Sunday, January 31, 2010

Seattle Directors Guide to staying out of Court

Dear Directors, Sunday January 31, 2010

This is a guide on how to lessen the likelihood that your NTN contract vote will be appealed in King County Superior Court.

#1… Perform due diligence.

#2… Clearly explain the major reasons behind your vote.

#3… Don’t base your vote on Central Administration’s yarns and anecdotes.
Past Examples: This aligns well with NMAP or this is a balanced approach or this will eliminate the achievement gap in 5 years.

The following are likely to be found “Arbitrary & Capricious”

#1… Making a decision based on one student or a small group, which then impacts another larger group adversely.

#2… Making a decision, which fails to effectively serve students in such a way that article IX of the State constitution is violated.

#3… Putting fourth a rationale that cannot be supported by evidence.
Examples: A...“Discovery is a balanced approach” when the publishers describe it as an investigative approach and lessons consist of investigations. B... I’ve extensively read NMAP and my reading leads me to believe that “Discovery” is well aligned with NMAP recommendations. When “Discovery” does not align well with a number of major NMAP points.

The District’s Central administration as of Wed. January 27th had made a decision not to provide you with relevant data. I had given Mr. Tolley a fact sheet on Saturday January 23rd, which contained many of the answers to the questions you directors asked him on Jan 27th but he had no answers. This is unacceptable a week before a proposal to spend $800,000 that will alter programs for years to come. Directors have repeatedly asked questions and been provided no answers.

One of many significant questions asked on Jan. 27th was does NT Sacramento cost more to operate per student than the average Sacramento high school. No answer from TEAM MGJ. NT Sacramento does cost more to operate per student. It also has smaller class sizes than the average for Sacramento high schools.

I have provided you with extensive data that outlines how ineffective most NTN schools are in the area of students learning enough mathematics to pass even an End of Course assessment at the basic level. Biz Tech in Portland, Welby in Colorado and several California schools indicate these are poor models to follow. All my data came from relevant state testing. Note the passage of CAHSEE math is hardly relevant to potential collegiate success for a STEM student. Passing CAHSEE math is equivalent to marginal proficiency in 8th grade math topics.

I find it particularly offensive that in the past two math adoptions the directors arbitrarily chose to ignore the relevant data and select instructional materials that were ineffective in comparison to other choices. The board chooses “mathematically unsound” over materials that follow NMAP’s recommendations. I also provided Iowa test scores and WASL data showing that EDM served disadvantaged learners poorly. Now two years later we have watched achievement gaps expand at the grade 4 level, in direct contradiction to the yarns spun by Central Administration during the adoption.

Particularly offensive was that in the 1100 pages of materials submitted by the district on which the “Discovering” adoption decision was based were NO letters from the public and NO public testimony and of course NO NMAP “Foundations of Success” as that was not used by the adoption committee as a reference document. McLaren et al. submitted around 200 pages of material that will likely be considered by Judge Spector and should have been weighed appropriately by you the school board directors.

Here is what you need to consider. On January 27th Kacey Guinn of the City of Seattle Office of education reported staggering achievement gaps in grade 3 reading and grade 4 math. This despite grants by the city aimed at reducing this problem. In private conversation Ms. Guinn said: “We do what we can with early learning and after school programs but we have no control over Seattle’s instructional materials and practices.”
Ten years of an expanding math achievement gap and the District still ignores the wisdom of “Project Follow Through” and now “Visible Learning” and NMAP as well as Seattle’s own data documenting the ongoing disaster for disadvantaged learners.

The math situation is abundantly clear. SPS uses the most ineffective model possible for math instruction of disadvantaged learners as reported in Project Follow Through.

Now let us take the philosophy of Instruction a bit further as you are being asked to spend $800,000 on a project based learning approach. Other than this is the current “Club Ed Elite” favorite why do so?

Hattie’s “Visible Learning” clearly supports Mastery Learning with its reported effect size of 0.61 over Problem Based Learning 0.15 and Inquiry Based Learning 0.31.

Why do the directors continue endorsing a long failed experiment at enormous cost to our students? Effect size for Direct Instruction = 0.59 … Why not some explicit instruction at something of a priority level rather than an administrative “happy thought” terminology name drop.

Schmitz Park is using Singapore Math, a Mastery based approach with proven results in many other countries. Singapore features a greatly reduced number of topics especially at the early grades. Two thirds of Schmitz Park 5th graders placed above 6th grade level math on the Middle School placement exam in 2009.

Given Singapore Math’s program development and emphasis on the use of English aimed as Limited English students. You should investigate the achievement gap for Schmitz Park’s Low Income students and contrast it with the extremely large achievement gaps in EDM schools. Last year on the Grade 4 WASL 100% of low income passed reading and 83% of Low Income passed Math at SP. Perhaps you could request the most recent MAP data.

In 2009 in 4th grade SP had 12 Low Income students. Here are their WASL Math levels:
7 at level 4,
3 at level 3,
2 at level 2 and
0 at level 1

Amazing results and done without district math coaching.

It seems “Arbitrary & Capricious” to make a decision to continue with a Problem Based Inquiry approach to mathematics given both Seattle’s relevant data in this regard as well as the data I’ve presented you from Several NTN schools.

I am sure you have seen Meg Diaz’s January 20th power point. It indicates that approval of this contract will be “Arbitrarily & Capricious” in favoring a small group at the expense of a much larger group.

There is no reason to believe all of the following can happen together and yet this is exactly what the Central Administration has proposed.

#1 A school which serves the same demographic currently at Cleveland.

#2 A school in which “Calculus” is a requirement.

#3 A school with 1000 students.

Check the current demographic of Cleveland Students. Check the math scores of each demographic group at Mercer and Aki Kurose. Check the math scores on End of Course testing at California NTN schools. Napa is a questionable comparison with Poverty at 11%. In fact one year NAPA offered no math class below Geometry. (This is hardly an appropriate model for Cleveland.)

There is no evidence that supports a #1 - #2 combination.
Similarly there is no evidence that supports a #2 - #3 combination.

In fact there is no evidence that supports #3. Look at the size of NTN schools there is absolutely no evidence that this model can be scaled up to 1000 students. Many small things cannot be scaled up appreopriately.

It is quite obvious that Seattle’s Central administration either did inadequate research in proposing this NTN Contract or concealed what they found. I believe that your approval would be “Arbitrary & Capricious”. If you vote yes please provide an appropriate explanation.

Thank You,

Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

P.S. be particularly watchful of new information submitted after testimony on Wednesday by the administration, as it is too late for the public to respond effectively. Those who go to meetings and school board sessions find this tactic particularly offensive.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Cool Tool for Data

You need to go to the cool tool that David Orbits mentioned:

KUOW wants to hear from you about Discovery Math

In preparation for a segment to air on Feb 3, KUOW wants to hear from you.

KUOW has an item that they want parents to tell them about experiences with "Discovering" math textbooks and other inquiry-based math education.

They need to hear from you by Wednesday morning. They're asking for input from parents, students, teachers, and "other," but you have to be at least 13 years old to submit.

Go to and click on the light bulb on the home page.

The light bulb is beside:

What's your experience with the new math textbooks?

Do you have a child in school who is using the new "Discovering Mathematics" textbooks? What is your experience with inquiry-based math education? Answer this question

Seattle Supe MGJ's New Technology connection

So in retrospect I was thinking about how the NTN $800,000 Contract proposal got this far along without absolutely any real research taking place prior to my efforts of January 16th and following.

I delegated responsibility to my unpaid but highly professional intern Pancho to figure this out.

Pancho is not a registered private investigator or paid researcher but he ain't bad.

Here is what Pancho found:

The president of the New Technology Network foundation is Monica Martinez. She and MGJ have some shared history. Enough perhaps for MGJ to believe NTN's product is so good that no one should ever investigate any of that vendor's claims.

Really I mean CAO Enfield tells us that all 41 NTN schools are successful and that should be good enough for anyone ... Right??


Let us take a look.

The "National High School Alliance was founded by Monica Martinez
see her bio at

for: “Monica founded the Washington, D.C.-based National High School Alliance”

Maria Goodloe-Johnson was on the board of this Alliance, as mentioned in several bios available, for example:

The Reason that MGJ knows that Monica's stuff is excellent and does not need to be researched prior to school board rubber-stamp approval becomes evident in the
Phi Delta Kappan journal.

MGJ is listed as an "Editorial Consultant" to this journal
and Monica Martinez authored a series of articles beginning with Vol 91 No 1
a sample of this is available on line at:

Ms. Martinez articles are in an Innovation section:

INNOVATION: Students as Smart Mobs
Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 91, No. 1 (September 2009): pp. 74-75.

She is the author of the articles in the series in the next three editions:

INNOVATION: It's All About Me
Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 91, No. 2 (October 2009): pp. 74-75.

INNOVATION: Becoming Green
Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 91, No. 3 (November 2009): pp. 74-75.

INNOVATION: Urban Wilderness
Phi Delta Kappan, Vol. 91, No. 4 (December 2009/January 2010): pp. 68-69.

Speaking of School Reform .... how about

National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform

Both MGJ and MM are listed as “members” and signatories on a statement issued in 2002;

It would be nice to know if their are other connections between these two at other "foundations" that these two have associations with.

Is this the decision making by Club Ed Elites where the use of relevant data is discouraged because those connected know best? This seems to be a sort of in-bred club of some sort in at least a few ways.

MGJ loves to hire consultants, too. She was doing it in Texas, probably in SC, and now WA. If a real journalist wanted to dig in and follow the money, it might lead somewhere.

Chad Wick, head of Knowledgeworks foundations, once headed another "foundation" called "Rise Learning Solutions". Neither it or Knowledgeworks replied to requests from the Ohio Better Business Bureau, prompting them to label them as failing in the "transparency" department.

NTNetwork, of course, used to be NTFoundation, until absorbed by KWFoundation. NTN is clearly a for-profit firm. How can a for profit firm be part of a not-for-profit foundation????

Well there is Pancho's report.

WWC Quick Review: Achievement Effects of Four Elementary School Math Curricula

This new quick review looks at a study that examined the relative effectiveness of four early elementary school math curricula: Investigations in Number, Data and Space, Math Expressions, Saxon Math, and Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Mathematics.

Features of the Four Elementary School Math Curricula Examined

TERC/Investigations: student-centered approach focusing on student understanding

ME: blends student-centered and teacher-directed approaches; emphasis on learning through real-world examples

Saxon: teacher-directed approach relying on scripted lessons and daily student practice

SFAW: uses manipulatives and combines teacher-directed instruction with differentiated student activities

This study was to look at different kinds of materials and/or widely used materials.

Looks like the Everyday Math folks did not want to play.

The results are only through grade 1 so far.

TERC/Investigations and SFAW got hammered.
WOW imagine that looks like John Hattie's Visible Learning effect sizes are right on the money once again. He looked at 800 meta-analyses and could not find anything on the efficacy of differentiated instruction, which is Seattle Superintendent MGJ's favorite.

Has anyone ever defined "Conceptual Understanding" or figured out how to measure it?
TERC/Investigations is supposedly all about this. TERC was at the bottom of the pile at the end of grade 1 in this study.

Let the DeBunking continue ... go WWC

In case you missed it the WWC = What Works Clearing House is under NEW management.

About the time that NMAP "Foundations for Success" exposed most math research as total fiction, the Feds switched contractors at WWC.

January 2010 the WWC has a new report on the Connected Math Project materials the report tells us this stuff has no discernible effect.

Here is what happened to produce this lower rating of CMP. WWC tossed out a couple of the studies and are now down to one.

They now reject the two studies that they previously
accepted as giving evidence of effectiveness. They revised their standards to require showing equivalence of the groups at the start, and these two failed that. Some recall reading the Riordan & Royce report a few years ago and being struck that the authors made no attempt to hide that their purpose was to prove that CMP worked. Ergo start with different groups.

Great read about NTN STEM Seattle.

There is really interesting reading here:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Texas Tossing TAKS Test

Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott announced Tuesday that the much-maligned Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills will be replaced with the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, or STAAR.

The new testing system, which was mandated by the Legislature, will replace the TAKS beginning in the 2011-2012 school year. It includes 12 end-of-course exams in the four core subject areas in high school. This year's seventh graders will be the first class required to meet end-of-course testing requirements to graduate.

New tests also will be developed for students in third through eighth grade.

The new accountability system is still being developed. State ratings will be suspended in 2012 and the new rating system will debut in 2013, according to the Texas Education Agency.

"Arbitrary & Capricious" is more of that coming?

Dear Director DeBell,

I am extremely concerned about the Superintendent's ongoing failure to supply answers to questions. This indicates either a failure to research or a failure to disclose the results of research.

I am astounded that this NTN STEM Cleveland idea could have even gotten started, given what one weekend of online research at revealed to me.

The $800,000 New Technology Network presentation given by the CAO on Jan 20th, indicated why other models were rejected. It certainly seems that more than a casual glance would have led to the NTN model being rejected as well.

What is going on here that the Superintendent has pushed this apparently broken buggy this far down the road .... without inspecting anything?

At this point in time it certainly appears that any vote to approve this $800,000 NTN proposal would be "Arbitrary & Capricious".

Please see my attached letter for a fuller explanation of this situation as I see it.


Dan Dempsey

P.S. More data to come .... as the Superintendent has thus far been unable to provide much.

Dear Director DeBell, 1-28-2010

I congratulate you on the tremendous growth you’ve made since the Everyday Math adoption. You have been asking and are asking many of the right questions. Unfortunately the Superintendent and her staff are not answering.

At the Cleveland STEM Open House on Saturday January 23rd, I handed Michael Tolley a Cleveland data sheet, which consisted largely of data from the California Department of Education and is easily available online at This sheet contained many of the answers to the questions Tolley and the Superintendent were asked yesterday at the board work session but had no answers for.

It is my opinion that the research that should have been done before this $800,000 Contract proposal was ever initiated should have been done a long time ago. It either was not done or it was concealed. It took me a weekend online to find out that the great majority of the NTN schools are either underperformers or miserable performers in math.

The Superintendent has yet to provide anything to the contrary other than 85% of New Tech Sacramento students pass the CAHSEE math test. That is the California High School Exit Exam, which is about the equivalent of an 8th grade algebra test with a sprinkling of Geometry thrown in. Passing this exam only indicates that Students likely are ready for a lot of remedial Community College math classes. This is NOT an assumption on my part. I can back it up with data. In 2009 at New Tech Sacramento 50 students took the Algebra II exam: 18 scored below basic and 29 scored far below basic. That is 58% of those tested scored far below basic on an Algebra II End of Course Exam. Those students and a lot more will be headed into remedial math if they go to college. The passers amounted to 4% at basic and 2% at proficient. Keep in mind this is not just any NTN school, this school started in September of 2003 it has demographics similar to Seattle’s and has been selected as a New Tech demonstration school. It also spends more per student than the Sacramento High School average and has smaller class sizes.

It was clear that in the Everyday Math adoption the board chose to ignore the data presented by the public and trust their hired professionals. Was that an “Arbitrary & Capricious” decision? I have no idea but it certainly was a bad one and an ethnically discriminatory one.

Yesterday Kacey Guin in her presentation regarding City of Seattle expenditures to help educationally disadvantaged learners at the pre-primary and primary school level pointed out that the Achievement gaps in 4th grade Math are staggering. The Board is wondering what to do? I am sure that TEAM MGJ would try to sell you the $1.2 million “Broad Funded” performance management in her strategic plan. Is this in fact the reason that MGJ does nothing rational in regard to making math proposals that are rationally based via making intelligent decisions based on relevant data? Is it so she can sell you directors on her version of performance management?

I’ve spent three years telling you that the largest study in the history of education, Project Follow Through, is relevant to explain the SPS math follies. PFT was specifically designed to determine appropriate models to use in efficiently and effectively educating educationally disadvantaged learners in k-3 and pre-K. K-4 determines what happens k-12 and the disaster at k-4 creates the k-12 disaster. Especially when the high school adoption is based on a poor k-8 program, with the rationale for adoption being vertical alignment.

In PFT, 9 models were rigorously scrutinized over 28 years. The percentile average of these disadvantaged students was that they normally exited the third grade at the 20th%-ile. The results were that students using the best model, The Direct Instruction model leave grade 3 at the 48%-ile in Math, while the worst model the cognitive model used by Seattle had students exiting grade 3 at the 12th%-ile. The Seattle Schools problem is obvious. They reject the wisdom provided in John Hattie’s analysis of 800-meta analyses by choosing to educate students with strategies and interventions of marginal effectiveness. While they allow the Superintendent to reject proven instructional materials and practices with much greater efficacy. If the board wants better academic performance, then stop rubber-stamping the Superintendent’s actions and proposals.

Until recently I was unaware that School Board members cannot do whatever they wish in regard to decision making. They must base their decisions on a rational position. They CANNOT ignore the relevant data just because they wish to do so. They must have a reason otherwise the decision is “Arbitrary and Capricious” and can be over turned in Superior Court.

In the current HS math adoption action in Superior Court, the district submitted 1100 pages on which the School Board supposedly based their decision. [Note the NMAP “Foundations for Success” was not among them.] Oddly none of the material included any public testimony or letters. Upon examination the plaintiffs submitted about 200 pages of relevant data that the district did not find relevant to the decision. In court on January 26th, Judge Spector asked some questions based on the material submitted by the plaintiffs.

The part of the hearing I found most interesting was when Judge Spector asked questions about English Language Learners. Was the board aware that the inquiry program used at Cleveland and Garfield saw declining pass rates for English Language Learners and at Garfield it went to zero percent passing?

Shannon McMinimee’s response was that that data is not relevant as the program used there was investigative and “Discovering” is a balanced approach. Also the WASL is not a valid test of math skill. Scully’s response: Judge the WASL is all we have. (Sure would be nice to have those fall 2008 PSAT results.) Judge in the Algebra book on page four the publishers clearly state that this is an investigative approach to teaching mathematics. Take a look at lesson after lesson in these books they are investigations. The only place you will find a balance would be in the supplemental compact lessons, but how many students will ever see any of these?

Michael even though you and I know lots more than we did back in early 2007, this has had no impact on Seattle Schools math direction. I am about creating a better environment in which students can learn math and teachers can teach math successfully. I have failed miserably in that attempt as the Superintendents have way more power than the public in this game. Mother Teresa says my job is to stay faithful, as success is in God’s hands not mine.

So here is the plan. The Superintendent said all 41 NTN schools are successful via the CAO’s presentation to the board in the NTN introductory item on Jan 20th. TEAM MGJ has provided little in the way of data to support this claim. I will provide the Board with even more data and nicely organized that shows this claim that all 41 schools are successful is incorrect. It is in fact a fraudulent claim.

These schools are so ineffective in teaching mathematics that to claim the NTN model is a good foundation for a STEM school is preposterous. As of today if any director voted for this $800,000 contract, they had best have an excellent reason for doing so because an examination of all the relevant data and the actions of the superintendent indicate that such a vote for approval would be arbitrary and capricious. Should this NTN proposal passes with the board’s approval, good reasons for any vote to approve this proposal must accompanying a director’s vote, or you can count on this action item decision being appealed in Superior Court.

On the longer range, it has been stated that access to quality math & science education will be the civil rights issue of the next decade. The Seattle schools continually ignore what works for educationally disadvantaged learners in math; clearly this needs to go to Federal Court if the district fails to fix the current mess. Currently, Low Income students and students in several ethnic groups are harmed by district instructional materials and practices. The staggering 4th grade math achievement gap cited by Ms. Kaycee Guin at the work session exists despite Ms. Santorno’s claim that the gap would be eliminated in 5 years with EDM. In fact as I have pointed out on several occasions two years of WASL Math 4th grade testing shows the achievement gap increasing since the EDM adoption for each of four ethnic groups as well as Low Income and ELL.

Thanks for your continuing efforts to correct this ongoing mess. Who knows someday we may have a positive impact on math education that actually impacts Seattle’s students.


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Math hearing is set for Tuesday, January 26th,

Hearing Rescheduled for Jan. 26th in High School Math Text Adoption Appeal

A hearing is set for Tuesday,January 26th, at 8:30 AM,
in Room W 842 of the King County Courthouse.
The courthouse is located at 516 3rdAvenue, Seattle. Judge Julie Spector will hear the the appeal of a Seattle School Board vote last May to adopt the Discovering Mathematics high school textbook series. The appellants contend that the school district acted arbitrarily and capriciously by voting 4 to 3 to adopt a type of textbook associated with a widening achievement gap between minority students and white students, and between low-income and other students.

More information and links to legal briefs may be found

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Elementary Math Drill Software via CCNY

Parents are invited to go to
and click on Elementary Math Drill for math activities that they and their children might find useful.

Stanley Ocken

experimental website for mathematics instruction.
All pages are preliminary.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Seattle data contadicts the Superintendent's claim.

Dear Directors, January 7, 2010

Many excellent questions were asked at the 1-6-2010 board meeting by directors.

As you know I am frustrated by the actions of Seattle’s schools as well as many schools in the nation to adequately teach mathematics. This failure has been particularly detrimental to English language learners as well as Black students and Hispanic students.

Seattle’s failure to adequately serve educationally disadvantaged minority students in mathematics closely parallels the state of Maryland.

Decline in Percent of MD HS Graduates Minimally Ready for College Math
when they entered a College in MD.

1998 2005 2006
Whites 67% 60% 58%
African-Americans 44% 33% 36%
Asian-Americans 79% 74% 76%
Hispanics 56% 42% 43%

Particularly disturbing to me was superintendent Goodloe-Johnson’s response during the STEM conversation at Wednesday’s meeting that the Southeast Initiative was having positive effects at Aki Kurose and Cleveland.

In math I find nothing to substantiate that claim for Black students at Aki in grade 6.
Despite an increase in instructional time for math at many schools the results at Aki contradict the Superintendent’s claim of improvement. Granted we may be looking at a small sample size (Black 6th graders at Aki) but nothing positive has happened. This is hardly surprising given the defective instructional materials and misguided approach to teaching math in Seattle schools. Does anyone believe that 70% of Black students at level 1 in 2009 is testament to improvement?

Grade 6 Math Black students
Aki Kurose percents
2006 7.00% 59.00% 22.00% 12.00% 0%
2007 1.40% 56.20% 17.80% 15.10% 9.60%
2008 0% 66% 22% 8.00% 4.00%
2009 0% 70.00% 11.70% 10.00% 6.70%
year no score level 1 level 2 level 3 level 4
Aki Kurose numbers
2006 7 59 22 12 0
2007 1 41 13 11 7
2008 0 33 11 4 2
2009 0 42 7 6 4

At grade 7 at Aki things are similar:
Grade 7 Math
Aki Kurose Black students
2006 4.90% 69.50% 18.30% 7.30% 0.00%
2007 4.70% 65.10% 17.40% 9.30% 3.50%
2008 4.90% 59.00% 19.70% 13.10% 3.30%
2009 4.20% 72.90% 14.60% 6.30% 2.10%
year no score level 1 level 2 level 3 level 4
Aki Kurose numbers
2006 4 57 15 6 0
2007 4 56 15 8 3
2008 3 36 12 8 2
2009 2 35 7 3 1

At Grade 8 at Aki things are better for the 8th grade in 2009.
This group scored the best of the 6th grade classes in 2007 and
The best of the 7th grade classes in 2008 and had the best results of 8th grade classes.
Grade 8 Black
Aki Kurose
2006 6.40% 67.00% 13.80% 11.70% 1.10%
2007 1.10% 75.00% 18.20% 4.50% 1.10%
2008 0.00% 62.70% 18.70% 18.70% 0.00%
2009 3.30% 47.50% 23.00% 11.50% 9.80%
year no score level 1 level 2 level 3 level 4
Aki Kurose
2006 6 63 13 11 1
2007 1 66 16 4 1
2008 0 47 14 14 0
2009 2 29 14 7 6

The results for all students in grade 7 show a fairly constant level of students at level 1.
Aki Kurose all Math grade 7
Aki Kurose
2006 3.70% 62.60% 18.20% 12.80% 2.70%
2007 4.00% 55.20% 19.00% 15.50% 6.30%
2008 3.30% 54.60% 19.70% 17.10% 5.30%
2009 1.70% 61.70% 14.20% 10.80% 11.70%
year no score level 1 level 2 level 3 level 4
Aki Kurose
2006 7 117 34 24 5
2007 7 96 33 27 11
2008 5 83 30 26 8
2009 2 74 17 13 14

The superintendent mentioned Cleveland as improving with the Southeast Initiative.
Since this was in the context of a STEM conversation, where can you find improvement in Cleveland math? Certainly using a WASL metric shows none for Black students.

Cleveland percents Black students
2006 10.60% 48.90% 31.90% 8.50% 0.00%
2007 12.70% 61.90% 14.30% 9.50% 1.60%
2008 16.70% 66.70% 11.50% 3.80% 1.30%
2009 11.30% 63.40% 12.70% 9.90% 1.40%
year no score level 1 level 2 level 3 level 4
Cleveland numbers
2006 5 23 15 4 0
2007 8 39 9 6 1
2008 13 52 9 3 1
2009 8 45 9 7 1

The Superintendent did not mention Rainier Beach:
Rainier Beach percents Black Students
2006 2.40% 41.50% 34.10% 22.00% 0.00%
2007 8.80% 31.60% 24.60% 29.80% 5.30%
2008 2.70% 67.60% 8.10% 18.90% 2.70%
2009 0.00% 64.50% 22.60% 12.90% 0.00%
year no score level 1 level 2 level 3 level 4
Rainier Beach numbers
2006 1 17 14 9 0
2007 5 18 14 17 3
2008 1 25 3 7 1
2009 0 20 7 4 0

I maintain that in mathematics the Seattle schools ignore the proven instructional materials and practices that would work for educationally disadvantaged students in mathematics.
Preferring to continue with a discovery/exploration/inquiry approach that has failed for more than a decade. This places the district in violation of the State Constitution’s requirement to provide an adequate education to all students.

I pointed out to you directors that the achievement gaps for Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, English Language learners, Low Income, and Native American students all increased since the adoption of Everyday Mathematics (measured by 4th grade WASL results). The district’s response has been to do nothing to change its discriminatory math materials and practices. Instead the Superintendent claims the Southeast initiative has had a positive effect and moves on to spending on a STEM program (which likely will eventually serve a different set of students than the 55% of black 7th graders who can not score above level 1 on the Math WASL). You have an extremely ineffective k-12 math program that is particularly discriminatory toward educationally disadvantaged learners and your choice has been to ignore fixing it. On May 6, 2009, the board voted (4-3) for a vertically aligned k-12 program based on a discriminatory ineffective k-8 program.


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Seattle Math Adoption hearing 1-11-2010

Hearing is Monday 1-11-2010 at 8:30 AM

Contact: Martha McLaren

Hearing Impending in High School Math Text Adoption Appeal.
Seattle, Washington – January 5, 2010 – A hearing is set for Monday, Jan. 11, at 8:30 AM,
in the King County Superior Courtroom of Judge Julie Spector, on the appeal of a Seattle School Board vote last May to adopt the Discovering Mathematics high school textbook series. The appellants contend that the school district acted arbitrarily and capriciously by voting 4 to 3 to adopt a type of textbook associated with a widening achievement gap between minority students and white students, and between low-income students and other students.

The three plaintiffs – the mother of an African American 9th grader, a former math teacher who is grandmother of a 5th grader, and a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, filed the appeal based on their claim that, well before the May 6th vote, there was an ample accumulation of evidence that the "reform" math curricula favored by the district had helped to drive down WASL achievement scores, especially for English language learners and other minorities.

Martha McLaren, grandmother of a 5th grade student, declared, "Few people understand what a catastrophe is unfolding in our schools due to this misguided approach to teaching mathematics. It's tragic for individual students who grow up believing they are incompetent, and it's ultimately an immeasurable blow to society.

"I can't afford the tutoring that wealthier parents can afford in order for their children to learn the math skills they don't learn in Seattle Public Schools," stated Ms. DaZanne Porter, mother of a Rainier Beach High School Freshman.

Further describing the situation which has evoked a rising protest to Seattle Schools' math curriculum, UW atmospheric sciences professor and co-plaintiff Cliff Mass describes giving a simple basic math skills exam to his first year AS 101 students in the fall. They scored a class average of 58%. In the January 2 Cliff Mass Weather Blog, he wrote, "If many of our state's best students are mathematically illiterate, as shown by this exam, can you imagine what is happening to the others--those going to community college or no college at all? ... Quite simply, we are failing our children and crippling their ability to participate in an increasingly mathematical world."

Attorney Keith Scully, of Gendler and Mann, LLP, is representing the plaintiffs. He estimates the hearing will last about one hour, and expects a decision from Judge Spector by the end of the month. For those wishing to attend the hearing, the King County Courthouse is located at 516 Third Avenue, E-609 in Seattle.

Note: Many thanks to all of you who have offered generous support. Further donations are received with gratitude.

Checks may be made out to Seattle Math Group and mailed to
Marty McLaren
7020 18th SW, J22
Seattle, WA 98106

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Board Testimony 1-6-2010

Tonight marks my conclusion of three years of testimony before this body.

You will approve a $320,000 supplemental service contract for eligible students at 13 schools because the law requires you to do so. Following the law is a best practice in Seattle.

Adopting math materials that serve educationally disadvantaged learners appropriately clearly is NOT a best practice in Seattle. NOR is factoring public testimony into decision making. What happens for the students who are enrolled elsewhere than those 13 schools? Nothing they are stuck.

You now have the k-12 vertically aligned math curriculum that your superintendent wanted. Except the k-8 part has not worked for years.

The district submitted over 1000 pages to Superior court explaining the factors behind the high school math adoption selection. Public input was not considered as Zero pages of it was tendered to the court. The folks who think public testimony is just a meaningless formality to this district appear to be correct.

This board’s promotion/ non-promotion policies requiring effective interventions have been ignored for years.

It shows as for Black students in grade 4
48% are at level 1 in math on the WASL

for 7th grade it is 59% ….. for grade 10 it is 68%

In the high school adoption the program manager cited an analysis of “Discovering Math” by Dr James King in which he said the series was mathematically sound.

Would he know? He directed an NSF math project at Cleveland that after three years in 2009 left 75% of Black students with WASL scores of level 1 or no score. These students all had sophomore credits.

When it comes to math adoptions this district prefers to search the nation for results that can be used to justify their selections. Like New York City or Madison, Wisconsin while avoiding Everett and Lake Washington. Particularly bizarre was the idea that high school materials needed to be vertically aligned with k-8 but avoiding Seattle’s k-8 math data.

Speaking of avoiding data … the October 2008 PSAT results have yet to be released to the public in any useful form. But 7 months after the testing you made a math adoption.
The current governance model is not open, transparent, or accountable.

Just look at the pathetic results and the lack of any meaningful action toward improvement.

Do any of you actually believe that every school will be a quality school?
Check the relevant data instead of fairy-tales.

Thank you.

School Board letter Jan 5

Dear Seattle School Director, 1-5-2010

The impact of the Discovery/Inquiry math agenda pushed over the last decade by OSPI has been extremely destructive for educationally disadvantaged learners throughout the state. This is particularly true in Seattle where the definition of how math is learned on their website advocates for exploration and inquiry.

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.

The result of our state's defective leadership are evident in a myriad of places. The recent posting of a math skills test given at the University of WA in Atmospheric sciences 101 found large numbers of students deficient in k-8 math skills as over 40% of students could NOT divide 231 by 7.

For the Wednesday board meeting
on the agenda at:

in the .pdf for agenda 1-06-2010
will be found under action items:

2. Approval of a contract with A+ Advantage Point
Learning for Supplemental Education Services – Approval
of this item will award a contract for A+ Advantage Point Learning in the
amount of $320,978.00 for supplemental education services. (action)

The linked .pdf on this item contains the following:


Comply with the SES provisions of• NCLB federal legislation.
Provide supplemental services for eligible students in reading and math.•

• Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) data.
No Child• Left Behind (NCLB) legislation.
OSPI’s SES program guidance.•
• Seattle Public Schools (SPS) data identifying eligible schools and students.


School Board approval is necessary in order
to comply with NCLB legislation.

Funds come entirely from our Title I, Part A/Basic
federal grant; no local dollars are used. Seattle’s
2009/10 total grant is $14,079,640, of which no less
than 20% ($2,815,928) must be set aside for SES
and PSC.

X Annual Expenditure:

The School Improvement Department (SI) advertised SES free tutoring at all 13 eligible schools via:


There you have it.....

The school improvement department is a total joke.

Instead of improving schools (of which there are around 100)
supplemental services are provided to certain students at 13 schools
because the law requires it.

If you are a student in any school in Seattle you get the pathetic district adopted k-12 vertically aligned math program. Over 80 of these schools are not mandated to provide SES funding.

At grade 4 the achievement gaps expanded over the two years since Everyday Math was adopted. (Black, Hispanic, Native American, Low Income, Asian, Limited English)

Black students WASL pass rates

10th Grade Math
Year State Seattle
2004-05 20.40% 12.90%
2005-06 23.20% 21.70%
2006-07 22.50% 19.60%
2007-08 22.20% 16.00%
2008-09 20.90% 16.30%

7th Grade Math
Year State Seattle
1997-98 4.90% 2.30%
1998-99 6.80% 4.70%
1999-00 8.70% 6.30%
2000-01 7.80% 5.10%
2001-02 10.30% 6.80%
2002-03 14.10% 7.30%
2003-04 21.40% 15.00%
2004-05 25.40% 17.40%
2005-06 24.50% 17.70%
2006-07 30.10% 24.10%
2007-08 28.00% 24.20%
2008-09 28.20% 23.10%

4th Grade Math
Year State Seattle
1997-98 13.00% 14.20%
1998-99 15.30% 12.00%
1999-00 18.70% 17.20%
2000-01 19.50% 15.00%
2001-02 28.60% 22.30%
2002-03 35.50% 31.10%
2003-04 37.50% 36.40%
2004-05 37.70% 33.10%
2005-06 36.40% 31.30%
2006-07 35.10% 32.00%
2007-08 31.30% 27.60%
2008-0930.20% 29.10%

percentage of Black students scoring at level 1
over the last 4 years

Grade 4 WASL level 1
Year State Seattle
2006 35.50% 41.90%
2007 39.00% 41.80%
2008 40.80% 44.40%
2009 41.80% 48.10%

Grade 7 WASL level 1
year state Seattle
2006 51.70% 59.60%
2007 46.80% 52.60%
2008 49.00% 54.20%
2009 51.80% 59.40%

Grade 10 WASL level 1 + no scores
year state seattle
2006 51.10% 50.40%
2007 55.60% 63.10%
2008 60.70% 70.40%
2009 63.90% 68.50%

Black students at Cleveland scoring at level 1 + no scores
2006 59.50%
2007 74.60%
2008 83.40%
2009 74.70%

Please keep in mind that prior to 2006 all second year HS students in Seattle took the grade 10 math WASL.
In 2006 and onward only students with sophomore credits could take the WASL and be counted as 10th graders in the report.

Thus the extremely high percentages of HS students scoring at level 1 + no scores
are for Black students with sophomore credits in Seattle High Schools.

The School Board has done nothing to change this situation except give the Central Administration the green light to keep going with this incredible failure.

It will be interesting to see if Judge Spector finds Seattle's actions to be in compliance with article IX of the State Constitution on Monday Jan 11..

The PSAT scores for October of 2008 are still unavailable from Central Admin.
Do you care?


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.