There was a story in the P-I today about the new State standards for K-12 math.
You can read it here.
Significant elements from the story include:
An expert hired by the State Board of Education says that the standards for high school students has serious problems.
Seattle Public Schools intends to adopt high school math curricula and order textbooks before the standards are complete and before the OSPI announces the recommended curricula they will support. Apparently the OSPI announcements will be too late to be effective for the start of school in fall 2008.
Seattle Public Schools will make a dual adoption - one conceptual math curriculum and text and one traditional math curriculum and text - and each school can choose one of them. What happened to the district's claim that they could only effectively support one curriculum?
Despite the fact that Seattle Public Schools adopted Singapore math at the same time as Everyday Math, the Singapore math has not been used in any classrooms yet. The District says that they are almost ready to roll it out - soon. Gee, and the school year is only a little more than half over.
Ms. Wise hopes that student families will reserve judgement until the high school textbook proposals are presented to the School Board in March. After that, I guess we are free to judge. But won't it be too late by then? Won't we have gone too far down the path to turn back? Won't we be out of time? Won't the order reach the publishers too late to get the books in time for the fall? You should be wary anytime the District staff ask you to hold off on your input. Historically, they want you to hold off until after your input can no longer have a role in the decision. They don't want you to swing the bat until after the ball is safely in the catcher's mitt.
The District staff is now promoting "balance" in math curricula saying that what works for one student might not work for another. However, there is only one curriculum for all elementary schools and only one curriculum for all middle schools. How can this statement and this fact be reconciled?
The story also referenced the liklihood that the math requirement for graduation will be increased to three years and advanced algebra. This would require the District to hire another 63 math teachers when we are not able to fill the existing positions for math teachers. Of course, every other district in the state will also be trying to hire more math teachers at the same time.