Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Parting shot on Math from the Times

Bruce Ramsey of the Seattle Times published a parting shot on the Math textbook conflict. He got it exactly right.


Dorothy Neville said...

Proof that Seattle Times really is interested in education over politics will be when it endorses Charlie instead of Cheryl.

rugles said...

I actually emailed the Times, suggesting they run some sample pages from the textbook, so people could see for themselves what we are complaining about. Here is the education editors reply...

Because so much of the big swine flu story has played out in the
schools, our education reporter and I have been deeply involved in that particular coverage for the past week or so. We're only now able to regroup and decide which (non-flu) stories we'll be doing next on the education beat, and how to approach those stories.

I'm not sure yet what our angle on the next math story will be, but your point about the need for concrete examples to better illustrate this debate is a good one, and well taken. I just looked at the examples you attached. I'm no math whiz, but these particular examples, at least, do seem lots more complicated than than they need to be. Thanks for

Janet Horne

SolvayGirl said...

Thanks rugles...there maybe hope yet.

Dorothy Neville said...

"Thanks rugles...there maybe hope yet."

Hope for what? 10 years down the road the next adoption will be better? I am sure that the Purchase Order got sent within hours of the vote. No turning back now.

rugles said...


If San Diego can get rid of them why can't Seattle?

As regards to the PO, I have to wonder if we can't cut a deal with San Diego and pick up the books they are dumping on the cheap

suep. said...

rugles said...
"As regards to the PO, I have to wonder if we can't cut a deal with San Diego and pick up the books they are dumping on the cheap."

rugles -- That is a brilliant idea. It would be environmentally wise, and might also call the bluff of any Discovering-advocates who might actually only be in it to profit from purchase order income. Who can we suggest this to?

dan dempsey said...

The following was said:
"Hope for what? 10 years down the road the next adoption will be better? I am sure that the Purchase Order got sent within hours of the vote. No turning back now."Not exactly true. Legal injunctions based on sound cause have been known to instantly freeze actions.

The SPS has a long history of ignoring the needs of disadvantaged learners in mathematics.

The court needs to step in and act before additional irreparable harm can occur.

Maureen said...

Who can we suggest this to?Yes!

And while we're at it, can the High Schools that have traditional texts sell them to us as a fundraiser to create scholarship funds for low income students to pay for private math tutoring?

Who can we suggest this to?

dan dempsey said...

http://mathunderground.blogspot.com/2009/05/discrimination-of-disadvantaged.html You will note after one year of EDM all five categories are worse:
The gaps are larger from the 2006 reference to spring 2008 for
I. Asian students: by 1.8
II. Black students: by 1.6
III. Hispanic students: by 4.1
IV. Native American students: by 1.7
(not mentioned in SPS report Limited English students: by 2.3)
I've spent since Jan 17th 2007 attempting to end this mathematical discrimination of disadvantaged learners. The school board has chosen to do nothing except continue ongoing discrimination.

ParentofThree said...

"Legal injunctions based on sound cause have been known to instantly freeze actions."

How can this be done?

dan dempsey said...

How can this be done?1. File paper work for an injunction.
2. Make a case as to why irreparable harm will occur without the court's immediate intervention.

The SPS has provided so much material over the last 10 years demonstrating a disregard for disadvantaged learners in mathematics that #2 above is easy.

Now they pick the SBE rated unacceptable book series.

Isabel D'Ambrosia said...

Instead of saying how "easy" it would be to file an injunction, can we ask WHO is going to do it? Dan? Any math-minded attorneys out there?

dan dempsey said...


I am exploring the mechanics of legal action. Look for something tangible in the future.

A few thoughts on public trust, which supposedly the district is interested in building.

Once there was more trust in schools than currently. For math, part of the problem locally is the influence of UW College of Education in instructional materials decisions. Unfortunately decisions are often based on alignment with the ideology pushed by the College of Education. Rarely if ever are previous performance numbers ever considered. Equally strange is the failure to address reality later.

In 2007 the Seattle School Board disregarded Denver’s massive failure with the Everyday Math – Connected Math combination and adopted Everyday Math. At the time of the 2007 adoption achievement gaps were very large for five classifications of disadvantaged learners. After one year of Everyday Math all five gaps were larger.

The Seattle School Board by a 4-3 vote has recently decided to adopt a failed program from San Diego that has been found to be mathematically unsound.
Trust in Seattle Schools will not be rebounding in the foreseeable future.

dan dempsey said...

May 20, 2009
Introductory item:
Everyday Math Consumables for 2009-2010 =


Expensive to make kids stupid.
Much less expensive to make them smart with Singapore.

dan dempsey said...

Don't miss this excellent story about life with Everyday Math.

http://ednews.org/articles/one-step-ahead-of-the-train-wreck.html Call in Monday morning 206-252-0040
and testify March 20.

ParentofThree said...


I am sick....we need to spend this money EVERY year on EDM.

The upshot is that when they do realize EDM is a failure at least they won't be tossing out books, like San Diego is currently!

Dorothy Neville said...

Dan, great article. Here's another one by the same author, an overview article that gives more depth to the history of the Math Wars than I knew. I had no idea it was considered partisan.

One great line: "While adherents [to discovery learning] believe that such an approach teaches “mathematical thinking” rather than dull routine skills, some mathematicians have likened it to teaching someone to play water polo without first teaching him to swim."

dan dempsey said...


Thanks so much for the link to Barry's article. I've posted a link to it and a few comments.

I hope that several folks will take the time to testify about $474,440 for EDM consumables and $0.00 for Singapore consumables.


dan dempsey said...

Dear Isabel D'Ambrosia,

I've got my money saved and I am attorney shopping.


ParentofThree said...

"I've got my money saved and I am attorney shopping."

Once you're ready to go, let us know, I will contribute to the cause.

dan dempsey said...

Thanks SPSMom,

I needed that. This is at times a really lonely road. Hope to see you at the Wed. Night testimony.