Thursday, May 28, 2009

The real k-5 Math Curriculum in Seattle
is NOT the WA math standards

Dear Director,

Currently the WA math standards are NOT the SPS k-5 math curriculum.

The proof is in the article by Andy Isaacs

I think Andy Issac's statements below are correct.
Andy Isaac is one of the co-authors of Everyday Math.
He's part of the development team. He works out of Univ. of Chicago.

From his article:
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First, Everyday Mathematics does indeed teach multiple algorithms (strategies for solving math problems). Everyday Mathematics encourages students to learn multiple algorithms because it helps them understand both how to solve a problem and why the method is valid. Students can choose the way that works best for them, allowing them to not only feel more successful but to actually understand the math better.

Everyday Mathematics materials identify one algorithm for each operation as a “focus algorithm.” The purpose of a focus algorithm is to provide children with at least one accessible and correct paper-and-pencil method and thereby set a common basis for classroom work. Each focus algorithm is chosen for both efficiency and understandability.

The highly efficient paper-and-pencil algorithms that have been traditional in the U.S. may no longer be the best algorithms for children in today’s technologically demanding world. Today’s elementary school children will be in the workforce well into the second half of the 21st century and the school mathematics curriculum should reflect the technological age in which they will live, work, and compete.

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The WA math standards require the teaching of The highly efficient paper-and-pencil algorithms that have been traditional in the U.S.. The WA math standards do not require or advise the teaching of the EDM focus algorithms.

The math standards do not require the teaching of other algorithms.

In school year 2008-2009, the SPS central administration chose the EDM pacing plan instead of Standard Algorithms.

Clearly in 2008-2009, the curriculum for k-5 math was the EDM pacing plan. In May 2007 Ms. Santorno said "If the standards change we can easily adapt EDM."

In School year 2008-2009 that did not happen. It seems unlikely that Administration is either motivated or capable of making these changes. These changes should have been completed by Fall 2008 according to the Strategic Plan.

EDM is a bloated curriculum. It is jumbled and not well aligned with the WA math standards. There are vast quantities of material that should not be taught. Perhaps the best way to begin the adaptation would be to take a box cutter & paper shredder to a large portion of these instructional materials. You will need to do the same with the Discovering Algebra book.

You are now asked to approve a $474,440 purchase to continue the Math Plan to Nowhere. How much of what you are buying has nothing to do with the WA Math Standards?

Once again, I do not believe that the Washington Math Standards are the k-5 math curriculum in the SPS. I believe what I see, which is not what I am told.


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

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