Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Key Press thoughts + my thoughts

The following is from Key Curriculum Press
the publishers of Discovering Mathematics
Discovering Mathematics is the Highest-Ranking,
Mathematically Sound, High School Math Curriculum

1. The Seattle lawsuit is about the choice of curriculum, not about the results for

• Discovering Mathematics had only been used for 6 weeks in the Seattle School
District when the lawsuit was filed. The plaintiffs reacted to the choice of materials
and not the results from the classroom. "..A.."

• The plaintiffs relied on data from other curricula to make their claims, not on any
data regarding Discovering Mathematics. "..B.."

• Seattle’s textbook selection process chose Discovering Mathematics after exhaustive
review by administrators, educators, curriculum and instruction department staff,
parents, school board members, and mathematicians. "..C.."

• Discovering Mathematics was chosen in Seattle because the School Board could see
the potential to serve a diverse student population and improve mathematical
achievement across the district. "..D.."

• The series is entirely mathematically correct and makes no errors or
misrepresentations. "..E.."

The following is what I saw. Perhaps I am wrong but this is my take.
Since the above from Key contains some errors I figure I'm entitled to my take.

"..A.." Not true. This lawsuit was filed on June 5, 2009 over two months before the books were in use not 6 weeks after. Key needs to read the documents they post for download. Better yet get them from the Seattle Math Group ... we like evidence and read what is written and attempt to report accurately.

On May 20th 2009, Martha McLaren stated that we intended to sue in Federal Court over the Rights of Educationally Disadvantaged Learners in Federal Court. Then we found out we could file an appeal in District Court. I began our 6 minute testimony and Marty finished it. You can watch it at minute 22 of part 1 of 5/20/2009 HERE

"..B.." The district's Strategic Plan was looking for a k-12 vertical alignment of instructional materials. We found it perfectly appropriate to look carefully at how badly the k-8 programs had failed. In my testimony above you will clearly see our dissatisfaction with Everyday Math, we did not want something that aligned with that.
Director Bass in explaining her vote essentially said that she was informed that "Discovering " aligned very well with the district's k-8 materials, so she voted NO.
Director DeBell also noted on April 22, 2009 that he saw "Discovering" as continuing a noble but failed experiment "reform math". YouTube DeBell explanation is HERE. He voted NO on May 6, 2009.

"..C.." The District clearly stacked the adoption Committee with a five question application and a rubric that favored the selection of "Inquiry Math" enthusiasts.
The process did not use the "NMAP" final report. In the process little interest was shown for the State Board of Education's Mathematical Soundness report from W. Stephen Wilson and report from Guershon Harel. The process included essentially no data from surrounding school districts and no data from Seattle's k-8 programs to which the "Discovering Materials" would vertically align. Three of seven School Board members were on the instructional materials committee, this is not like being on the adoption committee.

"..D.." which director's made this statement? If the directors were interested in "to serve a diverse student population" they would have examined the evidence of how poorly the k-8 program was serving educationally disadvantaged learners. I submitted this data to them on numerous occasions and in numerous testimonies. One of which is on the video of McLaren and I on May 20th. Granted the adoption decision was made on May 6, 2009. But I had submitted extensive similar information on numerous occasions prior to May 6, 2009. Again 4 directors voted for, you can watch their testimony here on May 6, 2009. Plaintiff McLaren speaks at 36:30 .. Board Questions begin at 126:30 .. you need to put cursor on the slider and move it in the slot to move to different sections. Voting with explanations starts at 134:30. I see and hear very little in the explanations of the four directors voting yes, that confirms much about "..D.." or mathematics instructional materials. Evidence for each of the Four Director's decisions is as Judge Spector points out lacking.

"..E.." Please report this to Johns Hopkins University as in your opinion W. Stephen Wilson, their department head in Mathematics, is wrong. Please alert U.C.San Diego that Dr. Guershon Harel has made serious, serious errors.

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