Thursday, April 9, 2009

Where's the Beef? not even a shred

Dear Seattle School Directors, 4-09-09

I came to the meeting. I've downloaded all the materials on the website that pertain to the adoption. I've read it all including 4-08-09 four page report "Improving Academic Achievement: PreK-12 Mathematics"

I have yet to find even one reason for this "Discovering Series to be adopted". If you find one please let me know.
I listened to all the testimony last night -- Nothing no reasons not even one..Anecdotes from "Company Employees" are not reasons.

Because our books are old is not a reason to adopt "Discovering".

When a high school math teacher with a B.S. or B.A. in math calls herself a mathematician and thinks that means the core adoption committee had a mathematician on it, you know we are in real trouble.

When an adoption committee member from Chief Sealth, a school with 40% of tenth graders at WASL level 1 in math and another 12% with no score, says Prentice Hall would subject her students to daily lectures, I can only shout "STRAWMAN".

True Prentice Hall will probably not allow her to run her classes like Tupperware parties.

Please fix this mess. How can anyone even contemplate more of this supposed "Differentiated Instruction" and think that it will prove effective for the socially promoted mathematically unskilled 40% to 50% of the students entering 9th grade at many of the high schools. Remember there is nothing recommended below Discovering Algebra by the administration.

Read the reports at the SBE for lots of reasons to reject this recommendation.

High School Mathematics Curriculum Study by Linda Plattner, Strategic Teaching, March 11, 2009

Strategic Teaching's High School Mathematics Curricular Program Individual Reviews by Dr. Guershon Harel

Strategic Teaching's High School Mathematics Curricular Program Individual Reviews by Dr. Steve Wilson.

My testimony of 4-08-09 is attached

Please realize that to improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data. This committee and the SPS administration do not have even a shred of data with which to promote this adoption.


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.


Anonymous said...

does anyone know history of this mark ellis on the adoption committee? has he only taught middle school?

Anonymous said...

I spoke at the board meeting and recommended that the board reject the recommendation.

I just emailed Ms. delaFuente concerning the adoption committee. I applied to the committee last fall and was rejected. I have a BA in Mathematics, 25 years experience in the software industry, am the parent of two Seattle Public Schools high school students, have _hundreds_ of hours experience as a volunteer math tutor in area public schools, and have 2-1/2 years experience teaching (college freshman CS).

I don't intend to demean the community representatives who were selected, but really, can you get much more "targeted" than that?

It almost seems that the district didn't _want_ someone with that much experience. We'll see what Ms. delaFuente says.

-- Matt Grove

dan dempsey said...


Over the last several years these adoptions arrive at the predetermined outcome. The criteria that the selection is based on and the selection of committee members is always based on the SPS definition of Math.

"Mathematics is the language and science of patterns and connections. Learning and doing mathematics are active processes in which students construct meaning through exploration and inquiry of challenging problems."

Unfortunately the students are not learning much math or constructing much learning through the above process. The useful tool "mathematics" used by carpenters, electricians, engineers, medical professionals, etc. is ignored by all these selection committees as they continually select substandard material for learning mathematics.

That would be the Mathematics mentioned by Michael Rice as:
"A much better definition of what math education needs to be comes from California. Among other things, the goal in mathematics education is for students to:
a) Develop fluency in basic computational skills.
b) Develop an understanding of mathematical concepts.
c) Become mathematical problem solvers who can recognize and solve routine problems readily and can find ways to reach a solution or goal where no routine path is apparent.
These are much more understandable goals that actually discuss what math is and what students need to learn. In addition to the revised state standards, these are the kind of standards that Seattle Public Schools should be applying when it comes to math. When applying these standards, the Discovering Series lives up to its State Board of Education designation as “mathematically unsound”.

The failure of SPS math has paralleled the WA state failure led by Dr. Bergeson. Math issues were part of why she lost re-election in Nov, 2008. All of Dr. Bergeson's employees at OSPI are still there and there has not been any noticeable change in OSPI math direction yet.