Sunday, October 31, 2010

How much Math do we really need?
from Washington Post

Twenty-seven years have passed since the publication of the report "A Nation at Risk," which warned of dire consequences if we did not reform our educational system. This report, not unlike the Sputnik scare of the 1950s, offered tremendous opportunities to universities and colleges to create and sell mathematics education programs.

Unfortunately, the marketing of math has become similar to the marketing of creams to whiten teeth, gels to grow hair and regimens to build a beautiful body.

There are three steps to this kind of aggressive marketing. The first is to convince people that white teeth, a full head of hair and a sculpted physique are essential to a good life. The second is to embarrass those who do not possess them. The third is to make people think that, since a good life is their right, they must buy these products.

So it is with math education.

.... ......

Those who do love math and science have been doing very well. Our graduate schools are the best in the world. This "nation at risk" has produced about 140 Nobel laureates since 1983 (about as many as before 1983).

As for the rest, there is no obligation to love math any more than grammar, composition, curfew or washing up after dinner. Why create a need to make it palatable to all and spend taxpayers' money on pointless endeavors without demonstrable results or accountability?

We survived the "New Math" of the 1960s. We will probably survive this math evangelism as well -- thanks to the irrelevance of pedagogical innovation.

The writer, G.V. Ramanathan, is a professor emeritus of mathematics, statistics and computer science at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

After WWII the USA found itself in an ideal circumstance. In 1980 the game had changed but through largely financial "flim flam" and "smoke and mirrors" we managed to make USA lifestyle better than we could actually afford for the last 30 years. Now we are likely entering a period of austerity.

Remember all that social security money deducted from pay checks was largely funneled into general spending over the last 30 years. So there was no "Social Security" lock box -- wow Al Gore was wrong (imagine that).

So where is the investment happening in the USA to produce the jobs for the next several decades? R & D ??

As near as I can see whatever economic recovery that was going to happen has happened. Look at State Jobs in Olympia, now that there are no more Federal bailout dollars arriving there will be reductions in employment.

The stats have indicated that private employment is headed up and government employment is headed down. If you are waiting for a bigger recovery, on what will it be based?

Our nation is not producing the technical professionals necessary to maintain our economic advantages in a highly competitive environment.

The idea that all students need advanced skills is ridiculous.

Look no further than what happened in LAUSD when all students were required to pass Geometry to graduate, the quality of Geometry courses rapidly declined.

Core-24 from WA SBE seems an absurd undertaking for a variety of reasons.


Look for further declines in housing prices at least in Olympia, Washington.

How much math is really needed depends on the individual as well as national needs. The idea that all students need to reach a proficient level in Advanced Algebra to graduate is absurd. This requirement will only serve to lower the quality of Advanced Algebra classes and further debilitate the state and the nation.

Needless to say the incredibly wasteful NSF/EHR "Reform Math" movement has contributed to mathematically disabling at least a generation of students.

.... but it sure has provided employment for marginally qualified extremely misguided math coaches accompanied by "Just Absolute ZIP" for results.

Zero accountability on every level for those who should be held responsible.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

48th is Not a Good Place : NY Times

48th Is Not a Good Place Published: October 26, 2010

The National Academies, the country’s leading advisory group on science and technology, warned in 2005 that unless the United States improved the quality of math and science education, at all levels, it would continue to lose economic ground to foreign competitors.

and Blah, Blah, Blah

About this piece Al says:

Their conclusion is SO flawed: "Too often, science curriculums are grinding and unimaginative, which may help explain why more than half of all college science majors quit the discipline before they earn their degrees."

How about the lack of math ability that dooms many to failure? Ya think?

Al is exactly spot on. To be more precise the lack of ability, to which Al refers, comes from lack of skills. Note the solution that this NYT article proposes does little to remedy the poor results coming from the widespread use of too much Discovery/Inquiry teaching in both math and science in the USA.

It seems that few if any of the "big gun Education decision-makers" care to acknowledge the truth contained in John Hattie's Visible Learning that shows the following effect sizes:

The SPS continues to use ineffective methods, which produce poor results, when proven
better methods are available. John Hattie’s reported effect sizes in Visible Learning are:

Problem Based Learning 0.15
Inquiry based learning 0.31
Direct Instruction 0.59
Mastery learning 0.61

The Seattle Central Admin pushes what does not work far too much “Project Based Learning & Inquiry” and ignores what works. The Everyday Math pacing plan is a prime example. Defective materials made worse through pacing.

The National Math panel calls for increased “Explicit Instruction” for students struggling to learn math. To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data. Will Seattle ever intelligently apply relevant data?

Try these results (graph here) in Advanced Algebra, from the High Tech Project Based Learning school New Tech Sacramento, this is a demonstration school that Seattle is paying $800,000 to copy.
New Tech Network schools by contract must use Project Based Learning as the primary instructional mode in all classes. So in the words of Dr. Phil: "How's that working out?"

At New Tech Sacramento:
Of Advanced Algebra
50 students tested on
CA State End of Course testing in 2009 ==>

0 Advanced
1 proficient
2 basic
18 below basic
29 far below basic

New Technology High in Sacramento is one of the older NTN schools. It has been stated that these schools get better over time. Test scores at NT Sacramento have not.
California classifies schools each year with API numbers. The API rankings are determined by academic performance standing relative to all CA schools. A 10 = highest 10% of CA schools and a 1 = lowest 10%, thus a 6 is slightly above average and a 5 is slightly below.

Here are API rankings for NT Sacramento & enrollment:
Year : API ranking : enrollment
2005 .:..:. 6 .:..:. 240
2006 .:..:. 5 .:..:. 239
2007 .:..:. 4 .:..:. 236
2008 .:..:. 3 .:..:. 223

The Seattle administration did a poor job of researching NTN schools prior to selection. Why are they not disclosing the actual performance of NTN schools? Instead they say all 41 NTN schools are successful.

So here is yet another article or editorial from the New York Times that follows the same formula as most of the other NYT education thoughts.

#1.. There is a problem.

#2.. A proposed change is put forth which masquerades as a solution to the problem.

#3.. The original problem continues largely unchanged despite the full implementation of the proposed change.

#4.. Repeat #1, #2, and #3.

To which Al responds:
Or in this case (math) the "original problem" is not just largely unchanged when implementation of the "solution" occurs, it is actually actively made worse. From what I have seen since 1981 moving around so much, I think there is a HUGE chunk of "middle kids" that would have been able to get a solid math education in the early 70s that now are eliminated from math-related pursuits because the reform approach has convinced them they can NEVER learn!

Must we be doomed to operate under the dictates of moron leaders for eternity in education? Apparently so given the limited range of coverage and analysis in the NYT.

Its the defective instructional materials, pedagogy and the curricula. Without foundational skills, students are left to flounder in a sea of expensive gadgets purchased from vendors.

Education in the USA focuses around NO VENDOR LEFT BEHIND.

"To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data."
-- W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993)

It would help if the NYT kept Deming's words in mind, rather than continuing to produce more educationally misleading recommendations and analyses.

Public Records Request for clarification about the memo.

Public Records Request for clarification about the Anderson memo.

Self-Reporting of Legal Violations in Seattle Schools
is a great idea

Today I wrote a letter to School Board President Michael DeBell urging him to self-report violations of State Laws to the State Auditor's Office.

That would let me know that the Board is serious about transparency and accountability.

Here is my letter.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Which Anderson Memo ...
.... from MJG used by whom????
and received when ... that said what?

Dear Director Kay Smith-Blum, 10/26/2010

On 4/11/2010 you wrote "Hey Dan, can you send me the memo from Eric Anderson 1/29/10 – don’t have in file. Thanks’ksb" requesting the memo of 1-29-2010.

I sent you the requested memo, which SPS legal affairs officer Joy Stevens sent to me. What I sent to you was the memo I received after asking on 3/15/2010 for the memo to which the Action Report of 3/12/2010 referred. The Action report said: "and provided the following feedback in a memo sent to the board on January 29, 2010:"

It is very clear that this memo I received was not the memo that was used to write the Action Report of 3/12/2010. Rather a different less complete modified version showed up in the transcript of evidence provided by the District on May 21, 2010. I find it particularly odd that two versions of the same memo have the same date from Eric Anderson and that the memo version, which presents the more positive view of NTN was provided as evidence. This version contained only 6 schools not the 8 of the version sent to me.

Particularly disturbing is that the memo, I specifically asked for that was sent to me, was not used to construct the Action Report.

We at S3B have requested copies of emails sent from the Superintendent to the Board to which the memo of 1-29-2010 was attached. We hope to ascertain, which version of the memo was sent to each director and when this memo sending occurred.

Please review the attached RCWs in regard to fraud and forgery. Any assistance that you can provide would be appreciated.

Thank you for your continued efforts to produce a transparent accountable district.

At this point the SPS appears to be a long way from transparency and accountability.

I have found Eric Anderson to be a responsible and competent individual.

Given the Audit released on July 6, 2010, I do not find the Superintendent either accountable or competent.

I look forward to your reply.


Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.

The attachments included with the above letter were these:

Action Report of 3/12/2010

Original Anderson memo

Modified version of the memo

Comparison of Action Report with the modified memo

RCWs on fraud and forgery


Dear Directors DeBell and Smith-Blum,

It seems that transparency could be greatly enhanced by the following.

The Action Report of 3/12/2010 stated:

"The District examined the standards-based achievement results of STEM-focused New Technology Network (NTN) schools around the country, and provided the following feedback in a memo sent to the board on January 29, 2010:"

So check your email with a quick search of January 29, 2010. Pleased send me the memo from Dr. Goodloe-Johnson that you received on January 29, 2010.


Dan Dempsey

Is it Fraud in the Seattle Schools?

It appears that the only way to get any action on School District Fraud is to file a complaint with the Seattle Police.

The Attorney General will only act on referrals from County Prosecutors or the State Auditor's Office. The Auditor's Office will only make a referral based on an official Audit Finding. The Prosecutor's Office will only act on Police complaints.

So the fraudulent actions by the Superintendent in the illegal award of an $800,000 no bid contract will get no immediate attention unless the Seattle Police decide to act. For that the happen the Seattle Police must accept a complaint.

That will be this week's project, to submit a fraud complaint regarding Dr. Goodloe-Johnson's actions to the Seattle Police.

Here are a few RCWs dealing with Fraud and Forgery.

The Attorney General has a consumer protection division that acts on Fraud but it appears that this is fraud committed by businesses.

I guess that government agencies have carte blanche to defraud the public as far as the AG's office is concerned; unless the Seattle Police accepts a complaint and refers it to the Prosecutor's office, who in turn refers it to the Office of the State Attorney General.

More later.

Is the Seattle Schools' Superintendent Guilty of Fraud?

To Whom It May Concern:

It is my belief that the Seattle Schools Superintendent, who is also the secretary of the Seattle School Board, is guilty of violating several state laws.

On February 3, 2010 Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson submitted an NTN contract draft to the Board for approval that did not match the action report. This was an $800,000 contract draft action without competitive bidding that was approved by a 4-2 vote. The District failed to use the process for non-competitive bidding in the award of this contract.

When asked to show the contract to the public the District refused, which violates the law if an exemption from competitive bidding is done outside of the normally prescribed channels. Rather than produce the contract the Superintendent produced a new action report on March 12, 2010.

This new action report referred to a memo written by Eric M. Anderson on January 29, 2010. I received that memo from the office of legal affairs on March 16, 2010, a day after I requested it.

According to legal affairs officer, Joy Stevens, this memo was the memo on which the action report was based, but it was not. The District submitted a different version of the same memo in the evidence to the court.
This different version was provided to satisfy an appeal filed on May 7, 2010 of the April 7, 2010 $800,000 NTN contract approval. The version submitted by the district had substantial differences from the memo that I received on March 16, 2010. It is clear to me from inspection of the 3/12/2010 Action Report that the memo I received was not used in the preparation of the Action Report. The Superintendent and the Chief Academic Officer in their preparation of that 3/12/2010 Action Report used a modified version of that memo.

It is my belief that the Seattle Schools Superintendent fraudulently deceived both the public and the Seattle School Directors with her actions.

The above information is true to the best of my knowledge.

Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr.


Initial Brief filed 10/25/2010 over the $800,000 non-competitive bid New Tech Network contract approved on 4/7/2010.

Here are relevant exhibits K, X, and Y.

Action Report of 3/12/2010
introduced on 3/17/2010
used for contract draft approval on 4/7/2010

Original Anderson memo provided on 3/16/2010

Modified version of Anderson memo in evidence provided 5/21/2010 by the District to the Court.

Direct comparison of 3/12/2010 Action Report and Modified memo.

The following paragraph was in the original Anderson memo but missing from the different memo version submitted to the court and not present in the 3/12/2010 Action Report:

Since the data is mixed, the primary question is whether Seattle Public Schools believes strongly in the research‐based NTN learning model. Success will more than likely depend on the quality of program implementation. Knowing ahead of time that the NTN model does not guarantee strong results only enhances the degree to which the burden falls on the district and the schools to achieve success.

(Approval of an $800,000 contract, awarded via an illegally presented non-competitive bid of $800,000 for a defective product ... courtesy of Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The RECALL and the non-competitive bid on an $800,000 contract

On March 16, 2010 I received Dr. Anderson's memo of 1-29-2010, which I requested from Ms. Joy Stevens.

A major problem centers on the fact that The Action Report of 3-12-2010 which formed the basis for the voting on the NTN contract was not based on that memo but rather on a modified version of that memo.

Who changed the memo and why?

The changing of the memo made the NTN contract seem to be more reasonable than it would have been had the original memo been used.

This final paragraph of the original memo was omitted from the Action Report:

"Since the data is mixed, the primary question is whether Seattle Public Schools believes strongly in the research‐based NTN learning model. Success will more than likely depend on the quality of program implementation. Knowing ahead of time that the NTN model does not guarantee strong results only enhances the degree to which the burden falls on the district and the schools to achieve success."

No one could read that paragraph and think that a non-competitive contract was merited for such a product.

Dr. Goodloe-Johnson and Chief Academic Officer Enfield were the persons responsible for the Action Report. The Superintendent apparently sent the modified version of the memo to the school board.
(see "sent" linked Heaton to English email of 3-9-2010)

Directors Martin-Morris, Maier, Sundquist, and Carr approved the contract but never followed the legally required procedures to allow an exemption from competitive bidding.

The District continues to fail to certify that the evidence they provide in an appeal is correct. This continued defiance of RCW 28A 645.020 has thus far been allowed by several King County Superior Court judges. Look where the failure of the court to enforce "Such filings shall be certified to be correct" has led us. How can a winning argument be constructed from evidence provided by the District when such evidence is not certified to be correct?

On 10-21-2010, filings for the recall and discharge of each of the four directors were submitted at the elections office at 1 PM.

Filings made on October 21:
Carr filing
Maier filing
Martin-Morris filing
Sundquist filing

Precisely why I think FRAUD occurred:
Email evidence showing the original request for the memo mentioned in the 3-12-2010 action report, which produced the original memo.

The memo later submitted by the District as evidence was not this memo but rather a version masquerading as the original.

The action report used the modified version of the memo, which did not include the most significant shortcoming in the original memo: "Knowing ahead of time that the NTN model does not guarantee strong results only enhances the degree to which the burden falls on the district and the schools to achieve success."

No one could reasonably believe that non-competitive bidding should be applied to such a product.

The legal requirement for an exemption from non-competitive bidding includes:
(a) Purchases that are clearly and legitimately limited to a single source of supply;

Why would a product that places the burden on the school district to make it work be purchased rather than being rejected or at least made subject to competitive bidding?

The answer appears to be because central administration wanted it that way.

List of Exhibits index of evidence used in the recall and discharge filings

Exhibits A and B contents

Exhibits C, D and E contents

Exhibits F and G contents

Exhibits H, I, J, and J2 contents

Exhibit K the Anderson Memo and support documentation contents

Exhibits L, M, N, and N2 contents

Exhibits O, P, Q, and R contents

Exhibits S, T, U, V, and W contents

Exhibit X contents

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Seattle School Board Recall Round #2
Coming the week of October 18

Update a different person will be filing for the recall and discharge of Director Maier.

Filings for the Recall and Discharge will be filed the Week of October 18, 2010 for four Seattle School directors.

Directors Carr, Martin-Morris, Maier, and Sundquist are alleged to have violated RCW 28A.335.190, which requires competitive bids on large purchases unless an exemption is warranted.

The four directors approved an $800,000 no bid contract with the New Tech Network, without taking the necessary steps for an exemption from the competitive bid process.

The first two pages of the filing of Director Maier's Recall are HERE.

The entire 32 pages are HERE.

Exhibits are not included.

Marissa V. Essad will NOT seek the recall and discharge of Director Maier.
A different person will seek the recall and discharge of Director Maier.

Joan Sias will seek the recall and discharge of Director Martin-Morris.

Joy L. Anderson will seek the recall and discharge of Director Sundquist.

Kate Martin will seek the recall and discharge of Director Carr.

It is expected that these filing will pass the court sufficiency test in mid-November. Then the signature gathering for each director's recall of the necessary minimum of approximately 32,000 signatures of registered Seattle voters can begin. Sufficient signatures would force a recall election for each director.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Huge Dishonest Attack on Teachers

An interview from Truthout:

"... We're living in the darkest times for teachers that I've ever seen in my life. It's hard to fully understand how the conversation about what makes a robust, vital education for citizens in a democracy has degraded to the point where the frame of the whole discussion is that teachers are the problem. It's true that good schools are places where good teachers gather, but there's another piece to that: Good teachers need to be protected to teach, supported to teach, put into relationships with one another - and with the families of the kids - so that they can teach. The attack on teachers is a classic example of what [cognitive linguist George] Lakoff calls "framing." We're hearing from every politician and editorial board in the land - including The New York Times and The Washington Post and The New Yorker - that we need to get the lazy, incompetent teachers out of the classroom. ...

In the past five years, that attack on public education has ratcheted up to dimensions that were unthinkable 30 years ago. And so people talk about the public schools in a way that is disingenuous and dishonest - and also frightening in its characterization: they say the schools are run by a group of self-interested, selfish, undertrained, undercommitted teachers, who have a union that protects them." -- William Ayers

end of Truthout excerpt
===== .. === .. === .. === .. ===

Two of the many difficulties with the current misguided attack on teachers are:

(A.) the virtually free ride given to those who bear major responsibility for the inadequacies of the current situation and

(B.) the likelihood that completely "off the mark" and "ill devised solutions" will be seen as paths to improvement.

(1) The reform needed is hardly to be found in the Common Core standards, which in mathematics will be a huge step down from WA state's Math Standards. The imposition of de facto "National Standards" and their forced implementation will create for many students and teachers a situation where high quality will certainly be lacking. Consider the situation for literature and all courses HERE.

(1.b) Look at what is headed for kindergarten and primary grades: The Dreaded Standards by Zig Engelmann.(note last three paragraphs from Zig)

(2) Completely misguided and ongoing ineffective nonsense pushed by Colleges of Education and implemented by incompetent central administrations endorsed by uninformed unknowledgeable or corrupt school boards will likely continue.

(3) Increased spending will result from ill advised changes that will do little to improve the situation as corporate titans "Race to the Bank" under the banner of "Race to the Top" and other likely coming programs.

We have in place today an incredibly misguided structure largely due to a complete failure to apply what little valid education research exists.

The "Colleges of Education" are a complete embarrassment. The vast majority of their supposed research lacks valid statistical practices and is produced only to (1) please other elites in the bogus education community, (2) push a politically correct agenda or (3) rake in more grant money. If valid education research is needed apparently it needs to come from off-shore.

The change needs to begin at the top not the bottom if this system is ever to improve.

"To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data." -- Deming

Please note the University of Chicago closed their college of education. If the UW CoE cannot do better it needs to close as well. The National Science Foundation/ Education and Human Resources arm is an equal embarrassment.

NSF/EHR grant accountability consists of ......
after a proposal to spend money in a particular way,
a follow up showing that you spent the money as proposed.

Results are neither required or apparently of any importance given the last 30 years of NSF/EHR spending on developing and pushing "Reform" mathematics programs.

Note the largest study in the history of education, Project Follow Through was and is continually ignored because the elites did not like the results.

What works is not important.

The USA Ed community's elite leaders
continually try to make work
"what they would like to have work"
no matter how expensive or misguided.

.... Carry on Arne Duncan.