Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Depth of the Mess

From comments floating about cyberspace comes the following:

As an elementary school math teacher, my eyes roll when I see the youngins (teachers) who think EM is the cat's meow. Thank God, we only have it in K, 1, and 2. All those teachers should have to teach a fifth grade class and see the non-fruits of their labor.

It wouldn't help. They would not see anything but "engaged" students. You have to remember that Ms. XX was only talking about half the problem. The full ed school products with the "advanced" degrees in administration and who knows what else, are the ones that put TERC and EDM in place. But it is the rest of the ed school products, the half-trained, content deprived teachers who deliver this junk and don't know any better who are the rest of the problem.

The sad thing is that with this second group, you can't blame them. It's not their fault, but it's virtually impossible to give them the needed content knowledge once they start teaching.


In China....

When asked how they had attained their mathematical knowledge ...
these teachers referred to "studying teaching materials intensely
when teaching it".

Later, they make it clear that it is not the teacher's manual, but the student text that they really study.

If a teacher does not have 4th grade math knowledge when they
start teaching, they have no hope of getting it if they do not have
a good text. A good text might not suffice, but it gives them a chance.

Looking at:
Seattle's Everyday Math that avoids many of the Washington Math Standards particularly standard algorithms,

Connected Math Project 2 that fails to coherently present or develop much in a coherent fashion,

and the recommended "Discovering Series" with few clear examples or definitions,

it is unlikely Students or Teachers are going to efficiently advance their math content knowledge. Clearly another case of Opportunity Lost.


The US government pays for the NSF reform-inquiry math programs. It funds them, sends money to the NSF EHR, and then standards are set, tests written, etc and then the money goes around and around in a big circle. UW receives NSF EHR grants to provide inquiry based professional development. Teachers are forced to get a masters, so their money goes back in the pot via the universities and they are taught the value of the programs the government pays to develop. Who cares about results? There are no checks and no balances.

It is all just like Sandra Stotsky said:

It is the job of the Seattle School Directors to free the children of the city and their families from this continuing disaster.

"In the valley of the blind the one eyed man is king." -- used by Steve Winn.

Can we find anyone in Seattle in a decision making capacity having to do with math that has at least one open eye?
Find out in the evening of April 22, 2009.

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