Update: School Board math vote tonight; local schools lobbying for ‘Singapore Math’ – board approves it for all

June 4, 2014 at 9:31 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 46 Comments

(UPDATED Wednesday night with board vote)

ORIGINAL REPORT, 9:31 AM: Tonight the Seattle Public Schools board is scheduled to vote on which math curriculum it will use for the next seven years. The recommendation before the board is to go with a curriculum called enVision, instead of the current Everyday Math. At least two West Seattle elementaries that have obtained a waiver to adopt an alternative for recent years – Math In Focus, also known as “Singapore Math” – are calling for last-minute shows of support to be able to keep it. Schmitz Park Elementary, in particular, has been hailed for its success following its fight to adopt Singapore Math; on its website, there is a call for families to contact the board before tonight’s meeting – read it here. K-5 STEM has a similar call on its website. As pointed out there, West Seattle’s school board member Marty McLaren is one of two board members proposing an amendment for the district to offer two alternatives, with one of them being the Math In Focus (Singapore Math) curriculum, so that they could make the choice. The agenda for tonight’s meeting is here; if you are interested in voicing an opinion to the board, e-mail and phone information is on the right side of its official webpage.

10:08 PM: As reported in the comments, board members didn’t vote for a dual adoption – they voted to adopt Singapore Math for the entire district:

46 Comments

  1. I know that the SPS Math Selection Committee members put in long hours and that this was a very thoughtful process. Members of the committee included Teachers and Principals. I have a lot of confidence in their choice of enVision.

    There has been NO equity in math curriculums in the WS schools and probably across the city. If you were at school that could not afford to spend thousands of dollars to buy your own math curriculum, then you were strapped with Everyday Math.

    Comment by AHMom — 10:29 am June 4, 2014 #

  2. As long as they stay away from the “common core” math cirriculum.

    Comment by Ex-Westwood Resident — 10:53 am June 4, 2014 #

  3. AHMom: You’re absolutely right re: equity. Our K5STEM PTA was amazing in their funding of Singapore for our school, but others aren’t so lucky. EVERY child deserves a math curriculum as strong as Singapore Math (Math In Focus), and every teacher deserves the opportunity to use such a powerful tool. Which is why we’re pulling for dual adoption or, better yet, single adoption of Math In Focus.

    Which also brings us to Ex-Westwood’s comment re: Common Floor-aligned curricula. EnVision is published by Pearson, the same folks who wrote the CCSS and who are writing the high-stakes end-of-year tests. We must not allow our schools and our students to be used as pawns in the multi-billion-dollar scam that Pearson (along with the Dept. of Ed, Gates, and the rest of the Ed Reform circus) has set up to funnel state taxpayer dollars into private corporate coffers. This has been building for decades, and now those at the top have become downright brazen in their malfeasance. As with so many SPS decisions, this comes down to whose pockets are getting lined, not what is best for our students.

    We need to take back our schools. We need to send a shot across the bow of the Ed Reform juggernaut and let them know that we’re no longer willing to sit back and let them get rich at the expense of our students, our teachers, and our communities.

    Comment by Mr. Gluck — 11:34 am June 4, 2014 #

  4. Mr. Gluck, you are very fortunate to be at school where a PTA can fund the curriculum. Maybe there will be a waiver for Math in Focus.

    I personally know two people on the selection committee and one of those people was on the selection committee for another district several years ago. I have a tremendous amount of professional respect for these individuals and know how much time they spent on this process. I have 100% confidence in their decision.

    Lake WA school district uses in enVision as well as Lowell and the Principal is hoping that it will carry on to FP.

    Comment by AHMom — 12:14 pm June 4, 2014 #

  5. In order to get a good firm foundation in math, one needs to learn standard algorithms and get substantial drill and practice. Calculators should be banned until HS or College The previous discovery or reform math violated all of those rules.

    Comment by WestofJunction — 2:00 pm June 4, 2014 #

  6. I don’t want a waiver for my kids at my school. I don’t want to pay for better math. I want all kids to have a math program that was not picked because it is more aligned with common core. I want a math program that helps those students succeed in math who have not. I want a math program that allows for mastery. I want every kid to have the outcomes that we’ve seen at STEM. I want kids to like math – LOVE math.

    I respect the selection committee (and know some of them also personally), but when people on the committee are saying the process from the start was flawed (ie: pick the program most aligned with common core) then I have to ask: why would we allow an average program when we could demand a GREAT program?

    Envision is better than Everyday Math. That is just not good enough. Not for my kids. Not for ALL kids.

    Comment by mama4 — 2:55 pm June 4, 2014 #

  7. It is clear from committee members that the most important criterion in this process was alignment with Common Core. Criteria that would be more important to parents/teachers/students, such as quality and rigor, were deemed less important in the selection process. Unfortunately, the charge to the committee was flawed. Thus, bad inputs are producing bad outputs.

    EnVision may work well for very verbal students who speak English as their first language. It appears to be a poor curriculum for English Language Learners. It may also be ill suited to visual learners.

    Singapore Math has been tried and tested in numerous schools internationally. Its results are outstanding. I am amazed at our daughter’s math prowess in kindergarten. It far exceeds what I did as a second grader. Seattle Public Schools need to have the option of choosing Singapore Math.

    Comment by Susan — 4:22 pm June 4, 2014 #

  8. Singapore math for all! We shouldn’t have to get a waiver for a good math program.

    But don’t worry, the school board will screw the pooch as usual.

    Comment by fj — 4:38 pm June 4, 2014 #

  9. many of our kids already attend schools with buildings that make some third world school houses look like palaces. How is it that we aren’t funding solid math programs, equally, city wide? What a messed up system we have.

    Comment by Zain Bluepuss — 5:11 pm June 4, 2014 #

  10. Board is now talking about a single adoption of just math in focus. Tracy – I’ll shoot you an email when they vote.

    I’m really proud of director McLauren – she is taking a stand for all kids.

    Comment by Mama4 — 7:00 pm June 4, 2014 #

  11. I wish this much attention went into reading, vocabulary and writing. I was lucky enough to have students go through Singapore math program at Schmitz Park and supplemented at home. They both advanced through math in high school (taking UW Calc at high school) finishing Stats before college. So now in college they technically do not need any more math. But they continue to read and write A LOT but this subject was not as big of a focus in elementary or middle school I wish PTSA’s worked on improving programs in all subjects for all SPS schools to me it seems we are so focused on math and science.

    Comment by Eats, Shoots & Leaves — 7:33 pm June 4, 2014 #

  12. At 8:15 tonight, the Board voted 4-3 to implement Math In Focus, i.e., Singapore Math, district-wide. Thank you STEM and Schmitz Park for helping make the case for better math district-wide.

    Comment by pjmanley — 8:23 pm June 4, 2014 #

  13. wow! thanks for the updates.

    Comment by WSB — 8:38 pm June 4, 2014 #

  14. Yes!!!!! Praising our board members who listened to our concerns. Thank you director McLaren for hearing our thoughts. Our goal is better schools for all students in SPS. This is a step in that direction.

    Comment by happymom — 8:48 pm June 4, 2014 #

  15. Thank you Dir. McLaren and the amazing advocates from Schmitz Park that worked in tandem with us to support Singapore Math for ALL kids in Seattle. We could not be more thrilled!

    Comment by STEMama — 8:56 pm June 4, 2014 #

  16. yes! thank you to all the folks out there tirelessly working towards bettering our schools. hooooraaaaay!

    Comment by fj — 9:08 pm June 4, 2014 #

  17. Yay, a huge win for all SPS kids. Thank you Ms. McLaren and the school boards.

    Comment by Ws mom — 9:24 pm June 4, 2014 #

  18. Congrats to Dir. McLaren and Dir. Peters –

    Courageous work in the face of extreme pushback.

    Also BIG congrats to many of our neighbors fr. Schmitz Park and K5 STEM who gave powerful testimony backed up by data. Now all kids in SPS have a chance to learn clear successful math – single biggest issue on the achievement gap.

    Leslie

    Comment by Leslie — 9:51 pm June 4, 2014 #

  19. Also want to thank Kathleen Voss at K5STEM. I didn’t believe this would ever happen, but she is a community mom who worked tirelessly towards the goal of bringing quality math to all SPS kids. It is amazing the difference just one person can make. I’m certain you played a key role in informing Marty’s platform….and thanks to you, too, Marty McLaren! We are proud of you.

    Comment by evergreen — 10:59 pm June 4, 2014 #

  20. For those of us still counting with our fingers, what in the world is Singapore math?

    Comment by 2+2=5 — 12:09 am June 5, 2014 #

  21. I can understand how the MAC might be upset. They followed the process set out by the district perfectly. But what do you do when you find that the process itself was gravely flawed? This lies on the district, not the MAC. With their misguided focus on strict alignment to CCSS, by setting up a flawed community input process that they could then wholly dismiss, and insisting on making cost a factor when they were mandated not to, the district set up the MAC to achieve the results that they did. The MAC did their job and the adoption of Math in Focus should not be seen as an invalidation of their work.
    .
    Susan, you were spot on — bad inputs=bad outputs.
    .
    It should not have fallen the the School Board members and the community at large to expose this flawed process. It also should not have taken the Board and the community to do the benchmarking data and ELL research. But it did and the Board acted accordingly.
    .
    A sincere thank you to Marty McLaren for valuing the input of the community and demanding more for all of our students.
    .
    Singapore for all! It is truly a great day!

    Comment by StringCheese — 12:10 am June 5, 2014 #

  22. 2, maybe a STEM/Schmitz Park parent will pop in later today and be able to explain more simply, but this looks fairly comprehensive:
    .
    http://www.pbs.org/parents/education/math/math-tips-for-parents/whats-singapore-math/
    .
    I’m sure this is VERY simplified but what I’d always heard is that bottom line, it’s more traditional … more about the numbers than trying to talk kids through concepts and situations that sort of boil down to them …

    Comment by WSB — 1:00 am June 5, 2014 #

  23. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxJSCwcnac8

    Highline schools has been using it district-wide for the past two years.

    Comment by highline teacher — 2:30 am June 5, 2014 #

  24. Now Highline and Seattle have the same curriculum! This is very important for our transient population of students that move between both districts over and over. When the program is taught with fidelity, as students transfer they should be on the same unit when they arrive at the new school!

    Comment by Ferryboat — 5:18 am June 5, 2014 #

  25. I’m not sure that it helps or makes any sense for the board to go against the recommendation committee. I know a teacher on the committee and it sounds like envisions was the better product, better aligned with common core and had plenty of evidence of great results. I’m sure Sinapore math is good too but the folks who are advocating it have not done the work the committee has done to compare the two. It would be inconvenient for them to change, sure, so I respect their desire to keep with it. But really, why do we bother with a committee when these special interest groups are able to lobby the board in this way? They were just asking for a waiver to keep using it and they end up changing the plan for the whole district? Ridiculous. Many schools had already begun implementing envisions and now those kids will suffer through several years of another transition – did the board do the math on the number of kids impacted in this way? I doubt it. So dysfunctional.

    Comment by Annie — 7:47 am June 5, 2014 #

  26. @Annie,
    I feel the need to address a few of the things in your post:
    .
    I also know several of the people that were on the committee, teachers and math professionals. They spent the same number of hours poring over texts. However, in the end, they couldn’t get over the fact that the data that was “informing” the selection process was flawed and incomplete. Benchmarking data from comparable districts wasn’t considered on included in the scoring, community input was being marginalized and given 0% weight in the scoring, and the amount of weight given to CCSS alignment was terrible out of whack. The PROCESS itself was not set up to achieve the most comprehensive result.
    .
    There is no “public against the MAC” stance out there. The MAC did their job and did it admirably. But you must take into consideration that when the PROCESS is called into question, the results must also be re-examined.
    .
    The inequity around waivers was also at the heart of the issue. The people most invested in this fight were from all over the city, from schools with waiver and schools without. The district gave waivers to a few schools but then refused to fund the materials necessary to implement them. This puts schools with a PTA with fundraising abilities at an unfair advantage. Which brings me to the heart of it all…
    .
    Math in Focus has a better track record of engaging and advancing the most struggling math learners. Director McLaren put it beautifully when she clarified why the Highline numbers are so much more compelling than Shoreline’s enVision numbers: the Highline data shows tremendous achievement gains in a district with a high FRL and ELL population. We already know that Singapore works with upper middle class white folks. Schmitz Park demonstrates that beautifully. So, a Singapore approach is able to reach and show growth among ALL students.
    .
    Had that data, or the data from families that have been supplementing the horrid EDM curriculum with Singapore actually been included, and given weight, in the deliberations a different answer might have emerged. We will never know.
    .
    So, instead, School Board Directors from all four corners of the district did that research on their own. You should read the data presented in the two amendments.
    .
    It is NOT about discrediting the MAC, it is about looking at all of the relevant data that was not included in the process and making the best choice for ALL of the students SPS serves.
    .
    Follow-up question… how is it that “schools have already begun implementing envisions”? The recommendation only came out of committee a couple of weeks ago! Or, are you talking about “waiver schools”… in which case you can use your own argument against yourself on that one.
    .
    Not about waivers, not about interest groups, not about West Seattle — it’s always been about the math.

    Comment by StringCheese — 9:33 am June 5, 2014 #

  27. Annie asks:
    -
    “But really, why do we bother with a committee when these special interest groups are able to lobby the board in this way? ”
    -
    And I ask, in return: What is Pearson, if not a “special interest?” Director McLaren pointed out that the teacher workbook for Math in Focus allows this Singapore-style program to align completely with Common Core. The staff response was that they had had no prior knowledge of this. That response, sorry to say, did not pass the smell test. They knew, you can bet on it.
    -
    It appears to have escaped defenders of the SPS staff, of EnVision Math, and of Common Core, that the committee and the Board have separate and distinct functions. The Board, and ONLY the Board, is elected, and must answer to the public at large. It might, or it might not, rubber-stamp a committee recommendation. Some might not like that system, and might wish it was otherwise, but it is the system we have.
    -
    Director McLaren also pointed out that she experienced, from her West Seattle constituency, widespread support for the Singapore model and the Schmitz Park experience, and how it had made Schmitz Park a “destination school” that parents were competing to get their kids into. She reported that she saw no such passion from adherents of Everyday Math, Discovery Math, or EnVision.
    -
    Ultimately, the process is political, like it or not, and would be political even if all the decision-making was in the hands of unelected bureaucrats, or “professionals,” as they prefer to call themselves. Reasonable people might differ, but I think we are better served by a system that requires the democratic process.
    -
    My heartfelt thanks and continued support to Directors, McLaren, Patu, Peaslee, and Peters, who responded to the people who elected them, and not to the mandarin class of public sector bureaucrats.
    -
    This is, in no way, “dysfunctional.” This is the system, with its (thankfully) built-in checks and balances, functioning exactly as it was designed to function. “Dysfunctional,” in this instance, is the Big Lie.

    Comment by ivan — 9:40 am June 5, 2014 #

  28. Ivan -

    FYI – several years ago SPS Board voted against the math selection committee and adopted Everyday Math instead…that turned out real well.

    I am puzzled by Marty’s comment that people flock to Schmitz becasue of Singapore Math. People flock to Schmitz and Lafayette because both schools are affluent and test scores are high. For the most part affluent schools = high test scores. Affluent schools mean more resources. Both schools have the highest test scores in WS.

    Comment by AHMom — 1:59 pm June 5, 2014 #

  29. Let’s just address the Common Core issue.

    First, Common Core standards have been adopted by Washington State. However, several states, that also adopted them, have now rejected them and are creating their own state standards (some of them based on Common Core).

    But our state office of public instruction (OSPI) is firmly behind them.

    There is nothing wrong with having standards (state or federal). But the way CCSS were created is very much in question. The final standards were not written by educators. In fact, the two lead verifiers for math and reading – both educators – refused to sign off on the final standards.

    You will hear that standards are not curriculum. That is absolutely true. Standards are also the floor to learning, not the ceiling.

    However, in addition to the standards, states who are using the standards have signed onto one of two groups creating testing around CCSS. The group that WA State is part of is called Smarter Balanced.

    So when you have curriculum bookended by standards and tests written based on those standards, you will naturally narrow that curriculum to pass the tests and, of course, try to test mostly to those standards (again, to pass the tests).

    Also, to note is the tremendous costs in technology because all CC testing HAS to be done on computers. Every single school in every district has to be tech-ready to take these tests. Seattle Schools voted in a $9M wireless tech package as part of this need.

    Having CCSS also is part of a larger issue of data collection about students. Every state that wanted Race to the Top funds had to create a longitudinal database of students. That database has a lot of information in it about students.

    Understand that the FERPA law – the federal law about student privacy – got changed by Sec’y Duncan in 2011. It allows a school district or state office of education to say that anyone/any entity has a “legitimate educational interest” and the district/office of ed can give them access to student data. For example, OSPI is entering into an agreement with the Seattle Times, a for-profit company, for the Times to have access to student data for Seattle Schools.

    A very good article just came out about student data privacy in Politico. http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/internet-data-mining-children-107461.html

    Now is the time to be aware of these issues around Common Core. But unless our state backs away from them (and there is seemingly no movement to do so), Common Core will be part of alignment for math curriculum.

    Comment by Melissa Westbrook — 3:05 pm June 5, 2014 #

  30. @AHMom you need to check your facts:
    .
    Actually, the DISTRICT STAFF under Carla Santorno recommended Everyday Math to the School Board back in 2007. Math lovers begged the Board not to adopt any of the “reform math” texts (TERC is included in this) and vote against the District recommended text.
    .
    The Board had a chance then to get in front of the fad of the day (reform math) and chose not to, to the rue of every child and family who has suffered through EDM over the years.
    .
    Common Core is simply the newest political education fad. It will likely be gone or radically changed before this 7 year adoption cycle is through.
    .
    So, when you take the actual facts into account, your reasoning should be that the Board did exactly the RIGHT thing.
    .
    Bravo again to Directors McLaren, Peters, Peaslee, and Patu!

    Comment by StringCheese — 3:19 pm June 5, 2014 #

  31. StingCheese – Lafayette has several teachers using envisions, actually. Not the whole school, more like a pilot run at it. I assume other schools are doing the same but don’t know for fact. It has been a curriculum of interest by the district for a few years I believe.
    I personally have no idea which one is “better” and am happy that for the change whichever one. But I do think it’s a big deal to disregard the committee recommendations. Who wants to invest any time being on a committee for SPS? It’s clearly a waste of time. And I highly doubt the statistics that allegedly show that Singapore math is the superior product. All of these curriculums require a good teacher, none of them work by themselves.

    Comment by Annie — 5:15 pm June 5, 2014 #

  32. Annie — The committee’s job was to analyze the curricula and make a recommendation, not make the final choice. They did their job, but they didn’t convince the Board. Both MIF and EnV are fully aligned with Common Core and both are currently used in a few SPS schools. Anecdotally, my kiddo’s school (K5STEM) and many districts around the country have had amazing success with MIF and other fundamental math programs. After spending a few hours on the internet & comparing districts, it was evident to me that many families and schools are not happy with reform math in general. EDM was reform math, as is EnV. We as a district did not have success with reform math. Time for a program that simply teaches the fundamentals — and what a bonus that MIF presents the fundamentals in such a clear, concise and visual way! Please show me objective research (ie. not funded by Pearson and other profiting parties) that demonstrates reform math is superior to traditional math in preparing K-5 learners for middle school. Sure, let’s look at the research.

    Comment by evergreen — 6:04 pm June 5, 2014 #

  33. Annie,
    Thank you for clarifying the “already using enVision” question.
    .
    Personally, I don’t think that committees in SPS are doomed. Another way to look at this is… that a School Board goes against the district recommendation so infrequently that there must be an extraordinary issue with the process that makes them do so. Personally, I think this is where this one falls.
    .
    evergreen, while I do believe that enVision was definitely more text heavy, I do not believe that it falls within the “reform math/constructivist” range. Perhaps WSDWG or Melissa Westbrook can state more definitively.
    .
    Still a fantastic day for our kids! Hooray for real math!

    Comment by StringCheese — 6:49 pm June 5, 2014 #

  34. I can’t believe our kids’ great fortune. I advocated for MiF during the community input process — as did the majority of families — and was so frustrated that the feedback was disregarded. Thank you, parents and educators, for demanding to be heard. And thank you to the board members who listened and voted for MiF!

    Comment by JustDoIt — 9:00 pm June 5, 2014 #

  35. “MIF and EnV are fully aligned with Common Core ”

    Wow are you people misinformed. Neither of these curriculum is CCSS aligned fully. Mif is less than 50% aligned at the 4/5 grades. Envision is almost 80%. As someone who teaches to the standards because they are MANDATED by the district and our state, this is a problem. For example: In 5th grade Mif says we should be teaching RATIOS to our students. This is a Middle school standard. Day ONE of teaching fractions to fourth graders is adding and subtracting unlike denominators. This is a fifth grade standard. How is this considered good for kids? How is this rigor? You people need to get into a classroom and get REAL experience. Some of the many examples I personally have witnessed.

    Comment by Frustrated Teacher — 9:28 pm June 5, 2014 #

  36. Frustrated,
    You do realize that standards are the MINIMUM that we are to give our students and not the ceiling, right? Are you seriously complaining because a curriculum goes beyond the minimum? Your students will not be ‘dinged’ for being ahead of the game. The “alignment” is there to make sure that the basics are covered. The problem with the district placing so much weight on the strictness of this alignment is that it failed to give educators the freedom and flexibility to accelerate or decelerate as needed for their individual classes. MiF teaches all that is in CCSS and if it takes our students further then all the more reason to rejoice. If your sentiment is what prevails among educators in our system then we have a lot more to worry about than a textbook…

    Comment by StringCheese — 10:04 pm June 5, 2014 #

  37. Evergreen’s got it. The MAC did a fine job, but were empowered to recommend, not select, a final product. The Board was perfectly within their rights to accept or disregard the committee’s recommendation, and they opted to disregard it. While that may be unsatisfying, it doesn’t render the process any less legitimate, and the MAC’s work greatly informed the Board about each of the publishers’ materials, which, under State Law is the entire point of having the committee. And it wasn’t just the recommendation, but the tainted process that made the most critical factor not which curriculum was best for the kids, but which aligned best with Common Core. The board decided to put the kids first I feel. Both EnV and MIF align very well with CCSS, by the way, even if EnV may align better. I see no tragedies, messes, or crises as a result. But I do see elevated math scores, district-wide, perhaps dramatically. And we’ve waited a long, long time to have that chance.

    Comment by pjmanley — 10:08 pm June 5, 2014 #

  38. @Frustrated: I’m curious. Have your kids been taught Everyday Math, by chance? Serious question.

    Comment by pjmanley — 10:12 pm June 5, 2014 #

  39. As a member of the math adoption committee, I am furious about this entire process. I would be okay with either math program, envision or math in focus. What I am frustrated with is the school board members. Why have teachers take time out of their classroom to be on a committee when in the end, you all had a CLEAR plan? What does this say for the future? This has happen twice and you will think they will learn from history.

    Secondly, just because a small minority advocated for MiF, please do not disregard the opinions of teachers and principals. I highly respect my parents and know that they play a huge role in their child’s education but they should not be the reason behind this math adoption. Teachers should drive the decision. We are the one in the classroom that will be using this resource.

    Yes, there are a lot of issues regarding CCSS but we are assessed and evaluated based on these standards. Whether you like or not, these are our standards. I don’t get how we can use a program that is NOT aligned to CCSS but we will be evaluated based on it. Yes, I have done my research and MiF is not aligned to CCSS.

    As a teacher, I know that I will need to differentiate and modify curriculum to meet the needs of my students but can you at least give us a somewhat completed program rather!

    I’m sorry but I will not serve on any committee in SPS every again. You have screwed us over too many times.

    I hope the decision was made in the best interest of ALL students in SPS and not just the students in the north end.

    Comment by AdoptionMember — 11:17 pm June 5, 2014 #

  40. @stringcheese,

    Any teacher that has a sense of what good pedagogy is still accelerating work or creating interventions as needed for individual students and classes as a whole, despite whatever curriculum has been laid at their feet. These good teachers find a way to freedom–that’s what’s good for kids. The ACTUAL problem here is that people are hanging onto archaic practices that do not inform or implement teaching deep understanding about mathematics, number, and the important practices that the CCSS put forth. Yes, the basics will be covered and students will have a much deeper, more critical experience with math thanks to new standards. But as my fellow Frustrated friend points out, having students start work without having a solid understanding of what they are doing first will only dictate a wrote practice rather than real knowledge about the process. Unfortunately with new mandated standards, companies still want to make money whether their curricula meet these mandates or not. Truthfully it is too early for any of these companies to have a well-aligned format, and that is what we see. MiF basically put a stamp on their outdated curriculum saying it is aligned, and Envision attempted to begin the work to meet the needs of the standards. But our contract with EDM is up, thankfully–I as well as others I’m sure have been taking the freedom to string together our own curriculum for years and we need something new.

    I wish we could have held out another year somehow if all teachers were taking said freedoms.

    I am prepared to be shocked if Seattle’s test scores improve with MiF though. Test scores will improve with better teaching and parent involvement in their child’s education, not from a drill-based curriculum.

    So, to clarify, I don’t think any of us Frustrateds out there are complaining about a curriculum that takes students beyond standards because none do. We absolutely DO have a lot more to worry about than textbooks though; we have a lot of people in our communities around the country that make decisions about this important work without being educated about what students and teachers need in a successful learning environment. #askateacher

    Comment by Another Frustrated Teacher — 6:33 am June 6, 2014 #

  41. I am so disappointed at the paranoid misinformation about common core evident here. As a person that can’t afford to buy a home in a place where I can be confident my kids will receive a high quality education, I was really hoping that the K-5 STEM school would be a good option for my family. For a STEM focused school to not understand the importance of common core in preparing students for college level math is appalling.

    I see a vocal group of parents that want math to look the way they remember it looking. That is nostalgia, not rigor. And the result of your nostalgia agenda is that only about 20% of students are prepared to take college level math after high school. And thanks to the decision you fought for so successfully, in Seattle that is not going to change.

    Comment by Kiznit — 11:43 am June 6, 2014 #

  42. I, too, served on a Board committee (Closure and Consolidation) and it is difficult work. But the committees are there to provide a wide spectrum of opinions/expertise to a topic and, using a collective best judgement, render an opinion. It is not their job to be the final voice and that is made clear to all committee members.

    Common Core is here whether we like or not? Oh ye of little faith. OK and South Caroina just backed out, walked away, yesterday. They will create their own standards. Yes, if can be done.

    No curriculum can claim to be fully CC aligned. Can’t be done at this point. But standards are a floor.

    There is not “paranoia” about CC but a LOT of parents, community and elected officials with real concerns (not all of them overlapping).

    Common Core ONLY prepares students for community college or a low-level college/university. The head writer of the standards said that. On videotape. You could look it up.

    that’s one reason to take CC with a huge grain of salt.

    Comment by Melissa Westbrookw — 4:23 pm June 6, 2014 #

  43. Check out The Amendment 2 document presented by McLaren at the school board meeting. Our K5STEM 5th graders just tested at a mid-high 11th grade level (mean class average) for math on the MAP — and a significant portion of these kids are FRL and ELL. This was after only 1 hour math classroom instruction per day. My own kid started MIF at grade level and now tests 3 grades ahead. Most of his class tested above grade level. We are not idiots. We fought for MIF for ALL kids because it is a rigorous program that works. About 3/4 Schmitz Park kids enter Madison advanced in math. And our K5STEM teachers were for MIF, not just the parents. However, I disagree that only teachers should choose the curriculum — one reason EDM failed miserably was because parents couldn’t understand the methods or terminology unique to EDM & thus could not help their kids with homework, if they needed it.

    Comment by evergreen — 8:31 pm June 6, 2014 #

  44. http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/school%20board/13-14%20agendas/060414agenda/20140604_Action_Report_Amendment2_SoleMathInFocus.pdf

    Comment by evergreen — 8:55 pm June 6, 2014 #

  45. Wow, only a few days later and there are movements to have waiver going against the school boards vote.

    Here is the article on saveseattleschools.blogspot.com

    Sunday, June 08, 2014

    Seattle Schools Math Adoption Update
    Here’s the latest that I have gleaned from various sources:

    - Michael Tolley did indeed, in front of Director McLaren, say that “in effect there is a dual adoption.” This is stunning.

    I believe now that if this push to have schools – in effect vote on which math curriculum they want – blows up in staff’s collective faces, they will then say, “Oh, we interpreted the Board vote as dual because we have a math waivers policy.” That may have been why the Superintendent repeatedly told me yesterday that the math waivers policy was important in this discussion.

    I’m not sure that CYA will work but good luck. At the worst, someone may be out of a job and at the least, a very bitter wind will continue to blow through this district.

    Read more ยป
    Posted by Melissa Westbrook at 3:29 PM 20 comments: Links to this post
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    Labels: 2014 math, Common Core math, enVision, math adoption, Math in Focus, PASS, Seattle legislators

    Comment by Wsmom — 7:54 pm June 8, 2014 #

  46. The superintendent has now retracted waiver requests and MiF will be taught to all SPS students.

    The first lesson of the year I will be required to teach my second graders asks them to use the standard algorithm in subtraction while computing in the hundreds with no prior expertise with number sense. Yikes.

    Bitter wind indeed.

    Comment by Another Frustrated Teacher — 8:16 pm June 9, 2014 #

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