\doc\web\99\07\lkwamath.txt
To: Julie Goldsmith, Superintendent please see message below:
cc: seattle.politics,seattle.general,wa-ed-deform etc
PLEASE STOP NSF/NCTM INVENTIVE MATH
If you thought invented spelling was bad, get ready for Invented Math.
I just saw the textbook adoption committee rubber stamp the new
constructivist math textbooks without any discussion. As usual,
reformer in chief Julie Goldsmith was in charge. The criterion used
by the "committee" was basically written to only qualify the Seymour
and other NSF funded approaches. I had forgotten to attend the one
official presentation to interested parents, but there was no
invitation sent to all parents in my kids' backpacks like the
graduation standards.
For k-5, it's Dale Seymour Publications Investigations in Number,
Data, and Space. For G6 Connected mathematics is really the same
series.
I thought that the Scott Forseman would be the main text, it got a B
grade and I've seen it used by Catholic, Christian and private
schools, it looks like a regular textbook with a bunch of other junk
thrown in for "more learning". But the plan is that is is only for
"transition" to the Seymour piece as teachers figure out how to use
the "real" texts.
This year, there is no standard text for K-2, indeed my kid got a
scattering of worksheets of varying inappropriate levels and
sequence, and I quizzed him on centimeters and they had not covered
it yet, it was an item he missed on the Quest math test.
Ironically, like the Graduation footnotes which turned up the
Littleton disaster with OBE, the NCTM handout "Relationships
Between Research and the NCTM Standards" by James Hiebert,
University of Delaware mentioned the following NCTM math disaster:
(entire document on web:)
http://www.nctm.org/jrme/abstracts/volume_30/vol30-01-hiebert.html
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education January 1999, Vol. 30,
No. 1, Page 3-19 Relationships Between Research and the NCTM
Standards James Hiebert, University of Delaware
An increasingly common debate is illustrated by this except from the
April 26, 1998 edition of the Riverside Press-Enterprise newspaper:
High failure rates and concerns that students are not learning the
math skills they need has prompted a third of Inland high schools trying a
new college-prep program to drop it. Riverside's Poly High School
discontinued College Prepatory Mathematics [CPM] in June after only 27
percent of the Algebra I students earned a C or better. One semester
after scrapping the program, the passing rate went up to 42 percent
(Sharma, 1998)
As the story continues, it becomes clear that there is no consensus
among the local stakeholders about whether or not CPM is a failure
nor about why it is having the reported effect.
Some other disturbing excerpts:
* Standards increasingly emphasize young students' invention
of arithmetic procedures because, in part, we know they are
capable of such inventions
* Mathematical inventions are included because an additional
value judgement has been made -- that invention is an important
mathematical process.
* Most characteristic of traditional mathematics teachintg is the
emphasis on teaching procedure. Little attention is ... conceptual
ideas or connecting the procedures with the concepts that show why
they work.. 96% of the time that student were doing seatwork they
were practicing prodecures that they had been shown how to do
[horrors! we have to stop that]
* Achievement data indicate they are learning simple calculation
procedures, terms and definitions. They are not learning what they
have few opportunities to learn - how to adjust procedures to solve
new problems or how to engage in other mathematical processes... this
data indicate that traditional teaching approaches are deficient and
can be improved [but proving they don't know what we didn't teach
them doesn't mean it's worth taking time away from basics to try to
teach something else!]
* PBS NewsHour comment "Although there was never any scientific
research conducted on the effectiveness of this style of teaching,
the NCTM _hoped_ that it would better prepare American students for
the modern adult workplace" May 11, 1998. Expressing a similar
sentiment, a parent removed her son from a reform mathematics program
because "I like going with what I know is provne. I just don't want
to take the chance".... The long running experiment we have been
conducing with traditional methods show serious defiencencies, and we
should attend carefully to the research findings that are
accumulating regarding alternative programs [yeah, but the reasearch
only shows failure by traditional measures, and nobody can pass the
new WASL style math tests no matters what text they use]
* If students have more opportunity to construct mathematical
understandings, they will construct them more often and more deeply.
The question is at what cost? Will they fail to master other
knowledge or skills we value? The results show that well-designed and
implemented instructional programs can facilitarte both conceptual
understeaning and procedural skill.[Dale Seymour does not teach how
to add 42+69 nor multiply or divide without a calculator or drawing
counting pictures]
* Students learn new concepts and skills while they are solving problems.
The traditional approach is to teach a procedure then practice. Alternative
is based on student acquire skills while they develop the problem [This
explains why Seymour does not teach how to add, you're supposed to figure
out your "own way" so you can "deeply" understand it]
* A long running debate has been whether students should practice
procedures and then try to understand them or understand the procedures
first [The new textbooks won't even teach you ANY prodcedures!]
* The standards proposed by the NCTM are, in many ways, more ambitious
than those of traditional programs. On hte basis of _beliefs_ about
what students should KNOW AND BE ABLE TO DO(TM) the Standards include
conceptual understanding and the use of key mathematical processes..
* There are no programs at any level that share the core
instructional features, have been implemented as intended for
reasonable lengths of time, and show that students perform more
poorly than their traditionally taught peers [massive failures at
CPM, Andover, Palo Alto, Vermont, Chicago, etc etc don't count
evidently because they weren't implemented long enough?]
I'm sure anybody who calls up the Lake Washington district office can
get a copy of this excellent and scary document.
The Dale Seymour series is the one grade worst by Mathematically
Correct, it does not even teach any standard way to add with carry or
subtract with borrow, or multiply. It relies on "invented" methods,
and is full of"multicultural" supplements.
The introduction text For example, after the kid are done singing
"Bingo" (I kid you not, they've got sheet music for the song in the
back of the rhythm pattern unit), kids who know songs in other
languages are encourageed to share. Kids are sent home with card
games and the entire family is required to participate for a week at
home. Looks like about 2 hr prep time for each 1 hour lesson, it's
worse for the teachers than the kids and parents!
Can you help?
We have to stop the Seymour math book and the graduation
requirements, it's not going to happen under current district TQM
procedures.
Plano Texas is currently mounting a parent's rebellion against the
6th grade version of this National Science Foundation funded NCTM
standards based garbage. It won't help kids master the WASL, it will
frustrate parents, students, and teachers
Here's the Mathematically Correct Review
1/1999 http://www.mathematicallycorrect.com/books.htm
5th grade
4.1 A- SRA/McGraw-Hill SRA Math: Explorations and Applications
The second group contains two programs that might be reasonably
effective and contain a fair degree of mathematical depth, but fall
short of the expectations of this review. There are substantial
differences between these programs, but both have the potential for
success. However, achievement to the level expected in the review
would require supplementation.
3.8 B+ Saxon Publishers Math 65: An Incremental Development
3.5 B Silver Burdett Ginn Mathematics - Texas Edition
The third group contains three programs with ratings overall that are
below the expectations of this review. All three are lacking an
adequate introduction to negative numbers, for example. Achievement
with these programs would be expected to be limited to modest levels
without more substantial supplementation.
3.2 B- Scott Foresman Addison Wesley Math - Texas Edition
3.1 B- Harcourt Brace Math Advantage
3.0 B- McGraw-Hill Math in My World
Finally, the last group contains the two programs that are not recommended for fifth grade use.
2.3 C- Everyday Learning Corporation Everyday Mathematics
1.3 F Dale Seymour Publications Investigations in Number, Data, and Space
Seymour G2 book does not even tell how to add 2 digit numbers
Seymour G5 book does not teach how to multiply 2 digit numbers, discourages
the use of standard division method, no decimal multiplication or division
The emphasis on having students to devise their own methods leaves
open the possibility that the students will not achieve any regular
and reliable approaches. This risk is aggravated by a limited number
and range of practice items.
The Plano Independent School District has been piloting the Connected Math
Project since the beginning of the 1996-'97 school year in 4 of its 10
Middle Schools. The textbook adoption is now in full swing and a group of
parents have banded together in an effort to prevent the adoption of this
NSF funded "Fuzzy Math" textbook in favor of a more balancedd approach.
Our Level 4 grievance was heard by the School Board last Tuesday night and,
as expected, the Board did not grant any of the relief we sought. The
actual textbook adoption vote will take place in two weeks. An article in
the Dallas Morning News regarding the Board Meeting and our struggle can be
found at www.dallasnews.com/metro-plano-nf/plano12.htm. Our local
newspaper gave the issue page one coverage as well, but their website does
not get updated until later in the day. Find it at www.planostar.com
Also, one of our parents has a web site with some links and previous
articles at http://cmpinpisd.freeservers.com. As you may surmise from the
articles, we need all the help we can get, so any suggestions or advice
would be appreciated.
Sue Sarhady
In Plano, parental concern over neglected skills
have provoked demands that the school provide alternative traditional
curriculum ("School district should scrap Connected math experiment,"
Plano Star Courier, August 12, 1998).
=========================================
To Julie Goldsmith:
-------------------
I really apologize for not making it to the official parents meeting,
but I must report my alarm that you have created a process which had
rubber stamped the worst possible math text for our children. Scott
Forsemen is about the B grade that Mathematically Correct gave it,
but you've got to stop the Dale Seymour series, even as a transition.
I don't want my kids to bringing home this stuff for the next 5
years, I want them to learn math. I would not even support piloting
this program in one school, I would not wish this fate on any school.
It will frustrate students, the teachers who have to do 2 hrs of prep
and re-education for each 1 hour lesson and the parents who have to
do the daily item hunts or card games or whatever other crazy
homework tasks are generated by this monstrosity.
The fact is that any of the math materials created around the NTCM
math standards, or even worse, funded by the National Science
Foundations have been shown to be wasteful, ineffective, and all
around massive failure. Even the NTCM is recanting its earlier
position on the standards. It is impossible to take a page out of a
traditional half-inch home schooler 2nd grade math text and figure
out where the corresponding skill is covered, if at all anywhere
among the 8 or 9 books in the Seymonr series. How could you have
possibly approved a textbook that not only won't tell you how to add
or subtract with borrow or carry, but requires you to invent a procedure
even if the child's parents have taught them the correct procedure?
I am almost sure that there was absolutely no debate about the merits
of the NSF/NCTM invented math approach, I was appalled to see the
committee pass it without even any discussion, much less debate, and
no presentation of the downsides of the proposed texts.
These are my recommendations/demands
1. A link from your math textbook page to this review and letter, and
the Mathematically Correct textbook reviews and my contact info.
2. CC this letter to everyone on the math text book committee and
every person who has approved this series without hearing the
negative reviews this series and NSF/NCTM belief systems have gotten
from the education consumer community.
2. A meeting in the resource center announced in a flyer sent to
every elementary school child to have 50/50 debate where parents can
hear about the Mathematically correct review and have somebody like
me show what's wrong with the series.
3. Delay adoption of Dale Seymour for at least one year until the
process can be revised to include more than just people committed to
NSF funded materials, and the community is given a chance to reach a
true consensu on adoption of controversial NCTM NSF "beliefs". Go
ahead and get Scott Forseman.
Please inform me by phone or email of how many of these requests
you can accomodate.
arthur hu 425-814-2183
From: "gayle cloud"
To: arthurhu@halcyon.com
Date sent: Fri, 7 May 1999 12:11:14 +0000
Subject: Re: [education-consumers] STOP INVENTED MATH IN LAKE WASHINGTON
Send reply to: cloud9@pe.net
Priority: normal
Arthur,
I am a parent in Riverside. My 7th grade daughter has Dale
Seymour--and no other text. The board approved it over a couple of
parent objections. Now they say they did with the understanding the
texts would be supplemental--baloney. My older two boys had CPM.
I'd hate to say which is lousier. I use Saxon at home as I can, but
we're a pretty busy family. Armita, the reporter, did a ggod job.
Unfortunately our math is still lousy--most parents complain among
themselves. Few take action.
Gayle Cloud
Riverside, CA
-----------------
It's now official. Only 4 weeks after a dozen parents were shown the
"marvelous" new "Investigations" math series, it has been commited to
by the textbook committee and school board. The textbook committee,
and likely the school board approved it with NO discussion or debate;
Julie Goldsmith, the reform-meister said that there will be NO debate
on math, NO debate about the new report cards, (a similar system
has just been thrown out by outraged Federal Way parents)
and NO debate about the new OBE and School To Work graduation
requirements (which were so popular in Littleton Colorado, the parents
threw out the entire school board in 1993)
How can so many parents in the land of Micrsoft and high tech be so
clueless about bad education?
How many people support the idea of a math system that does NOT
teach how to add or subtract with carry or borrow in favor of giving kids
one day to "invent" their own ways of knowing? At least Plano Texas and
Portland Oregon parents have enough of a clue to organize some
opposition, but there is only ONE voice, mine in all of Lake Washington
against this madness.
What will it take to wake up Lake Washington parents as to the true
nature of education reform, and the Soviet style policy making happening
in Redmond where little or no dissent is tolerated.