Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Election Update

New numbers from King County elections:

Position 1  (only race where the incumbent beat total votes of challengers)
Maier   51.52 (down from 51.94)
Peaslee  37.65 (up from 36.67)


Position 2  (highest number of votes for this district at 20,674)
Carr  40.21%  (down from 40.55)
Martin  32.23% (up from 30.24)

Position 3
Martin-Morris  41.36% (down 41.92)
Buetow  28.32% (down from 28.59)
Dunn  27.17 (up from 26.15)

Buetow is still up over Dunn by 185 votes.

Position 6 (highest percentage of registered vote at 37.75%)
Sundquist  43.43 (down from 43.91)
McLaren  30.13 (up from 29.78)

83 comments:

Dorothy Neville said...

And in each race, about 17% of the returned ballots left school board race blank. So actual percent of registered voters who cast ballots in each school board race about 28 to 30%.

Zeb said...

Thanks for the updated numbers. Any chance that Mr Dunn could catch Ms Buetow ? A close exmination of her nuanced views lead me to believe that Mr Dunn might prove to be a better candidate....

Melissa Westbrook said...

Zeb, no idea.

There are 59,774 registered voters in that district. About 21k have returned ballots. As Dorothy noted, about 17% of ballots in every position had school board left blank. Also, it's the first year for all mail-in ballots so there are no trends for "after the postmarked date" number of ballots.

I feel for both these candidates.

I hope all challengers who do lose will throw their support to the challenger who did win to bring forth the change that I believe all of them want to see.

Dorothy Neville said...

Zeb, curious what about Michelle's nuanced views that you are concerned about? Not that she and I see eye to eye on all issues, but I do think she is electable in a city wide race and would work well behind the scenes to increase board effectiveness in ways I think are the right trajectory.

Is Dunn electable city wide? I find his website a little weak. He was union president almost 10 years ago. What was the relationship between union and district at that time? Why doesn't he point to any accomplishments from then? And he mis-characterizes Olchefske's financial problems. He may know teaching but he doesn't necessarily understand the finances and board governance roles. I'd rather have thoughtful nuance than simplistic and inaccurate sound bites.

That said, if Dunn bumps out Michelle, would I vote for him or Harium? Probably Dunn. But looking at the numbers, today only added 2.7% of the registered voters for District 3. And the daily returns said 28 ballots showed up today, so probably most of the mailed in ballots have been received. There still could be a couple boxes of ballots to certify and count and Dunn could surge ahead, who knows. But I suspect Michelle will hold the lead.

Dorothy Neville said...

My bad. In district 3, 50 votes were received today. And their cumulative totals say that 20148 votes received. The daily results show that 19700 have been counted. That only leaves 448 votes uncounted. Sure, more could arrive, but it isn't likely that many are yet to arrive.

Kathy said...

Exact numbers can be found by googling: KOMO election results

dan dempsey said...

MW wrote:

Position 2

Carr 40.21% (down from 40.55)
Martin 32.23% (down from 30.24) ....

if the numbers are correct...
Should be
Martin 32.23% ("up" from 30.24)

Anonymous said...

the wea will probably put more effort into spinning the feeble showing than the effort they put into figuring out how to win - which is derived by subtracting out all the effort spent by big shots at important meetings.

from page 7 and page 9 of the results, Harium's district has 54421 of 379450 Seattle registered voters.

Dunn has 27.71% of the votes cast. He has about 8% of the registered voters of that school district.

Everyone loves and respects their teachers, and they sure don't care about them at the ballot box.

Votes Are Data

Dorothy Neville said...

Kathy, when I google KOMO election results, I get stale data from Tuesday. Go right to the source, king county elections.

Kate Martin said...

It was unfortunate that the school board races were on the back of the ballot and that they were the only thing on the back of the ballot. There was a large chunk of white space before a few small words that instructed voters to turn the ballot over. Maybe that contributed to the 17% of the returned ballots that left the school board race blank.

DWE said...

A preliminary breakdown of votes by LD is now available. It's a little out of day, but it's interesting (for nerds who like this sort of thing).

Check out the PDF here.

Dorothy Neville said...

Kate, that wasn't true of all the races. District 3 did not use the back of the ballot. These blank figures are slightly higher than two years ago in the districts that had primaries, but not by much.

In your race the percent of blank votes was highest at slightly over 20% so I would guess the backside of the ballot contributed some.

DWE said...

Money--how much does it matter?

Well, it depends. Every campaign is different, and it's a mistake to base your current campaign on the last one.

However, the Wilson Chin vs. Betty Patu race is interesting to contemplate.

In the District 7 primary, both candidates received vote percentages in the 40s, with Chin about 7% behind.

Chin went on to raise about $60k from many of the usual wealthy political elites. He hired Christian Sinderman as consultant. He received the endorsement of the all-important Seattle Times.

And Betty Patu? She raised $11k and incurred $8k in debt. $5k alone came from basketball player Jamal Crawford; the rest was from small donors. She did not hire a consultant. She had a few LD endorsements.

As we all know, Wilson Chin won because he had the money, the political elites, and a good consultant. Oh, wait. He didn't win.

When the election went citywide, Wilson Chin lost, despite advantages in money and organization. In fact, Betty Patu trounced him. She beat him by 36 percentage points and won handily in every major LD. The general election was nowhere near as close as the primary.

Other people followed that election closer than I did. Why did that happen?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Thanks for that catch, Dan. My eyes got googly.

FYI, I get my numbers from King County elections.

DWE, you put your finger on the issue.

Money is the mother's milk of campaigns. BUT because fewer people vote in school board elections, it really becomes the people who care about the school board. (Not that regular voters don't care but I think a lot of them just don't know enough to vote and so don't.)

If you have a strong base (as Betty did and Wilson didn't even with Cheryl Chow's backing), you will be in trouble. If you don't have a strong volunteer base, you'll be in trouble. Kay didn't use mailers OR yard signs but she had a lot volunteers getting out.

People like the personal touch. They want to hear it from the candidate or someone with their campaign and not from a mailer.

I'm getting some more thoughts together on what you can do.

One thought is to volunteer your front porch for campaign literature and signs. The challengers need visibility in all parts of the city so it would be a great help to candidates to make those items easily available.

Another thought is to go to your neighborhood festival (the Wurst festival in Wallingford, the Italian one in September at Seattle Center, whatever) and hand out literature and talk up the candidate.

It's almost harder to run for School Board than state legislature because there's so much ground to cover. Every single vote counts (and we're seeing that in the Position 3 primary).

Anonymous said...

Look carefully at the endorsements. I see Cliff Mass and the "Where's the Math" folks pretty heavily in these races. As a teacher in SPS, I can tell you, we really need to give teachers the respect we deserve to teach to the needs of our individual students.

Signed,
Worried Teacher

Syd said...

Worried teacher, can you explain a little more. Are you worried about "where's the math" candidates? I don't think they are disrespectful of teachers. The question there is not teaching.

Anonymous said...

worried teacher -

the "where's the math crowd" is on the side of most teachers -

for the teachers who want to teach math according to the philosophically theoretical 'reform' garbage, the garbage that insures kids won't ever have the skills do discover how the world works, or have the skills to discover how to participate in the world, or have the skills to discover how to change the world - oh well. The math 'reformers' club is big enough.

The challengers aren't going to vote to outsource our PUBLIC education tax dollars to the kinds of privateering cronies who've done such a wonderful job lining their pockets in the other sectors of the economy and community. (See Wendy Kopp's 990 - how many well paid people are taking money that could be used for kids in the classroom? )

GarbageInGarbageOut

Anonymous said...

The "back-to-basics"/direct instruction math crowd seems to forget that people didn't really learn math back in the good old days of yore either. If it were true that nobody were learning math with new(er) math, we wouldn't have the highest SAT scores. We wouldn't be seeing any merit scholars. I really hope we don't get a school board with a math agenda.

-boo to cliff mas

DWE said...

Melissa--what you said about the need for campaigns to have a volunteer base makes sense. Excellent comment.

Worried Teacher--I, too, am a worried teacher. Any civilization that holds its teachers in contempt will disintegrate. The current contempt for teachers, spurred on and exploited by political elites, must be repelled. Thankfully, teachers still enjoy a good reputation among large constituencies in this city. In fact, I would say that teachers are held in higher esteem than most of the politicians who would denigrate the teaching profession.

The four Board incumbents gave unwavering support to a superintendent who consistently dismissed the concerns of teachers, exacerbated the divisions between the district and the community, and contributed to the climate of fear and intimidation that we labored under for years.

The four challengers know this. I have talked to each one of them. Marty McLaren is a former teacher--she is one of us. Michelle Buetow comes from a family of educators. Sharon Peaslee has a Masters in Education and has run a tuition business. She understands the work of teachers and holds us in high esteem. And Kate Martin has nothing but admiration and support to offer the good work of teachers.

I have decided whose side I'm on because the challengers have decided whose side they're on. They're on the side of children and the teachers who teach them.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure what the campaigns need are bodies who are pretty self directed at getting things done, instead of more people wanting to be the Grand Wizard!

Is a candidate going to do visibility / rah rah when the ballots have been mailed? If yes,

WHERE are you going to rah-rah? Which street corner are YOU going to be responsible for?

WHO is going to join you?

HOW are you going to get the rah rah materials?

WHEN are you going to rah-rah? (if early morning, 6 to 8, 7 to 9? If the evening, from 3 to 5, 4 to 6? which days of the week?)

Is a candidate going to do rah-rah & leafleting at Seahawks games and at High School Football games and at Husky games and Mariners games ... and at the farmer's markets ... and at the street fairs --

see all the questions about WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW above?

answer those questions with YOUR body and YOUR time and you'll be a help.

What about door belling? phone banking?

answer WHO? WHAT? WHEN? WHERE? HOW? with your friends and your family and your time, and you'll be a help.

If you just want to do grand strategy, get a picture of Douglas Macarthur or Winston Churchill, or get a picture of that Rodin thinking statue - and stand in front of your picture(s) and wave your arms.

any grand calendar guru out there who wants to be the organizer ;) ??

SolutionsArentHighLevelPowerPoints

uxolo said...

What a hassle: my ballot was challenged due to current signature not matching original registration signature. And what a terribly wordy and lengthy set of options to prove I am who I am. This could potentially limit lots of voters.

Dorothy Neville said...

Uxolo, that happened to my husband once and I thought that once he verified the signature, that his ballot was counted (assuming it was done before the election was finalized). I don't remember for sure. What does your notice say? Can you get your ballot to count if you jump through the hoops?

For November 2010, there were about 1% of the ballots with mismatched signature to be verified. I cannot tell how many of them (if any) were eventually counted.

My signature has gotten sloppier over the years, but after my husband's issue, I have been careful to sign ballots using an older version.

Anya said...

"Kate Martin has nothing but admiration and support to offer the good work of teachers."

Is this the same Kate Martin who had to be removed from Roosevelt because of an issue with a teacher? Not sarcasm, legitimate questions.

Patrick said...

Uxolo, that happened to me last election. By the time they notified me, there were no close elections left so I didn't do anything about it. But it will probably happen again.

I miss voting in person.

DWE said...

Anya,

Kate Martin admires and supports the good work of teachers, but does not admire and support teachers who don't do good work. Here is her answer to your concern:

"My son had been telling me his teacher couldn't teach math and I wasn't listening fully. One day my husband and I got a postcard from this teacher and all it said on it was that my son's smile lit up the classroom every day. (This is the communication I got with my son having an F in the class.) Three times I called Roosevelt to tell them that this teachers phone extension rang to an entirely other school. I did a little digging and found out that this teacher had been on two PIPs and been moved around to several schools. It turns out my son was right. He never could teach math. (He put movies on everyday.) That didn't stop 2 principals from overlooking that and allowing the assignment of over a thousand kids to his classrooms over many years. I requested a new teacher and an explanation of why students would be assigned to a teacher who could not teach math. They didn't have a new teacher for me and so I went to the office and had a stand in.

Mr Vance went on and on about how hard it is to get rid of a teacher. I think that is BS. (Ask John Cummings how long it takes to get rid of a teacher.)

During my stand-in, the student filing the mail for the teachers thanked me and told me he was the worst teacher in the building. As I was being escorted out, another group of students said the same. A legend they called him. Well, I think that's the kind of legend kids should not suffer.

I told the cops who were called that I was armed with my lipstick, my chapstik, and my brain. We had a good chuckle. They found it amusing that at Roosevelt they call 911 when you want a math teacher for your kid who can teach math.

Anyway, I got a new math teacher (Mr Vance told my son at the meeting the next day where I was present that he was doing this in spite of his mother.) Meanwhile I asked the teacher to resign which he did the next day.

That will never make up for the damage that these principals caused to so many students by protecting an egregiously poor teacher.

Additionally, I now know that the teachers were trying to change this situation as well to get rid of this guy. They'd go to Vance and ask him to go stand outside this guy's classroom and listen to the ridiculousness. Still, Vance couldn't get it done. I have zero tolerance for that kind of mismanagement and never will."

mirmac1 said...

Goes to show you some parents have more courage than some principals.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Anya, I think the operative phrase is "good teachers."

Kate stood up (in a more open and civil disobediance manner than the rest of us) to a bad teacher. My son had that teacher as well and yes, I lodged many complaints. Sadly, it was a process but yes, that teacher is gone and I think Kate standing up for her child is one of the reasons.

We talk and talk about exiting poor quality teachers. Well, somebody has to stand up and do it. If principals hear from enough parents, they might commit to doing the hard work to see it thru.

Patrick said...

Boo to Cliff Mass -- The best students will learn math no matter what texts are being used. If they're talented, the discovery approach may work. If the students are motivated or their parents push them, they'll do whatever it takes even if they're not getting it in class: parents' tutoring using a different book, or the parents' knowledge, or a private tutoring company.

The question is what system works best for average or below average students. One thing that helps is if the textbook explains the methods to be used, so that students who don't quite get it in class can study the book at home and learn from it.

Anonymous said...

The "Where's the Math" crowd does indeed want to manipulate what districts teach. Look at Shoreline as an example. The current math curriculum used in different grades definitely needs to be analyzed. My issue is that this should be done in a non-political way. Unfortunately, Cliff Mass and his group (very well organized) has pushed their philosophy in a very political manner and teachers have gotten little voice in the process.

What I wanted to bring up in my first post is that we should be aware of agendas. The candidates may not know the whole story behind some of their supporters but they might. Let's just be careful to not vote in a board that may have other motives. This has happened in other districts.

Worried Teacher

Anonymous said...

You know Patrick, that old adage: "they don't have the math information" just doesn't really cut anymore. There's a million places people can get "information". The idea that information is lacking because a math formula isn't spelled out exactly the way some people would like it, just doesn't hold up. You don't get it? Google it. Even a 10 year old knows that. A kid isn't motivated? Well, that problem isn't about the book.


-more Boos for Cliff Mas

Charlie Mas said...

Patrick wrote: "The best students will learn math no matter what texts are being used. If they're talented, the discovery approach may work. If the students are motivated or their parents push them, they'll do whatever it takes even if they're not getting it in class: parents' tutoring using a different book, or the parents' knowledge, or a private tutoring company."

That's not true. The CMP2 materials not only proved frustratingly impenetrable to my kids it also turned them off from math for life despite my best efforts. My efforts to teach them at home only frustrated them further because they were punished for it at school.

Common Sense Prevails said...

I'm going to ignore boo to Cliff Mass.

I suspect other parents will do the same. ANY parent of an elementary school child will tell you their child lacks basic skills.
Teachers know this, too.

This isn't an either -or , but kids can be taught both. Emphasis on basics needs to be stressed and practiced.

I hope this sentiment is reflected at the voting booth.

Anonymous said...

worried teacher at 9:51

as soon as you have 2 people, you have political problems and political compromises. some people who work in little worlds, where they get their way all the time, either pretend there aren't politics who are dishonest about there not being politics. everyone has agendas.

the agenda of where the math is having solid math education. if you'd done anything with them, you'd have learned that outside of math their agendas are varied because they are a very politically diverse group.

one of the agendas of the school board contenders is not kow towing to the toadies of bill gates with the toadies' quick fixes du jour.

unlike the incumbents or the astro turf organizations of bill gates (alliance for education, league of education voters, stand on children...) the challengers don't have to hide who their contributors are.

I think you're doing a good job worrying about what the local big shots want you to worry about.

teacher who wants help and results.

Sahila said...

preaching to the choir, I know, but might be useful for widespread dissemination:

Lest we forget: big money brought these rubber-stamping incompetents to the Seattle School Board; they're up for re-election and big money is being spent to keep them there...


Who Owns the School Board?

Sahila said...

Lest we forget the incumbents' complicity in the disaster that was MGJ....

rubberstampers unite

Sahila said...

time to make this go viral around the city... people need a reminder of the incumbents' actual decisions...

School Board renews Superintendent's contract

Anonymous said...

I will not be voting for Marty McLaren because of the math lawsuit. It's fine to have different opinions about math. But at the end of the day, kids can learn math with all sorts of different books. CMP is not "impenetrable". Not sure why your kids had a problem. If they couldn't learn at home either, then something else is the issue. Likely your instruction. And to say they've been turned of for life. Well, life is a pretty long time (hopefully) and there's nothing to gain by a negative prediction. It really comes down to the instruction itself and a teacher and board member should know that. Anybody who adopts these extreme positions, then wastes the district's time and money with lawsuits doesn't deserve a seat at the board. The lawsuit types, the 1-issue types... they will have to answer to the voters. And most people don't go for it.

-Go Sundquist.

Anonymous said...

Go Sun...phake at 9:05

what a comfy little world you have! you have all the answers to math learning and math education. you know who is right and who is wrong on policy, because whatever you know is obviously not extreme and definitely ... right!

I'm curious about the color of the kool aid you guzzle in mass quantities - is it the same color coming out as it was coming in?

(pst! you could try persuading people to your points instead of insulting them ... but ... since you're right and since they're extreme, what's the point?)

ExtremelyRight

Melissa Westbrook said...

Wow, Go Sundquist, those are some big statements.

"But at the end of the day, kids can learn math with all sorts of different books."

Yes, but if teachers don't have access or permission to use those materials, there's your problem. We do need a hybrid curriculum and that's not what is currently happening. Ask Steve why he hasn't been advocating for more schools to get to do what Schmitz Park does.

Also, many parents would like to help their children but were not taught via the CMP method. Hard to help if you don't understand the concept yourself. Parents were promised materials to help and never got them. Ask Steve what happened to that promise.

Po3 said...

"It really comes down to the instruction itself and a teacher and board member should know that."


I totally agree; problem with Discover Math/CMP math is the that much of the instruction is student led; either by working in small groups or having a student come to the board and "take a stab" at an concept. If your kid is lucky enough to "get it" or have a parent in the home at night to help them get it; or money to pay for private tutoring, yes they will succeed.

If not; oh well...

And that is why this math is not working for many students. And the current board has restricted teachers to using the materials and the teaching methods. The current board has ensured that teachers stay on script by allowing "coaches" to wonder through schools ensuring that teachers stick to the script. (This is known as curriculum alignment.)

Sundquist has stated, more than once; that they are not seeing the results that we should be seeing by now; yet does nothing to change the course, other than taking credit for the ONE school in the district with a waiver to use different materials and are having great results. That school just happens to be in his district.

What Sundquist could do to earn my vote is to stand up and point to this schools successes and insist that more schools be allowed to use these same materials (if they choose) and make damm sure the funding is there to purchase them.

But no, Sundquist is applauding the TFAer, recently placed in a middle school math classroom with CMP2 and NO experience teaching Math.

That is what you get for that vote!

Kathy said...

We all know that ELL learners are at a disadvantage with Discovery based math- due to heavy reliance on language.

We also know- we have immigrant parents that do NOT speak english.

We know the Level 1 schools in SE Seqattle are using EDM. SE SEattle has large populations of non-english speaking families.


Here is a test question for my 9 year old daughter:

"Demonstrate your knowledby by giving a clear, concise solution to each problem. Be sure to include all relevant drawings and justify your answers. You may show your solutions in more than one way or investigate beyone requirements of the problem. If Necessary, record your answer on another piece of paper."

Why hasn't the elected board- the directors up for re-election- insist supplemental materials be used?

Tired of anecdotal complaints said...

Anecdotal stories about whether specific math programs work are meaningless. Look at real data:

http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/Reports/Topic.aspx?tid=04

Anonymous said...

Right Kathy, nearly every school in the district is using EDM, high, medium, and low performing. And what is the problem with asking your student to draw a picture and explain her answer? What's wrong with doing it more than one way? She will need to do that on the MSP, and to graduate. It's a good idea to do it on some in class tests before it becomes high stakes, even ELL students. They too need that skill even though it is more difficult with a language component. And no Po3, we don't want every school going out and buying different text books because some teacher or parent group "likes" it. And, we certainly don't want the district to have to pay for it. I can believe there are "better" curriculum, but there will always be detractors no matter which is selected.

-parent

Anonymous said...

tired at 11:10

Everday Math - "Evidence of positive or potentially positive effects for at least one improvement outcome" is 1 of the more positive "Review Status" statements of the 30 or 40 statements.

The most common "Review Status" is "No studies meeting evidence standards"

Some data which exists about fuzzy math is how well kids do on various tests, by income level. Funny how lower income level kids do poorly with the 'reform' math of the Terry Bergeson crowd because ... they tend not to have the re$ource$ to supplement the philosophically theoretical theology of the out of touch reformers?

1 of the great ironies of the Bergeson crowd is that if they were politically conservative, instead of politically liberal, their steadfast advocacy for their crippling curriculum would make sense - what better outcome could they desire than having tens of thousands of low income kids never ever having a chance to compete in the job market, to contribute on a large scale to the community, and to change the world!

When 6 of 10 is always a random decimal and sure isn't a percent.

uxolo said...

To Anonymous who supports the incumbent-in-West Seattle:
Marty has helped many youth earn their high school diploma when all others gave up on them. She knows what good instruction looks like. She knows the power of a good education.

Po3 said...

"And no Po3, we don't want every school going out and buying different text books because some teacher or parent group "likes" it."

Actually, the school/text I am referring to is Schmitz Park and they have a waiver to use Singapore math, which if you recall was part of the EDM adoption. Students were to get both materials; teachers were to get trained on both curriculum. So no, I am not avocating for willy nilly texts; rather access to the materials APPROVED by the board. And that access includes paying for them!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I get your point Melissa. You don't need a variety of texts to teach math. Nearly any will do. It's about the instruction not the materials. I'm not sure what CMP materials parents aren't getting. The kids bring home the book or workbook, and parents can certainly read that. That's what we have been doing with both EDM and CMP. At least there are materials. What's the problem?

And, I also don't get ExtremelyRight. I don't have a "math" uberview (nor a comfy little world). Math material simply isn't that big a deal. That uberview is actually the problem. And as with TFA, a new math book will not solve inner-city school performance problems. Would you feel a lot better if TFA adopted Singapore or something like that? If so, maybe you can persuade TFA to use a teach to text curriculum.

-GS

Anonymous said...

Po3. Singapore was only adopted to placate a bunch of parents, not for real use. I would vote for getting rid of it, or adopting it wholesale. The fact that it was on an "Approved" list is really more of an anachronism than anything else. I would expect that designation to end at some point in the near future.

-GS

Po3 said...

"At least there are materials. What's the problem?"

Student led instruction is the problem. We say over and over it's about the instruction, then allow students to lead the instruction.

"Singapore was only adopted to placate a bunch of parents, not for real use."

Well if the board is passing motions to placte parents; then I will work to get them out of office as I believe they should pass motions based on what is best for the students; what the best research tells us and when we don't get the results they want they change course.

So thank you for pointing this out as I was under the impression that the duel adoption was done because it was the best course of action for my students!

Kathy said...

Parent,

There isn't anthing wrong with asking a child to use multiple methods for figuring a problem.

However the directions use words such as justify,investigate etc. would be difficult for a non-english speaking parent.

Limited comprehension is also a concern with students reading below grade level.

Anonymous said...

I am an engineer. I read the EDM crap sent home and have no clue WTH it's supposed to teach. I end up explaining it my way, which just confuses my kid even more, I'm sure. The one day my kid brought a Singapore math worksheet home I was thrilled! Direct, to the point, took out all that confusing mumbo-jumbo, "experiential" crap. I bought the workbooks online right after that.

Mr. Ed

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm not saying you need a variety of texts. I'm saying you need a variety of methods available to reach as many kids as possible.

Some schools (a few) are being allowed waivers to do just that. The district "allows" teachers to use other materials but only after presenting the CMP stuff. Well, there's no time after that so basically only schools with waivers use other materials.

If you don't understand how CMP works, you won't be able to help your kid (workbook or not). Why do you think teachers get professional development when new materials are adopted? Do you think they just scan a book or workbook and say "got it."

I'm advocating a hybrid. Make sure the kids have the basics (multiplication tables, etc.) and then go on to higher level thinking but don't let them out of elementary school without knowing the basics.

Also, CMP favors kids who read well and that pretty much dings the ELL kids right there. It was like that on the WASL and it's going to be a problem here.

We have the luxury of thinking of how it would go in your own home. The district doesn't.

Anonymous said...

EDM is atrocious. Most teachers do their best to teach around it and/or supplement to a huge degree. Some schools are more on board with the "supplementing" than others. Kids usually prefer to learn to a state of mastery. EDM approaches each subject with a surface level understanding and then spirals to the next topic. Kids do have a very difficult time learning like this.

Someone said that most teachers like/applaud Cliff Mass and the Where's the Math crowd. That's definitively not true. I've seen districts in which students deep thinking has been massacred by the "traditional" approach (drill/kill, no deep understanding) that has been promoted by this group.

I'm glad the subject of math has come up in this election. I do not think people voted in who are supposed to oversee the superintendent and the operating procedures should be making educational choices. They are not the experts. They are voted in to make sure other people are doing their jobs.

- Worried Teacher

Anonymous said...

Worried at 2:22

So the way AnnaMaria Delafuente stacked the deck to adopt "Discovering..." didn't require oversight? She picked as many people as possible who wouldn't stand up to anyone forceful, (did you see the selection questionnaire? ) and then adopted a version of "consensus" which allowed the most forceful advocates (of "Discovering...") to force the "Discovering..." 'consensus' down the throats of people who don't stand up to the forceful.

If all the Board is supposed to do is rubber stamp a rigged process, then they certainly did their jobs.

Some comments about your anecdotes about "...deep thinking massacred by 'traditional' approach..."

I like how you classify "traditional" - you've just thrown your cards on the table! Either math boring worksheets, or, deep understanding! yeah.

And for those of YOU who consistently dismiss mastery of basics - how many of YOU grew up in the bottom 1, 2 or 3 quintiles of household income? how many of YOU spent 1 or 2 or 3 decades in those bottom quintiles of household income? how many of YOU were part of the 185,000,000 / 240,000,000 with (adjusted) 2008 personal money income of $50,000 a year or less?

Too few of YOU, because then you'd have real experiences of the REAL job market, not your education fantasy land, and you'd know that people without basic math skills are road kill, flattened and stuck in place as the world races over them and by them.

WorriedBoutOpportunityForAll, not theory for a few.

Anonymous said...

We supplement math at home, with a "traditional" book. It has more challenging (and less tedious) problems than CMP and requires a much deeper understanding of math. It requires the student to work with real numbers and formulas, not just "nice" numbers and made up algorithms. It requires them to think.

Their MAP scores make their teachers and the District curriculum look really good.

If people were "doing their jobs," we wouldn't be having this discussion. If parents felt their children were getting a stellar math education in Seattle schools, there would be no brouhaha over the books. In California, CMP books are not state approved - they are considered years behind.

-tired of tutoring

Get out and meet candidates said...

An update emailed from Sharon Peaslee for upcoming events:

Tuesday, August 30th - 4-6pm
Celebration of Learning
Fisher Pavilion - Seattle Center Campus

Monday, September 5 - 12:00-3pm
MLK County Labor Council Picnic
Woodland Park Shelters 1, 2, 3

Saturday, September 10 - 10am-Noon
37th Legislative District Candidate Forum
Rainier Beach Cultural Center (Columbia City)
3515 S Alaska St

Wednesday, September 28th - 7:30pm
The Stranger's School Board Candidate Debate
Town Hall
1119 8th Avenue, Seattle

Friday, September 30th 6-8pm
West Seattle Meet & Greet Happy Hour with Cliff Mass, Candidates Marty McLaren & Sharon Peaslee
Puget Ridge Cohousing Assn
7020 18th SW (north of SW Myrtle)

dan dempsey said...

Dear Go Sundquist,

Glad you are happy with a director who refuses to make evidence based decisions. Most voters who take the time to fully examine the situations surrounding Steve's votes will not be happy.

McLaren, Mass, & Porter stated that "Discovering" would harm English Language Learners and Black students and had lots of data to back up that claim.

The WASL Math testing at grade 10 after one year of Discovering use ... confirmed exactly what they claimed.

Mr. Sundquist voted to close Cooper and create the West Seattle elementary school capacity mess in Northern West Seattle.

Mr. Sunquist voted for the $800,000 New Tech Network contract he had not read.

He voted for it again, while ignoring all the data THAT SHOWED HOW POORLY NTN schools were performing.

Mr. Sundquist stated that being a Director is like being in Retail. ---- I guess he thinks his job is to sell the voters on the existing defective inventory.

A thoughtful decision maker is needed .... NOT Director Rubber-Stamp.
-------

Please ... Ask Steve how the New Student Assignment plan will make every school a quality school?

Old New Mather said...

I must be much older than most of you or some of you have VERY selective memories. In grade school the district I was in brought in something called "New Math" in which we learned things like Base 10 and sets and different words for borrowing and carrying. My mother (a science-degree holding college graduate) used to put her head in her hands and say, "WHY DID THEY CHANGE THE MATH?? WHAT WAS WRONG WITH THE OLD MATH??" And she would say that she couldn't help us do our homework because she had no idea what all these new-fangled terms meant.

She much preferred the old math where you just memorized what to do without really understanding why.

A change in math is nothing new-I suspect the some of the "where's the math" people would have been out there with their lawsuits 50 years ago to stop "New Math". After all, why change anything?

DWE said...

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a meet-and-greet for Marty McLaren, and I am more impressed with her than ever. She is thoughtful, attentive, intelligent, inquisitive--she will make a terrific Board director.

She has momentum, folks, She's building an organization and a base. With our help, she can beat Sundquist and help make our city's public education system responsive to the needs of the community.

Charlie Mas said...

Hey, Go Sundquist, don't tell me what is happening in my house when I'm there and you're not.

You have no basis for your conjecture.

Patrick said...

Anecdotal stories about whether specific math programs work are meaningless. Look at real data:

Almost all of those textbooks and instructional systems say "No studies meeting evidence standards". There's nothing to compare one with another. This seems like something that should be done at the publisher's expense before a textbook series is offered for sale, just like drug companies testing a new drug. Instead, we get advertising blitzes and stacked adoption committees.

The spiral development model is confusing. I'm not necessarily opposed to the idea of presenting an introduction to a new concept first and then reintroducing it and expecting mastery later. But EDM does not say which is which. Not in the useless "family letters", and not even in the teacher's editions of the textbook. Should I be worried if my child is not completely fluent in some aspect of the homework, or is it one of the not-for-mastery topics and I shouldn't worry about it? EDM won't say...

I don't see what's so desirable about having every teacher in every room in the district teaching the same page of the same book on the same day. One of the advantages of a large district should be that we could try different things in different schools, and if they work well spread them around to other schools.

Worried Teacher, Cliff Mass is a teacher. The reason he is so worried is that he tries to teach a highly mathematical science to students, many of whom are well-motivated, but just can't cut it. Did you look at the quiz he gives his incoming intro students? Those are math skills that should have been mastered in jr. high, and then reinforced every year after. Upwards of 90% of my high school class would have gotten them all (even the students who didn't go on to a 4-year college attempting a mathematical science).

The "traditional approach" did use a lot of drill, especially in the elementary grades. We got accurate and fast. That accuracy and speed made us able to estimate and check our work. But it's not drill or theory; we got a lot of theory in high school. We proved all the basic algebra theorems, our geometry was almost all rigorous line-by-line proofs. (Indeed, if you're not doing rigorous proofs I'm not sure what you're doing counts as geometry at all.)

What we did not do was group work, proof by vigorous assertion, or guessing what might be a generally valid method based on success on a couple of test cases.

Maybe you'd also advocate a non-drill approach to music? Practice is so much hard work! Maybe they could get together in groups with other kids and write an essay about what the music might sound like if they could play it! Instead of playing any hard pieces, they could just play recordings of them.

Anonymous said...

hello Patrick at 10:30

why write an essay on what the music might sound like if they could play music?

just twiddle with guitar hero!

sheesh - you old people - who needs to master anything, you just plug in your Berry Pod Pad!

AdoptAWheelBarrow

Anonymous said...

Hey Charlie, nobody's "telling you what happened in your house". YOU did that. YOU said YOU tried to teach your kids math at home, and because (supposedly) of a tragic experience with CMP, YOU were unable to reverse the life altering damage. YOU said all that. I think it hogwash. That's it. Pretty simple. No conjecture. Only information you have volunteered.


-GS

(I do find it ironic that you think a better book would solve your kids' math problem, when you had the whole world of best books available. You were homeschooling for math afterall.)

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I am actually responding but here I go. I am definitely in favor of practicing math skills. No teacher would disagree with that. What I am arguing is that K-12 teachers are highly trained individuals who know how to assess their students and provide a rigorous curriculum that meet their specific needs. No teacher will tell you that one solution works. It doesn't.

In my class, my students require a fair amount of exploration alongside practice. They also get significant practice effectively communicating their mathematical knowledge. I know this works because I can assess progress and by the way, they do remarkably well on standardized testing (over 90% passing their MSP) and the majority of my students are placed in the year ahead middle school programs.

What I am saying that so many teachers are saying, is allow us to do our jobs. So many teachers are in positions of having to do such inane lessons that they know do not address the student need. Of course there needs to be oversight. Of course, there needs to be collaboration.

Signing off,
Worried Teacher

Charlie Mas said...

Okay, Go Sundquist, let's review.

I wrote:
"The CMP2 materials not only proved frustratingly impenetrable to my kids it also turned them off from math for life despite my best efforts. My efforts to teach them at home only frustrated them further because they were punished for it at school."

You wrote:
"CMP is not "impenetrable". Not sure why your kids had a problem. If they couldn't learn at home either, then something else is the issue. Likely your instruction. And to say they've been turned of for life. Well, life is a pretty long time (hopefully) and there's nothing to gain by a negative prediction. It really comes down to the instruction itself and a teacher and board member should know that."

I say that my kids found CMP2 impenetrable. You are in no position to dispute that, yet you simply denied it. That's trying to tell me what happened in my house.

I say that my kids are turned off from math for life. Again, you simply deny it. That's trying to tell me what's happening in my house.

I say that my children were punished in school for using the conventional algorithms I taught them at home when they were in classes that used CMP2. I didn't say that they "couldn't learn"; that was your version of what was happening at my house.

And, for the record, it was the materials, not the teacher. The actual homework questions straight from the book were the source of their frustration and, after three years of CMP2, eventual decision to just give up on math.

CMP2 - the materials - dictated the most damaging practices of the classes. Students only had workbooks and they only had the workbooks for a few weeks at a time. The early exercises were ridiculously, insultingly easy. Then, near the end, the exercises switched to being ridiculously difficult. Then the workbooks were gone and the class would begin work on a completely unrelated topic adn the cycle would start again. My kids learned that they could cruise easily for the first weeks, then do their best to fake it for the final weeks or so, then the workbook would be gone and they didn't have to know about anything that was in it ever again.

The CMP2 materials never provided the algorithm and never provided enough practice with the algorithm (once it was "discovered") so students could commit it to memory, so my kids never learned any of the algorithms. Since they didn't have completed workbooks to use as a reference, they couldn't review them or remind themselves of the algorithms. They had to essentially re-discover how to solve problems everytime they faced one.

These are all features of the materials - not the teacher.

I did homeschool my younger daughter in algebra in the 8th grade, but that was after she had three years of CMP2.

So, Go Sundquist, despite your denials, you DID make conjecture about what was happening for my kids and you DID try to tell me what happened in my house when I'm there and you're not. I'd appreciate it if you didn't do that in future.

By the way, writing "I think it hogwash." is a conjecture.

Anonymous said...

Actually, it is a "conjecture" to assume a single reason caused your children (or any child) (or any group or children) has "failed" to love math for life because of a curriculum. It is a "conjecture" to assume that another book would have made everything just hunky dory. It is a "conjecture" to assume they need to have algorigthms at their fingertips, rather than skills to discover them. Yes, there are many theories ("conjectures") that we make all the time. So what? And nope, nobody is going to stop making conjectures. One person conjectures one way, another may have different "conjectures". So what?

Besides, Charlies said:
don't tell me what is happening in my house when I'm there and you're not. Again. Nope.

Nobody said anything about the inner workings of your household except YOU. If you don't like it, don't share it.

-GS

uxolo said...

GS, there is a diagnosis called DYSCALCULIA. It is considered a Mathematics Learning Disability. Perhaps poor math instruction contributes to this "disability." Some folks believe that some people just aren't good at math. Many educators believe students can be' turned on' to math. Poor instruction can convince students that they just aren't good at math. This is a common cry across the country that grew louder when Whole Language Math became the latest trend. There may be some source that discusses the incidence of dyscalculia - maybe those data would be telling?

Melissa Westbrook said...

GS, and to my point you say?

Anonymous said...

We had an experience similar to Charlie's, and we can say with some confidence that it was the materials. If my child wasn't so responsible, the books would have gotten shredded or burned.

The workbooks with no examples or formulas, the mindnumbingly simplistic and repetitive problems - they made my child detest math, despite strong math abilities. "I hate math" was scrawled in the margins of my child's homework journals. Homework was such an ordeal. Plus, there was no end of year test that reviewed concepts for the year. Concepts were covered (somewhat incompletely) and then forgotten.

We switched to a school with regular old math, and lo and behold, math was a nonissue.

In summary-

Observation: Switch to CMP, child suddenly hates math

Hypothesis: Maybe it's the books

Experiment: Switch to regular old math books

Result: Child no longer hates math

Conclusion: It's the books

(those wanting to read more about middle school math should read a still relevant post from 2009 - opting out of middle school math)

http://saveseattleschools.blogspot.com/2009/10/opting-out-of-middle-school-math.html

-it's the books

Po3 said...

Charlie does a great job of describing the CMP2 books. Further, each book has a glossary, but then that book is taken away so students do not have the ability to go back and look up a term from a past book. And yes the topics jump all over the place and that is partly due to the fact that SPS does not follow the the sequence recommended by the publisher, which is posted on their web site. If they did, I think CMP2 would make a bit more sense, but still would have the issues pointed out here.

Also, your student may not even finish all the books in a given year. When that happens they pick up where they left off in the spring. Problem is there is an end point: June of 8th grade and if your student doesn't make it through the entire CMP2 6-8 books oh well it's on to Discovery Math.

Call me old fashion, but a text book that allows students to go back and revisit topics, look up terms is head and shoulders above the CMP2 booklets and the EDM consumables.

And again, I point out that Sundquist has stated that the district is not seeing the results they expect. CMP has been in the classroom for 6-7 years now. Maybe its time for a change!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jan said...

Worried Teacher: Your post makes so much sense. I do, heartily, believe that good teachers know what they are doing and, given time and reasonable materials, can teach math to all but the trickiest kids. But teachers in Seattle Schools (except for Schmitz Park) have no ability to use anything EXCEPT Discovery math, and discovery methods (because they are so time consuming that -- it's like Cinderella -- yes, dear, you may work on getting ready for the ball AFTER you have -- mopped all the floors, cleaned the draperies, shined the silver, helped your stepsisters get ready, etc. etc. Oh, and the Singapore curricular materials we said we would provide -- never mind. Decided not to.

GS: This District has NEVER had an honest conversation with parents, and other taxpayers, and students about math curricula. The "committee" was a farce, if not an outright fraud. The Board meetings on adoption were a sham. The lawsuit was brilliant (and the District Court was correct, in my opinion).

At any rate, regardless of what anyone thinks of the suit, I totally do not understand, in any way, shape, or form, how we can dismiss people like Cliff Mass. For many of these kids, he (and other college professors in engineering, math, and science) are the customers. We teach these kids math PRECISELY so that they can graduate and go off to science majors at places like the UW, taught by people like Cliff.

And yet, when he comes to us -- telling us we are failing to get the job done, that our kids are so deficient in math that they cannot pass their college science courses, we dismiss him? In what world is THAT a reasonable response?

Anonymous said...

Niki Hayes [formerly Principal at North Beach], as posted on 5/15/2010 in comments
Barry Garelick on Math

As a retired middle and high school math teacher and K-12 principal, I need to explain that MANY teachers are forbidden to use any materials other than the reform ones that have been adopted by the district. It’s called “fidelity of implementation.” This supposedly will prevent the pollution of the reformists’ equity-based, literary-designed, verbally-organized classrooms that are to appeal to girls and minorities (except Asians). (Yes, I consider such thinking as racist and sexist.) Of course, many teachers still manage to sneak traditional instruction to their students but that is a heck of a way to have to work each day. For one thing, the students must learn two “languages” of mathematics–the reformists’ methods and the tradtional/internationally-based methodologies that will prepare them for higher education. That duplicity adds undesired stress on both teacher and the student. (This also happens when students must be taught basic skills with tutors.)

Next, I will be glad to debate anyone at any time about the serious decline in math ability–as well as math scores, even though some of the scores have been manipulated to show growth–with the full-force introduction of reform math 1989. I watched it in my classroom over a 20-year period. As a principal, I saw how math achievement could be turned around with the use of Saxon Math as the K-12 curriculum on an Indian reservation and then in an all-white elementary school in Seattle, WA. It works on all kids from all “subgroups” and genders. It is not designed for “certain” groups while ignoring others.

I heard a speaker at a school board meeting ask once, when the reformists were demanding Everyday Math be adopted but, at the same time, saying that curriculum didn’t matter. It was the teacher who makes ALL of the difference, they said. The speaker asked, if that’s the case, why the district didn’t just issue teachers a copy of the Yellow Pages from which to teach mathematics. No one offered an answer.

Curriculum makes a huge difference for students if it is vertically implemented through grade levels because it is the one thing that can remain constant in a child’s learning. The adults change, both at school and in the home (sadly). But it must be user-friendly and proven in its results. None of the reform products can make that claim, at least not HONESTLY.


-parent

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I'm really not sure which point you are speaking to. That parents will have trouble if they don't get a text? That we need waivers to use different texts? That complex language makes math harder? That Cliff Mass thinks he should have better students?

Parent understanding? Parenst do get a text with EDM and CMP. I see EDM as an improvement in that regard over Investigations, the previous thing. I can't imagine that parents really trying, couldn't keep the math text (or workbook) for as long as they need them. We haven't had that problem. I also don't see or understand the need for massive PD. That seems to be more of a sales pitch than anything else.


Waivers? I disagree with that. People move, and need consistent texts and coverage from school to school. Plus it is a matter of equity. Wealthy schools like Scmitz Park should not get "waivers" because they "did well." Haven't you said "doing well" was really a matter of SES? They did well as it was. I think some alternative schools (assuming we still have them) should perhaps have "alternative" texts because of their missions, and perhaps something alternative would align with their mission.

Language? MSP/WASL math also have heavy language requirements. So does real life. Learning to apply math in the context of language is an important skill. And yes it is a challenge. But it isn't one that should be shirked by reducing language usage, or using texts that don't require language integration. Likewise with collaboration. It's hard to imagine anything more important than learning to collaborate, and collaborate on complex topics. It's probably the number 1 thing required for nearly any job, anywhere. (Learning a formula, however important, will likely be forgotten quickly too. Even if the student passes some assessment here or there.)

Cliff Mass? So what if he doesn't like the math skills his students have? The job of the district isn't to create theoretical meteorologists. How many of those do we need really? Cliff Mass is not the district's "customer". Students (some of them) are his customer. And if he thinks they come to him with needs, then he should provide for those needs instead of complaining about them. The complaint about "math skills" is as old as hills, or at least as old as the university system. Perhaps teaching "the skills" isn't as easy as he thinks, especially if you consider the much broader group of students facing the entire SPS. He doesn't even have to teach to that broad spectrum. I haven't seen a "decline in math skills", I can't remember a time when that wasn't the claim. It is probably true that there are more educated people from areas of the world where education is relatively more available over the last 50 years or so.

-GS

PS. I'm not against drill, or the basics. Most curricula, including Singapore, require that be done "off the book". I'm not opposed to Singapore either, just candidates who are religious about that 1 narrow issue. Especially if they bring fruitless, frivolous lawsuits over it.

Bird said...

Cliff Mass? So what if he doesn't like the math skills his students have? The job of the district isn't to create theoretical meteorologists. How many of those do we need really? Cliff Mass is not the district's "customer". Students (some of them) are his customer.

Have your seen the basic algebra test he's given his students? The results were completely appalling.

You may not think it's a big deal if only a sliver of students at the most selective state school can do a simple algebra operation. Good to know you don't think that's important. Now I know that you aren't worth listening to, or trusting with my kids' education.

Incidentally, Cliff Mass isn't upset about math education because it causes some problem for himself as a "customer". He cares about it because kids who've come out of the crappy math curriculum are crippled by it. Those kids may want to go on to be engineers, or doctors, or scientists but don't have the math skills to cut it when they reach college. Kids can go through the lousy math programs, get all A's and not be able to handle the basic skills necessary to start a technical degree.

They are the customers and they are being cheated.

Patrick said...

GS, what school allows elementary school students to take the EDM workbooks home? At Sacajawea and Jane Addams, the workbooks stay at school until the end of the year. (That's probably just as well, or my child at least would be on her 4th or 5th copy of the workbook by the end of the year...)

Patrick said...

Cliff Mass? So what if he doesn't like the math skills his students have? The job of the district isn't to create theoretical meteorologists.

The job of the district includes creating graduates who are able to pursue a career in math or science if they wish. It should concern you greatly if lots of them graduate at an 8th grade level in math. Remember, these students got into the most selective state college in Washington and volunteered to take a mathematically-based science class.

Anonymous said...

Cliff Mass should teach them what they need to know instead of complaining. And no, I'm not appalled. It's always a lot easier or perhaps more sensational to complain about what other people are or are not doing, or how education is a big disaster than it is to do so yourself. Arithmetic and algebra just aren't that big a deal. University professors have always complained about this btw. He comes from a long tradition of math whining, and it is to be expected. A similar sort of "sky is falling" manufactured is made by TFA. Is there a big shortage of doctors? Last I heard, medical school was hghly competitive and selective. Not exactly turning folks away.

-GS

Po3 said...

"Cliff Mass should teach them what they need to know instead of complaining."

That is exactly what he is trying to do; teach meteorology, the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere. And in order to do his job his students need solid math skills that can only be acquired during their K-12 education.

Had his students entered his classroom prepared; Mr. Mass never would have had to speak up.

I am glad he did!

Bird said...

Please reassure me, GS, that you are not a teacher or working for the school district.

It'll take a lot of worry off my mind.

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Cliff Mass should teach them what they need to know instead of complaining."

One, his job isn't to teach them what they should have learned earlier.

Two, he's not the only one complaining in higher education.

Anonymous said...

Right Melissa, university professors have ALWAYS complained about inadequate high school preparation, and in many domains. And, about what students should or should not be expected to know and do, and about what university professors should be expected to do. Math is an age old favorite. When have we ever heard them say anything EXCEPT: "Wow, these students haven't learned what I learned, or in the way I learned it. The sky is falling." ??? It's a well sanctioned university tradition of elitism. At some point you realize you have to fight with the army you have, not with the one you wish you had. Especially when you consider the issue in the context that many, many more students are going to college than ever before. I can tell you this for sure, students coming out of universities, and interviewing for highly technical jobs are better prepared now than ever before.

Again, I would be happy if the district decides on a different text series. I wouldn't expect any gap to magically disappear though or for Cliff Mass to stop whining. I wouldn't be happy if it were some sort of piecemeal, waiver based transition. And, I don't consider it a valid campaign issue.

-GS

Patrick said...

I can tell you this for sure, students coming out of universities, and interviewing for highly technical jobs are better prepared now than ever before.

I'm not at all sure that's true. What's your basis for believing it?