Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Live Blogging - Math Adoption, Part Nine

Onto the next amendment to adopt Math in Focus.  McLaren read the amendment (which was quite lengthy.)

Staff to talk about issues around costs for Math in Focus.  $5.6M versus some lower cost for enVision.

Blanford - what does that money cover?
Staff - includes 1-year costs, and range for 7 years.

This completes the amendment issues (there was a blank place for the costs of Math in Focus).

Peters - I respect the work and the members of the Math Adoption committee.  She said Board policy, though, is compelling.  She said Singapore "inspired" Common Core Standards. Cited WAC for Board selection of instructional materials.

Does not believe in enVision with a number of concerns.  Documents by staff mention that enVision is text intensive.  But when language is too heavily embedded, it becomes more difficult for all students but especially ELL students. Need clear and flexible curriculum.  Reliance on technology in enVision (in licensing agreements), only and best be used on Smart Board.  (She acknowledged all curriculum materials are becoming more tech intensive.)

Why Math in Focus? Clarity (benchmarked internationally), Highline is using and now moving on to using for 6th grade and has a high number of children F/RL and of color.  Must address issues of equity.  Materials favored by community.  Second highest rated by teachers.

About costs - not sure we've had total clarity. Math in Focus WILL cost more.  Is this a priority?  Is it worth it for our students?  Is it doable?  Will it prepare them for middle and high school math?  Can't be penny-wise and pound foolish.  Earlier reports on costs for Math in Focus were not accurate.  Not sure there as been an apples to apples comparison between the two.

Per pupil is about $30 for Math in Focus and $20 for enVision.  PD estimates for MinF seem overestimated.  We have some educators already using it and we can be resourceful.

Look at elements in costs.  Do we need almost $1M in manipulatives?  She doesn't think that is so.

We must respect budget but take care of our children.

End of Peters statement.

McLaren - Peters has covered the many facets of MinF.  We consider it to be best choice for district. Want to emphasis access to students who have language difficulties.  I look at textbooks as a teacher, looking at both curriculum side by side is where you see the differences and truly a picture is worth a thousand words.  Simple text that provokes curiosity is what is in MinF.  It's a simpler approach.  Concrete and visual.  Gives students "equal opportunity" to grasp content.

enVision is well-regarded but I cannot in good conscience vote for it because it is so text-heavy.  Other teachers working with MinF say it is powerful to have a text that is easy to grasp.

Important to emphasis that Schmitz Park was at 50th percentile up to 90th percentile.  Kept up scores even as population grew quickly.  Quality of math was so apparent that parents were trying to move in that area.

(My observation - only two Board members - save Peters - seems to be listening to McLaren. That's Peaslee and Patu.  I'm going off Board members looking at screens and body language.  Ditto on the Superintendent.  Okay now Carr and Blanford are doing what you would call "active listening.")

Spoke of teachers who had found "ways" to not use Discovery and try more Singapore-like math.

Wanted to acknowledge staff and her lack of belief in their "good faith."  She apologized and said it was a big flow of information and jumped to conclusions.  "communicate, check your facts" is my lesson.

Staff response
Powerpoint given.  Board has it but, of course, we don't have a copy.  I'll try to get one.  Take that back, I believe this PP is embedded in this action item.  Projected at 28,000 student use.

Looks like MIF vendor reduced PD from 8 to 4 days (enVision is one, I believe - he is moving fast).  One day is free but other days are $490K per day.

So enVision is about $3.6M (which is confusing to me because Shaun Heath told MAC - and I was there - that they had $2M for math adoption).

MIF about $7.6M over life of adoption , nearly $4M more than enVision.  Works out to about $60K per school.  Cost per student (flashed by, sorry).  His cost per student is $40 for MIF and $20 for enVision.  (Peters said it was $30 for MIF so there's a big disagreement there.)

Charles Wright, Deputy Super, on waivers.  MIF or Singapore currently used by 4 schools, enVision by 11 schools.  Some with approved waivers, some not.  "Policy will be applied the same regardless of which program is selected as the approved curriculum.  (Good question: was the cost for those school subtracted by either curriculum?)  Mr. Wright was just pressed into service so yes, his remarks do wander.

How to close budget gap if MIF?  Lengthy list that I had trouble following.

(Very frustrating when both staff and Board will NOT speak into the microphones.)

Don't have a dedicated recruitment person.  (Aside here, I think a recruitment person is more important than any project management.)  He also said there was no one who reviews invoices.  (What?!?)  No one to go after private grants, either.

Interesting - fewer staff here than usual.  I always wondered why staff had to line the walls at Board meetings.

Special Education Department, 5 supervisors for regional support and something about those costs.


Anonymous said...

I can't believe what I'm hearing from the district. "We want to hire a bunch more bureaucrats at JSCEE" and if we buy Math in Focus, we won't be able to.

Are they even listening to themselves? Easy choice: Students win, you lose.


Anonymous said...

Does a beat red face indicate deception? WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Beets. I know, I know. WSDWG

Anonymous said...

Who would you buy a car from? Director McLaren or Beet Red Face?


Anonymous said...

HMM saying books only matter a little. I whole-heartedy disagree. The book is what goes home with the kids and from where the actual work and actual embedding learning takes place.

Harium! My God! How do you not get this? EDM is all the proof you need to show the text matters a ton!

He's just soooo wrong, wrong, wrong.

Harium: I love ya, but you're talking a load of BS here bud. All facts and evidence say you're wrong. WSDWG


A-mom said...

What about the parents that have to deal with the curriculum when doing homework?
Who's going to help them Harium?

How much of the cost of MIF and Envision are consumables?

Anonymous said...



T h e t e x t b o o k i s n o t
i m p o r t a n t

Then he says a text book is nothing but a shiny object? Really? Then, let's just give the kids the yellowpages, if that's how little text books matter


Anonymous said...

He's a dog with a bone on this and just won't let it go. And it's just pure nonsense.

Damn Harium: That's called a Betty Beat Down!

Game, set, match for Betty. Wow.


Greenwoody said...

This is in part a political choice, and necessarily so. Board members such as Peters, Peaslee, McLaren and Patu were elected specifically to stop Gates Foundation-backed reformers from gutting our public schools. However, if they turn against parents on this, those board members will be handing the opponents of public education a big win in their ongoing efforts to discredit the Board.

What I see here is Peters and others making a compelling case for Math in Focus. Funding can always be solved. Voters would approve more money if they knew it went to a math curriculum they supported.

Anything other than Math in Focus will be a failure on the part of the Board. And next time they need to give better direction to the MAC.

Libby said...

Very disappointed in Martin-Morris and Carr. Carr points out that they received less 200 responses from community to argue that it's not a representative sample. Um, yeah, that would be an argument why SPS FAILED at community engagement. And Shoreline uses EnVision? How diverse is their student population (FRL and non-English speaking) compared to students in Highline and Seattle? Not a convincing argument.

Anonymous said...

@Greenwoody: Yup!

And there goes Sherry, predictable as always.

And welcome to the Board, Steven. Don't blame the Board for late amendments when staff waits until minutes before the meeting.


Greenwoody said...

So who is running against Carr next year?

n said...

Books aren't important? It's the teacher folks?

I agree. How many teachers can get a raise with $6 million?

BTW, if it's the teacher, how come enVisions first recommended eight-ten days of PD? PD is supposed to clarify the curriculum. Not teach a teacher to teach. Must be a complex program . . .

I'm so proud of Peaslee. I wasn't sure about her.

Anonymous said...

Let's enjoy this victory - and why does reaching the right decision have to feel like a victory over SPS(?) - get some rest, and prepare for the blowback. It could be considerable, for the reasons others have pointed out: This is a political power fight as much as any other type of fight.

Rest up troops! Another day in SPS, means another battle.


Anonymous said...

Why was Deputy Supt. Wright just charged with this assignment this afternoon? Totally befuddled by this.


Charlie Mas said...

Deputy Superintendent Wright was charged with this duty so late, the afternoon of the Board meeting, because it was not until then that the staff realized that there was a board majority aligned behind the Math in Focus adoption. Since the superintendent himself cannot be seen opposing a board majority, someone else had to carry the flag for the staff.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it but I couldn't listen to Deputy Sup. Wright. I had to take off my earphones and wait his testimony out. So much slogging through conjecture, lame argument, etc. He may be the nicest, smartest guy around, for all I know, and he may have just drawn the short straw. But I wish I knew why, when it is so clear that most parents (and LOTS of teachers, principals, etc.) like MIF -- AND it was one of their three finalists -- why couldn't the staff get behind this and have an honest, productive discussion. Why does there always have to be so danged much wagon circling and defensive self-justification? You would think we were trying to palm off 1930s Soviet style genetics teaching! Or creationism! It's Singapore Math, for heavens' sake!