Saturday, May 30, 2009

Proven Math Plan Needed 6-03-2009

Directors, I am Dan Dempsey. 6-03-2009

Over several years, you’ve heard compelling testimonies regarding the perils of reform math. Unfortunately the board has consistently chosen to follow the administration, rather than intelligently applying relevant data.

Consequently Seattle, like many districts, uses instructional materials discriminatory toward disadvantaged learners.

Many Seattle math decision-makers ignored WASL math achievement gaps and NAEP gaps. The board has continually failed to address Seattle’s discriminatory math practices.

You may not understand that most educationally disadvantaged learners do not have access to the help needed to gain math understanding from Seattle’s defective instructional materials. They have no access to paid tutors, or paid learning centers, and no tutorial help from math knowledgeable relatives.

On May 6th, four School Directors ignored the plight of disadvantaged learners. Disadvantaged learners went unmentioned. Not a single reference was made about the effects these tragically flawed materials would have on disadvantaged learners.

One board member voted “Yes”, and stated “Discovering Algebra” contained only algebra. The opening three chapters are packed with exploratory activities and little algebra. It is as much statistics as algebra.

Another board member voted “Yes”, mentioning a private lesson she and her daughter received from a math coach and the math program manager.

A third board member preferred the decision of a stacked committee above the needs of the children.

A fourth board member claimed NMAP to be his guide, citing two insignificant lame quotations from it. He missed the entire focus of the report: preparation for and access to “Authentic Algebra”. He also missed its recommendations for disadvantaged learners.

NMAP recommends Explicit Instruction for students who have mathematical difficulties. Explicit instruction means that teachers and textbooks provide clear models for solving a problem type using an array of examples, that students receive extensive practice in use of newly learned strategies and skills. ……The math materials, adopted K-12, provide Seattle’s students with few examples and little practice.

Four board members voted for a book series, which lacks the elements NMAP recommends for disadvantaged learners. A book series without answers to selected problems in the back of the book.

Tonight, when a proven math plan is needed, you are asked to approve a half-million bucks to continue funding an experimental “Discriminatory Math Plan to Nowhere”.

You’ve been deceived. Ms. Santorno continues to fool at least a majority of the directors all the time.

I wonder can Seattle’s district officials fool a Federal Court into allowing a continuation of their discriminatory math practices?

A large and important change in math direction is needed, please begin it tonight by voting no.


Anonymous said...


Whatever happened to your lawsuit from last summer? Did it go to court or was it dropped?


dan dempsey said...

It has yet to make it to court.

Look for it this summer. I will post the court date when I receive it.