Since we are in full WASL Mode, I want to share something that happened to me during my first year as a teacher. This was the 2005 – 2006 school year. I had decided that I was not going to make much of a big deal out of the math WASL. I figured that the people who chose the curriculum had used the EALR’s and the GLE’s as a guide when picking the curriculum. I was coming to education from over 20 years in the financial world and just assumed that when you have a template that explains what the expectations are, you would go over and above to make sure you filled as many of expectations as you can. In the business world, when you don’t do this, you have to answer for it to your supervisor and it is likely that you will lose your job if you don’t.Imagine then when I met the person who is in charge of math for the whole district early in my first year at a RB staff meeting. I asked her about how the math curriculum was chosen and how much analysis was done to see how closely the curriculum tracked to the EALR’s and the GLE’s and this person told me how closely the curriculum tacked to the EALR’s and GLE’s was never considered and she had no idea how closely they tracked. I then asked what was used to determine which curriculum what was chosen and why not use the EALR’s and GLE’s since a student’s graduation (at that time) depended on meeting the math standard on the WASL. My question was ignored and this person just kind of walked away. I have to say this was my most bizarre moment as a teacher. How can the standards that students need to meet in order to be considered proficient in math never be considered when choosing a curriculum?
I still don’t say much about the WASL in my class. I do supplement with WASL type questions when appropriate. I don’t say to my class this is a WASL type question, I just have them do the problem.
I know that the district is in the middle of a math adoption for high school and has just done an adoption for grade school and middle school and the state is in the middle of revising the math standards. It seems to me that this is backward. Wouldn’t the students of the Seattle Public Schools be better served if the districted waited till the new standards were adopted and then determine what would be the best curriculum, using the stands as their guide?