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EducationNews Articles, Commentaries and Reports
Mathematics Crisis in LA
Posted By: GM
Date: Sunday, 20 February 2000, at 5:10 p.m.
Latino Educator in LA Vows to Go on Hunger Strike Over an LAUSD Board
Policy Decision
Contact: Guillermo Mendieta – mendieta@earthlink.net Press Conference
date: March 16th Board Vote Date: March 23rd Hunger Strike Date:
April 1st
A coalition of national and local organizations that include well
respected groups such as The Achievement Council, The National
Council of Teachers of Mathematics, UCLA’s Center X, and various
Latino and African American Organizations will be holding a press
conference on March 16th to alert the public about an LAUSD board
policy that will have a devastatingly negative impact on over 500,000
Latino and African American students.
The LAUSD board is poised to make a policy decision that will
eliminate a host of mathematics courses for which convincing data
exist that show these programs have substantially increased the
number of students that are completing the mathematics college-prep
courses students need in order to be admitted into college.
One of the members of the coalition, Guillermo Mendieta, director of
Mathematics Standards Initiatives at The Achievement Council, has
vowed to go on a hunger strike, starting April 1st (April is
mathematics month) which will continue until the Board votes to not
eliminate the integrated mathematics courses. When asked about his
decision to go on a hunger strike he said:
"After exhausting all other avenues, I will go on a hunger strike on
April 1st and stop when the LAUSD board votes to follow the state
framework which gives teachers the option to use the integrated/math
reform programs that have resulted in increases in the number of
Latino,
African American, White and Asian students who complete the
mathematics course requirements for college. I hope that by
going on a hunger strike, educators, mathematicians and all others
who believe that it is wrong and dangerous and for a tiny and
extremist group such as Mathematically Correct to be allowed to have
so much influence on the direction of mathematics education at the
local, state and the national level will stand up and make themselves
be heard. This
group is also moving to control the policies in science education.
The time has come for educators to stop being consumers and critics
of bad educational policy, we must reclaim our voice and start
playing a central part in the policy making process."
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BACKGROUND DATA
Data from the district’s own Independent Analysis Unit shows that, as
a result of these Integrated courses:
1) There has been an increased of 73% in the number of African
American students that complete, with a C or higher, the first
mathematics college-prep course.
2) There has been an overall 43% in the number of African American
students that complete, with a C or higher, any and all of the three
college-prep courses.
3) There has been an increase of 49% in the number of Latino students
that complete, with a grade of C or higher, the first mathematics
college-prep course.
4) There has been an overall 36% in the number of Latino students
that complete, with a C or higher, any and all of the three
college-prep courses.
5) There has been in increase of 38% in the number of White students
that complete, with a grade of C or higher, the first mathematics
college-prep course.
6) There has been an overall 20% in the number of African White
students
that complete, with a C or higher, any and all of the three
college-prep courses.
In addition, the coalition has uncovered data that shows:
High schools Two of the four top performing high schools in LAUSD use
integrated programs: Bravo Medical Magnet (9) and Palisades High
School (has not yet received official rating but is off the charts) -
important to know these schools get students from all around the city
- high concentration of minorities at Bravo, and high number of
Latinos are bused-into Palisades. Also, while there were significant
gains for low achieving students at Palisades, the largest gains have
been made by high achievers (important to note because some are
saying integrated courses are just for low achieving students.
Middle Schools Of the 11 middle schools that received a score of 6
and above, 5 were using an integrated/reformed program and 1 is using
an integrated textbook alongside a traditional one. The highest
scoring middle school, Revere Middle School, which scored a 9, is
using Integrated Math.
Elementary Schools Of the 35 elementary schools that scored 8 and
above, fifteen were using reformed/integrated mathematics textbooks
such as Mathland and Dale Seymore. Eight schools were using a
combination of traditional and reformed textbooks and twelve schools
were using traditional textbooks.
Looking at the top scoring elementary schools when compared to
schools with similar student populations
There were thirty-six elementary schools in LAUSD that scored a
perfect score of 10 when compared to schools with similar student
populations. Of these 36, 16 were using a traditional textbook as
their main resource, 12 were using reformed/integrated textbooks, and
8 were using a combination of reformed and traditional textbooks.
Mr. Mendieta says that while there is no question that there serious
implementation problems, including the lack of proper training on how
to
effectively use reformed/integrated programs, the exist evidence
strongly suggests that despite those problems, the programs are
having a tremendously positive impact on students. He believes that
to improve student achievement in mathematics, rather than
eliminating these programs, the board should be focusing on how to
improve them.
Summary of key points
? If integrated programs are eliminated, schools that ranked 7, 8, 9
or 10 (having used integrated programs) will be told to stop using
integrated programs and replace them with traditional programs that
have proven to be totally ineffective for the vast majority of our
students.
? In 1999, The nation’s department of education conducted the most
extensive and grueling evaluation of instructional materials ever
conducted in the history of the country and awarded integrated
programs used in LAUSD its highest rating, Exemplary. Mathematics
professors, scientists, mathematics educators, teachers,
statisticians and evaluators from some of the most prestigious
universities and districts in the country participated in the
evaluation of these programs. To get exemplary ratings the evaluators
had to find convincing evidence that these programs led to
substantial improvement in mathematics learning with students with
diverse backgrounds, particularly with students who have historically
been underrepresented in college. Statisticians had to confirm that
the gains made were real, substantial and that they were
statistically significant in multiple settings across the country.
? The integrated program represents the only other major systemic
alternative pathway (approved by all universities in California and
by the new state standards) to complete the mathematics college
requirements for over 70% of the student population in LAUSD.
? The new state framework approves the option of having integrated
courses instead of the traditional sequence. It also stipulates that
students taking integrated should take the integrated version of the
state’s standards based-test.
? Almost 100% of the mathematics professors engaged in a national
campaigned to eliminate reformed-mathematics courses have almost no
experience in K-12 education; they have had no training on how
students best learn mathematics and have absolutely no experience in
designing developmentally appropriate and effective instructional
activities.
? Eliminating these courses will make cynicism among teachers grow to
unimaginable levels. It will solidify the position of those who have
an attitude of “this too shall pass” toward any district reform.
? Integrated mathematics allows students to see the connections
between context of meaningful learning activities. The organization
of the integrated curriculum along with the culturally relevant
contexts in which its learning activities are framed allow the
average teacher to engage students in ways that only the most apt of
the traditional teachers are able to do it with the traditional
curriculum.
? The district will be dismantling the integrated programs without
examining the necessary data - that is, despite the rhetoric of
change, major educational policies will continue to be made without
the collection and analysis of the relevant research data.
? Integrated/reformed programs are based on the best known research
on how students learn best. (Piaget, Brownell, Polya, Brown, NCTM,
The National Research Council, The National Science Foundation, etc.)
? The entrance mathematics placement exam at California universities,
the ELM, is better aligned with the integrated programs than with the
traditional program. The Center for the Study of Research Testing and
Evaluation at UCLA, which developed the STEPS test that LAUSD will
use to determine if students move on to the next grade level, has
been found to be aligned with the integrated approach.
? Dr. Cortines, the districts new superintendent, after naming LAUSD
the most dysfunctional district in the country, has repeatedly stated
that long gone are the days where the bureaucracy downtown will
mandate and control local issues - we strongly believe that on this
issue, mathematics educators, teachers, principals and parents should
have a voice in deciding what programs are best for the students they
serve day in and day out.
? The best way to improve mathematics learning is not to eliminate
the programs that the experts in the field of mathematics education
and cognitive science say are the best programs, but to work to deal
with the existing weaknesses in the implementation of those programs.
Given the overwhelming evidence that shows how Integrated mathematics
programs are improving the mathematics learning of so many students,
Mr. Mendieta was asked why the district seems to making a totally
irrational policy decision. He said, “you need to remember what Mr.
Cortines said a few days before he became the interim superintendent,
he said the Los Angeles Unified School District was the most
dysfunctional district in the nation. A major symptom of that
disjunction is evident in the district’s pattern of making
substantial policy decisions with no regard
to the research or the evidence of the likely impact on students and
teachers.
For more information, contact: Guillermo Mendieta, (909) 899-4041
Mon-Th
evening 7:30-10:00 p.m., Fridays 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. or by email
at mendieta@earthlink.net
Just a little background on the Achievement Council, the organization
Mr. Mendieta works for and on Mr. Mendieta. The Achievement Council
is a non-profit educational organization that for the last 14 years
has worked to improve the academic outcomes of urban students,
focusing particularly on Latino and African American students. We
provide professional development to districts, schools, we work with
policy issues in education, particularly those that impact the equity
balance in education. Our current Executive director, Phyllis Hart
was the recipient of The Rosa Parks Award by the NAACP for the great
work she has done to improve the academic outcomes of minority
children.
Mr. Mendieta is the director of The Achievement Council’s K-12
Mathematics Standards Project. He received the LA teacher of the year
award in 1987 by the NAACP. Mr. Mendieta has taught mathematics at
every grade level from the 6th grade up to the university level. He
has directed various summer institutes for teachers. He directed the
first state wide mathematics conference focusing on the Latino
students. Mr. Mendieta has worked for The National Science Foundation
providing technical assistance to various systemic reform initiatives
in the country. He has been a member of the board of all California’s
Mathematics Projects. His undergraduate and graduate work has been on
pure mathematics and on mathematics education with an emphasis on
curriculum and instruction.
Asians Blacks Latinos Whites Overall
Course 1 3.79% 73.06% 48.87% 38.24% 45.37%
Course 2 15.41% 31.53% 38.90% 14.19% 30.14%
Course 3 -0.73% 16.79% 19.70% 8.86% 13.68%
Course 1, 2, 3 refer to the first, second and third course in the
college prep sequence (algebra/integrated 1, geometry/integrated 2,
algebra 2/integrated 3)
How to read the table: for Black students, there has been an increase of
73.06 percent in the number of students that take and pass (with C or
higher) the first college prep course (algebra 1 or integrated 1).
Overall, Integrated added an outstanding 33% more students to the
college pipeline
For African American Students, Integrated added 48% more students to the
college pipeline
For Latino students, Integrated has added 40% more students to the
college pipeline
DATA SOURCE: The Independent Analysis Unit of The Los Angeles Unified
School District.
http://www.kazor.com
Messages In This Thread
Mathematics Crisis in LA (views: 104)
GM -- Sunday, 20 February 2000, at 5:10 p.m.
Re: Mathematics Crisis in LA (views: 6)
Guillermo Mendieta -- Friday, 10 March 2000, at 6:56 a.m.
Re: LA Math Crisis Victory #1, Part 1 (views: 24)
Guillermo Mendieta -- Tuesday, 29 February 2000, at 6:22 a.m.
Re: Mathematics Crisis in LA (views: 43)
Joan Jaeckel -- Monday, 21 February 2000, at 12:00 p.m.
Re: Mathematics Crisis in LA (views: 40)
Marilyn Keller Rittmeyer -- Monday, 21 February 2000, at 3:13 p.m.
Re: Mathematics Crisis in LA (views: 25)
GM -- Thursday, 24 February 2000, at 3:41 p.m.
Re: Mathematics Crisis in LA (views: 29)
Joan Jaeckel -- Monday, 21 February 2000, at 4:17 p.m.
Re: Mathematics Crisis in LA (views: 34)
Marilyn Keller Rittmeyer -- Tuesday, 22 February 2000, at 5:47 a.m.
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Date sent: Sun, 19 Mar 2000 06:48:15 -0800 (PST)
To: arthurhu@halcyon.com
From: Editor@EducationNews.org
Send reply to: PleaseRespond@TheBulletinBoard
Subject: [EducationNews Articles, Commentaries and Reports:] Re: Mathematics Crisis in LA
The following new message has been posted on EducationNews Articles,
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MESSAGE: (#128) Re: Mathematics Crisis in LA
AUTHOR: Guillermo Mendi
DATE: Sunday, 19 March 2000, at 6:48 a.m.
Reply To: (#122) Re: Mathematics Crisis in LA
Author: Arthur Hu
Date: Wednesday, 15 March 2000, at 2:29 p.m.
Nine out 10 times you tallk to an adult that experienced the traditional
lecture, mimic the teacher approach to mathematics you find that either they
hate math, they think of themselves as poor mathematics students, or think
they don't just have the mathematics gene.
I understand why some people, who are among the 5 to 8 percent of the whole
population that were able to succedd with the traditional curriculum do not
see the need to change approaches. But the fact is that the traditional
mathematics curriculum and its accompanying traditional practices have failed
over 90% of the population. This has been said in every major report about the
status of mathematics learning in the US,
Why are respected organizations like the National Teachers of Mathematics
(100,000+ members), The National Science Foundation, The National Research
Council, The National Academy of Sciences, The Lawrence Hall of Science, and
many other organizations supportive of the integrated approach to teaching
mathematics? Why is there not one single professional organization of
mathematics educator or mathematicians supporting the views spoused by
Mathematically Correct?
As one of the people who attended our press conference put it, "most
mathematics professors could not teach themselves out of a paper bag in one
our inner city classrooms". People with little background in K-12 education,
or little background in the field of how students learn best , see the changes
made in the new, more enagaging and meaninful curricula and dismissit,
criticize it, without undertanding the realities of the classroom.
What do you think is more rigorous, to ask students to apply the formula (base
X height)/2 to find the area of a triangle or to ask the students to derive
the formula? Consider a traditional classroom where the teacher tells student
the definition of ratio, where the students copy it and are expected to
memorize it. Now consider a mathematics reformed classroom where first graders
are working with a balance and place just enough links on one side to balance
1 metal washer on the other side. They discover that to keep balance after
adding a second washer to one side, they must add the same number of link
cubes on the other side. Students end up making connections with the idea or a
ratio while adding, subtracting, working with estimation, abastracting and
extrapolating. Which group of students do you think will better understand
what a ratio is? Which group will see mathematics as more meaningful?
The legacy of traditional math is to move from once isolated and fragmented
concept to the next; traditional mathematics goes for superficial coverage,
not the development of conceptual understanding. The student's job in the
traditional curriculum is to put a sufficiently larage bunch of foregttable
and fragmented facts into short term membory to be able to pass the next test
or go to the next class. Here students receive only superficial exposure to
countless items of knowledge which they perceive as arbitrary and irrelevant.
This is why up 70% of the students who took and passed the tradional
mathematics courses of alg 1, geo and alg 2 end up taking remedial courses in
our local universities.
Can there be any justification for eliminating a mathematics program that has
resulted in a 74% increase in the number of African American students who
complete the first of the mathematics courses required by collges? Or a 50%
increase for Latinos? There is also plenty of evidence, that despite the fact
that many of the students who were being placed in the remedial-low end
non-college prep mathematics courses at the high school have been placed in
the new Integrated (or math-reformed) classes, these students are performing
at the samem, or in some cases, at higher levels than students in the
traditional math sequence.
Everyone should remember that that these Integrated programs were revised by
the senate of all the universities in CAlifornia and after much analysis,
mathematicians, educators and university officials voted to accept Integrated
1, 2 and 3 as meeting all the requirements students meet through Alg 1, Geo,
and Alg 2.
In the end, the data, the arguments will not be sufficient to convince some
one who does not understand the disparties, the lack of access and the
tremdous implications that exist when there is a program that seems to engage
and prepare children of color in mathematics. Despite the many weaknesses
inherent in the implementation of mathematics reform ideals, the consensus of
expert opinion is that all students will benefit from mathematics courses that
help students make connections between the mathematics content and their daily
life, their concerns, a program that instead of seeing them as passive
receipients of inert knowledge, they are active participants in an interactive
approch to learning mathematics.
Link: Math Crisis
URL:
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