Math Curriculum Update

From the Seattle Math Coalition:

FYI,  the district has changed their math adoption plan based on budget concerns.  The proposed K-8 adoption which was supposed to be in classrooms in Fall of 2014 is now only a K-5 adoption, with 6-8 to be delayed for another year!
This files in the face of common sense:
1)  CMP2 is a train wreck for families without stellar teachers or family/tutor support
2)  Despite a goal of a 7-year adoption cycle, the CMP2 materials are already at year 7.  They are a year older than EDM, yet the district feels more pressure to replace EDM.
3)  Citing poverty, $1.5M is budgetwd for K-5 adoption, however $2M additional is budgeted for Common Core training.  Will they train with old books and then replace them a year later? 
4)  The big elephant in the room:  In 2014-15 academic year, state assessments will be based on Common Core.  If Seattle only does a K-5 adoption, this means that all 2014-15 middle schoolers will be tested against common core, but taught from CMP2.  Sounds like a big problem to me! (Editor's note: from the NY Times, a story on that exact issue plus one about using school children as focus groups for new tests.)
We've started a petition, which we put up yesterday, calling on Jose Banda and the SSD Directors to hold to their committment of K-8 textbooks, and to not leave middle school kids behind.
All those who have felt the kitchen table pain from CMP2, please unite and make some noise!
Rick Burke
Seattle Math Coalition


Anonymous said…
One of the big selling points that OSPI gave the legislature was that there would be "economies of scale" in adopting the Common Core Standards.

OSPI's Jan '11 Analysis also left the question of budget for materials up in the air -- and we know how far off we are from responsibilities on education funding we are without even accounting for Common Core adoption.

Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
G Krom said…
This is a letter I wrote to Shauna Heath in January. She is head of curriculum. Please send your concerns to her, Banda and your school board representatives.

Dear Ms. Heath,
I am a parent of two former SPS students, now college graduates. For years I have been an advocate for better math curricula. I met Superintendent José Banda recently at a fund-raiser for the upcoming levies and asked him to take a close look at math. He said it was on his list for review.

The current textbooks, from Everyday Math to Discovering, have been criticized for years by parents. There are few examples to work from and the text heavy approach is impossible for students with ADHD or language challenges. Instead of clear, direct instruction there is unnecessary complexity and insufficient practice time. The achievement gaps for children of color, increased demand for tutoring and high remedial rates in college speak to weaknesses in the present system.

Sixty University of Washington math and science professors in 2011 signed a letter stating their concerns about the skill levels of incoming freshmen in math. Former English majors like past Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson were strong advocates for discovery math, but these conceptual approaches are devastating in actual practice. If students do not get the basics in elementary school, it becomes harder to catch up and by high school many drop out. Those that are lucky enough to make it to college arrive without proficiency.

What students actually learn in everyday classes is of utmost importance. We have been distracted by
conversations over charter schools, testing, online learning and teacher performance. The ed reform people are loud and influential but they should not crowd out the voices of parents. Curriculum and the evaluation of best practices are not given enough attention.

There were dramatic improvements in the Mercer School on Beacon Hill when they switched to Saxon math. Schmitz Park has been in high demand over its math curriculum, which is different from the district. I understand the benefits of standardization, but not when the wrong textbooks are chosen. Alternative choices like Saxon, Singapore and Holt would be improvements.

You are the person who can truly help many more students succeed in math. I have heard that Superintendent Banda had a fundamentally sound math curriculum in his past district so I hope you can work together to make changes. If you and Banda put improved math at the top of the list students will benefit and more families will choose SPS for their children.

Georgi Krom
Killing us said…

Our middle school informed us that Common Core will be taught out of CMP3 textbooks. Of course, the district can't afford them.

Does it make sense that Common Core will be taught out of CMP3?
Rick Burke said…
" Does it make sense that Common Core will be taught out of CMP3? "

No, it really doesn't make sense - if you look at the online samples, you will find mostly the same basic content (and non-math activities) from CMP2.

The district hasn't bought CMP3 and can't without an official adoption approved by the school board. If your school is buying the program, they are going rogue. Which school do you attend?

Pearson Publishing has re-wrapped CMP2, added some references to Common Core and a couple of new lessons and are calling it the next sliced bread. This will be the defacto next program for Seattle unless the community can tip the scales towards a more balanced option.

Also, don't be swayed by the mystique of Common Core. They are a mixed bag. In math, they actually have slightly less rigor than our current state standards. There has been great math teaching before CCSS and there will be great math teaching and learning long after they have faded into the next educational management fad. Standards are a guide, a roadmap, but they don't teach your children math. Teachers, textbooks, and families do (and tutors).
Rick Burke said…
For Anon at 2:51

According to OSPI, in 2014-15, the Smarter Balanced Assessment component for math, reading, and writing will replace the existing sections in the MSP. So, this will not be an additional assessment, just a changing of the guard.

From this website:

"The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) will develop and implement a “new generation” assessment system for participating states that will be piloted in 2013 and operational in the 2014-15 school year."

I heard that Lowell at Lincoln is one of the pilot schools for the new assessment. Can anyone confirm?

Rick Burke

Pm said…
Yes, Lincoln piloted the assessment. Not all classes were involved.
Anonymous said…
On OSPI's website there are documents that compare Common Core to existing WA State Standards. Some of the differences are about when a topic is taught, so I can actually understand making do with CMP2 and just providing supplemental material at various points to ensure topics are taught by a certain grade level. There are probably a lot of districts in the same position - unable to purchase new books, yet needing to teach the Common Core.

Don't you think textbook companies are doing the same thing - just slightly adjusting and editing the existing materials, then repackaging them to say they conform to the Common Core?

The question is whether the District will make the needed adjustments so those using, or having used, the old materials will still cover the Common Core concepts by the appropriate grade. It's a good question for the Math Dept.

CMP3? Please tell me these books are not being considered for adoption. CMP repackaged for Common Core is still CMP.

mathy parent
Anonymous said…
Thanks Rick for your response on the assessment question.

- Parent who has spent too much time at the kitchen table trying reteach from CMP books
Anonymous said…
"The CMP You Know and Love is Alive and Well!" including classic problems such as Mug Wumps...

Summary of CMP changes for CCSS alignment (or CMP3):

To quote the presentation wrap-up, "CMP3 goes forward in the same spirit, problem-centered and student-oriented as always."

mathy parent
JB said…
Rick, you and Linh-Co totally rock! Thanks for all you do!

another mathy mom
Linh-Co said…
Thank you JB. Here's a video on CMP2 done by our friend MJ McDermott of Fox news.

The last video she did on Everyday Math had over 1 million hits.

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