A reader who is deeply concerned about the math adoption conducted a public records request to SPS for e-mail about the math adoption. She got about 237 pages of e-mails. I have not yet read all of them but the ones I have read do concern me about both the process and the outcomes.
We all realize that, in our jobs, when we are asked to help formulate decisions on what direction to go or products to use for a job, we need to do a couple of things.
One, making sure we cast the net far enough so that we are doing a thorough job, both for quality of product and cost of product.
Two, that there's a fair comparison - the "apples to apples" comparison - both to allow the end user/buyer to accurately compare items and to do due diligence for each product/company we are considering.
(As we saw from the recent Board meeting with the Network Wireless upgrade, when the district changes the rules, repeatedly, during the RFP period (no matter the explanation), companies feel confused and some feel duped. That this particular process saw three different RPF periods and multiple challenges to those decisions should tell you something.
My take on that wireless issue - frankly - was that someone wanted a particular outcome and wasn't getting it and so tweaked the RFP until they got it. I say that because I found the actual explanation to be somewhat tortured.)
Well, I'm getting a whiff of a feeling that there was a particular outcome desired by staff for the math adoption and now they have it. Don't get me wrong; those who are doing the work are bound to see a favorite rise to the top but how it gets there and stays there is something else.
Again, I haven't read all the e-mails but I find it concerning that Director Peters has to repeatedly ask for these comparisons in order to try to understand not just what would be taught but what the costs/cost options are.
(There may be a chart out there with just such an apples to apples comparison but I haven't seen it. That there are these detailed and lengthy explanations when a simple chart could allow you to compare and contrast and THEN ask questions, well, you have to wonder.)
There is very interesting reading from about page 112-120 where you see this issue as Math Adoption Committee members struggle to understand what they are being told.
The most interesting reading is from page 228 on where the principal at Schmitz Park, Gerrit Kischner, tries gracefully to make the case for their school continuing on with Singapore math. He does not so much push back against what Shauna White is saying but he buttresses his own argument with good and thoughtful points.
Alas, I think that those efforts on his part are doomed unless two things happen. One, SP comes up with the money to fund the math they want as White makes it clear the district won't. Two, they still would need to get a waiver to do so and I would look for that waiver process to tighten up a lot to stave that off.
To note, Ms. Heath is nothing but pleasant to Principal Kischner (and vice versa) but I don't see a meeting of the minds here.