Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Freedom to Teach or be Imprisoned by Data

Common Core’s Panopticon: The Freedom to Teach or be Imprisoned by Data

from Asia's Think Tank

The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) has created a system to produce and sell standards, curriculum materials, textbooks, and assessments. Working with federal agencies and corporate sponsors, the CCSSI has foisted itself upon half the states. The last piece of the system is data collection. Bill Gates and government officials have long sought to track students’ beliefs and performance. Now they would like to micromanage educators, as well. This puts the CCSSI on a collision course with parents, teachers, and civil libertarians who do not trust the government to use such data wisely.

  … All states and districts should collect common data on teachers and students.

 One shudders to think where we are headed. Do children have any right to privacy, or does “affective computing” preempt it? Will teachers remain free to adjust lesson plans to better serve students, or will a new Taylorism be the wave of the future? Will the new mind-reading technologies obviate the need for the reflective practice of teaching? Are there any limits on government or on how intrusive technocrats can be?

Welcome to the Brave New World of Education brought to you by Mr. Gates and the Oligarchs using largely your tax dollars.

Common Core: The Whole Truth for WA State; How Common Core came to pass in the WA Legislature

At Last .... a well written comprehensive article accurately outlining "Bill Gates and Friends" take over of public education.  The actors: non-educators Bush/Obama/Duncan and our state legislators and educator Mr. Randy Dorn. This group supported Mr. Gates and poured the children's money into corporate pockets.

October 14, 2015 —    from Asia's Think Tank
Common Core’s Leviathan: Bill Gates and (Mis)Adventures within American Public Education

The debate over the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) is not politics as usual. .... It behooves anyone interested in liberal education to join in stopping the CCSSI.

Advocates claim the CCSSI is state-led, internationally benchmarked, and based on the latest research, yet it is none of those things. In addition to manifest pedagogical shortcomings, Common Core is dangerously close to an army of crony capitalists, anxious to cash in on the bonanza of federal, state, and local contracts. Critics charge the CCSSI with doing for education what the military-industrial complex has done for defense – spawning expensive and wasteful boondoggles overseen by burgeoning bureaucracies that harm the very people the system purports to help. ....

However, students, parents, and teachers are learning the hard way that calling something magic does not make it so. There are better ways to build a curriculum than corporate cronyism and secret standards. The question remains: Is this the best we can do? Clearly it is not. The CCSSI should be rejected on the merits because it fails to provide for a high-quality liberal education for American children.
The Washington State local truth.  In 2010 before the CCSS components were known, the legislature "adopted CCSS" with Bill 6696, which included a provision that State Superintendent Randy Dorn must provide a detailed report on CCSS impacts to the legislature on or before January 1, 2011.  Mr. Dorn failed to do that.  His report was 30 days late and appeared just before a crucial hearing of the House Education Committee (Rep. Sharon Tamiko Santos {chair}).   This gave the Public no time to read it and respond.

I filed documents in Superior Court in Pierce County to begin a recall of Randy Dorn as he had violated a portion of state law 6696 written expressly for him.  A WA recall requires proof of misfeasance or malfeasance to proceed.

Mr. Dorn is defended by the WA Office of Attorney General. The defense for Mr. Dorn stated that the report requirement was to produce a report for the legislature's education committees and no legislative committees complained so no harm no foul.  Superior Court Judge Beverly Grant then ruled against my request for instituting a recall petition.    ... So much for the Public right to know anything.


  Session Law E2SSB 6696.SL        PAGE 46

NEW SECTION. Sec. 601. A new section is added to chapter 28A.655
3 RCW to read as follows:
4 (1) By August 2, 2010, the superintendent of public instruction may
5 revise the state essential academic learning requirements authorized 6 under RCW 28A.655.070 for mathematics, reading, writing, and 7 communication by provisionally adopting a common set of standards for 8 students in grades kindergarten through twelve. The revised state 9 essential academic learning requirements may be substantially identical 10 with the standards developed by a multistate consortium in which 11 Washington participated, must be consistent with the requirements of 12 RCW 28A.655.070, and may include additional standards if the additional 13 standards do not exceed fifteen percent of the standards for each

14 content area. However, the superintendent of public instruction shall 15 not take steps to implement the provisionally adopted standards until 16 the education committees of the house of representatives and the senate 17 have an opportunity to review the standards.

18 (2) By January 1, 2011, the superintendent of public instruction 19 shall submit to the education committees of the house of 20 representatives and the senate:

21 (a) A detailed comparison of the provisionally adopted standards 22 and the state essential academic learning requirements as of the 23 effective date of this section, including the comparative level of 24 rigor and specificity of the standards and the implications of any 25 identified differences; and

26 (b) An estimated timeline and costs to the state and to school 27 districts to implement the provisionally adopted standards, including 28 providing necessary training, realignment of curriculum, adjustment of 29 state assessments, and other actions.
30 (3) The superintendent may implement the revisions to the essential 31 academic learning requirements under this section after the 2011 32 legislative session unless otherwise directed by the legislature. 


So there you have it:  (in a nutshell)  A,B,C,D,E

The requirement  
...  By January 1, 2011, the superintendent of public instruction  shall submit to the education committees of the house of representatives and the senate: a detailed report of CCSS impacts
... He did not do it
... The Superior Court and the Legislative education committees do not care
... Open Government is a fraudulent sham
... The Laws passed apply to some but not the favored. 

There are better ways to build a curriculum than corporate cronyism and secret standards. ... but do not count on the Washington State Legislature to allow such building of curriculum.

NAEP change 2013 to 2015 :   WA State 8th graders dropped 5 in reading and 3 in math

Friday, October 30, 2015

There is No STEM worker shortage. The STEM education push is about selling stuff to schools.

For sometime it has been evident to me that the big push for STEM education in schools has been a lot more about pushing vendor tech products in schools than about improving math skills.  Care to compare the change in 8th grade NAEP math scores with change in tech purchases since the STEM push began?

Finally the HUGE LIE of a STEM worker shortage is exposed.

As found on page 7 of 23 in 

International Test Score Comparisons and Educational Policy: A Review of the Critiques

There is a growing critique of the mathematics test score-economic growth link coming from a somewhat different direction, typified by Andrew Hacker’s recent article in the New York Review of Books,  pieces by Ross Eisenbrey and Norman Matloff from the Economics Policy Institute, and research on skill gaps, shortages, and mismatches by Peter Cappelli. This critique centers on the alleged shortage of science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and other education-related skills in the U.S. labor market, certainly the underlying premise of the political hysteria surrounding U.S. students’ low mathematics scores. In his review of Michael Teitelbaum’s, Falling Behind?

(2014), Hacker writes:
…Falling Behind? makes a convincing case that even now the U.S. has all the high-tech brains and bodies it needs, or at least that the economy can absorb. Teitelbaum points out that “US higher education routinely awards more degrees in science and engineering than can be employed in science and engineering occupations.” Recent reports reinforce his claim. A 2014 study by the National Science Board found that of 19.5 million holders of degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, only 5.4 million were working in those fields, and a good question is what they do instead. The Center for Economic Policy and Research, tracing graduates from 2010 through 2014, discovered that 28% of engineers and 38% of computer scientists were either unemployed or holding jobs that did not need their training. (Hacker, 2015, p. 33).

The more likely reason for pushing the notion that the U.S. is short on STEM talent is that U.S. high tech companies want greater leeway in bringing in STEM workers from abroad (primarily India) or keeping foreign students with U.S. earned PhDs here on H-1 visas. Such H-1 visa workers tend to be locked into jobs at lower salaries. The notion that they are smarter than available U.S. workers or bring talents not available in the U.S. turns out to be a myth. They earn lower salaries, are less likely to work in R&D, and, when graduated from U.S. institutions, register fewer patents and generally have PhDs from less prestigious universities than their U.S.-born counterparts working in high-tech.

More nurses and doctors and math and science teachers are needed in rural areas but that has a lot to do with salaries and the cost of education and living in a rural area.

Certainly increased k-12 learning in math and science is needed but the STEM purchases are hardly improving much.

The way things stand today in education there are startling similarities to the H1B visa situation for tech workers and  the push for Teach for America and Teacher Residency programs, which have more to do with lowering salaries long term than improving schools.

The sad part is in Tuba City schools on the Navajo Rez in AZ,  test scores were raised by importing skilled teachers from the Philippines... When the Visas ran out the Gov. demanded they leave and there were few adequate replacements available.  So much for US treaty obligations to provide education to American Indians.   Vendors and Corporations were not improving the bottom line with the Tuba City deal.  Is there a connection ?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Common Core and NAEP 2015 .... Is your head spinning?

Looking at the first decline in the average scores on NAEP since 1990 and the claims made for Common Core, if your head is not spinning then it will be soon.

The next NAEP is 2017 and Gates/Obama/Duncan and the other CCSS supporters are spinning away.  Unfortunately for them but good for the nation's students and future students the numbers are clear. Common Core is a disaster.

Ze'ev Wurman's analysis HERE is accurate.  It is comprehensive and ends with this:
Wurman notes that Kentucky, the first state to adopt the Common Core standards in 2010, now has five years under its belt with the controversial standards.

“In fourth grade Kentucky’s achievement has generally held steady and even slightly improved since 2011, yet in eighth grade the state saw its achievement dropping by 2 points in reading and 4 points in math,” he observes. “One could say it is not the greatest advertisement for Common Core.”  {{[ WA State 8th graders dropped 5 in reading and 3 in math ]}}
Senior fellow at American Principles Project Jane Robbins tells Breitbart News, “I fully expect the NAEP to be ‘revised’ to align with Common Core’s diminished expectations so that we don’t have any more embarrassing results.
This is serious business.  The Common Core State Standards are not internationally competitive.  The 2015 NAEP demonstrates in Math that the diminished pace and scope of the math standards is decreasing student performance.  The control of schools has been gradually removed from parents and local authority.  The current results are not good but the trend is worse.  The term "college and career ready" is anything but ready for real college.  It is a certification that students will not be taking remedial courses in college.  So college will be dunb-down as well.

In Kentucky which Wurman noted above,  Melinda Gates noted significant increases in high school graduation rates as a CCSS accomplishment.  I think it is hard to find social promotion through graduation as an accomplishment.  But if Gates can see it that way, it must be the wave of the future. Unless the public prefers to regain control of the schools they support with taxes, involvement, effort, and concern.

NAEP 2015 should be the defining moment in the revolt to dump CCSS and improve schools and students' lives.   That is my spin on NAEP 2015.

Get ready to have your head spun , if you dare ... from Massachusetts via Radio Boston

MCAS and PARCC : the testing future in Massachusetts

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

NAEP low income Opportunity gaps in Advanced Performance

If STEM is important the most important 2015 Math Stat would be percent of students scoring at the Advanced Level in grade 8.

As we are inundated with talk about the "Opportunity Gaps" take a look at 4th grade 2015 NAEP math data. In particular the percent of students scoring at the advanced level.

Looking a percent of students eligible for free or reduced meals we find the highest scoring state Minnesota has 5% of those students scoring at the advanced level with 21% of not eligible students scoring at the advanced level.

Here are some of the highest scoring states by percent of students scoring at the advanced level on 4th grade NAEP math and then some others.

percent  advanced FRE eligible - (percent advanced FRE not eligible) - state - sum of both percents
poor - not poor - state
5% - (21%) - Minnesota - 26%
2% - (24%) - WA DC - 26%
4% - (21%) - Washington - 25%
4% - (20%) - Massachusetts - 24%
2% - (19%) - Texas - 21%
4% - (16%) - Indiana - 20%

3% - (14%) - Kentucky - 17%
2% - (15%) - New Jersey - 17%
2% - (9%) - New York - 11%

2% - (7%) - South Dakota - 9%
2% - (6%) - Arkansas - 8%
the percent of poor at the advanced level is usually less than (1/4) of the percent of those at the advanced level who are not poor.

Is it genes or environment or both that impact the low income student?
Certainly better math programs would help.  It hardly looks that Common Core will not be of much use as it is not an internationally competitive program.  Those students with outside resources will continue to excel while nearly all of those without such resources will not.

The data for grade 8 math

percent  advanced FRE eligible - (percent advanced FRE not eligible) - state - sum of both percents
poor - not poor - state
7% - (27%) - Massachusetts - 34%
3% - (23%) - New Jersey - 26%
5% - (18%) - Washington - 23%
4% - (18%) - Minnesota - 22%

3% - (14%) - Indiana - 17%
3% - (13%) - Texas - 16%
1% - (15%) - WA DC - 16%

 2% - (8%) - Arkansas - 10%
 2% - (7%) - South Dakota - 9%

8th Grade Math Advanced Proficiency level.
Massachusetts students from both poor and not poor backgrounds are scoring better than any other state.  Why did not the Feds examine what makes Massachusetts performance superior rather than pushing CCSS-M and associated testing?

I believe the CCSS driver would be Edu-Biz profits.
STEM seems to be about selling stuff to schools. 

Arne Duncan tries to explain 2015 NAEP Math results

From the USA Today

See Arne trying to explain these results given ...Math test scores down for the first time in 25 years.

Since 1990, scores in both math and reading have moved steadily, if slowly, higher. Until this year, math scores had never dropped in either grade. NAEP scale scores range from 0 to 500.

Carr ruled out "test fatigue" on the part of students, saying researchers who looked into that found no evidence that students in 2015 were any less engaged in the test than in past years.

But even Carr, a developmental psychologist, said the drops surprised her.

Hint for Arne: The students are less skilled because of Common Core implementation. I am not surprised.

No Vendor Left Behind is working great Edu-Biz profits are up, but students are left behind.

Remember that NAEP is given to a scientifically selected random sample of students in each state.  Arne is going to have a really hard time trying to spin: Until this year, math scores had never dropped in either grade.. yet this year dropped in both 4th and 8th grades.

Mike Petrelli's comment:
"It makes sense," he said. "When families are hurting financially, it's harder for students to focus on learning."

Nice try Mike you pusher of CCSS-M...   Were families worse off in 2015 than in 2013?  Of course not.
From Carol Burris
Today’s National Assessment of Educational Progress score flop should come as no surprise. You cannot implement terrible education policies and expect that achievement will increase.

Let the revolution against Common Core continue.  When it comes to improving the education of students "The Ed Oligarchs" are clueless.

2015 NAEP release and WA State

The National Assessment of Educational Progress results for 2015 showed an overall decline for the first time in decades.

Here is how Washington did in 2015
NAEP average scores:

(246) 245 Washington Math grade 4 (2013) 2015
(241) 240 Nation Math grade 4

(290) 287 Washington Math grade 8 (2013) 2015
(284) 281 Nation Math grade 8

(225) 226 Washington Reading grade 4 (2013) 2015
(221) 221 Nation Reading grade 4

(272) 267 Washington Reading grade 8 (2013) 2015
(266) 264 Nation Reading grade 8

WA had a statistically significant drop in
grade 8 math (-3)
grade 8 reading (-5)

How will this be spun?

Looking at NAEP overall WA did worse in 2015 than in 2013
Looking at ranking of states WA is definitely worse.

Here is a link to the Urban Institute's NAEP 2015 demographic adjustment.

eyeballing NAEP 2015 WA is about 10th.
After demographic adjustment of all states
WA ranks 20th.

NAEP 2013 WA was ranked 7th
After demographic adjustment of all states
WA ranked 13th.

Massachusetts is still ranked #1 before and after adjustment.

After demographic adjustment Arizona now ranks above WA.

The after adjustment score rankings for (2013) and 2015 are below

(13) - 20 -Washington State
(30) - 24 -Common Core heavy Kentucky is 24th
(17) - 17 -Common Core heavy New York is 17th

Remember this is a comparative ranking and nearly every state did worse in 2015 than in 2013... Thus although NY appears to be the same ranked at 17th, NY NAEP performance went down from 2013 to 2015.

NY Times reports:

Nationwide Test Shows Dip in Students’ Math Abilities

For the first time since 1990, the mathematical skills of American students have dropped, according to results of a nationwide test released by the Education Department on Wednesday.
The decline appeared in both Grades 4 and 8 in an exam administered every two years as the National Assessment of Educational Progress and sometimes called “the nation’s report card.”

Most amusing listening to Arne "Common Core" Duncan try to spin this.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Big Problem ... real Marajuana research needed now

Ending the U.S. government’s war on medical marijuana research

Of all the controlled substances that the federal government regulates, cannabis is treated in unique ways that impede research. Specifically, the U.S. government has held back the medical community's ability to conduct the type of research that the scientific community considers the experimental gold standard in guiding medical practice. Thus, the use of cannabis for medical treatment is happening in states based largely on anecdotal or limited science. In many cases, patients and doctors operate according to a learn-as-you-go approach—a situation that is inexcusably the fault of federal policies failing to keep pace with changing societal views and state-level legal landscapes.

In “Ending the U.S. government's war on medical marijuana research,” authors John Hudak and Grace Wallack argue that it is time for the federal government to recognize the serious public policy risks born from limited medical, public health, and pharmaceutical research into cannabis and its use.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Attempt to dumb down Kentucky college math courses triggering revolt!

Any revolt happening in Seattle?

First link =>

Attempt to dumb down Kentucky college math courses triggering revolt!

second links =>

It’s not you, it’s the math: Colleges rethink what students need

The Community College Pathways from Carnegie

 Clearly in the World of Education Reform there remains a thrust toward engagement and activity .... and away from precision, accuracy, and correct answers in k-12 math.  This has resulted in a plan to not require much in the way of prerequisites to "succeed in College math".

The thought that all HS graduates are graduating "college and career ready" will necessitate that all HS graduates be placed into non-remedial college courses.  This is the next step in the selling of the "Big Lie".  .........  Carnegie Corp and other vendors will assist.

So is Carnegie Statway a solution or just the latest way to cover up a huge Reform Education problem?

HOWEVER selling the lie is becoming difficult in Kentucky.

King said his group was seriously considering radical revisions to entering college courses to create a remediation-course-free system where every student would start taking credit-bearing courses right away. He was going to create this utopia with the use of “Co-Requisite Courses,” a mixed model where students who were behind would get extra help, or “acceleration” to somehow catch up to better prepared entering students during the first college year.

It sounded like a whimsical dream to me, and it didn’t take long for reality to set in. In fact, like a nervous speeder looking at the fast-approaching cop in his rearview mirror, King even hinted at that during his comments to the board. King said he was getting some pushback from his college math professors.

Well, that comment about pushback might go down in Kentucky education history as one of the biggest understatements of all.

In fact, King has a revolt on his hands.

So where is the WA State revolt against the k-16 math nonsense plans currently being put in place?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Madison Wisc. Teachers watched Seattle Strike

Seattle Teachers’ Demands Much Like MTI’s

Seattle Teachers’ Demands Much

Like MTI’s
Last week’s MTI Solidarity! contained an article about a
teacher strike in Seattle. Among the issues were wages not
keeping up with inflation, “no state increase in funding for health
care,” providing teachers with a greater voice regarding
standardized tests, management’s proposal for a longer workday
without additional compensation, and other quality of education

Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant criticized
the legislature and its lack of support for education.
She said,
“The educators’ demands are completely reasonable....For too
long the legislature has ignored the needs of the children and
bent over backwards to give corporations handout after handout.
Boeing executives got a special session. Where is the special
session for education? Teachers are faced with stagnating
salaries, overcrowded classrooms, too many standardized tests,
and inadequate resources.
It’s high time the legislature did their
job, stop ignoring the mandate by voters to lower class sizes and
raise teachers’ pay. Fully fund education now!” We need more
legislators like Sawant in Wisconsin!

Firing Highly Proficient UC Math Lecturer is apparently a best practice at Cal Berkeley

I believe the take away from the following story is every public school teacher needs to be a huge public supporter of Common Core State Standards or prepare to be driven out of teaching.  Results are not important in the education system but absolute compliance is very necessary to stay employed at any level.

Here is the link:


October 11th, 2015

In response to the many people who have asked me whether I am leaving Berkeley, it is true that the UC Berkeley Mathematics Department has fired me. More precisely, the then Chair of the Mathematics Department, Arthur Ogus, emailed me on October 31st 2014 saying that my employment would be terminated in June 2016. I have asked the campus authorities to review the circumstances leading up to that decision and overrule it. I have filed a formal grievance, ...   viewable here,

There are good people in the UC Berkeley Mathematics Department, who conduct themselves with kindness, honesty and dedication to both their research and their students. However most are simply too scared to stand up against the dominant group of men who lead by fear. Arthur Ogus in some sense helped me by supplying me with a large body of documentary evidence to substantiate what I am saying, but Craig Evans instead told me that he learned in a previous harassment case that he should never put anything in writing because "we might get subpoenaed."


My reason for asking that the decision be overruled is that on 31st October, 2014, when the Faculty Appointments Committee of the Mathematics Department made its decision, my teaching record was as follows:

  • My student evaluations for the two classes I had completed were the highest on record in the Mathematics Department.  For Math 1A in Fall 2013 I scored 6.4 and 6.5 out of 7, and for Math 16B in Spring 2014 I scored 6.4 and 6.6 out of 7 for overall teaching effectiveness.  The six year average for Math 1A as taught by Senate Faculty was 4.7 with a range of 3.2 to 6.0, and the six year average for Math 16B as taught by Senate Faculty was 4.6 with a range of 3.6 to 6.1.  Going back further, no member of Senate Faculty has scored above 6.0 in Math 1A for at least the last 18 years, as far back as records go.

    It is noteworthy that the Mathematics Department failed to report these student evaluation scores for Math 1A in my personnel file, thereby keeping them secret from university authorities. It did this despite the fact that student evaluation scores are part of the Mathematics Department's own review criteria that it devised to evaluate teaching, making it contractually obliged to report them. These non-reported evaluations are viewable here.
  • My Fall 2013 Math 1A students were tracked into the next course in the sequence, Math 1B, and it was found that their average grade in Math 1B was 0.17 grade points higher than that of those students who took Math 1A with another instructor.

    However the Mathematics Department leadership at first refused to share this data with me, then it said that the positive difference was not statistically significant with a contrived analysis that compared my students to more of my own students, and finally, when this was refuted, claimed to not be sufficiently proficient in statistics to judge. It is noteworthy that Philip Stark, then Chair of the Statistics Department, was instrumental in the statistical analysis that was undertaken and he is someone who has gone on the record saying that student evaluations are not indicative of teaching effectiveness. The documentary evidence supporting these allegations, which I encourage everyone to review carefully, is viewable here.

  • In a memo to me of April 18th, 2014, the then Chair of the Mathematics Department Arthur Ogus wrote: "As you know, there have been three written evaluations of your teaching conducting [sic] so far, two in Mathematics 1A and one in Mathematics 16B; you have been provided copies of each. These evaluations discuss your extraordinary skills at lecturing, presentation, and engaging students."

    However in the same memo he went on to say: "They also reveal some significant differences between your practices and what has been typical in our department [...] I hope and expect that you will be able to align more with our standards for the remainder of this semester and during the next academic year."

Objective: Implement an early learning mathematics plan aligned to CCSS

At a Board Special Meeting of the Curriculum & Instruction Policy Committee
Monday, October 12, 2015, 4:30 – 6:30 pm
Board Office Conference Room, John Stanford Center

On the last page of the 99 page .pdf of Oct. 12, 2015 appears the following: 

Elementary Math Status Report
Goal: Ensure Educational Excellence & Equity for Every Student
Strategy: Commit to early learning education as the foundation for future academic success.
Objective: Implement an early learning mathematics plan aligned to CCSS

This is apparently code for abandon Math in Focus "scope and sequence" and replace it with Central Staff's preferred still under construction jumbled mishmash "scope and sequence"

Note: Parents had not been informed of the new scope and sequence. The Board, superintendent, and central staff have still not informed parents.

Surprise Surprise - The Scope and Sequence from Seattle's one year old adopted text has been secretly trashed

Last school year the SPS used the Scope and Sequence from newly adopted "Math in Focus" and produced very good results.  Posting the largest differential above State test scores in Math in Seattle history for grades 4 and 5.  Instead of continuing with that "Scope and Sequence" it has been secretly trashed.  I say secretly because the district has not posted the following links to the "New Elementary Math Scope and Sequence" which replaces the "Math in Focus" Scope and Sequence used in grades K - 5 last year.  The District did not notify parents of this change.

Be sure and notice the chaotic jumping about the textbook as the Kindergarten teacher proceeds through the 13 units on the new "Scope and Sequence".    The planned chaos for other grades is similar.  {{ District admin clearly does not like the sequence of topics in Math in Focus }}

Links to my Dropbox are below.

Kindergarten Year at a glance

Grade 1
First Grade Year at a Glance

Grade 2
Second Grade Year at a Glance

Grade 3
Third Grade Year at a Glance

Grade 4
Fourth Grade Year at a Glance

Grade 5
Fifth Grade Year at a GlanceDelete
continuing for Middle School

Grade 6
Sixth Grade Year at a Glance

Grade 7
Seventh Grade Year at a Glance

Grade 8
Eighth Grade Year at a Glance

On to High School Math

Information about Scope and Sequence Secondary

Algebra 1
Algebra Year 1 at a Glance

Geometry Year at a Glance

 Algebra 2
Algebra 2 Year at a Glance

These links which contribute to Open and Transparent communications are NOT brought to you by the Superintendent, School Board or Central Office Staff of the Seattle Public Schools.

It is now mid October  and the SPS is still keeping parents in the dark about huge elementary school math changes.

On the Seattle School Community Forum

North of 85th wrote:

Great teacher in tears last night on the issue. Told....not drop MIF and adopt downtown's new worksheet based class flow and materials. Teacher told specifically this is to achieve high SBAC scores.

Using the "Grade Level Year at a Glance" information above, parents can finally see what is going on with elementary school math.

This JSCEE staff math action seems similar to a "coup d'état" .
 Are the Directors complicit in this?
 Are the Directors unaware?
 Do the Directors even care?

Beats me.

Has perhaps America's best 5th grade teacher been fired in LAUSD?

From the Washington Post via
Valerie Strauss on The Answer Sheet 10/16/2015

Rafe Esquith, a 5th grade teacher at Hobart Elementary School, in LAUSD

World-famous teacher files $1 billion lawsuit against Los Angeles schools to end ‘teacher jail’

Book TV => Drilling through the Core: Why Common Core is Bad for America
Book Discussion on Drilling through the Core

Contributors Williamson Evers, James Milgram, Sandra Stotsky, Ze’ev Wurman, and editor Peter Wood talked about their book, Drilling through the Core: Why Common Core Is Bad for American Education. This book launch news conference was held at the National Press Club.

For the first time in history Americans face the prospect of a unified set of national standards for K-12 education. While this goal sounds reasonable, and Common Core has been presented as a state-led effort, it is anything but. This book analyzes Common Core from the standpoint of its deleterious effects on curriculum-language arts, mathematics, history, and more-as well as its questionable legality, its roots in the aggressive spending of a few wealthy donors, its often-underestimated costs, and the untold damage it will wreak on American higher education. At a time when more and more people are questioning the wisdom of federally-mandated one-size-fits-all solutions, Drilling through the Core offers well-considered arguments for stopping Common Core in its tracks.

At Amazon ... HERE

Staff coup d'état sinks Math in Focus adoption in Seattle.

A fine coup d'état by Seattle Schools Central staff Math Education administrators

Congratulations to Heath and Box, they are doing exactly what is required of all really good followers of Common Core. Administrators look above to bigger administrators to get direction. Unfortunately this direction is support for doomed folly because it neglects the needs of students, parents, and teachers.

1. The Common Core State Standards in math are not internationally benchmarked. The Standards are so behind the standards of high achieving countries that by 8th grade students are at least 2 years behind. CCSS-M version of "College Ready" is not ready for a four-year competitive college, but it is one-size fits-all.

2. CCSS as written and implemented will require colleges to dumb-down levels of many classes because the "college ready" students are not to be placed in remedial classes.

3. This is a plan for H1B tech job visas forever. More Asian nurses and doctors as well.

4. In the SPS this still under construction Central Staff jumbled mishmash curricula will continue the production of students disabled by poor math instruction. It will continue the SPS math achievement gap tradition.

5. The math standards are so weak they do not adequately prepare students for chemistry and physics. Now we will have the rigorous "Next Generation Science Standards", where "Rigorous" means simulating, engaging, and supportive but not careful, precise, and correct. STEM has become more about vendors selling tech stuff to schools than adequately preparing students to undertake careers in math, science, engineering, and manufacturing.

I do not find that aircraft manufacturers design and assemble planes as the planes are taxiing down the runway. ... yet that is the way the elementary school math plan is designed and put together this year in Seattle.

"n" is right on the mark with:

The reason I prefer to stay with the structure of MIF is that
1)we primary teachers are generally not mathy and sticking with a structure keeps us on target

2)I don't trust district math people

3) I am hopeful that MIF has developed a curriculum they can defend in terms of scope and sequence

4)how helpful is it to give teachers - with all they have on our plates - constant changes at the last minute? That is really irritating.

I really question the current governance structure of the SPS, as apparently directors have essentially no control of how adopted materials are used or not used. So much for public input in textbook adoptions.

Director McLaren is right about stability. This is the same type of central staff math leadership as in the last decade. This time with even more Top-Down PD and enforcement.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Emperor Gates is without clothes - Jay Greene

Here we have it as reported on Jay Greene's Blog:

Emperor Gates Has No Clothes

Last week Bill Gates gave a speech to articulate his foundation’s strategy for education reform and the basis for that strategy. Unfortunately, throughout the speech Gates misreads and distorts findings from research, including research that the foundation has funded or conducted itself.  Why hasn’t anyone called Gates on these errors?

Look, I’m not surprised that a non-researcher misunderstands research.  And I’m not surprised that a foundation is pursuing a strategy that is not well-supported by research.  Frankly, he’s entitled to pursue any strategy he wants for any reason he prefers.  But Gates gets up there, puts on his metaphorical lab coat, and declares that Science says… It’s then the job of actual scientists, even social scientists, to correct him.  If we don’t, then we are letting Gates corrupt science.  The Gates foundation doesn’t, for the most part, buy false research findings.  But Gates is contributing to the corruption of social science as researchers obviously feel the need to stay quiet when he and other foundation leaders misread and distort findings.


I have way less confidence in the Gates Ed Organization than Jay Greene.  So lets start debunking this nonsense.  A thorough debunking of Common Core State Standards, which Gates still fervently pushes, needs to occur. 


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

CCSS-M ... Common Core Crazy exposing a big lie

The Common Core State Standards for Math are defective if strictly applied.  Consider the data and the standards.

A huge observation about CCSS-M. => Implementing Common Core: The Problem of Instructional Time by Tom Loveless.

This talk about CCSS-M being internationally competitive is rubbish, no way is CCSS-M internationally competitive. Compute fluently with multi-digit numbers is a 6th grade Common Core Math Standard.

Using CCSS-M will put students at least two-years behind those students in the A+ countries by the end of grade 7

The USA has been doing better in recent years but take a look at TIMSS 2011 grade 4 and grade 8 results in
"Chapter 1: International Achievement in Mathematics"

East Asian countries continue to lead the world in mathematics achievement.

Singapore, Korea, and Hong Kong SAR, followed by Chinese Taipei and Japan, were the top-performing countries in TIMSS 2011 at the fourth grade.
Similarly, at the eighth grade, Korea, Singapore, and Chinese Taipei outperformed all countries, followed by Hong Kong SAR and Japan.

This would lead me to believe that departing from any  math "Scope and Sequence" aligned to match CCSS-M is an excellent move.

See exhibit 1.1 for USA 4th grade average; exhibit 1.2 for USA 8th grade

Exhibit 1.3 shows only 7 countries rank significantly above USA at grade 4 with Singapore 606 and USA 541

Exhibit 1.4 shows only 6 countries rank significantly above USA at grade 8 with Korea 613 and USA 509 and Massachusetts 561

8th grade score change in average from 1995 to 2011
USA +17 :: Korea +32 :: Japan -11 :: Massachusetts +48 (1999-2011)

If thinking about STEM for students consider this from 2011 TIMSS chapter 2:

The five East Asian countries had the largest percentages of fourth grade students (30–43%) reach the TIMSS 2011 Advanced International Benchmark. Building on this head start, these five countries pulled away from the rest of the world by a considerable margin at the eighth grade, with by far the largest percentages of students reaching this benchmark—nearly half (47–49%) in Chinese Taipei, Singapore, and Korea.

While at the Advanced Benchmark the USA 8th grade had 7%
At grade 4 USA had 13%.

It is really time to find better math leadership in the USA.
The pipeline that promotes Math Ed philosophers into leadership is not cutting it.

Seattle's Strategic Plan a misguided or ignored document in too many ways

The good =>  Seattle's Strategic Plan states:
(page 2)
Mission:    Seattle Public Schools is committed to ensuring equitable access, closing the opportunity gaps and excellence in education for every student.

We believe effective leadership is vital at all levels of the organization and will create student success.

We believe it is our public duty to properly steward district resources through ethical behavior, compliance to the law, transparency of processes and sound fiscal controls.

We believe in a district, including the central office and support staff, which is dedicated to providing high-quality service in support of teaching and learning.

We believe community partnerships and family engagement are fundamental to achieving and sustaining student success.
(page 3)
Our goals for the next five years are to:
 Ensure Educational Excellence and Equity for Every Student
Improve Systems Districtwide to Support Academic Outcomes and Meet Students’ Needs
Strengthen School, Family and Community Engagement
(page 7)
 Implementation of evaluation systems for central office staff;

The budgeting process dedicated to the realignment and deployment of resources to the strategic plan will begin immediately after the Board adopts this refreshed and revised strategic plan.

{{  Budgeting????   Something has gone seriously wrong here, as central staff pay raises and a huge expansion of central staff  occurred during the last three years  }}

(page 8)
Goals & Strategies
•Challenge and support each student by providing equitable access to a rigorous and relevant curriculum aligned to Common Core State Standards and 21st Century skills

The Common Core State Standards contain a very large number of outright lies.

The Math Staff in Seattle has compounded the curriculum aligned problem this year by formulating and enforcing compliance with a "Scope and Sequence" document which does not support the orderly use of the district adopted elementary text series Math in Focus.

For several years the children of parents with resources have been the beneficiaries of outside of school math instruction from educated family members, Sylvan, Mathnasium, Kumon, tutors.  Most of the children of parents without such resources have had to make due without these services.

The result is Seattle Schools have extremely large Opportunity (or achievement) Gaps.

This formulation and enforcement of a "Scope and Sequence" document strictly aligned to the Common Core State Standards and not aligned with the "Scope and Sequence" of the Math in Focus materials is in direct contradiction of the Mission of the Seattle Schools : of ... ensuring equitable access, closing the opportunity gaps and excellence in education for every student.

This "strict alignment" scope and sequence will continue the tradition of math mishmash jumble ... which "ensures" maintenance of large math opportunity gaps.

As long as school directors and the superintendent see strict adherence to each grade level's Common Core standards students will be under served.

It is long past time to dump nonsense and focus on providing each child with the opportunity to maximize their learning.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Are Seattle Schools closing the Math "Opportunity Gap"? or just failing to report the data?

 Melissa Westbrook on her blog reported that Seattle Schools Math Staff reported little data about the "Opportunity Gap."
"But to the subgroups, there a slide...but no data."
Perhaps this data explains "the why" for the subgroup data omission:

SBAC 8th grade Math results for Black students show
 41.4% of Black students at Well Below Standard.

So why was that data missing?

Lynn said...

    I am not thrilled to see that one of the measures of progress in "closing the gap" will be % of 8th Grade students completing Algebra 1 and demonstrating proficiency on state test.

So let us look at SPS 7th grade SBAC math results looking at SPS White and Black students.

Pass rate
72.9% White  Black 31.7%  (diff 41.2%)

Level 4 exceeds standard
47.4% White  Black  7.1% (diff 40.3%)

The EoC Math 1 tests only about the content of a first semester of Algebra 1 class

Why would anyone believe that putting lots more students into 8th grade Algebra makes any sense?

Is putting unprepared students into Algebra a good idea?
Tacoma puts almost all 8th graders in Algebra and it is a disaster for unprepared or low achieving kids.  Tacoma 8th grade SBAC math results show All students - Well below standard 35.8% and almost all of these 701 students were sitting in 8th grade Algebra class in Tacoma schools.

Tacoma SBAC 8th grade math results
Pass rates for
White 46.8%  Black 23.9%  (diff 22.9%)

Level 4 exceeds standard
23.9 White  Black  7.7% (diff 16.2%)

Tacoma 8th grade Black students:
Well below standard 47.8%  and most of these were in 8th grade Algebra.. Why?
All students Well below standard 35.8%

Seattle SBAC 8th grade math results
Pass rates for
White 65.0%  Black 28.4% (diff 36.6%)

Black  Well Below Standard 41.4% 
All students Well Below Standard 17.4%

Not a very good performance for Seattle with 41.4% of Black students at Well Below Standard.
So much for closing the "Opportunity Gap" in Math.

More SPS Data from SBAC 2015, MSP 2013, MSP 2011  in that order

average percent of grade 3 thru 8 scoring at Well Below Standard

37.7  ; 37.2  ; 44.2 :: Black

 10.7 ; 10.9 ; 14.3 :: Non Black

 5.8 ;; 6.7  ;; 8.6 :: White

 23.1 ; 22.3 ; 28.6 :: Non White

16.9 ; 15.7 ; 28.5 :: Non White & Non Black

29.5 ; 28.1 ; 34.7 :: Low Income

6.3 ;; 6.1 ;;  7.9 :: Non Low Income

average percent of grade 3 thru 8 scoring at Exceeds Standard

 9.6 ;; 11.4 ;; 8.1 :: Black

 41.3 ; 45.3 ; 38.4 :: Non Black

 47.2 ; 52.3 ; 45.7 :: White

26.6  ; 29.3 ; 23.3 :: Non White

34.0 ; 37.2 ; 30.5 :: Non White & Non Black

17.5 ; 20.1 ; 15.0 :: Low Income

47.5  ; 53.7  ; 47.0 :: Non Low Income