in publications of the National Research Council, the Brookings Institution, the U.S. Department of Education, the Educational Research Service and various other books and journals. He is the creator and director of the Tripod Project for school improvement and the faculty co-chair and director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard (www.agi.harvard.edu).

DR. GENEVA GAY
As Professor of Education at the University of Washington-Seattle, Dr. Gay teaches multicultural education and general curriculum theory. She is nationally and internationally known for her scholarship in multicultural education, particularly as it relates to curriculum design, staff development, classroom instruction and intersections of culture, race, ethnicity, teaching, and learning. Her writings include numerous articles and book chapters. Her professional service includes membership on several national editorial review and advisory boards. International consultations on multicultural education have taken her to Canada, Brazil, Taiwan, Finland, Japan, England, Scotland, Australia and Benin.

DR. KAREN L. MAPP
Dr. Mapp, a Lecturer on Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has research and practice expertise in educational leadership and educational partnerships among schools, families and community members. Dr. Mapp is the author of a number of books, including the most recent book on family engagement, Beyond the Bake Sale: The Essential Guide to Family- School Partnerships. Dr. Mapp is a favored keynote speaker on issues of parent engagement and developing effective family-school partnerships, with particular interest to communities in poverty and communities whose primary members are people of color.

TOM MURPHY
Since January 2000, Tom Murphy has been the superintendent of the Federal Way Public Schools, the third largest school district in the Puget Sound region. Superintendent Murphy believes that in education, “All Truly Means All”: that all children in Federal Way schools deserve equal access to a quality education that prepares them for productive, meaningful lives. His steadfast resolve has inspired teachers, staff, parents and the community to work together to maximize each student’s growth. These efforts have put FWPS ahead of the curve in work to close the achievement gap and increase student success. (who fact check this statement?)

DR. DORIS McEWEN HARRIS
Dr. McEwen Harris served as the superintendent for Clover Park School District from July 2000 until 2008, when she resigned to accept a Distinguished P-12 Educator position at the University of Washington in Seattle. At the UW, Dr. McEwen Harris’ duties include coordinating the program’s community college partnership, overseeing the Zesbaugh Scholars initiative that supports economically disadvantaged students interested in teaching, and working with superintendents, principals and other school leaders to improve teaching and learning. In addition to this work, she speaks at conferences around the state about the achievement gap, with particular emphasis on working with African American students.

DR. PAUL RUIZ
Dr. Ruiz is senior advisor and co-founder of the Education Trust, Inc., and is recognized for his proven ability and extensive knowledge in guiding and helping schools and school districts in their efforts to improve academic achievement and close gaps. He has devoted more than 35 years of professional and advocacy work to the education success of all students. Working from San Antonio, Texas, Dr. Ruiz promotes high academic standards for all students at all levels, especially in schools and colleges serving large concentrations of low income and/or African American, Latino and Native American students.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Its fascinated me for years that experts on education won't speak about the quality of "curriculum". Conultants have told me a number of reasons why Singapore can't be adopted.

1. Its not written for Americans is the reason given most often.

2. It would cost too much to implement because teachers would need to be trained to use it usually is the second reason given.

3. Teachers are not qualified to teach Singapore.

4. Students would be bored with it because Singapore is repetitive.

So what about the quality of other curriculum? The long-nosed DOE says its promising and exemplary. Rather than textbooks they should be clodhoppers.

Anonymous said...

"I think the greatest curse of American society has been the idea of an easy millennialism — that some new drug, or the next election or the latest in social engineering will solve everything." -RPW


School Reform is a type of fraud that involves wagonloads of committed people and a lot of free money.

Anonymous said...

"Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption and he passeth from the stink of the didie to the stench of the shroud. There is always something." - RPW

dan dempsey said...

All I have to say is...
IT IS THE CURRICULUM

In Seattle they gradually increased reform math penetration over a 12 year period and the achievement gap continually widened.

This report misses the obvious.

The 7 experts seem to know little about math or math curriculum. So how was the large math achievement gap addressed? It was not.

If you do not know all the causes, it is hard to formulate a best solution.

Their are multiple causes to the African-American achievement gap in Math ..... but math curriculum has been the major player in the math gap increase.

Would anyone expect Terry Bergeson or local superintendents who bought the junk to admit it was the cause?

CIOSAFETEAM said...

There are so many variables, that there will never be a perfect education system. What I have seen is when the parents or family have goals and expectations and then parent their child(ren) to meet those expectations, (by controlling their environment and influences), most often success is achieved. Getting parents to effectively parent is a critical step at this point.

The family is a critical component to any child’s life. When it comes to education, no greater statistic stands truer today than the achievement gap between students whose parents are involved in their education process and those who do not have that support. Personal responsibility, safety and education are key elements to bringing up the next generation.

After 10 years of experience leading a volunteer program in my children’s elementary and middle schools, I launched Schools And Families Engaged (the S.A.F.E. TEAM on Campus) in 2008 to meet the needs of schools and families. Many of the school's families do not know where to begin in school. Many parents today never had an example of their parents supporting the school let alone they may not have enjoyed their personal schooling experience. Why would they have a desire to serve? You only know what you have experienced.

Make time to check out our site www.thesafeteam.com . On the About SAFE page, click on the 40 Developmental Assets link. This will tie in all the benefits of families and communities supporting their students both in school and out of school.

Anonymous said...

As I was saying, it seems wherever you go there'll always be someone to lend a willing hand, even where it isn't needed. Let's address what can and should be changed - curriculum. Let's start with the real culprits, the textbooks.

I didn't go to school to get tested on my faith, I went seeking an education. Faith-based learning is a shameful enterprise and it should to be exposed.

dan dempsey said...

faith based Math ..
I have faith that someday this stuff will produce positive academic improvement. Absolutely no data to support this belief .. that is Faith Based Math.

FBM must go.

Anonymous said...

My belief is the legacy of R.L Moore enacted this injustice to create an apartheid state. These are racists who create the reform movements and are living no better than parasites.

Anonymous said...

The reform movement supports Intelligent Design because the textbook publishers argument for the poor quality of their textbooks is the freedom of speech clause which says local school boards decide which textbook to buy. There is no research backing up any one textbook, so faith is all one has in the success of their education. Tell that to the students who don't graduate from high school. Nevada has the lowest graduation rate I know of 45%. That's a travesty. The vendors have no morals or scruples - they are parasites.

Anonymous said...

The NCTM, NSF, and the DOE can all be damned. Their failure to take a leadership stance on the curriculum issue is undermining our public schools. Last year, 40%of our seniors did not graduate. The majority of 12th graders do the mathematics of a sixth grader. Math reform is part of a legacy founded by a racist known as R.L. Moore.