Thursday, May 01, 2014

Math Adoption Update

Oddly, nothing from SPS.  But here's a post from committee member, Rick Burke.  Thanks, Rick

The district has not yet announced the results from the K-5 Math Adoption Committee (MAC) meeting on last Friday, but it was a public meeting, so there is no reason I can't share the outcome of committee deliberations and some of my personal opinions about the process and final program selection.

The MAC met on Friday April 25th for an all-day deliberation meeting to choose from one of the three finalist programs (enVision, Go Math, and Math in Focus), plus the alternate recommendation of "no program". 
 Jumping straight to what folks really want to know, enVision will be the program recommendation put before the school board, and if approved, the new books should be in the schools this fall.  While this was not my ideal choice for a math program, the positives do outweigh the negatives in my opinion.

A bit about the process - pros and cons.  
First off, I have to give kudos to Barbara Grant for her work in facilitation and Adam Dysart and Shawn Sipe for their transparency in running the adoption.  Barbara was ruthless about giving everybody a chance to speak their mind and be heard by the group.  I've sat through some SSD "processes" which were nothing more than window dressing for a predetermined outcomes, and I've experienced the marginalizing "thanks for your input" message too many times.  
This adoption committee included a good demographic mix - regional, racial, grade/position, and community representation.  A melting pot of 27.  Members had varying pedagogical biases and opinions they brought to the mix, but it was nothing like the last elementary adoption where there are an unhealthy polarity between "fuzzy" and "traditional" mindsets..  No fist-fights broke out during debate.

On the con side, there is really just one, but it's a big one.  The entire adoption process was heavily guided by the K-5 Common Core State Standards.  For those who haven't followed the CCSS bandwagon, it's the new drumbeat by which Seattle is marching.  The textbook evaluation criteria were heavily based on alignment to CCSS, including content standards (subject matter the kids will learn by grade level), and mathematical practices (math communication, habits of mind, problem solving, etc).  Publishers who built decent K-5 math programs following the alignment, pacing, and prioritization of CCSS rose to the top of the heap.  I maintain that CCSS is mostly a distraction, with a few slight benefits.  There has been good math before CCSS, and there will be good math long after CCSS dies on the vine to be replaced by the next fad.

For the committee to down-select from 4 choices (3 programs plus "none"), we used a successive elimination process.  Prior to this final meeting, each MAC member had reviewed all programs and filled out a scoring sheet based on the selection criteria, including multiple CCSS factors, and Ease of Implementation items.  We had also been provided with cost information and publisher-supplied professional development plans for each program.  Community feedback, collected from 5 school sites + Douglass-Truth library + JSCEE library, was sent to committee members as it was collected via weekly updates.  Each MAC member could review the votes and comments of the community.  Updated community feedback was shared up to the day of the meeting.  Prior to each "elimination", there was a debate period, followed by a tabulation of program rankings from all MAC members.  The choice with the FEWEST FIRST PLACE RANKINGS was cut.  During the debate periods, MAC members could ask questions, make impassioned testimony for their favorites, or critique their least favorites.  Community votes were part of this discussion.  The elimination sequence was "none" got cut first, followed by Math in Focus, and the Go Math, to leave enVision as the program favored by the majority of the MAC.  Although the public feedback clearly favored Math in Focus, the program ranking based on the CCSS-based evaluation criteria.  MIF, following the Singapore framework, was noticeably advanced compared to the CCSS topic pacing.

I sum up my report-out by restating that enVision is a decent program, and light-years better than Everyday Math.  It actually includes worked examples.  It has enough practice problems that students can develop mastery.  It includes fact fluency (know your multiplication tables), along with problem solving.  It even incorporates some the Singapore bar modeling strategies, though not as well as Math in Focus.  It is a compromise program - not my first choice.  I would favor a Singapore-based program, JUMP math (eliminated during Round1 due to lack of CCSS aligned materials), or Saxon which has a brilliant progression of mathematical topic development.  It makes me a bit sad that Seattle chose a less-rigorous program to maintain fidelity to CCSS.

From here, it falls to district central staff to get materials sourced and provide initial teacher training over the summer, and then it's on to building and classroom-level implementation.  For those who have kids in the K-5 grades, you should be vigilant in checking for daily work.  Grades K-2 should have a single sheet (11x17 folded in half) daily assignment.  For grades 3+, your students will need to copy problems from the enVision textbooks and solve them in composition notebooks (or some other student paper).  This will be a new challenge for many students accustomed to just filling in worksheets, but it's a worthy exercise to prepare for that expectation in middle and high school.

One last comment:  This adoption does not change the waiver policy.  Schools are still free to apply for instructional material waivers and use alternate programs.  I hope the schools already using or considering Singapore programs will stay the course, and that folks will keep an eye out for JUMP Math.  JUMP is from a non-profit publisher which also focuses on developing teacher mathematical depth along with the students.  Of all programs reviewed, JUMP would be most likely to lift the entire district, and also result in less of our taxpayer dollars going into Pearson's pockets.

Rick Burke
MAC Community Representative & parent of 3 SPS kids


Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for the informative summary and your hard work on this committee!! Not my first choice either but a step in the right direction!

-Scientist Parent

Wondering said...


What are your thoughts regarding middle and high school math?

BTW--Our chemistry books are TWENTY years old! That is another story, though.

Jon said...

Melissa wrote, "Although the public feedback clearly favored Math in Focus."

Once again, we see that any attempt at community engagement is just for show. The committee asked for feedback from parents and teachers, got a strong response, but did whatever they wanted to do anyway.

As always, the decision had already been made behind closed doors. If they're going to do that, at least they should drop the pretence of community engagement and stop wasting everyone's time.

Patrick said...

Thank you for the summary, Rick.

I see great sales continuing for Singapore Math to parents who think better math instruction is more important than following this year's educational fad.

dw said...


Did you even read Rick's summary above? The committee was well represented by the community at large. You can be disappointed in the weighting that was given to various inputs, as I am, but this is probably the best community engagement that has happened in SPS in 10 years.

I think the weighting of different factors (CCSS/public comments) was a big problem, and I share Rick's disappointment with the ultimate choice, but as he also states, it's a HUGE improvement over what we have. The problem with weighting CCSS so highly is just what RIck mentions: math is math; the best methods of teaching math are those that reach in and advance kids in a logical progression, with sound fundamentals. If we do that, then meeting ANY kind of standards will just happen naturally regardless of whether it's CCSS or the next wave of crap that rolls in. If we bind tightly to this year's fad, then we will be thrown into a lurch next time as well. Better to just use materials that work.

My biggest disappointment is that we will be using another Pearson product. Since they were so heavily involved in the development of CCSS it's not surprising that their materials aligned most closely with CCSS, but they are not a company that I wish our district was so tied-in with. All your kids' grades, attendance and whatever else is on the Source/PowerSchool now is in their hands. It won't surprise me if they try to weave some kind of online tools into their math program, which may feel like some "nice" supplemental tools, but it's also another way for companies like Pearson to get more and more personal data about your kids. Choosing any Pearson product is unfortunate.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Melissa wrote, "Although the public feedback clearly favored Math in Focus."

No, this was what Rick - a member of the committee said. (Just wanting to be clear.) That said, it is rare to see eventual outcomes match public input in SPS.

Agreed on Pearson, DW

Anonymous said...

I think the rules of the blog say no name calling, but, seriously, if the Board doesn't adopt Singapore, they are acting like morons. Notice, I didn't call them morons, I said their behavior would be moronic.

Read my lips: SINGAPORE.

If this Board fails to get this one, ultra-low-hanging fruit in the 'win column', then, really, there is absolutely NOTHING this board can get right. And, to think, for this was the ONE THING Direct Peaslee wanted to get done, and get done right. She claims she wanted to fix the math. Ha-ha!! Is it a surprise she is more than likely going to mess this up? Nah. But is it sad, tragic, even? Yes.

So, I guess math will continue to 'be hard' for kids enrolled in SPS. Maybe they didn't want the kids to be smarter than them, which could have happened with Singapore.


Jon said...

dw, watch your tone. There is no need for your personal attacks. I'm not asking if you are ignorant or can read, and you don't need to do that either.

We clearly have a different view of what community engagement is. Who is picked for the committee is not the same as taking feedback from a broader group of parents and teachers. And this committee ignoring what teachers and parents overwhelmingly want is just another example of how useless it is for anyone not on these committees to bother with giving feedback.

You can try to redefine community engagement as much as you like, but the fact remains the decision, yet again, was made behind closed doors ignoring what parents and teachers overwhelmingly said they wanted.

dw said...

Jon, I'm asking if you read Rick's summary because you are contradicting what he, as a MAC member is saying. Rick has been an outspoken proponent of better math materials, and better math in general in SPS for years.

He said: "I have to give kudos ... for their transparency in running the adoption".

You said: "As always, the decision had already been made behind closed doors."

Most, if not all, of the MAC meetings were open to the public. That's not exactly behind closed doors. Did you attend any of the meetings?

Just the fact that Rick and a number of others were chosen (albeit as an add-on) to be on this committee speaks to a very different attitude this time. The committee was large enough to get a variety of opinions, and it's clear that significantly better materials will be the result, even if not, IMO, the best ones.

I understand the point you're trying to make, which is that it's possible to stack a committee to get the predetermined results you want, but I know multiple people on this committee, and I don't feel that was the case. What I do feel a little angry about is the heavy push to make CCSS such a primary focus, and the drive to make sure the committee members felt that emphasis. That's a lot different from " the decision had already been made behind closed doors", which was (essentially) what happened last time.

suep. said...

Hi everyone,

DW - I made the same point at a math curric. adoption work session (which, btw, was called by Board President Peaslee, SINGAPORE x2): If the district adopts a solid math curriculum, it will prepare our students for any standards, CCSS or otherwise.

Back to SINGAPORE x2: You are 100 percent mistaken about Director Peaslee. She has been very committed to ensuring that we adopt a strong math curriculum for our students. As have I, and others.

Also, I just want to share one more observation about the board which I have learned since I joined: It's really easy to misjudge what individual board members are or are not doing, especially as an anonymous blog commenter. I am guilty of having done that myself in the past. Rather than jump to conclusions, I encourage people to contact board members directly and ask them what they are doing or thinking about an issue.

I'm going to sign off here, but feel free to e-mail me at my SPS address with any other questions or comments: sue DOT peters AT

Happy May Day.

Linh-Co said...

We hate CMP and the Discovering series. Highline SD adopted Math In Focus and is rolling it up this year to 6th grade. MIF has a complete series Course 1, 2,and 3 for middle school grades. This is another reason that MIF would have been better.

Anonymous said...

Link to critique of various math programs, includes envision older edition and scathing overview of Everyday Math for 3rd grade:


Jon said...

dw, what I am objecting to is that it took a lot of time and effort to provide feedback to the committee and then that feedback was ignored.

If, no matter how strong the preferences were of people outside the committee, the committee was going to make their decision in one particular way anyway, the committee should have said that from the beginning, skipped the token attempt to gather opinions from people not on the committee, and saved everyone time.

In general, this is how all decisions are made in Seattle Public Schools. The decision is made in quiet side discussions behind the scenes. You can go to open meetings and talk all you want, or submit feedback by e-mail or some broken form, but a coalition will already have been formed and the decision already made. As happened here.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rick - for both this great summary and explanation of the process, and for your work on the committee.

Will MS and HS also be getting enVision curriculum?

While I share the disappointment that aligning w/ CCSS took a high priority in the evaluation, isn't that frustration and disappointment best directed at the state? I agree it's not optimal but I'm not sure we can fault SPS (and certainly not the MAC) for wanting a curriculum that will align w/ what was decided at the state level.

That said, I agree with Sue that "If the district adopts a solid math curriculum, it will prepare our students for any standards, CCSS or otherwise."


Anonymous said...

I have heard Thurgood Marshall is using enVision and is happy with it, at least when compared to Everyday Math. From what I understand, it has been working for both the APP and the general education students at Thurgood Marshall. Maybe some TM parents can weigh in?

And are some grades at Lincoln using enVision? I did see some enVision texts there the other day.

lincoln parent

Anonymous said...

Once again SPS bites it in the communications category. Wasn't the district supposed to make the decision known days ago? For lack of official info we've got (good + involved) committee members announcing the news. Would have thought SPS would have wanted to lead the conversation. Oh well, SPS, parents will just go make our own assumptions on process and decision since you haven't bothered to do so in a timely manner.


Linh-Co said...

I agree with Jon. The district did waste people's time in pretending public input matters. It was bogus that Math In Focus was the first curriculum to be dismissed when it had the majority of the community votes for both parents and teachers.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the great summary of the MAC work and thank you sharing your insights on how the process worked. I appreciate your work on this and appreciate you taking the time to share. And I am trying to hard to feel like this is an improved process based on your experiences and perceptions. I am going to keep working on this. I am not going to go 100% south on the input process. However, I remember a couple months ago when the list of math options came out, the public was invited to send in a feedback form and rate them. JUMP came in very high in terms of public feedback. It was summarily removed because it did not meet CCSS, apparently. (I understand that CCSS aligned JUMP materials will be ready for Sept.) Now, in this recent round of input where the math choices were narrowed down to the top three, MIF came in first and was the first one rejected.

See a pattern here?

I appreciate all the work of the MAC. I very much do. But it's hard to see the complete apparent disregard of public input and not feel that the time we spent to go look at curriculum and provide input was a complete waste of time.


Anonymous said...

It would seem to me that once you've got it narrowed down to the top three contenders, you've already determined that each is sufficiently CCSS-aligned, no? So then why not focus on other factors in the final decision--e.g., effectiveness, teacher and parent preferences, implementation details, cost, etc.? Makes no sense.

And seriously, the knock against MIF is that it's too advanced? Folks all over this district are clamoring for increased rigor, and this is what the committee comes up with? God forbid we set a high bar for learning...


Anonymous said...

Better than Everyday Math is a pretty low bar. As usual, the public preferred a better choice and SPS ignored them.

S parent

Eric B said...

This is more of a process thing, but was the MAC tasked with reviewing public input? It's hard to see how they could have taken the full comment set into account, since the public comment period ended after the final meeting. If that wasn't part of the ranking metric, then they SHOULDN'T have rated one curriculum higher because it had public backing. If that's the case, it's presumably the Board that makes the final decision, taking into account the public comment and the AC recommendations.

I'm not saying this is a good approach, but it's possible. It would tend to give a staff presentation to the Board that went "Our experts at MAC recommended this book, but the general public want the other one." I would totally believe that from the bad old days of MGJ, but I would hope that's not the case now, at least not intentionally.

This is also another demonstration that the weighting factors on the criteria drive the results of the selection process.

Anonymous said...

I am so very, very sad with envision being put forth as the committees recommendation! After spending extensive time looking at all three curricula for my two grade levels I was left feeling that if we choose any of these curricula we are doing a grave disservice to our children once again. EDM is horrible, really horrible and it makes anything look better but better isn’t good enough for me. Of the three curricula I found envision to be the least inspiring (kids will not motivated or interested in math after a year with envision), Math in Focus to be the least aligned to the CCSS and Go Math to be the biggest waste of paper (silly workbook illustrations, lots of distracting colors and minuscule amounts of actual math).


Anonymous said...

Suep, I would like to appreciate your appearance, but you're not answering a question of concern, so nothing new there for board directors who, you know, make these decisions that can hobble a cohort for years. Having something not as bad as EDM when other choices were more highly regarding doesn't cut it. You have no right to dismiss questions and walk away into email land.

Is anyone rather surprised that Highline of all districts, adopts a math package that received positive review, but was pushed off the table in Seattle?


Furious said...

dw, Our childrens photos are on The Source. Will these photos be shared with PEARSON!!!

Anonymous said...

I feel like I have fallen down a rabbit hole. I am about to defend the math adoption committee. It is an out of body experience. Here is why:
1. I have never felt that the committee was given any handle on what to "do" with community input. How to "add" it to their process in any way, or at any specific weight. This would be in line with how SSD generally treats community input (by either avoiding or ignoring it) -- but it seems to me that this is not the committee's fault -- it is the district's fault when it set up the committee. And since this District is generally allergic to community input and runs screaming from the room (figuratively) if someone offers some, I am not surprised that they didn't instruct the committee to take it into account (either more or less) in making their recommendation. So if the general consensus was enVision is ok, much better than ED, but we really like MIF better -- while they, looking both at cost and alignment with CC, thought enVision was the right choice -- why would we expect a different result?

COULD they have picked MIF, using the analysis that Sue did -- and tossing in dw's correct "anti-Pearson" criteria, and public support? I suppose so. But I remember the high school selection process. We were totally slimed by a process that seemed to me corrupt and stacked from the outset. This time, it feels less like I've been manhandled, and more like a less-than-visionary result from less-than-visionary folks.

At this point, I will write to board members, asking that they take public comment into account, de-emphasize the importance of alignment with CC, declare that the highest math attainment beats fidelity to testing standards -- and choose MIF.

But if I lose, I will not go to bed feeling like SSD kids using enVision are totally screwed, the way I did when they adopted Discovery math for high schools. I trust Rick's analysis that while we didn't get it "right" this time -- the mistake made will not condemn thousands of kids to failing state math tests and remedial math in college.

Are we there yet? No, but we are a long way from where we were when the last committee (and the then-rubber stamp board) made THAT decision!

I will also urge the Board to permit a liberal math waiver policy for any schools wanting to use either JUMP or MIF, in place of the adopted texts.

And I would LOVE to know what books teacher (who hated all 3 choices) would have liked to have seen.


Linh-Co said...

Public comments had zero weight. The committee members were periodically forwarded public comments except for the last day. Policy dictated the number of days books are displayed. I still don't know why the committee had to meet before then.

MIF fan but no sour grapes here said...

Rick was on the committee. He stands behind the committee's use of criteria and solid analysis of the various candidates. So, why they uproar? I preferred MIF. I love a straight-forward "math-oriented" math program. So what didn't really pass muster with MIF? That's more or less what I'm wondering.

It isn't as "common-core"friendly? We are using an intermediate-program at my school called Rethinking Math which excited all of us at first but is now looking to be pretty bad with its "all common-core all the time"" perspective.

Here is a link that you might find interesting:

Maybe it does have more to do with the teaching than the program...

Anonymous said...

Linh-Co: I would be curious to know that too. My assumption is that it may be a blend of cost (my recollection is that MIF was the most expensive, by quite a bit) and less clear alignment with CC (which I don't like -- so that doesn't give it any points with me) -- but those are only guesses. It would be great if someone ever asked the committee to articulate why they did NOT pick the two they rejected.


Anonymous said...

So how likely do folks think this scenario is?

SPS chooses to go with enVision, which is cheaper and not too advanced for the CCSS. Schools with well-funded PTSAs decide to get a waiver and go with MIF instead. Wealthier neighborhoods end up with a more rigorous curriculum, and the poorer neighborhoods get the cheaper, less challenging curriculum. Math scores start to improve all over as we move away from EDM, but kids using MIF make larger gains. Performance disparities widen rather than shrink. Oops.


Anonymous said...

The math doesn't need to be light years ahead... Just progress in an orderly fashion so that children have a chance to learn concepts well and the build on knowledge. Then if children advance...too quickly... they should be able to test up a grade level at a time. I may be in the minority here but CC seems to be well advanced of the previous Seattle math standards. I agree with Rick, we don't need to push kids faster than that. There are kids in our schools with math skills all over the place. In fact EDM kids will probably need some remedial arithmetic to catch up as is.

Math Fan

Anonymous said...

Any chance the School Board could reject the committee's recommendation and choose MIF, or reject the one-size-fits-all approach and choose both?


RickB said...

I'll do what I can to address the questions which came up.

My personal thoughts about MS and HS math - Two words: Train. Wreck. My kids survived CMP2 with significant parent support and lots of frustration. We dodged most of Discovering via school selection. With the current assignment policy, that's much harder now. The sooner CMP2 is retired the better. Note that CMP2 was adopted one year before EDM and has far worse alignment to CCSS than Math in Focus.

Community input: The community representation on the MAC was pleasantly balanced (13 community reps out of 27 people). As a committee, we created our process (under the looming shadow of CCSS), and discussed how to numerically include/weight the community input. There was value in the "votes" and value in the comments, but the MAC could never agree on a good way to include it quantitatively. Community scores and comments will be part of the report to the school board. I’ll be more specific about "public feedback clearly favored MiF". Community feedback was disaggregated into teacher/parent data. The rank order was consistent throughout but the magnitude varied. Teachers favored MiF by a slim margin over enVision, with Go Math lagging. For parents, the MiF margin was much wider, with more negative comments about Go Math.

Schools using enVision: To my knowledge, Thurgood Marshall, Montlake, and Lafayette all have some enVision classrooms. Lincoln is/was using My Math, which is the program that got disqualified for direct promotion to schools and community during the adoption process.

Timing of community input: This was a bit of a catch-22. Because of a late start and a few delays along the way, the adoption process was backed up against a hard deadline. The process required a fixed community review period. This period couldn’t start until finalist publishers provided extra evaluation copies. For approval, once the committee picked a program, it has to go up the chain of command: Instructional Materials Committee (I think this week), C&I Committee (May 7), School board introduction (May 21), and board approval (June 5). At that time, books can be ordered, received, and delivered to schools. It gets a bit tight for by September. We mitigated this by getting weekly updates by e-mail of all community input (votes and comments). There may have been some last day feedback which didn’t get captured in time, but the vast majority did.

Board decision: When the MAC asked about the approval process of the board, we were informed by Ron English that the board could do one of three things: accept our recommendation, reject our recommendation, or choose any of the other programs we have reviewed. They CANNOT choose a non-reviewed program. If you are not satisfied with the MAC results, you have a legitimate basis to contact the school board directors and speak your mind.

Cost: We were provided program costs, which created a lively discussion. Ultimately we were directed by Michael Tolley and Shauna Heath to base our recommendation on program merits, not on cost. If a program exceeded existing budget, our merit justification would be needed for the board to modify the budget.

Why not MIF: The MAC prepared a list of justifications for the final recommendation, which will be part of the formal board report. The primary reason for not choosing MIF was CCSS alignment.

Clarification for Math Fan: I did not state any position about pushing kids faster than CCSS or any other standards. I personally believe in shelving the standards and challenging students to just slightly beyond what they individually think they can achieve, since that develops both skills and confidence. To be crystal clear, CCSS is NOT advanced over the prior (2008) state math standards. They are a backwards move in several areas of development.

Sorry about the short story - hope this clarifies.


RickB said...

BTW, the district announcement is up now on the home page. Full report here:


Anonymous said...

When looking at the curriculum my wondering is what version of MIF did SPS look at. From what I have heard new 2015 version of MIF (which is available for the Fall) is 100% aligned to the CCSS standards and so the alignment discussion shouldn't have even been a factor for MIF...can any of the committee members speak to that?

Charlie Mas said...

The District has this way of collecting community input so that the community feels like they were heard, but then giving that input no weight in the decision, so the community is never listened to.

I have seen elaborate scoring rubrics for decisions that leave out public input - even when they boast of gathering public input.

Next time you're at one of these public input events, be sure to ask them how the public input will be used and how much weight it will be given in the final decision.

Wondering said...


Why wasn't the board given an opportunity to vote on this initiative???

Will there be an opportunity for the board to vote??

Anonymous said...

If text books are chosen because of a set of standards (common core), what happens when the standards are changed? There are complaints and push backs against common core already. Will the district have money for new texts if common core is dropped in a few years for the next big thing dreamed up by politicians & for profit ed companies? Why can't we just choose books that are best at teaching all kids the subject? EDM was terrible especially for ELL because it was too wordy and did not make sure the basics are learned well. Is Envision accessible to children whose English is second (or third or fourth) language? Did the committee remember that SPS has students speaking 101 different languages? Does the board? Was this discussed.


Melissa Westbrook said...

"To be crystal clear, CCSS is NOT advanced over the prior (2008) state math standards. They are a backwards move in several areas of development."

This is also true for several other states who had higher math standards than CCSS (see MA). The ding on the math standards is that they are too advanced for early learners and not as rigorous enough (especially compared to Asian countries) for high school.

CCA, good questions on ELL.

The Board will vote based on the final recommendation put forth by staff. Unless there was some heavy-duty campaigning/outcry, it is highly unlikely they would not vote yes.

Anonymous said...

The press release lists as a positive that kids can get "online immediate feedback." Do they think kids will have greater access to computers at school than now, and that they'll be doing their enVision assessments online?


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

"FYI....2 years ago the Singapore International School in Singapore adopted envision Math for their curriculum. There was a reason for that!!

Please trust the teachers (the committee) to choose the best program as a result of their knowledge and understanding how children learn mathematics just as you trust your doctor to prescribe the best treatment for your illnesses!

It is a problem that SPS allows a waiver. Schools in the district using different programs breaks up the continuity of the math education and presents a tremendous hurdle for training teachers across the district."

Reprinted for Anonymous - please do not post anonymously or your comment will be deleted.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know whether the MAC recommendation to go with Envision speaks to whether they recommend that the Digital System also be purchased?


Anonymous said...

I'm calmer now.

Here's the thing, what matters most is: MATH.

The question

"what aligns best to Common Core State Standards"

is NOT the question,

the real question, the only question is "what text is the best for teachers to teach math and for students to learn math?"

THAT IS the question!!!

The answer, MATH IN FOCUS. Parents know it. K5 STEM at Boren knows it. Schmitz Park knows it. Sounds like Linh-Co knows it. Sounds like Rick knows it too (sorry if I am misrepresenting you, Rick).

So, why would we not go with MIF? Do we 'want to align', or, do we 'want kids to learn math'? What is the priority here?

If you ask a wrong question, you will get a wrong answer ....but, the answer will yield a internal-consistent conclusion, but, of course, the premise was wrong. I don't care about alignment to cooked up standards or pretend depth of knowledge or discovery or investigations or the fad-du-jour, I simply want my kids, all kids, every kid, the ones who can't speak English, the ones who have Downs Syndrome, the ones who love math, all kids, every kid, to be successful in math! I want every kids to have the possibility of every imaginable future, including engineering or computer science. Crappy math will kill that for far to many kids, especially our culturally most diverse families.

Quoting RICK, a committee participant:

Publishers who built decent K-5 math programs following the alignment, pacing, and prioritization of CCSS rose to the top of the heap. I maintain that CCSS is mostly a distraction, with a few slight benefits. There has been good math before CCSS, and there will be good math long after CCSS dies on the vine to be replaced by the next fad.


Don't we want rigor for all kids? Or, did I know get the memo, the object is in fact to 'dumb it down'? "Noticeably advanced" sounds good to me!

Is there such a thing as 'jury nullification' for this idiotic process? There were some great people serving on the MAC, people like Rick (huge Thank you, Rick!! I appreciate your thoughtfulness and service), but, if they were hamstrung by a bad, false and extemporaneous constraint (CCSS), instead of prioritizing MATH, then, I hope the Board will have the courage of conviction to "JUST SAY NO" and go with MIF once and for all. Ms. Peters, I invite, implore, plead and cajole you to create an amendment when the time comes to the elemenatry math adoption BAR to cross of the staff recommendation and amend it with MIF. If you succeed, you will be given a ticker-tape parade. Seriously. And then, the 'waiver process', a great process (thank you Director Peaselee), will sit idly by, with no takers. Think about the equity of that... You don't have to have a 'rich school PTA' or a maverick school to get the 'good math'.

Don't Seattle kids deserve this much?

Why run for school board, if, at the last gasp, you won't defend kids? I believe each and every member of the Board knows what the right thing is to do. Follow common sense, pick MIF. It does meet the criteria, it does align to CCSS, and, most importantly, IT TEACHES KIDS, ALL KIDS, MATH!

Please god, don't choke again. Do the right thing. MIF.


(PS - thank you to all MAC members for stepping up and serving)

Anonymous said...

I agree with SINGAPORE. This is the moment to pick the BEST math curriculum.

Pleasing Arne Duncan, Bill Gates and the Pearson textbook company by putting Common Core alignment first is not putting students first.

Get it right this time SPS.

S parent

Anonymous said...

I see people are upset about the weight of community input, however if the objective was to just go with what the popular parental choice was, then there was never a need for a committee.

I prefer having a committee. It's a shame that they didn't agree with the community, however I'm not interested in having rubber stamp committees - of any stripe - when it comes to sourcing education materials.

Was CCSS overemphasized? Probably, but that's a different argument.


blda said...

Personally in favor of MIF or JUMP. Doing research on the JUMP founder and his vision is amazing. And the evidence of efficacy is stunning.

Anonymous said...

The irony is that the Gates Foundation funded a comparison study of math materials this year, in a SPS middle school, with JUMP math being one of them.

Kind of like the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing.

Teach Math, not CC said...

Singapore Singapore, you're latest post said it best: we need to teach our kids MATH, not Common Core. (FreemontDad, i cannot believe you reviewed the math materials personally, or I think you would see why so many parents are MIF supporters - for teaching and learning MATH, MIF is a standout - enVision is tradeshow marketing fluff (for Common Core, natch) in comparison.) Rick, thank you so very much for your time and effort on the committee, and for taking the time with your posts above to help us understand the factors leading the committee to this otherwise baffling recommendation. I don't think of the Board as a rubber stamp, and like to think they have the courage to use their ultimate decision-making power, but they will need compelling reasons. Perhaps Rick, Singapore Singapore, and Cliff Mass could spearhead a compelling case for us parents to sign on in support, in a best last effort to influence the Board vote? Please let us all know...!

ben said...

I spent about 2 hours looking over the math materials in December and I have to admit I thought the differences between them were more subtle than some of the previous comments suggest. In fact, one of my overriding impressions was how similar all the textbooks were post alignment. They all generally covered the same topics in the same order as the CCSS. Going into the process, I assumed I would immediately like MIF alot more and that wasn't really the case for me.

At this point, we have at least two schools piloting enVision. Do we know what the teacher/parent's experience was with them? I vaguely remember hearing that the Thurgood Marshall community was fairly happy.


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dw said...

Furious said: Our childrens photos are on The Source. Will these photos be shared with PEARSON!!!

That's a good question. I'd suggest calling downtown and asking around. You'll probably need to be persistent to get a satisfactory answer. Let us know.

If you think The Source (PowerSchool) is bad, the Fusion pages are actually hosted by a 3rd party that has nothing to do with SPS. The Fusion company (Blackboard) has access to anything your child posts on those "classroom forums" as well as login information (when/where) to track your child because they all have their own accounts.

FedMomof2 said: Does anyone know whether the MAC recommendation to go with Envision speaks to whether they recommend that the Digital System also be purchased?

Another very good question. And if it will be purchased, does that mean each kid needs their own (Pearson) account?? Are they expected to use these services from home? Lots of data tracking going on, I think people are starting to wake up to this, but you need to speak up loudly because there's a lot of pressure on school districts to use this crap without any regard to your children's privacy and safety.

Anonymous said...

"Any chance the School Board could reject the committee's recommendation and choose MIF, or reject the one-size-fits-all approach and choose both?"

No. As a matter of law, all the board can do is vote yes or no on the recommendation to adopt enVision. If they vote no, the Instructional Material Committee would have to make a new recommendation at some later date.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I think HIMS parent had it right. Some schools - for whatever reason -will continue on using their preferred math curriculum. I suspect they will find better results, CCSS or not. Other schools will now have to regroup and learn about enVision AND CCSS and go from there.

I find it baffling to spend all this time and money on picking a new curriculum, buying it and yet allowing some to opt out.

If those schools who are allowed to choose other math programs do better, then all schools should be allowed to make their own choices. Why should some have choice and not others?

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Charlie Mas said...

District-approved intructional materials is a weird sort of issue.

On one hand it is really, really important; particularly with math textbooks.

On the other hand, teachers are free to supplement the district-approved materials as much as they like. They are, in fact, free to rely entirely on supplemental materials and ditch the district-approved texts entirely.

Moreover, entire schools are free to get a waiver that allows them to use alternative materials. The policy and procedure for these waivers are impressively documented, but a lot of schools skip that process entirely and just use alternative materials without bothering with the waiver process.

So, in short, anyone who is really opposed to the decision is free to ignore it.

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Anonymous said...

I just have one little question: Why is Math in Focus good enough for Highline School District, which is filling up with ex-SPS admin personnel, but not good enough for Seattle? I spoke at length with a friend with kids in their AL program, and they love MIF so much, they've adopted it at both the elementary and middle school levels. And for some reason, they aren't worried about Common Core, so why are we?


Anonymous said...

I'm a TM parent, and we've been pretty happy with enVision. My son seems to be getting enough practice with algorithms so that they become automatic, but he also seems to be learning the underlying concepts.

TM has a large ELL population, so that was one of the considerations when the teachers chose enVision.

I'm not familiar with Math in Focus, so maybe it's better, but that doesn't mean enVision is bad. enVision is fine, even if you don't like Common Core. It's still a solid math program. Unlike EDM, which was godawful. Let's all cheer the death of EDM!

TM Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Here's something I find amusing.

There's been a lot of blowback on "Common Core" homework. (Technically, there is no such thing but only curriculum used to meet the standards.)

In an effort to prop up CC, one writer says the uproar over the math homework is because of...Everyday Math.

All that bad math homework can be linked to just one math curriculum and it seems like it's used in most districts. (Is this possible? No but it makes a good story.)