Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Letter to Seattle School Directors

Dear Sherry and Harium,

#1) I would encourage both of you to watch:
Two Million Minutes
and especially the one year follow up on India
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#2)
Bluntly .. EDM is defective
and it is pointless to attempt to build a successful High School program upon this base.

I assume that Art Mabbott will still be trying to get IMP as the high school adoption because our kids k-8 are largely unprepared for high school math ... so the answer is lets not do high school math lets do IMP.
Check the Cleveland H.S. results .. IMP = Insanity.

Cleveland H.S. results with IMP
introduced 2006-2007
with lots of help from UW and NSF

10th Grade Math
Year .. School .. District .. State
1998-99 ..... 5.3% ... 24.8% ... 33.0%
1999-00 ... 11.6% ... 32.2% ... 35.0%
2000-01 ..... 8.1% ... 33.7% ... 38.9%
2001-02 ..... 5.2% ... 35.3% ... 37.3%
2002-03 ..... 9.0% ... 34.9% ... 39.4%
2003-04 ..... 4.8% ... 38.6% ... 43.9%
2004-05 ... 23.2% ... 40.8% ... 47.5%
2005-06 ... 21.1% ... 55.7% ... 51.0%
2006-07 ... 17.9% ... 50.2% ... 50.4%
2007-08 ... 12.2% ... 50.4% ... 49.6%

Is anyone planning on fixing this mess?
Is anyone ever held accountable?

Contrast Seattle with what you see in India.
What are the math deciders in Seattle possibly thinking?

I am not saying we must be like India ... but we must stop being like Seattle.

I have some concerns that Anna-Maria went to the Urban Math Network Leadership conference in Austin, TX January 28, 29, 30. That would be home to the Dana Center and Uri Triesman. Uri has been a big proponent of Everyday Math and Connected Math. I do not find much in the way of results to recommend either of these programs .. but we are stuck with them.

I continue to advocate against this allegiance to reform math in SPS.
We are not getting suitable results and things will be even worse when actual testing of the WA math standards arrives in spring 2010, as currently SPS is ignoring the WA Math Standards at this time in the elementary school grades.

The District seems unable to even follow the June 2008 Strategic Plan's going to do these things by September 2008 and going to do these things by December 2008.

It is clear that for School Year 2008-2009 the posted Math Grade level expectations have been ignored in favor of the EDM pacing plan.

Look at the grade 5 standards of long division with a two digit divisor.
EDM does not even teach division of this type ( book recommends to pick up calculator ).
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#3)
Here is a Pittsburgh update:

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Dan,

I'm quite familiar with the Dana Center and specifically Uri Treisman.

As to where Pittsburgh is with EM and CMP - Pittsburgh is probably one of the original districts to have used these two programs. EM has been in the district since 1994 and CMP since 1996. CMP was partially developed in this district. So, the district is steeped in fuzzy math and has strong connections to the likes of the Learning and Research Development Center and the Institute for Learning, both located at the University of Pittsburgh - the district's administration building and the University of Pittsburgh are next door neighbors. Now, having said that, student achievement is nothing to write home about, especially among the populations allegedly targeted by EM and CMP - minorities and low income students. Despite lots of money being spent, with lots of professional development, the introduction of math coaches in every school at every level, not to mention expanded amounts of time spent on math, too many students are still failing to demonstrate proficiency in math. Moreover, they are not prepared for high school level math. This past spring the district decided to chuck EM for enVision Math - to be implemented September, 2009. EM will continue to be used as a supplement. At the middle school level, the district has blended two programs - Prentice Hall Mathematics and CMP. Both programs are to be used equally. I'm not sure how they have managed to blend what would appear to be incompatible programs, but that's what they decided to do. CMP has been described as a program that never tells a kid anything. The Prentice Hall text is very traditional. The panel that made the recommendation was very inclined to stick with Connected Math - there was no consensus in the group to do this - it was a pure majority vote. It was the director of curriculum and instruction who made the suggestion to use two texts, noting that the board would not be pleased to get a recommendation to continue with CMP alone. Prentice Hall will support directed math skills development (procedural fluency) and CMP discovery-based, mathematical reasoning (conceptual fluency). Each student receives a Prentice Hall textbook and materials. CMP2 materials are used as classroom sets. At the very least, this approach provides the students and parents with some materials to reference when the "discovery" doesn't happen and the teacher isn't very good - both of which are frequent occurrences.

The bottom line is that Pittsburgh has, at least in theory, taken a giant step away from the discovery-based programs.

Adele

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SPS did the same in regard to:

Despite lots of money being spent, with lots of professional development, the introduction of math coaches in every school at every level, not to mention expanded amounts of time spent on math
,


Except unlike Pittsburgh, Seattle has not yet devised any correction of their course.
The SPS continues to seemingly say: NO Correction needed.

Results in Seattle are ...

Pretty much exactly what Denver and Pittsburgh got.

Grade 4 Seattle's Hispanic Students Math
4th Grade Math

Year .. District .. State
1997-98 ... 23.5% ... 11.4%
1998-99 ... 23.0% ... 14.2%
1999-00 ... 31.5% ... 18.2%
2000-01 ... 28.7% ... 20.0%
2001-02 ... 38.1% ... 29.3%
2002-03 ... 36.3% ... 30.7%
2003-04 ... 43.9% ... 38.8%
2004-05 ... 37.4% ... 35.8%
2005-06 ... 39.6% ... 36.9%
2006-07 ... 43.5% ... 35.5%
2007-08 ... 33.5% .. 31.3%



Grade 4 all students Math in Seattle
4th Grade Math

Year .. District .. State
1997-98 ... 34.8% ... 31.2%
1998-99 ... 35.8% ... 37.3%
1999-00 ... 44.3% ... 41.8%
2000-01 ... 43.5% ... 43.4%
2001-02 ... 51.1% ... 51.8%
2002-03 ... 53.1% ... 55.2%
2003-04 ... 59.6% ... 59.9%
2004-05 ... 59.1% ... 60.8%
2005-06 ... 59.5% ... 58.9%
2006-07 ... 61.9% ... 58.1%
2007-08 ... 56.4% .. 53.6%

To Improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data.

Sincerely,

Dan Dempsey

1 comment:

Blank said...

That is outrageous!!

Long division should be worked out mentally and it is not all that hard to pick up, especially using long division worksheets or other good teaching resources.