Friday, February 05, 2010

Math Discussion on KUOW at 12:40 pm Today

From KUOW:

Last year Seattle Public Schools picked new, ‘inquiry-based’ math textbooks. Yesterday a King County Superior Court judge ordered the Seattle School District to review its choice of the ‘Discovering Math’ series of textbooks. Do you have a kid in school that’s using the new math books? What’s your experience with inquiry-based math education? Call our listener feedback line now at 206 221 3663 or email conversation@kuow.org We’re talking math today at 12:40 pm on KUOW 94.9 Seattle.

Note: I put this in as a service to our readers, not for KUOW. Their education coverage since Phyllis Fletcher left has not been good. There is a decided lack of interest in these issues and it's quite puzzling.


Melissa Westbrook said...

So I listened and I thought there were some good calls (including Charlie's). One call almost seemed like a plant, she so loved everything about inquiry math. But this caller did bring up an interesting point. She said there was a whole host of on-line help for both students and parents. That may be true but what is also true is that all students and parents DON'T have access to those materials.

This was brought up by the coalition group I belong to that is trying to include parents/community in the teacher contract negotiations. During our discussions about what to put in our Values Statement, Ramona Hattendorf, the president of the Seattle Council PTSA, said that this inability to access resources was something she heard a lot of frustration over. Indeed, we put it into the statement that all parents and students should have equal access to any on-line resources.

wseadawg said...

Why do we need to add more ingredients to the recipe? So what if there's lots of online resources. I've heard the same thing. The thing is, I want my kids to be able to do their math on the bus, in the yard, at their desks in their bedrooms, etc., without having to plug in to the internet all the time, where, in addition to all those online resources, they become targets of an onslaught of advertisers and other distracting, de-focusing influences.

Furthermore, such online "additional resources" would not be needed if the curriculum didn't fall so short and fail so badly to deliver basic math instruction. It's a virtual admission that the curriculum sucks that one can "make it work" with the plethora of resources out there. It's like a used car salesman saying, "hey, you can get a used windshield for this baby at any junkyard." Wow, is that supposed to make me feel better? Give me a break.

wseadawg said...

Sorry MW, I don't mean to vent at you, but I read the Briefs yesterday, and the district's continuing arrogance and indifference is so maddening I could spit fire!

This is the new design of curriculum, kind of like software. Sell a bunch of it, and when the problems inevitably arise, send out updates and patches ("If you can't figure out what's in the book, try our constantly updated and amended online materials." ("We're bound to come up with a workable method at some point!")). Ick. Enough.

Melissa Westbrook said...

No offense taken. I agree; why would you need multiple online resources? But, if the district thinks this is all so great and has paid to have access to the resources, all parents and kids should be able to use them.

But your basic message is right for sure.

wseadawg said...

Ah...I get it now. A testimonial from Key Curriculum's website:

I cannot say enough about the Key to... workbooks. So far they are the best books available on the market enabling individuals to teach themselves. In the disciplines of mathematics and science, it is extremely difficult to find teachers who know how to deliver the material in manageable and understandable chunks. As a result, as homeschoolers, we’ve really had to become persistent in the area of teaching ourselves. The resources offered by Key Curriculum Press have been indispensable.

And guess what? Each workbook costs $3.75 each. One for Adding, Subtracting, Fractions, Decimals, you name it, you got it.

The textbook gets you half way there. If you really want to learn it, line our pockets $3.75 at a time, and then we'll teach you math.

And don't you love the "math teachers can't teach math" comment from the home-schooler above?

It always, always comes down to turning each student into a profit-center doesn't it? So sad.

SPS mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SPS mom said...

The "Key to" workbooks on decimals and fractions by Rasmussen are actually quite good. These are published by Key Curriculum Press, the same people who brought you Discovering, but were originally published in the 1980s. We used the "Key to" workbooks at home to supplement the CMP2 materials.

The Discovering books and the "Key to" series are two very different products.

Skeptic said...

I'm a big fan of the "Key to" series also, which I discovered at Math 'n' Stuff one day. If you're like me and stuck teaching your elementary-school kids math in the evening since they're not learning it during the day in school, the series is a wonderful resource. Very straightforward and definitely not the sort of squishy math found in the Everyday Math textbooks. And actually, the price is pretty cheap compared to some of the materials out there.

JvA said...

FYI -- Phyllis didn't quit KUOW; she'll be back this spring.