Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Steve ... There is a Serious Problem

Dear Steve Sundquist,

It is clear that in regard to the High school Math adoption the empirical evidence you needed as a Seattle School Director to make an informed decision was easily available, but the Central Administration did not provide it.

It is clear that the UW and the Central Admin have been faking and deceiving for at least 2.6 years. Can we stop yet?

The only way this stops is if the board stops endorsing and approving the deception.

If you review my letter to Director Sherry Carr, you will find a huge effect size difference between Direct Instruction and Inquiry from John Hattie's meta-analysis. Or just look at the UW directed Cleveland math disaster.

Hattie's analysis provides additional validation of the peer reviewed, empirically validated Kirschner-Sweller-Clark Study "Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work:"

Meta-analysis is a method for pooling the quantitative estimates of effects of interventions from multiple studies to (hopefully) give a more reliable and precise estimate of their benefits (or potential harm). Comparing these estimates across different types of interventions can also pinpoint which aspects of interventions offer the most potential in the classroom. Meta-analysis is proving to be a useful approach to addressing the key question of ‘What works?’ by providing an opportunity for ‘ground-clearing’ and priority- setting, since by offering comparative information about how well different interventions work, teachers can make informed decisions. Hattie is author of the largest meta-analysis. Visible Learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement.

* ‘We need to make relative statements about what impacts on student work.
* We need estimates of magnitude as well as statistical significance – it is not good enough to say that this works because lots of people use it etc, but that this works because of the magnitude of impact.
* We need to be building a model based on these relative magnitudes of effects.’ (Hattie, 2003)

The district is now firmly planted in the wrong direction.
The district has wasted many years of student's mathematical lives. Now we have many more years of frustration to look forward to, unless the board has an action in mind to make Every student achieving, everyone accountable more than a cruel hoax.

The High School math adoption was a fraudulent action, rigged by the Central Administration to look fair and unbiased to the casual observer.

When children fall behind they often give up. The SPS has a system in place that frustrates parents and children both. Seattle already has a poor H.S. graduation rate. Discovering Algebra etc. will certainly not improve college math remediation rates of SPS grads.

As Charlie Mas wrote on the SPS Blog: There has been little or no public discussion of what teachers are supposed to do for students who are working below grade level and lack the necessary foundation to do grade level work.

Looks like the Social Promotion plan will stay firmly in place for yet another year. Not a single math text k-12 is a State recommended text book. The k-12 materials do not allow for much "Explicit Instruction" instead the plan rests on a failed inquiry ideology.

Everyday math is terrible in a variety of ways as I've noted earlier. It is the antithesis of many of NMAP's recommendations.

So what is the plan? Are you going to rely on those who deceived you?

Either way I would like to know what the plan is and whether the Board is planning on abdicating its responsibility to educate all the children or not?

The empirical evidence clearly indicates the path to take and once again in math the SPS has failed to take the correct action.


Dan Dempsey

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