Sunday, April 12, 2009

Where is the coherent cohesive Math Plan for Seattle? ..Funding?
.... Where are the state standards?

If adopted the recommended instructional materials will saddle SPS students and families with yet another set of expensive substandard materials, which top off an already ineffective k-8 math plan.

The District is still looking at a large operating deficit.

The adoption cost is announced as $1.2 million. No instructional materials below “Discovering Algebra” are included. The instructional materials require that students below grade level in math will enroll in Algebra I and be served by additional interventions and in class small group instruction etc.

Dan Dempsey spent the last two years futilely trying to get action on effective interventions for math k-8 {SPS board policies D44 & D45 are still not followed}. It is a fantasy that in a budget restricted environment, enormous expensive interventions are going to happen and that the district is prepared to pay for these annually. Many years of expensive interventions will be needed because k-8 keeps producing this fairly constant stream of math-disabled students. Interventions are needed long before grade 9. Were those teachers and principal John Boyd, from Sealth HS testifying (4-08-09) for this math recommendation, aware that Sealth 2008 WASL grade 10 math showed 40% of the students at level 1 and 12% with no score?

Directors need to reject the “Discovering Series” and adopt materials that are clear and readable. Clear readable materials that are coherent will not require vast quantities of expensive professional development and will enable more parents to help their children.

The state will have required end of course assessments {EOCs} of the High School math standards in spring 2011. Seattle has no plan to effectively teach many of the students the material necessary to pass those high school math course-ending assessments. A sound k-8 program is the foundation for high school success.

Part of the k-8 math failure can be attributed to Seattle’s focus on mathematics as: the language and science of patterns and connections, which is then coupled with the belief that learning and doing mathematics are active processes in which students construct meaning through exploration and inquiry of challenging problems. This "focus" is an ongoing recipe for poor instructional materials, poor pedagogical balance and continued failure.

I was a part of Seattle’s Pathways program in 2006-2007. All around the state the OSPI prepared Math Modules were being used with many students who had failed the grade 10 math WASL. This was part of the PAS program, which was abandon prior to school year 2008-2009. (WASL math passing as a graduation requirement was not delayed until a decision in April of 2007} . The findings of Washington State Institute for Public Policy’s Wade Cole and Robert Barnofsky indicate that the OSPI math modules were only marginally effective.
For most students High School is too late to correct the k-8 math mess.
In the SPS the State Math Standards continue to be ignored:
Math k-8 must be focused on the Washington Math Standards. Just posting the Standards on the SPS website and ignoring them is not enough. Although an ignored portion of “Excellence for All” states: Alignment of the elementary and middle school instructional materials to the new State Performance Expectations will be completed this summer (2008), the recently revised Math Adoption Home Page makes no connection of alignment to the state math standards.

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) will adopt an aligned curriculum for all grades in math and science. An “aligned curriculum” means that students in any one grade in the District are held to the same high expectations (with the same high quality materials) and that those expectations build on one another as students advance from one grade level to the next.

The use of words “with the same high quality materials” seems odd for the SPS as Everyday Math and Connected Math Project2 are materials in use. These materials do not align well with the state math standards. The SPS has chosen "fidelity of implementation" to Everyday Math, by using the EDM pacing plan, over the State Math Standards.

Or am I incorrect as another portion of the website says:
The Math program is working to align elementary and middle school adopted materials with the new mathematics standards. In addition to updating pacing and instructional guides, this work includes alignment of assessments and learning targets to the new standards, and developing models for effective mathematics teaching through use of High Leverage teaching practices and differentiation activities.

So what exactly is alignment and when will it happen and what will it look like?
These are not rhetorical questions. I am lost in the Edu-speak amid the Edu-fluff.

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