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

Donations can also be made through Paypal for a small fee.

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