Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Math Adoption Redux


I am going to believe the Superintendent as he tells principals that Math in Focus in the sole selection for K-5 math and will be used in the fall. 

I am disappointed that he said in the letter, "I know many of us are frustrated about the process."  It's an odd statement given the district - not the Board - designed the process.  The actual vote on it was designed by the State Legislature (meaning the Board has the final, legal say on the curriculum).

I am going to believe the Superintendent when he says that MIF will be funded to be "fully implemented" including professional development.

-  Clearly, someone from above was trying to maneuver the BLT process.  I say this because I heard from three different people at three different schools about a math adoption survey.  It was the same survey.  Now how could that have happened, I wonder.

It was also a strange survey asking parents what is important to them in math curriculum.  These are very pointed questions for laypeople to answer.  I suspect that many parents don't even know what some of the language truly means (again, if you are a layparent who doesn't track ed lingo).

This rushing around to try to get BLTs/parent feedback by 9am this morning would be funny if not so sad.  Clearly someone was trying a Hail Mary. 

-  On May 1, Michael Tolley sent out a memo to all elementary/middle school principals (cc'd to the Board and senior staff) about MAC's decision to recommend enVision.  Two items leap out at me. 

One is a paragraph where Mr. Tolley goes thru the timeline for the rest of the process.  He almost seems to think it is a defacto decision that the Board will vote yes.  He did not raise the idea that enVision might not be the final selection.

And, in his last paragraph, he says "a detailed professional plan will be sent to you following the Board vote."  Either he really didn't understand what might have happened or felt quite secure that the Board was going to go along with the recommendation.  So the principals have been looking at enVision materials for over a month, believing this was the selection.  (I'm not saying it was a bad idea to send the principals the materials but a caveat to them about not getting too wedded to them might have been appropriate.)

-  As I mentioned in my reporting of the Board meeting discussion, Director Blanford said all the elementary principals in his region supported the MAC recommendation.  That is not quite the right because I have seen the e-mails between him and those principals.

He sent an e-mail on May 21st to these principals.  He said that some Board members were pushing for a dual adoption.  I find this interesting because most people did not know there was such an amendment brewing until much later but he gave these principals a heads up.  I'd be willing to bet PASS knew as well. 

He also references a "hastily constructed districtwide survey gauging principals' opinions on that subject."  I'll have to ask for that survey and its results.

He asks for the principals' input and says that "your input will factor greatly into the vote that I cast on the issue."  Greatly as compared to what other input? 

Here are the replies:

Greg Imel, Bailey-Gatzert - single adoption.  He said he did not review any of the proposed curriculums and could not say which one was best.  He said he trusted the judgment of the MAC.  

Rhonda Claytor, Leschi - said she agreed with Imel and supported the single adoption of the MAC.

Kelly Archer, Stevens - supports MAC's decision. 

Marion Smith, Jr., Lowell - supports single adoption with "targeted, on-going and differentiated professional development."

Christine Helm, Thurgood Marshall- single adoption for the entire district because of transient students and equity.  She goes onto say, "There are savvy parents who know how to work the system and advocate and then there are other parents who do not know how to advocate and this seems unfair to grease the squeaky wheel."  She also says, "At Thurgood Marshall, we have seen a significant increase in our math scores and we attribute it to implementing the enVision math program."

Mary McDaniel, Madrona - She said, " Students who enroll at Madrona in Dec, March, May, should have the opportunity to continue with enVision or Math in Focus.  School curriculum alignment is what's best for students."  She continues, "My vote - one curriculum."

So let's count.  Six principals. 
  • Every single one of them said they supported single adoption and that's what ended up happening.  
  • Three said support the rec - whatever it was - of the MAC.
  • Only one said she had experience with either curriculum and that was with enVision. None of the others mentioned looking at the materials or working with them. 
What I saw were six principals who wanted one curriculum for the entire district.  That was the theme, not the actual recommendation of the MAC.  And that's what they got - a single adoption.

I bring this up because at yesterday's Curriculum and Instruction meeting, Director Blanford called out Director Peters on her interpretation of the PASS letter.  I think everyone could do well by really parsing the words in letters/communications before making a public statement.

Curriculum and Instruction Meeting (June 9th)
As I mentioned, it was not a kumbaya moment.  The Superintendent seemed almost sullen. 

Again, on waivers (via Michael Tolley):
- if your school has a waiver for something other than Math in Focus, you can continue using it (for the duration of your waiver).  There are three schools that have an active waiver for enVision. It was not noted which ones. 
- if your school is using something else without a waiver, that will end and you will be using Math in Focus. 
- any school may apply for a waiver but there are five criteria in the policy plus determinations made by Executive Directors.  One of those criteria is using the current math curriculum and finding it not working for your school community.  Nearly every single school would fail this criteria because the overwhelming majority have not used Math in Focus and thus would fail this criteria.

Superintendent Banda said that for many principals this outcome "was unexpected."   He said a number of schools wanted more info on a waiver and the staff spent time thinking about these requests and decided to pull back.   He said there was to be a leadership meeting - already scheduled - today with principals and they would discuss (among other things) "how this landed."  (I have attempted to get access to the math adoption portion of this meeting but no one will get back to me on my request.  I would guess it is a no.  I was going to offer to not quote any principal by name/school/region.)

Once again, Director Blanford was not prepared.  He asked what the waiver criteria are.  He asked if the criteria were "objective."  Mr. Tolley said yes, in terms of expectations.  President Peaslee said she and Director McLaren had written most of the waiver policy and had built into it that if the Superintendent denied a waiver, a school could still petition the Board.  

I want to point that out because of this feeling that the majority vote of the Board somehow got their way.  But the door is, and always has been open because of the work of Peaslee and McLaren.

President Peaslee said she felt that schools had not been encouraged to look at the top three.  She said she felt like there was some attempt to "end run" around the Board.  She said the waiver policy should not be used to undo the Board's final decision.

All the directors said they had many e-mails from concerned parents.  Some felt that PASS was trying to subvert the democratic process. Some felt the work of the MAC had been undermined.

Director Blanford said that the principals said the process was sound and the MAC came up with a recommendation to follow. "But the Board chose not to pay attention and voted otherwise."  He also stated that at the last C&I meeting that several principals had warned this could happen.  (If they did, that warning should have been made clear to ALL principals.  The process is the process and should have been clearly stated to everyone.)

Banda said that while there had been work this weekend by principals for BLT meetings that it was time to listen to principals and then come together and move forward.  He said, "We can't continue on like this."

Director Peters, in response to Blanford saying the Board didn't listen, said that yes, all members of the Board did and took it seriously.  She said it was confusing that PASS wanted a sole adoption (and following the MAC rec) but now that it isn't the curriculum they expected, they want the ability to by-pass the vote via the waiver process.

Blanford countered saying his e-mails didn't want dual adoption but wanted the MAC's rec "respected and honored."  He said, this was "done by a group of Board members and not the whole Board."  

My response to that is two-fold.  One, there are sometimes going to be divided votes.  Ask any elected official. You can certainly say that you didn't vote that way but you must, as an elected official, honor that vote.  Two, that kind of language - in public - does not do much to create a good atmosphere for the work the Board is doing. 

Peaslee said that Ron English told both the Board that they legally could adopt any math materials and that the Committee's rec was in no way binding.  She pointed out that the Board adopted one of the top three contenders as chosen by the MAC.

Director McLaren did say that she "regretted" that the Board members pursuing an amendment had not spoken in-depth with staff on it.

That was the end of the discussion on the math adoption.

Separate thread to come on Advanced Learning.  


Anonymous said...

Melissa, thank you for your tireless efforts at this critical stage in our city's public education system. You are making a difference every day.

- HarpoNW

#tolleygonemad said...

Thanks for your efforts--and FOIA.

Liam said...

How much research did Blanford do? I would like to hear his cost estimates for technology infrastructure, licensing fees etc.

StringCheese said...

A clarification:

"He sent an e-mail on May 21st to these principals. He said that some Board members were pushing for a dual adoption. I find this interesting because most people did not know there was such an amendment brewing until much later but he gave these principals a heads up. I'd be willing to bet PASS knew as well."

May 21st was the date of the Introduction of the Math Adoption BAR. The concept of dual adoption was discussed quite a bit at this meeting and referred to the C & I meeting that had occurred prior. This C & I meeting was where the idea of dual adoption first appeared. Blanford sits on this committee, correct?

He, and staff, would have plenty of knowledge regarding the interest in dual adoption by the 21st.

Anonymous said...

The top staff members were petulant when they did not get their way. They were ready to hand out enVision waivers like candy bars at Halloween.

Unlike past textbook adoptions, a majority of board directors did not rubber stamp the staff decision. Instead, they did their own homework and favored Math in Focus. They were open to a dual adoption before the staff argued against it.

Banda and his staff do not look good here. They should have been prepared to support any of the final top candidates for math adoption. It did not have to turn out this way and I suspect the press will cover this unnecessary soap opera.

S parent

Bruce Taylor said...

Ditto HarpNW and #tolleygonemad -- thank you for working diligently to daylight the skullduggery surrounding the math adoption and attempted dirty tricks of JSCEE.

Watching said...

The district told the Board that books needed to be ordered today. What is going on?

Charlie Mas said...

@S parent "I suspect the press will cover this unnecessary soap opera

Nope. The press has been completely silent about the whole thing. There was a story by KPLU and then, days later, one from KUOW. Neither of the stories make any mention of waivers.

@Watching "The district told the Board that books needed to be ordered today. What is going on?"

Nothing. That was a lie. The staff routinely lies to the Board and the public about deadlines to create a false sense of urgency. They fear that the Board would simply defer everything to never if they didn't do this.

Anonymous said...

I bet the Seattle Times does write a story. In its usual ed reform bias, the paper will probably say the 4 board directors were micromanaging the district decision and rejected a curriculum the principals wanted.

Of course they will miss the fact that many parents have advocated for years for better math. Many of us voted for these new directors to make improvements in curriculum, a critical area long neglected by staff.

S parent

Anonymous said...

Here are some baseline numbers. These are the percentages of SPS 5th graders meeting standard on the math MSP for the 2012-13 school year (the latest year we have scores), broken down by some student demographics:

All Students - 69.7%
White - 84.3%
Asian - 77.8%
African-American - 37.2%
Hispanic - 50.5%
Native American - 41.9%
English Language Learners (ELL) - 30.7%
Low Income - 50.4%
Special Education - 39.0%

First, if you've never seen these numbers, the achievement gap between White and Asian students and the rest of the demographic groups is heartbreaking.

I'm going to expect from inferences made here on this blog as well as statements made by Directors Peaslee and Peters that MiF is going to increase overall math achievement in the district and to at least bridge the achievement gap. I'm going to wait 5 years from the board adoption of MiF (and the provision of any requistie PD and support materials) to return to these numbers. That should be enough time.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Retired math teacher Dan Dempsey presented these type of statistics to past board members on many occasions. The gap between student demographic groups is significant and has been going on for years.

It is one of the reasons Betty Patu voted with the new board members. She is aware of how damaging the text based math textbooks were to students with English language challenges. Everyday Math is also a bummer for kids with ADHD.

S parent

Anonymous said...

This blog is hilarious. For the past weeks, you've been rallying around the cry that parent support is paramount and we should choose MIF because it had the higher community scores. Thank goodness the 4 board members listened to parents and chose the best curriculum. Never mind that the MAC is filled with experts on math education, it's the parents that know best.

But now, with a survey that might not have gone your way, you suggest that parents may be confused by the language. They're just not sophisticated enough to be asked their preferences. But selecting curriculum materials, no problem.

I wouldn't hold your breath, swk. If gains are not realized, I'm sure it will be the district's fault, not the curriculum. Not enough PD. Not enough support from downtown because there's a conspiracy against MIF, don't you know. If any waivers are sought or continued, it's due to intimidation --- not that reasonable people might think envision is better for their students.

Yes, let's hope this whole process is over. It's been as dysfunctional as ever. Between the amendment crazy way the board handled capacity planning and this amendment circus, I'm not optimistic about any future board actions.


Anonymous said...

S parent, in the 2005-06 school year (prior to the SPS adoption of EDM), 10.5% of English Language Learners met standard on the 5th grade math WASL. Five years later (2010-11), 26% of ELLs met standard.

--- swk

Anonymous said...


Of the 3 people I am aware of from our school (there could be more?) who took the time to view the math instructional materials up for adoption and give official input, two of these are teachers. These teachers preferred Math in Focus. Their input was tallied as "community input," not teacher/staff input. Does their opinion not count as expert opinion, simply because they were not members of the MAC?

To say that the community input response for Math in Focus came only from parents and/or non-experts is simply not true.

If all principals, all BLTs, and all teaching staff wanted enVision over Math in Focus, then the principals' union bargaining maneuver would have succeeded. It didn't.

I guess maybe, by your logic, the over-ride maneuver failed due to those pesky parents serving on BLTs?

As for the survey, as far as I know, it wasn't distributed at our school (thank goodness).

- North-end Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

Watching, really? This push to order books is very odd because this is not what I have heard from textbook company publishers.

There is no proof that ANY math curriculum moves the dial. You can only do the research, compare, know your own district and support teachers.

The survey was of principals, not parents.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Oh, I realized I referenced two surveys.

I didn't say the parents were dumb. I said the survey was dumb.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I assume that you mean that there is no proof ANY math curriculum ALONE moves the dial. That is why I added in the provision of any requisite PD and support materials to my statement.

There should be a reasonable expectation that we will see statistically significant math achievement as a result of the MiF adoption. That is what was inferred by our board members who vehemently supported MiF.

I am not in Typical's camp --- i.e., I am not skeptical. I am withholding judgment until the curriculum can be implemented. However, I do expect the respective board members as well as the central administrator, principals and teachers to be held accountable for math results. But again, I will allow an appropriate period of time to hold everyone accountable.

--- swk

Melissa Westbrook said...

"However, I do expect the respective board members as well as the central administrator, principals and teachers to be held accountable for math results."

Very droll indeed.

Anonymous said...

swk, when Everyday Math was first introduced, there were lots of tutors that were provided in the budget (mostly for teachers). I remember State Superintendent Terry Bergeson was a big promoter of this curriculum and her WASL test was criticized for giving credit to incorrect results. (You could get the wrong answer on a math equation but still get credit for showing your work.) I cannot remember when we phased out the WASL, but I personally never trusted those results.

We still have big achievement gaps and they may persist, even with the new curriculum. But I hope all segments go higher.

S parent

Anonymous said...

S parent, the MSP replaced the WASL in 2009-10. The MSP and the WASL are actually quite similar. The main difference is that there are more 1-pt multiple choice items on the MSP and 4-pt extended response items have been eliminated.

Melissa, I don't understand your "Very droll indeed" response.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

No, Melissa, you suggested the parent survey results weren't valid because you didn't think lay parents would be able to understand the survey language. You didn't think parents knew enough in this situation. But in terms of advocating for a curriculum, the community at large is plenty smart enough to be taken very seriously, based on numerous blog points. I think that seems pretty convenient.

And for the record, I do think MIF will raise success rates for ELL and FRL populations. I also think enVision would have raised those success rates as well.

I am not, however, optimistic about future board processes and decision-making going forward on any number of issues. Apparently the key process now is to wait until the last few days before a board meeting and then inundate a few board members to write an amendment and vote your way.

Is there really any point to any sort of middle school math adoption process? Seems pretty obvious that regardless of staff or committee recommendations, the board firmly believes that a Singapore math curriculum is the best choice for ELL & FRL populations, and they may be right or not. But we might as well cut to the chase.


Anonymous said...

— swk, around 2011, a change by the WA state board of Ed lowered the passing score for some tests, so any claims of improvements were potentially false.

Bob Dean, math head at Evergreen H.S. and State Board of Ed Math Advisory Panelist, thought the WASL was a terrible test and the state spent a decade and a billion dollars before we could get it stopped.

S parent

mirmac1 said...

swk, make sure to track the Envision waiver schools as well (with similar demographics of course). I'll check in with you in 2019.

Anonymous said...

Typical said: "I am not, however, optimistic about future board processes and decision-making going forward on any number of issues. Apparently the key process now is to wait until the last few days before a board meeting and then inundate a few board members to write an amendment and vote your way."

Typical, I don't think this is fair. The board members who came up with the amendment specifically campaigned on their concerns with math curricula (not their only plank -- but in there, certainly). I think they worked as hard as they could to come up with the most inclusive thing they could (dual adoption of two of the three top-recommended choices of the MAC) -- and ONLY dropped to a single selection (of one of the 3 but not the MAC's first choice) when told that their first amendment was not workable. No doubt they would have given more notice if they could (but the staff claimed that 6/10 was a deadline for ordering books -- that was staff, not the Directors). Doubtless, they would have been happy to have more data from schools, other districts, principals, etc., -- the failure to collect fair data from a variety of sources was the staff's choice, not the MAC's or the Directors. The Directors who voted for Mif instead of envision went to huge pains to validate and appreciate the MAC's work, and had clearly read and considered their recommedation, as well as its rationale. I have yet to hear ONE PERSON on the OTHER side of this debate (Blanford, HMM, Carr, the EDs, etc.) treat the Board majority's work and analysis with the same respect.

Why the bitter spin on this?


mirmac1 said...

Yeah Typical or staffer or whomever, I won't hold my breath either. Your definition of "reasonable people" caring about "their students" does not seem to include parents and guardians.

I'm really tired of the backslapping, high-fivin' and wagon-circling among staff. You will find MANY parents will give kudos to their students' teachers and building staff. The rest have still to earn those kudos. Why? Oh, politics, ambition, obsequiousness, whatever. JSCEE is more of an echo chamber than any blog or group.

Numbers Guy said...

Gee swk, as if math adoption is the only cost that takes away from professional development. Why don't you look at technology costs associated with data collection, dashboards and alike.


Numbers Guy said...

swk, While you are at it, why don't you look at the costs of TPeP, assessments and alike.


Anonymous said...

swk -- This is a great idea. I think we should even go one better. I think that, in five years, we should have a huge party -- to celebrate the significant math accomplishments and improvements that will have been made by the entire group of kids who enter SSD next year as first graders. Just THINK. They will have gone the entire five years without having been bogged down by EDM. Whether they are using MiF or have waivers for Envision, they will have been hugely helped by the adults in this District who united to provide vastly superior math materials and instruction in our elementary schools. As I write this, I am almost ready to say -- heck, why wait 5 years. We should be dancing in the streets today.

It is actually pretty wonderful. Thanks for your 5 year proposal. (Leaving aside the issues with the tests -- another matter altogether), and just focusing for a minute on thousands of 5th graders who are much more competent in, and excited about, math, it reminded me of the long term objectives here.

This may have been the ultimate in "sausage making" in terms of process. But SSD took a big step forward last week in terms of math instruction. My thanks to every member of the MAC, every member of the Board, to Melissa, Joan, and all the members of the community who cared enough to blog, go to meetings, write directors, and talk to principals (whichever curriculum they wanted) and to Mr. Banda.


Numbers Guy said...

swk, can also measure the out of time class our children spend taking tests and it's impact on learning.

I look forward to your report in 2019. I'm sure there will be tax-payer data to support whatever you want to say...

Melissa Westbrook said...

Director Peaslee has stated that not one person from a school using enVision contacted her about their feelings. (She obviously heard from those who like Math in Focus at those schools.) None of the other directors indicated they heard from enVision using parents/teachers. So that's another piece of the puzzle.

Anonymous said...

Curious, Melissa. I don't know if it is because envision users aren't all that wild about envision, and were maybe looking forward to trying something else -- or whether maybe since the signals coming from the upper administration was that envision was sure to win the day (and they were even going to scrub waivers and any thoughts of pesky dual adoption), envision users didn't think it necessary to speak up.


Anonymous said...

This is from the NB blog:

If we go with the district adoption instead of Saxon:

Using the district adoption will make it easier for student mobility

Aligning with the district will give us the benefit of district training and networking with other teachers throughout the district about what works and what doesn’t

District will provide materials and we believe the consumables each year. That will free up quite a bit of PTA money that has been used to purchase Saxon.

Given our review of the math adoption materials, the BKT supports going along with the district’s adoption and not renewing our waiver for Saxon.

So on April 6th NB staff voted for Envision if that was the districts picked. As it turned out to be MIF, but still they rolled over!

I can tell you I have lost all respect for every teacher at North Beach. 13 years of Saxon a legacy lost!


Anonymous said...

S parent, I can assure you, without reservation, that the MSP is not significantly different than the WASL. It is essentially the same test with a different coat of paint.

The SBE set new cut scores for the state math assessments because OSPI had adopted new math content standards; thus, new cut scores were needed.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Numbers Guy, I truly have no idea what you're suggesting. Who said anything about the math adoption taking away from professional development? I suggested that teachers not only receive new curriculum but also the requisite professional development and support materials they will need.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Jan, you can count me in on the celebration of improved student learning in math. If invited to said celebration, I would be there with bells on. :-)

--- swk

Anonymous said...

mirmac, I would welcome your help in tracking student achievement across the district.

--- swk

Anonymous said...


Thanks. Appreciate those numbers.

EDM was a success. The drop out rate also declined during these years. Kids hated math less, made more gains, felt more successful and stayed in school.

Math phobia, resulting from previous drill and kill teaching, and excessive stratification at middle and high-school contributed to kids dropping out. We have to be careful that we don't create those conditions again. If we turn kids off math in elementary, it's more challenging to reverse the damage at the secondary levels. Decisions about math adoptions, made within a set of narrow viewpoints, do not fully register the complexity of the issue.

For progress

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mirmac1 said...

OMG, the extinct Seattle Times emerged from hibernation to post Seattle School Board must find extra cash after it picks pricier textbook. Apparently Higgins and his Education Lab rats were fully expecting the usurpers to get usurped. When that didn't happen at C&I (yeah, I actually say him at a school mtg), ST had to pay catch up. Of course they spin is "how to pay for it?!" How 'bout we lose the BMGF stuffed shirts and wannabes. Let's drop the corporate "reforms" that just suck money and yield nothing (certainly nothing like a decent math curriculum).

Anonymous said...

Looks like Fairmont Park will be going with MIF. Just got the letter from the principal.
-FP Parent

Anonymous said...

Seattle times article on math adoption:



Patrick said...

The sad thing about education studies is it's really, really hard to isolate cause and effect, and to get the statistics right. It's much harder than drug safety and effectiveness studies, for instance, because it's so hard to isolate the variables and the studies take so long to see results. But we get conflicting studies undertaken with different ideologies and little way to decide between them. I say EDM is a failure, because it leaves it up to middle school and high school to start teaching math, and the students start years behind. Maybe they don't tune out of math while in elementary school, but it's not much of a success if it only postpones tuning out until middle school or high school or those high school graduates who aspire to a career in a mathematical science cannot do the math in their freshman year of college science classes.

Anonymous said...

According to our June Principal's letter, John Rogers will implement Math in Focus. It's nice to have the official word on this.

If certain District staff are reading this...shame on you for putting a first-year principal through this ordeal.

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...

Patrick, please provide some statistical evidence that "high school graduates who aspire to a career in a mathematical science cannot do the math in their freshman year of college science classes."

FYI - Dr. Cliff Mass has presented no sound statistical evidence that SPS graduates admitted to UW who have had EDM have fared any worse (or better) than any other students in their first-year math and/or science courses. So, if he is your source, don't bother.

Also, the math remediation rates of recent high school graduates at our state's public 2- and 4-year colleges and universities has not statistically, significantly changed in a decade or more.

I have been in direct contact with the UW admissions office on this particular issue and they cannot demonstrate any statistical change to the percentage of admitted students needing remediation, including recent SPS graduates. As a matter of fact, the UW admissions office has denied Dr. Mass' assertions in this regard.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

Dropout rates are linked to poor understanding of mathematics in middle and high school, with elementary deficits in skills, not drill and kill as youngsters. Quite the opposite of what you claim, progress.

You've been reading too much Piaget. His kids were slow. According to him, the language of mathematics could not be understood until adolescence. This is obviously not a theory widely held in Singapore, much to their credit.

Much of what you might have been taught about education is wrong when tested. Theories of education are widely taught in college without research to back it up.


Cliff Mass said...

I would appreciate if you don't put words in my mouth that I never said. I never claimed to have proven that Seattle district graduates did worse at the UW than others. I DID show, using the UW math assessment exam, that freshmen math skill declined with the use of discovery math programs like Everyday Math. There is rigorous statistically significant information to prove that EM is inferior. I don't know who you talked to in admissions, but remediation increased in the 90s..as discovery math approaches took hold.

Swk...stick to the facts...cliff mass

Melissa Westbrook said...

"As a matter of fact, the UW admissions office has denied Dr. Mass' assertions in this regard."

I can only say that the Admissions office really has no real way of knowing what the experiences are for every department at UW. It also doesn't help them to admit they have remedial classes.

Anonymous said...

I was taught with discovery math 25 years ago and suffered the consequences. A lack of change in the last 10 years would not support much of anything.


Anonymous said...

I was amazed in college when taking remedial math at how clear and simple math could be, when taught clearly and simply. Learning twice didn't hurt either.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, it is the UW admissions office that is responsible for the administration of the Washington Math Placement Test and it is they who responsible for reporting remediation rates (per state law) to OSPI, SBE, and other state agencies and not the individual departments at UW. So, in other words, they would know particularly the remediation rates of admitted UW students.

Dr. Mass, in speaking to staff of the Council of Presidents, the old HEC Board, and admissions officers all over state in the late 90's through the mid-2000's, I have come across no such increase in remediation rates at public 2- nor 4-year colleges and universities, including the UW. Please provide some data that demonstrates your statement of a decrease in WMPT scores that can be attributed to inquiry-based math curriculum and/or instruction.

--- swk

Kathy said...

Seattle Public Schools has a budget of $639M per year. The district has access to 20% of these dolllars. Spending approximately $1m per year will provide 28,000 students with instructional materials. This is not an outrageous expenditure.

Higgens gets it wrong. It is not the board that decides where the cuts come from- it is the district. If the board told the district where to cut- it would be micro-managing.

I'm very disappointed that Sherry Carr suggests pe and music will be cut. The district suggests hiring a project manager, project analyst and pollsters- for 15 months- at a cost of $549K. Perhaps these positions can be trimmed before music and pe is touched.

Just Saying said...

swk doesn't have to worry about Mirimac keeping track of the data-Billy has that covered. Then, the data can be manipulated to support whatever initiative being pushed.

In addition to suggestions of pe and music being cut, any chance the district will eliminate playgrounds and fire fighters?

Just Saying said...

swk wants to hold everyone accountable. Meanwhile, Gates wants to delay linking Common Core tests to teacher evaluations and student promotion. I wonder how this fits into swk's world view.

Anonymous said...

Wait, @swk: Are you still claiming that EDM was good math because scores increased in SPS a tiny bit? Interesting claim. Prove it.


mirmac1 said...

Just Sayin', according to Wright SPS will cut nursing support for medically-fragile children. I just about had a medical crisis when I heard that blatant attempt to blackmail the board. Is that what they teach those Fellows at the BMGF? To learn how to say: No gruel for you, Oliver!

Anonymous said...

So us ‘lay’ parents are out there, and our ‘lay’ children are feeling the impact. And here is a rant from Regular 'lay' parent…

For my darn regular kids - EDM has been a disaster. They are labeled a failure because they don't know all five or ten different ways to express 2 + 2 = 4.

Even if they only master three of the five ways that 2+2 = 4 (per EDM) they are told they are no good at math, and think of themselves as a failure, I'm stupid. As they are only in 4th grade that is a pretty crappy space for a small child to place themselves.

Math is a straight forward proven science. There is no reason to obfuscate by trying to hide it, twist it, or otherwise with sleight of hand DISCOVER IT. It has already been Discovered.

Mathematicians from centuries ago proved that 2+2 = 4. There is no reason to tell our kids that they are wrong, stupid, or to be ridiculed if they answer 4 when given this basic equation.

Math is very orderly. Learning the basics allows the infinite to be explored not subverted. Once the basics are understood, those same “yawn” boring building blocks can construct an infinite number of amazing possibilities. If given ‘x’ number of building blocks you might create a pyramid, or you might create a sky scraper, or a ? No answer is wrong it if mathematically sound. There is no prescribed ‘one’ limited right answer for the worksheet. That is the joy of understanding the basics but not being restrained by the one right prescribed ‘Discovered’ answer.

For my kids I say - Blow the top off my head off with your amazing, before un-thought of, truly original and wow – original ideas. Be smarter, more creative, than me --- I Love IT!!!

I don’t want you to be limited by only what I understand. Surpass me!

I am so, so, so, so, so, so, so, soooooooooooo, tired of all the mini-brains out there that want to contain my kid to the box that they can understand. Just check yourselves at the door and leave my kids alone. They are beyond your box.

That is my personal parent rant.

Thank you to the Board Directors that were willing to lift the lid for access to the infinite vs. the finite. (Even if it is only one subject – please, more to come?)


Anonymous said...

WSDWG, I made no such claim; thus, have no need to prove it.

--- swk

Anonymous said...

With 12 years experience as a parent in SPS, my observation is that kids who were excelling in math were definately accessing outside teaching services....Kumon, tutoring, parental instruction. On a personal level, my children have required tutoring in order to be proficient. I have six years classroom experience with elementary math assistance and I can tell you that basic skills of calculation were rarely mastered in favor of "deeper" number sense. In terms oh equity, we need to acknowledge that many families do not have access to these extra learning services.

Entropy isle

Patrick said...

SWK, that is exactly the kind of trap that studying education runs into. Maybe the remediation rates have not increased. Humans are complex organisms that will try many different ways to get what they need. Maybe they got outside tutoring. Maybe they graduated from one of the SPS schools that got a waiver from discovery math. Maybe they were so bad at math that the dropped out of high school and aren't part of the self-selected 'admitted to UW' sample. Maybe they just squeaked by the remediation test but still need help to take on a math-based science. You can't conclude anything about EDM being a success based only on UW remediation rates without considering other hypotheses.

Anonymous said...

Patrick, again, I did not make any claims that EDM was/is a success.

The ONLY claim that I made in this entire thread is that there is no statistical evidence of which I am aware that remediation rates have increased at our state's public 2- and 4-year colleges and universities. That's it.

It is others who are making this claim and that claim regarding discovery math, inquiry-based math, Singapore math, etc.

I can't stop you or anyone else from setting me up as a straw man; however, I'm not going to take ownership of your assumptions.

--- swk

Just Saying said...

@ Mirimac- Maybe the district can stop feeding the children, too! Bwa ha ha ha!!!!

Last check, the students being impacted by the new curriculum will be learning basic math skills= not physics. I think teachers will have the ability to absorb these concepts.

Lastly, perhaps we can look at the $7.1M dollars that the district has invested in Common Core...which will be gone in 5 years.

Glad the sky hadn't fallen last night. Have a good day, everyone!

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, I was quite disappointed in Carr's remarks in the Times. There are plenty of places - at headquarters to cut, not the classroom.

I suspect a lot of hurt feelings and trying to get back at the majority in the vote.

It's a bad idea.

Kumon Driver said...

Between the ages of 6-11, I had to take my child to Kumon and provide additional supports outside of school for my child to succeed in basic math. My child spent hours in school, each day, and I felt it were developmentally inappropriate to provide additional academics outside of school. However, I felt I didn't have a choice. Given a choice, I would have preferred my child to play after-school.

I wish we had this board when my child was in elementary school.

I also believe we're looking at an equity issue.

Patrick said...

SWK: Patrick, again, I did not make any claims that EDM was/is a success.

You're right, it was "For Progress" who made that claim. Apologies for my incorrect attribution.

Anonymous said...
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Sarah said...

Great blog, Melissa. Glad to have this information.