Saturday, July 24, 2010

Niki Hayes Writes: It's not about children. It's about power among adults.

At some point, we must face the fact that in the world of education (including mathematics) , politics is now ruler of that world. It's not about children. It's about power among adults.

Please read the letter from TX State Senator Florence Shapiro to Congressman Lloyd Doggett that's embedded in this story.

Proposed Math Standards Unteachable

Viewpoints: Proposed math standards unteachable

By Bill Evers and Ze'ev Wurman

Special to The Bee
Published: Saturday, Jul. 24, 2010 - 12:00 am | Page 11A

California's proposed new mathematics content standards would gut the state's successful program, which has put 60 percent of the state's children in Algebra I by eighth grade. Most importantly, the proposed new algebra course is so overburdened in eighth grade that only an elite few students will be able to succeed. Unfortunately, students also will not be adequately prepared for algebra in eighth grade, under the proposed plan.

We were the two dissenting commissioners when the California State Academic Content Standards Commission voted July 15 on the math standards proposed for California's children. We dissented because the proposed math standards do not meet or exceed – particularly in kindergarten through grade seven – the level of academic rigor in the content standards that California already has. (Academic standards are grade-by-grade compilations of the subject-matter topics that students are expected to learn.)

full story here:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Superintendent Dorn Provisionally Adopts Common Core State Standards

Superintendent Dorn Provisionally Adopts
Common Core State Standards

OLYMPIA — State Superintendent Randy Dorn announced today that he is provisionally adopting the Common Core State Standards for English language arts and mathematics.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is required to deliver a detailed report on the common core standards in January 2011 to the state Legislature. The report, as outlined in Section 601 of the Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 6696, will include a comparison of common core and current state learning standards, an estimated timeline and the cost to the state and districts to implement them.

According to ESSB 6696, formal adoption and implementation of the new standards may not occur until after the 2011 legislative session, which will provide an opportunity for legislative review.

The common core standards were developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers in collaboration with teachers, school administrators and education experts. The goal of the standards is to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our nation’s children for college and the workforce.

“The standards clearly articulate the skills and knowledge all kids in Washington need to learn,” Dorn said. “Common standards will also help level the playing field for what’s becoming a more mobile society. Students moving to our state from another state can essentially pick up where they left off.”

more at the full release link at top.

Cliff Mass is on Math again

Not to be missed:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

WSSDA proposes to side with NONSENSE

Dear WSSDA President Kevin Laverty, 7-06-2010

I was shocked to see that WSSDA was filing an amicus brief in support of the Seattle School District's appeal of the 2-04-2010 Spector decision.

Such a filing would be a support for a Superintendent and Four directors who operate as oligarchs in a republic. I urge you and the WSSDA directors to look at all the facts surrounding the Spector decision and the SPS's appeal. {Decision and appeal briefs attached}

As a member of the public I believe that the public is entitled to the protections of State Law. If WSSDA files an amicus brief supporting the SPS in its Washington Appeals Court action, this brief will be supporting:
(1) a School Board's original exclusion of evidence and
(2) defiance of a court order requiring Seattle to include all the evidence, from an administrative transcript of evidence agreed upon by both parties , in remaking the decision.

As I say I am shocked that WSSDA has so little regard for the rights of the public.

The WSSDA amicus summary on the WSSDA website
Summary of Issues to be Appealed misses enormously important information:

#1 On May 6, 2009 the school directors made a decision based on evidence provided to the board by Holly Fergusen of approximately 1100 pages. The evidence considered did not include at least 300 pages sent to the board by the public, which was clearly excluded from the making of the 5-06-2009 decision.

#2 The District's attorney Shannon McMinimee in the original Superior Court action agreed with Porter et al. attorney Keith Scully that a supplemental transcript of evidence consisting of evidence provided by the public be added to the administrative record. The entire administrative record then consisted of more than 1400 pages.

#3 The Judge on 2-04-2010 issued an order of remand that stated:

The Board's decision to adopt the Discovering Series is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

#4 The Seattle School Board has consistently failed to satisfy the requirements of RCW 28A 645.020

Within twenty days of service of the notice of appeal, the school board, at its expense, or the school official, at such official's expense, shall file the complete transcript of the evidence and the papers and exhibits relating to the decision for which a complaint has been filed. Such filings shall be certified to be correct.

#5 WSSDA support of the SPS, a district that has yet to be able to file a "Certified Correct Transcript" on which any school board decision appealed in the last 18 months has been based, is extremely shocking. A much fuller explanation than that currently provided on the WSSDA website is definitely in order if WSSDA chooses to support a District that continually fails to follow state law in decision-making.

#6 It would be much more appropriate if WSSDA recommended to the SPS that they install a system that creates a proper transcript of the evidence and the papers and exhibits relating to the decision for which a complaint has been filed. This is a problem of significant size that WSSDA should address.


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.
SBE Math Advisory Panelist
Spector Decision 2-4-10
District's Brief 5-21-10
Porter et al Brief 6-21-10

Testimony 7-7-2010 at Seattle School Board

Directors, I am Dan Dempsey 7-7-2010

From the Washington State Auditor’s Office report 7-6-10: ….. “Quote”

RESULTS Overarching Conclusion

Our audit found the School Board and executive management must improve oversight of District operations.

We noted several instances in which public assets were misappropriated or susceptible to misappropriation due to (1) lack of effective policies, (2) management’s failure to enforce existing policies and/or (3) inadequately trained staff.

The Board and District management are not as familiar with state and federal law on school district operations and on the use of grant funds as the public would expect. As a result, the District exposes itself to greater risk of loss of federal funds and increases the risk for non-compliance with laws and regulations.

Further, the School Board delegated authority to the Superintendent to create specific procedures to govern day-to-day District operations. The Board does not evaluate these procedures to determine if they are effective and appropriate.
. ………. “Un-Quote”

It seems The Board should be evaluating procedures to determine if they are effective and appropriate.
So what does the Board evaluate? Can the Board effectively and appropriately evaluate the Superintendent?

The Superintendent regularly disregards evidence in making proposals to the school board. The School Board in arriving at many of their 4-3 decisions disregards evidence as well.

The Superintendent is the secretary of the school board. During the entire three years of the Superintendent’s employment the district has had no system in place to evaluate evidence in School Board decision-making.

The Board failed to examine any evidence from the public in making an “Arbitrary and Capricious” math materials selection on May 6, 2009.

The distain for evidence continued with the Superintendent’s appeal of that decision.

The Board is never able to provide a “Certified Correct Transcript” of evidence used in decision-making as required by state law. This shortcoming falls squarely on the Board and the School Board Secretary, Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson. To extend her contract at this time would be yet another “Arbitrary and Capricious” decision.

Not one of the following Board decisions were done in compliance with state laws: (1) New Student Assignment Plan, (2) School Closures, (3) the $800,000 New Technology Network Contract approval, (4) The High School Math adoption. All are still under active legal appeals.

Get the audit HERE

By a vote of 5-2 the Board extended the Superintendent's contract.
A legal appeal of the decision was filed. The Appeal was dismissed as under Washington State Law a School Board decision in regard to a Superintendent's contract may not be appealed.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Protection for Human Subjects apparently lacking


Dear UW Human Subjects Division,

In 2004, an NSF/EHR funded program began under the direction of Dr. James King of UW Math department. This grant expenditure started as a professional development program for teachers, primarily at West Seattle, Cleveland, and Garfield High Schools. It received funding in the amount of $200,000 per year.

In the fall of 2006 as part of this collaboration under the direction of Dr. King, Cleveland High School began a three year whole school experiment using an experimental approach to mathematics instruction. This experiment continued apparently unmonitored for the entire three years. It appears that this experiment was unmonitored as Limited English Speaking students performed substantially worse during the course of this experiment as measured by WASL grade 10 math results and the percentage of Black students unable to score above level 1 far below basic increased to more than 70%. This project was run as a collaboration of UW Math, UW College of Education, and the Seattle Public Schools.

Beginning with the Spring 2006 WASL test the Seattle Schools began requiring students to have sophomore credits to take the WASL. In most cases Seattle High Schools saw increases in performance from 2004, 2005 Spring WASL scores to the scores in 2006 and following. Unfortunately for Limited English speaking students and struggling Black students this was not the case in the three year Cleveland math instruction experiment.

I filed a complaint with the Office of the Inspector General of the NSF. The agent assigned to this case is Lewis Burkley. Recently I received an inquiry from OIG investigative scientist Scott J. Moore. Dr. Moore wished to know what protections were in place.

I am writing to the UW Human Subjects Division as I have been unable to find any protections but thought that you might have some records of the protections Human Subjects might have been provided. It appears this may have been an unmonitored experiment on uninformed human subjects.

Thank You,

Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.