Thursday, March 12, 2009

Whisper on High School Math Recommendation

I have heard whispers that the math materials adoption committee is going to recommend the Discovering... series from Key Curriculum Press.

This is the option that most strongly reflects the reform pedagogy and least reflects traditional pedagogy.

This recommendation goes to the Board. The Board is not, however, bound by it. Materials adoption is a Board decision. The Board will vote in May.


Charlie Mas said...

Why doesn't some school boycott the WASL until the District allows them to use real math books?

Charlie Mas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dan dempsey said...

Clearly the SPS is either unable to read the National Math Panel Recommendations or is choosing to ignore them. It would be harder to get further away from Authentic Algebra and the preparation for it than Seattle's plans.

Give Harium a heads up and see what he thinks?


anne said...

Hopefully the board will pay attetion to the State Board of Education textbook review, which ranked the Discovering series last and inadequate in all three areas they were reviewing.

Dan, will the SBE review, and it's final recommendation, cause OSPI to change its recommended HS textbook? It seems like the board should be looking at the state recommendations before making a final decision.


dan dempsey said...

Dear Anne,

It seems to me that Admin had this one stacked from the git go.

1. k-5 follow the EDM pacing plan and ignore the state grade level performance expectations for math.
(becuase we do not plan on teaching authentic algebra or preparing for it .. so who cares about arithmetic).

2. Leave CMP2 untouched. No great emphasis on skills with rational numbers as recommended by NMAP.

3. The district prefers to be out of alignment with NMAP and State standards. It would be very difficult to teach Authentic Algebra as NMAP recommends, so SPS decides not to go there.

4. It is a lot easier to teach Math appreciation than math so the SPS decides for the easy way.

5. At the meeting where the promotion / non-promotion policies were to be discussed, it never happened dispite it being number 2 on the agenda.

6. It is quite clear from the outset that this was going to be more UW inspired nonsense, the same baloney that has produced the last decade of math disaster in the SPS. The math Program manager I believe is a PhD. candidate at the UW in Education but has no undergraduate or graduate degree in mathematics and she was selected less than a year ago for her current position perhaps because she would push this agenda.

7. MG-J believes: It is all about being faithful to the process. It is not about producing the best text selections for kids learning. When MG-J said that the IMP selection process was just fine, it was clear how far off the tracks this train had run.

8. Instead of IMP a total disaster at Cleveland, Tacoma, and University Place .... the SPS committee using input from 600 students etc has produced Discovering Algebra, Discovering Geometry, and Discovering Advanced Algebra.

9. If the committee had picked Prentice Hall then immediately some type of big intervention would be needed at grade 9 as about 50% of students are not adequately prepared to take a real grade 9 algebra class. So the SPS offers math light the "Discovering Series" instead.

This is just another pre-made horrible decision from the top.
That the SPS is so famous for.

The board did not look at much before the Everyday math decision.

The board rejected IMP twice. So the question is will they look enough to reject Discovering Algebra etc.?

If they do reject, then k-8 math needs an overhaul. If not we get a pathetic dysfunctional k-12 system, that will be really much easier to run. After all isn't it about administrative convenience? Otherwise how can the last decade of math disaster in the SPS be explained?

ParentofThree said...

"Why doesn't some school boycott the WASL until the District allows them to use real math books"

Great idea, how about NOVA?

Charlie Mas said...

WASL boycotts are not appropriate for high schools or Title 1 schools. Also, NOVA does teach real math. As an alternative school they are not restricted to the adopted texts.

anonymous said...

Re: Charlie Mas and math books, I have a question about Nova.

There are also schools which are not alternative, whose teachers are known to use traditional math textbooks they have saved from previous adoptions as a preference in their own classrooms. I'm thinking of a calculus teacher we had at Roosevelt.

Can you tell us whether the real math books you are speaking of are used throughout Nova's program in a systematic way because of their philosophy as an alternative school.

Or is this another example of a teacher or two being permitted discretion on which materials they prefer for the classroom, as can often be found in other schools.

Can you provide examples of these real math books.

Thank you.

reader said...

Why not Title 1 schools? Title 1 schools are where a WASL boycott actually makes the most sense. Title 1 schools are the schools people can actually leave if the WASL scores are bad enough. Why diddle around with a meaningless boycott if it has no teeth?

beansa said...

WASL boycotts are dangerous for Title I schools because a drop in WASL scores leaves the school vulnerable to sanctions. Like at
AS1, many parents have exercised their right to opt out of the WASL over the years...which was fine until we became a Title I school. Suddenly, we found ourselves in step 4 of NCLB and facing closure. Now we're being "restructured" - but schools can be closed under NCLB.

Non-Title I schools boycotting the WASL does have teeth because the district has to have a certain % of students taking the WASL to qualify for the Title I funds. If enough people opted out - which is your legal right, by the way - it would effect the district's funding.

ParentofThree said...

I would guess that NOVA's gig with their tradtional math is about to end, simply saying we are alternative won't fly in the face of this super. Unless NOVA has some written committment from the district to continue teaching what they want?

So, NOVA may actually be the perfect school to make this point, since the have the most to lose.

Maureen said...

North Beach and Schmitz Park are both permitted not to use Everyday Math. Do they have to pay for their own materials and training? Neither of them are alternative schools (As far as I know all the alternative K-8s use Everyday Math and CMP). Could any school choose not to use the standard curriculum? Is there a specific waiver process NB and SP went through? Could Roosevelt (for example) do the same?

dan dempsey said...

Hey Maureen,

North Beach PTA bought the Saxon stuff. When Ms Santorno was planning on removing the Saxon materials there were thoughts of calling the Police to avert this theft of North Beach PTA property.

North Beach received the full complement of Everyday Math materials, whether they wanted them or not. They did not want these EDM materials and they remain unused.

I do not know how Schmitz Park financed Singapore Math. Singapore Math is exceptionally inexpensive.

anonymous said...

When we went on the Roosevelt tour a few weeks ago I had a long talk with one of the math teachers. He said that Roosevelt could use any materials that the district threw at them because they only use the materials as a map of what to teach, not how to teach it. He said that as a math departement the have come together and decided to use their own expertise and more traditional approach to teach in a more relevant, meaningful way. Three of the RHS teachers were also very involved in the new math materials adoption, and were on the committee. They were pushing for the more traditional materials, of course. You might want to talk to those teachers that were on the committee and find out if they know anything about this "whisper".

Also, I only spoke to one RHS teacher, this information was not formally presented on the tour, so take it for what it's worth.... but it was inspiring!

Dorothy Neville said...

I don't know if this is public knowledge yet or not, but I heard yesterday from a very reliable source that this is true. Discovering Series is the recommendation.

The person who told it to me said he mentioned it to an owner of a tutoring company and her reply was "Well my business is secure."

AdHoc's information from RHS is spot on. I think that of all the grade level instructors, high school math teachers tend to have better understanding of math, and can use imperfect materials as a tool, not a mandate. Elementary school teachers in this country are typically not as fluent in mathematics and don't often have the background to do similarly.

That doesn't mean I am happy with the Discovering series choice though.