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Friday, February 19, 2010

Key Curriculum Press Response to Court Decision

Key Curriculum Press is in quite a snit over the Court's decision about the high school textbooks.

Check out this web page they wrote in response.

There are some erroneous statements here. Particularly this one:
Discovering Mathematics was chosen in Seattle because the School Board could see the potential to serve a diverse student population and improve mathematical achievement across the district.

The School Board made no such statement of rationale. This was invented from whole cloth.

15 comments:

seattle said...

"Key also offers other advanced curriculum in Precalculus, Calculus, and Statistics, among others. "

Yikes. Is SPS using Discover texts for precalc, calc and statistics? My hope was that even after using Discovering for ALG/GEOM/ALG2 using traditional materials for pre calc, calc, and/or statistics would prepare my son for college level math.

seattle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
seattle said...

"Studies such as the Report of Year 1 of the Comparison of Three Mathematics Curricula at East High School in Madison, Wisconsin, point to the effectiveness of the Discovering Mathematics texts."

Be very wary of statements like this. There could be a hunderd studies that showed that Discovering was less effective than other texts, and only one study that showed it was more effective, and that one study can be the one they cite.

dan dempsey said...

Sully is right on with:
"Be very wary of statements like this."

The SPS deceivers are excellent at searching the nation for the few or only one that sorta supports their choice.

They ignored Bethel SD and many other local "Discovering" districts as well as the extremely discriminatory SPS Math results k-8 produced by their past "inquiry math" selections. Continued violation of Wash. Constitution article IX "Preamble" should be ended not continued.

Clearly Judge Spector was right on track with try it again SPS Board using all the evidence, (for a change).

Unfortunately the board was even more "Arbitrary & Capricious" on 2-3-2010 in approving the $800,000 contract. The "Fab Four" of 2007 failed to reference any of Meg Diaz's points in explaining their votes. Each also failed to give any explanation as to why SPS should copy schools, which fail to produce satisfactory results.

Anyone for a recall? It only requires 1 incidence of "misfeasance" by a director to get a recall petition court approved and into circulation.

"misfeasance" in office means the performance of a duty in an improper manner;

HERE

Seems like on Feb 4, 2010 Judge Spector correctly identified 1 incidence of "misfeasance" each for Directors Sundquist, Maier, and Carr committed on May 6, 2009...... needless to say one more for Cheryl Chow is irrelevant.

Dorothy Neville said...

The SPS arbitrary and capricious adoption included Key Curriculum's Precalculus and Calculus. I believe a different Statistics book was adopted.

I've spent some time looking at the Precalculus text and found it more or less equivalent in topics covered to the book my son used for "Integrated 3," the out of print "Unified Math 3." Not as rigorous or challenging as the Precalculus using the UW Math 120 book (which Roosevelt used. Is this the book they wish to get a waiver for? I wouldn't be surprised.)

Note I am making no comments about the pedagogy or the soundness of the material, I haven't looked at it in enough depth to have an opinion. I have looked at the Discovering Algebra 1 and found in lacking in soundness. Perhaps Dan can repost a link to his powerpoint that was absolutely clear and convincing side-by-side comparison of Discovering Alegebra 1 and Prentice Hall.

It is very advantageous to use the UW Math 120 book for Precalculus. First, it is available as a free PDF from the UW website. Roosevelt sold printed copies for cost, seven dollars, I believe. It is problem solving oriented, concentrating on applications of the major types of functions (polynomial, trigonometric, exponential and logarithmic). Hard Stuff. IF a student takes it at UW, they do the book in 10 weeks, which is Much Harder than Calculus. High school allows 36 weeks. UW's Calculus sequence builds on this work and incorporates some of the same sort of problems. Students who have had the Math 120 text are at an advantage there.

anne said...

"Yikes. Is SPS using Discover texts for precalc, calc and statistics? My hope was that even after using Discovering for ALG/GEOM/ALG2 using traditional materials for pre calc, calc, and/or statistics would prepare my son for college level math."

Two years ago when my son was entering WMS and I was talking to the dept chair about homeschooling with EPGY to avoid CMP (We had already supplemented with EPGY in 5th grade through pre-algebra). She told me she was familiar with EPGY, in fact she was considering it for her own daughter for calculus because it was pretty weak at GHS! She convinced me to give CMP a try, which I now regret. Two years of CMP and almost everything he was taught he had already learned in greater depth in EPGY pre-algebra.

They have adopted new books for calculus but I don't know how good they are.

dan dempsey said...

Two thoughts on the Key Press web page attacking the Seattle decision:

#1 from Dr. Richard Lesh, a frequent receiver of NSF EHR grants and perhaps a "common core standards" Man.

#2 from the Publisher of "Discovering" Steve Rasmussen.
================
Don't miss out on the Bellevue Reporter's article (well written ..NOT like many recent math articles at the S. Times)

and be sure to check out the comments. HERE.

Bruce Ramsey did a fine job in the Times with his "Schmitz Park Math" opinion piece.

dan dempsey said...

Dorothy HERE is the link to the "Discovering Algebra" v. Prentice Hall Algebra I comparison.

Note this was done by Paul Dunham an Engineer that decided to switch to teaching high school math. After two years of training he received a teaching credential but never began high school teaching because few places teach any high school math. According to Paul most high schools specialize in "Math Appreciation" not doing much in the way of Math.

Paul gave a school board testimony on NTN STEM. He doubted most school directors had much interest in the thoughts of a STEM professional. He was right.

You can watch Paul's testimony at the meeting of 2-03-2010 beginning at minute:__ 6:45. HERE
============

Lunacy in Issaquah is HERE.

Complete with this:
“If our job were to produce engineers then having [engineers] on the committee would make perfect sense,” Thiele said. “But that’s not what we’re doing. We’re teaching the public. Within the public there will be a percentage of students that go on to be engineers but there are a large percentage of them that will go on to be successful in fields unrelated to math.”

“As an associate superintendent, I was shocked by it [the Spector Decision] because I know Seattle had a very rigorous process,”
Theil said.

Perhaps we can schedule a filming of Math Myth Busters college bowl style were Assistant Superintendent Thiel and CAO Enfield have a Math & STEM content question answering showdown.

Any bets on how long it will take for that initial 0-0 tie score to be broken? ... perhaps that 0-0 tie will extend into overtime.
================
When Dr. Enfield interviewed for Bellevue Supt. before coming to Seattle. She talked about how during her time at Evergreen SD in Vancouver AP Calc had experienced huge growth. When asked to name the instructional materials used k-12 in Evergreen SD, it was "I'll get back to you on that".

You really must watch Paul Dunham's three minutes he has some great observations on "the process".

dan dempsey said...

The Good News: in court we were only addressing the three core books not all six. The SPS attorney said when the approval decision is challenged it applies to all the books approved.

Oh Happy Day!!!!

Rose M said...

Yes, Roosevelt is applying for a waiver to use same texts as the UW for pre-calc & Calc. This year they are using the Key Curriculum Press texts for those classes with supplementation.

dan dempsey said...

Big Time News:
This made it into Scientific American's March issue.

Article:
Numbers Wars: School Battles Heat Up Again in the Traditional versus Reform-Math Debate :
Weak student scores fuel the fight in mathematics education

Here is the referenced section:
For his part, Martin says the document was not intended to define specific content; rather it shows how reasoning and sense making can be incorporated throughout the curriculum. But detractors of reform math do not seem to be ready to agree. In one notable example, a group of parents and educators in Seattle have filed a brief appealing the school board’s decision last May to adopt the Discovering Mathematics series, a reform-math high school text that uses student investigations as a means of discovering math principles—such as using toothpick models to derive recursive sequences. Citing declining test scores after a three-year pilot of the text, the suit claims the Discovering series is associated with a widening achievement gap between white students and minority and low-income students.

“A good textbook is very important,” says Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington and one of three plaintiffs in the suit. He argues that the absence of “real math” in the Discovery series makes it very difficult for disadvantaged students to work through problems on their own.


Math experts have expressed other concerns about diluted instruction, including the decision by many school districts to require algebra I in eighth grade instead of the traditional ninth. Being younger, students tend to get a watered-down version of algebra I, but “then they are expected to continue on the trajectory of geometry and algebra II without a firm footing,” points out William McCallum, a math professor at the University of Arizona.

wseadawg said...

Note "Potential" vs. Proof.

dan dempsey said...

The Scientific American Article contained an error:

"Citing declining test scores after a three-year pilot of the text, "

I corrected that in Comment #10 which follows the story HERE.

Isabel D'Ambrosia said...

I'm so glad that Roosevelt is considering using the UW's Math 120 textbook for their pre-calc class.

My concern with high school math is that kids need to be prepared for the UW's year-long freshman calculus series -- Math 124/125/126. These calculus classes are the gatekeeper for careers in engineering, medicine and hard science. If kids don't do well in those classes, they can forget about those careers. Math 120 is offered at the UW as a remedial class in preparation for Math 124, but if a student has to take Math 120, then the he or she will have "freshman math" in sophomore year.

Math 124/125/126 at the UW is HARD. Students refer to these classes as the "weed-out" classes for medical school and engineering.

I gave Sherry Carr a copy of the textbook they use in Math 124 at the UW. (It's an older edition, but still useful.) I hope she will consider it when she and the board decide what action to take about the court ruling.

Way, way more teachers, school board directors and district math curriculum specialists should know about Math 124, but they don't seem to. I gave my Math 124 textbook to Anna Maria DelaFuente, but she didn't look at it during the Math adoption.

How can you possibly adopt high school math textbooks in Seattle Public Schools without an awareness of what kids will face in Math 124? Outrageous. What do we think we're preparing kids for -- balancing their checkbook?

Dorothy Neville said...

Roosevelt's been teaching precalculus using UW Math 120 for years. They just didn't this year due to the new adoption. Will they get their waiver to switch back? We will see.

Yes, if students have to take Math 120 at UW they will be "behind" but only a quarter behind. That's unfortunate but not the end of the world. My son's taking the calculus sequence and it's pretty straightforward solid calculus. Definitely faster paced than AP calculus in high school. Weed out? No more than any college calculus sequence. The consensus of the Robinson Center bunch of kids is that 120 is harder than the 124/5/6 sequence. IIRC, the 120 text is 13 chapters. 13 very challenging chapters, in 10 weeks. Taking it in high school over a whole year was a definite advantage pace-wise. It'd be great if more high schools adopted it for precalculus. Requires strong algebra and reasoning skills. Very affordable. As I said, it is free on-line and Roosevelt charged the kids 7 bucks for a printed copy. The UW calculus text was 97 bucks. Paperback, it wouldn't last too many years use in high school.