Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Open Thread

Two sad remembrances - Mark Twain died on this day in 1910 and Prince died a year ago.  Both brought great art to our country.

It appears that the Legislature will not be getting their job done of creating a budget that includes fully funding public education.  I'll assume the Supreme Court will sit back and just watch it unfold with the rest of us.  I wish they would actually do something but now all we can do is wait.  I don't think any amount of lobbying or advocating is going to make a whit of difference at this point.

Tom Ahearne, lead counsel for the McClearys, told the Seattle Times that he doesn't have a lot of confidence this will get done properly.  As Kathryn Selk said at the Facebook page of WPD:

And he has been expressing these same concerns with every single filing, predicting just this exact same thing since 2011-12. And the Legislature's pleadings have said;
1) we'll get it done,
2) we'll get it done next year,
3) really, look, we've passed stuff which will get it done,
4) we plan to get it done but need yet another study,
5) 2015 we'll REALLY get it done,
6) can't do it in 2016 because the timing isn't right as it isn't an appropriations bill . . .so Mr. Ahearne's predictions are proving prophetic.
In the wake of the news from New Mexico on their "shaming" on school lunch payments, comes this regulation from the USDA:
Every day across the U.S., kids go to school without a way to pay for lunch. And in some cases, that leads to something called lunch shaming. That's when schools single out students who can't pay, like making them do chores or wear a wristband.

With policies to handle unpaid meals all over the map, the USDA, which administers the federal school meal program, will soon require that all school districts have a policy on what to do when kids can't pay — a growing problem. By July 1, those policies must be in writing and communicated to staff, parents and the community.
You probably heard about the underwhelming Easter Egg roll at the White House this week.  Not only was it thrown together at the last minute but apparently the White House did not invite area D.C. public school children.  Monday's photos of the event showed #WhiteHouseSoWhite.  Trump can't even support public education students for one day.

There are more candidates filing for the office of mayor of Seattle.  Former Mayor Mike McGinn has now filed as has activist Cary Moon.  One thing I can say is that those two candidates as well as activist/attorney Nikkita Oliver are unlikely to want to take over Seattle Schools as much as Mayor Murray might.

Are you going to the March for Science tomorrow?  I am and I have learned that Governor Inslee will also be marching.  Speaking of science, apparently there are were some scientists with time on their hands who tested how far different types of tires will fly off a ski jump. Show the kids. (The white gloves are a nice touch.)

Here's a good saying for a sign:

What do we want?  Evidence-based science!
When do we want it? After Peer Review!


What's on your mind?


Anonymous said...

The 24-credit task force report came out about a YEAR ago. What progress has SPS made in figuring things out in the year since? We needed the implementation waiver to allow sufficient time for planning, but it does not appear there is any actual planning underway--and certainly none that involves students and families.

What gives?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of high school planning.

North shore is opening a new high school. I am jealous of the amount of planning.

- katie

Watching said...

Re: The state and education funding.

I'm not confident the Supreme Court will influence Olympia. I believe we are heading into a Constitutional crisis.

Anonymous said...

Another good reason to put world geography back in the curriculum:

“Someone please tell Sessions that Hawaii is a state. An American in Hawaii is as American as one from Alabama. Or Indiana,” Chelsea Clinton tweeted…


dan dempsey said...

Mark Twain and Broadview Dad inspired me to post the following:

Mark Twain : “It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

Looking at the history of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) activity in pedagogies pushed, textbooks recommended, sorta-standards designed, points of emphasis made, switches of horses in midstream, and results, I say:
It's easier to fool the NCTM than to convince them that they have been fooled.

While these days few persons argue with the push to increase student proficiency in the following:
#1 Procedural Fluency,
#2 Problem Solving, and
#3 Conceptual Understanding,

it remains to be seen if the NCTM can figure out the best ways to do that or even a pretty good way to increase proficiency. Given NCTM history, its Buyer Beware with current NCTM advice.

In the late 1950s and 60s the push was "New Math," which emphasized "Conceptual Understanding" and had little practice with few examples. [[death to "example-based instruction" could have been the sub-title]] ... and it did not work.

The 1970s were a time of recognition of and attempted recovery from "New Math" damage.

The 1980s became a time for "developing national standards" that culminated in the 1989 NCTM Curriculum and Standards publication. These were not measurable performance standards but really were recommendations for habits of the mind. National Science Foundation (NSF) funding made institutions richer as they developed math materials and programs that downplayed practice and pushed new ways of thinking not constrained by the practicing of arithmetic skills, which traditionally had used the four historically-based algorithms of arithmetic.

As this train was running off the rails, John Saxon began selling what many non-NCTM folks saw as a cure for NCTM nonsense: Saxon Math. It emphasized procedural fluency, with incremental development, constant review of concepts in one-day lessons, frequent testing after five lessons that allowed for immediate reteaching, and avoidance of chapters which he called hunk learning. Half of the 30 problems per day were on procedures and half on story problems. Saxon's approach was a huge departure from the "facilitated inquiry" approach to "conceptual understanding". Saxon had retired from the U.S. Air Force as a decorated bomber pilot. He held three engineering degrees and knew about math use in "the real world". His mantra was that "Results matter". He had stacks of stories about schools with successful results with his "Saxon Math" for students from all "subgroups". He was not impressed with the lack of results coming from students "in the NCTM-promoted programs" of that time. He was definitely seen as anti-NCTM man. He was in fact hated by them.

dan dempsey said...

Finally in 2006, the NCTM responded to increasing criticism of the 1989 standards and parent revolts called "math wars" by publishing the NCTM Focal Points. This was "a quest for coherence". That pretty much described the previous 20 years: 'Incoherent". Core-Plus, Mathland, TERC-Investigations, (IMP) the Interactive Math Program, (CMP) Connected Math Project, etc. had become models of incoherence.

In 2008, Washington State adopted new math standards with recommended instructional materials in an attempt to restore coherence. However, beginning in 2009, the federally promoted Common Core State Standards arrived and eventually replaced Washington State's Math Standards.

Today it is once again a battle for great materials rather than following the direction advocated by the historically incoherent establishment. A profusion of untested ideas, failed materials, and failed ideology is still being peddled. Good luck in getting local districts to find and buy the good stuff. Most of the "leaders" they listen to are aligned with the NCTM version of reality. Those folks ignore the words of W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993 the systems expert who enhanced U.S. production in WWII and improved industrial processes in post-war Japan) : "To improve a system requires the intelligent application of relevant data." Looking at testing from TIMSS, NAEP, and PISA, is there any chance that the Math Gurus would examine the standards and practices of the East Asian Five (Singapore, Korea, Japan, Hong-Kong, Taipei) instead of the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice? In truth, you cannot convince the NCTM and its members that they have been fooled.

It is my hope that an agreement will be forged on how best to teach math, and in that vein, I offer these guardedly optimistic statements:

(1) Whether understanding or procedure comes first ought to be driven by subject matter and student need — not by educational ideology.
(2) Prior learning and knowledge are the greatest determinants of what children can learn, regardless of their physical age.
(3) Curricula should be both mathematically coherent and logically sequenced for learning from novice to expert.
(4) Two important elements in the development of both procedural and problem solving skills are memorization and practice.
(5) “Discovery” should not be conflated with “teaching understanding” as if they are one and the same.
(6) Mistakes in educational practices should not be maintained just because of the time spent making them.
(7) Student effort can positively influence achievement.

Anonymous said...

If I could put Dan in charge of curricula in SPS, I would do it in a heartbeat. Enough of the fuzzy talk that educators always bring to math conversations. Give students the tools to succeed and stop confusing them with useless text based math problems.

We did years of math tutoring and it was still not enough to undo the damage of a bad curricula.

S parent