Sunday, August 23, 2009

Request for EDM meeting. A Seattle civil rights issue and more.

Here is my latest thought....

Dear Director DeBell,
Please schedule a public meeting as required by section (f) of RCW 28A.150.230 to discuss discontinuing the use of the ineffective Everyday Math instructional materials.
We the undersigned object to the use of these objectionable materials.


The February 2005 Notices of the American Mathematical Society Volume 52, Number 2 article: Racial Equity Requires Teaching Elementary School Teachers More Mathematics contained the following:
Patricia Clark Kenshaft, professor of mathematics at Montclair State University, did a survey in the mid-1980s of black mathematicians in New Jersey. Seventy-five black people with at least one degree in mathematics responded to a variety of questions, including, “What can be done to bring more blacks into mathematics?

The most common answer was, “Teach mathematics better to all American children. The way it is now, if children don’t learn mathematics at home, they don’t learn it at all, so any ethnic group that is underrepresented in mathematics will remain so until children are taught mathematics better in elementary school.
Those of us who thrive mathematically have had some good mathematical experience early, typically at home. Someone had asked for an example out of my own childhood, and I had explained how my father had described the meaning of π to me several months before I started kindergarten.

While the above survey took place in the mid-80s, it certainly describes Seattle’s elementary school Everyday Math program. Please consider the following information:

Seattle for the last two years increased math class time to 75 minutes per day, invested heavily in professional development and coaching, and carefully followed the EDM pacing plan. Seattle used mostly TERC/Investigations (a poor program) prior to EDM. The percentage of students scoring at level 1 (the clueless level on math testing) has increased in the last two years from already unacceptable levels of 2006. Here are the last four years of grade 4 Seattle Math WASL results (note EDM gets the credit for the last two).

Spring 2006 : 2007 : 2008 : 2009
White: 5.9% : 7.9% : 9.3% : 7.5%
Hispanic: 28.5% : 33.6% : 40.4% : 38.9%
Low Income: 33.0% : 36.0% : 40.0% : 38.2%
Black: 39.2% : 40.5% : 44.4% : 48.1%
Limited English: 45.3% : 52.2% : 58.0% : 50.9%

From 2006 to 2009 the Math Level 1 absolute differentials all increased:
White = 1.6%
Low Income = 5.2%
Limited English = 5.6%
Black = 8.9%
Hispanic = 10.4%

For Seattle any ethnic group that is underrepresented in mathematics will remain so.

The What Works Clearinghouse said: “Everyday Mathematics was found to have potentially positive effects on students' math achievement.” Last updated 4-30-07 and based on 12,600 students grade 3-5. The increases reported were based on a comparison with extremely poor instructional materials and discounted the effect of affluent parents. Clearly Seattle’s EDM experience has not been positive.

EDM has too many topics per grade level; it does not teach to mastery, it emphasizes its own focus algorithms rather than the traditional standard algorithms. It does not teach Long Division perhaps because it glosses over the multiplication needed for long division to be attempted.

The National Math Advisory Panel recommends against the EDM type of spiraling. The NMAP also recommends “Explicit Instruction” for those struggling to learn math. In Seattle, which adopted EDM on May 30, 2007, two years of state test data at grade 4 reveal a colossal failure of EDM instructional materials.


Anonymous said...

Bad textbooks discriminate against minorities.

I tried the same argument with the Office of Civil Rights but the Deaf Ears were not persuaded.

Petition parents (hold a vote) and overturn the school board's decision, then call for a formal removal of the monkeys presently sitting on the school board. That should send most of the rats scurrying for the outhouses.

Anonymous said...

I learned today at an SEI training there's an elementary school using Singapore that feeds into our district. The parent/teacher spoke highly of the program.

SEI = Structured English Immersion

This is for English Language learners that have mastered conversational english but need more sheltered instruction.

Students are graded 1 through 5 on their academic language proficiency in four areas - reading, listening, speaking, and writing. They remain in SEI until they have mastery in at least three areas and a scaled score of 325 on the California Standards Test. This is language instruction past regular English instruction.

Their findings are even more remarkable - 2/3's of our English language learners have been in language acquisition programs since the first grade. They are not able to test out.

Structured english immersion is most closely aligned to a language instruction pedagogy appropriately called the natural approach. I would say that it closely matches the correct meaning of direct instruction - keeping directions simple, but ensuring students stay active and engaged. Meaning-centered vs. student-centered. For example, We have rubrics that provide hieracrchies for phonemes, morphems, and cognates.

A good resource to share with teachers is Diane Zike's foldables - math, science, and history.

Yes, we have rubrics now for academic literacy. The plan is well-thought out AND our teachers many who were raised in our community are leading this program. I think it is having a very positive impact in our district.