Thursday, February 18, 2010

Letter to Bellevue Reporter
(comment #1)
From the Preamble of Article IX Wash. Constitution: "It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex."

With the use of the inquiry based mathematics materials the Mathematics achievement gaps expanded greatly on WASL Math as measured at grades 4, 7, 10 over the decade from Spring 98 to Spring 07 for Black and Hispanic Students. The average change for all three levels tested was a math gap increase of 24.6 points for Blacks and 11.3 pt. for Hispanics. In reading the gap was narrowed for Hispanics by 17.8 pt. while for Blacks in reading the gap grew by 8.9. The point gap differential between Math and Reading shows Math worse by 15.7 pt. for Blacks and by 29.1 pt for Hispanics.
Clearly BSD has a Big Article IX Problem.

The BSD could be using an inefficient and discriminatory instructional approach for the teaching of Mathematics.

Professor John Sweller, School of Education, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
A coauthor of "Why Minimally Guided Instruction Does Not Work" wrote the following to me:

Despite decades of advocacy, there is no body of evidence based on randomised, controlled experiments demonstrating the superiority of inquiry-based over explicit instruction. There is a huge body of evidence from around the globe demonstrating the advantages of explicitly showing learners how to solve problems as opposed to having them discover how to solve the same problems. In the research literature, that body of evidence is associated with the "worked example effect". That literature is carefully ignored by the discovery learning advocates.

Thus far the BSD seems to assume that if they follow the correct adoption procedures they can avoid an embarrassing trip to Superior Court. Perhaps too much reform math thinking has led the BSD to believe that it is the process that counts and the results do not really matter.

Welcome to the real world ...
1.. Results Matter
2.. Data should drive decision making
3.. Making a decision without considering all the evidence will land you into Superior Court
4.. Continued Disregard For Article IX will lead to an embarrassing LOSS in Superior Court.

5.. Any Director casting an "Arbitrary and Capricious" vote, would be committing "Malfeasance"
6.. One act of "Malfeasance" is all that is required to successfully file a "ReCall" petition.
7.. Signatures from 25% of the voting populace will be a lot more embarrassing than a trip to Superior Court.

The moral of this story is that:
To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data. It is time to require evidence in decision making. BSD Staff & Directors please begin using evidence or go home.

Ivaylo Ivanov states:
(comment #2)
The high school math curriculum in the Bellevue School District is garbage. A year ago, my parents divorced, and as a result I had to move to a town on the outskirts of Houston. The math curriculum here is just that: math. Actual math that the rest of the world does. Needless to say, I was not prepared to do this type of math, having attended Newport, which is supposedly one of the best high schools in the country.

The school district needs to implement a curriculum that teaches its students math, and not one that provides students with extra opportunities for socializing during these "group investigations" that the students are so used to doing.

No comments: