Back in July of 2009, I posted THIS about the adoption of Common Core in Missouri. I was in the process of discovering that our governance structure regarding education in Missouri was incredibly top-down. Missouri citizens and their representatives in the legislature were not even aware of Common Core, let alone the strangle hold it would place on the daily functions of our local schools and the lives of our students and their families.

Changing the governance structure in Missouri's educational system is of utmost importance to ensure that any "initiative" like Common Core is publicly scrutinized and vetted by our education leaders, our legislators, and Missouri citizens.

This is why I strongly support HJR 74 which would allow Missouri voters to decide on the November ballot if they would like to see their State Board of Education members ELECTED, with one coming from each of OUR congressional districts. I think it's a FABULOUS idea!!

If you agree, you can show your support for HJR 74 here:

http://www.libertytools.org/LibertyTools/witness/witness2.php?template=48

Since the hearing was schedule for TOMORROW NIGHT (AT 9PM!!) when few citizens can attend, it is very important to have as many witness forms completed in support of HJR as possible to present to the committee.

Fight the Good Fight!!

Lisa Jones

# Mathematics Education

We will begin to see improvements in mathematics education when citizens throughout the US make their voices heard. Best wishes in your search for truth...

## Sunday, April 6, 2014

## Tuesday, March 25, 2014

### My Witness Form in Support of MO SB514 and SB798

Lisa Jones –
Testimony in Support of SB 514 and SB 798 (March 26, 2014)

I wish that
I could be present to speak in person in support of SB 514. Perhaps a future hearing might be held in the
evening, or on a Saturday, when teachers could attend and not neglect our
duties to students and taxpayers.

I am very
blessed to teach high school mathematics in an outstanding Missouri school
district. My colleagues and I work very
hard to continually improve educational opportunities for our students. Through the use of content specific
Professional Learning Communities, we have identified strategic learning goals
to prepare students for their future endeavors, we use classroom data to assess
student progress in reaching those goals, and we have built collegial
relationships to foster the identification and sharing of “best practices” in
reaching those goals.

We review
the curriculum of each course approximately every seven years. Each school’s course-related PLC is
represented on our district-wide curriculum committees. Those representatives bring drafts back to
their respective schools for review and feedback. In this way, every teacher in the district is
involved in the process and has an opportunity to provide input on their course
curriculums. We work as a team with the
goals of continuous improvement in student achievement and increasing
opportunities for students at the forefront.
We take particular care to ensure that all of our math courses prepare
students for the next level in their individual pursuits. There are no “dead end” math courses in our
district.

When the
Governor, State Board of Education and Commissioner signed onto Common Core, we
began reviewing the Common Core Math Standards in our PLCs. We have always used the state standards as a
baseline for our programs, although our math curriculum has surpassed
Missouri’s state standards during the 23 years that I have served the district. Missouri standards have never before had a
maximum amount of content that local districts could add to them, as do the copy-written
Common Core Standards. In my opinion,
many of our high-performing district have added more than 15% to our previous
state mathematics standards to better prepare their students.

I teach Algebra
2 and Calculus. I have serious concerns
about the impact of the Common Core State Standards to prepare students for my
courses. CCMS have diminished the content of Algebra II, which is the gateway high
school course to many higher level math and science courses. In my opinion, it will be very difficult for
even the most talented teacher of mathematically curious and gifted students to
overcome Common Core’s weak content in preparing for success in many STEM
fields.

I have
taught math courses from Algebra 1 to Calculus over the course of my
career. Developing a seamless
progression of hierarchical content designed by active classroom teachers,
fostering ample opportunities for student progress and success, is extremely
important work and must be on-going in every LOCAL district. With the stroke of a pen, in signing onto
Common Core, Missouri has been side-tracked.
We have allowed a stealth initiative to consume the time of our teaching
professionals and valuable resources of districts.

If a local
school district deems certain standards to be beneficial for their students,
then they should incorporate them into their ongoing improvement plans. However, the Governor, State Board of Education,
and other appointed staff should not have the authority to commit our state to
initiatives which undermine the work of local school districts and our citizens’
elected school boards on any issues relating to education.

Some will
argue that local districts can still go beyond the content of Common Core, but
the mechanism for enforcing strict adherence has already been put into
place. It will come in the form of
experimental assessments and the scoring of MSIP 5 which is tied to those
assessments. It’s appalling that
taxpayers are expected to fund these assessments, especially since their
representatives were undermined, and perhaps even misled, about the Common Core
Standards Initiative.

DESE should
be held to state statutes while implementing and administering only those
programs which pass through Missouri’s legislative process. Legislators receive valuable input from their
constituents which should be included in all matters pertaining to our state,
most importantly the education of our children.
It’s unfortunate that some of our state’s leaders, who were entrusted to
seek the best possible educational opportunities for our children, used their
positions of authority to undermine our citizens and their
representatives. Please consider taking
legislative action to safe-guard our children and our schools from this sort of
overreach in the future.

Thank you for your service to Missouri!

## Tuesday, January 21, 2014

### Legislation on Education in Missouri

**Please take a few short minutes to look up your legislator’s email**

**and drop them a note with your opinions on the following:**

(I
SUPPORT THESE)

Establishes the Joint Committee on the Tenth Amendment

Prohibits the State Board of Education, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and school districts from implementing the Common Core State Standards

Prohibits the State Board of Education from adopting and implementing the standards for public schools developed by the Common Core Standards Initiative

(I OPPOSE
THIS)

**HB 1139**Cookson

167.227. 5.
A school district shall require a student who scores less than
proficient on a statewide assessment to
attend the summer school term immediately following the school term in which
the student was assessed.

## Monday, January 6, 2014

### DESE “Thumbing Its Nose” at #MOLEG

## Happy New Year Everyone!!

HB 2 Appropriates money for the expenses, grants, refunds, and distributions of the State Board of Education and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Effective Date: 8/28/2013

Section 2.050. To the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

2 For the purpose of receiving and expending grants, donations, contracts,

3 and payments from private, federal, and other governmental

4 agencies which may become available between sessions of the

5 General Assembly provided that the General Assembly shall be

6 notified of the source of any new funds and the purpose for which

7 they shall be expended, in writing, prior to the use of said funds,

8 and further provided that no funds shall be used to implement the

9 Common Core Standards

From Federal and Other Funds………………….........$10,000,000

From Federal and Other Funds………………….........$10,000,000

I wonder if DESE disseminated any information to districts on HB2’s restriction on Common Core implementation? Are local school boards aware that their current practices may be in conflict with this legislation.

All of DESE’s math and science discretionary grants involve implementation of Common Core Standards and were not revised after passage of HB2. The deadline for these was September 18, 2013.

Page 6 of the K-6 Math Initiative (which is the same for the K-6 Science excepts it reads "National Educational Standards for Science" rather than Common Core, the ELL reads "Common Core")

C. Use of Funds

(3) Provide follow-up training throughout the year to the academy mathematics science teachers that shall: (a) Directly relate to the mathematics curriculum, and focus secondarily on pedagogy; (b) Enhance the ability of the teacher to understand and use the Missouri Mathematics Grade-Level Expectations and the Common Core State standards for mathematics to develop and/or revise appropriate curricula; (c) Train teachers to use curricula that are based on scientific research, aligned with the Missouri Mathematics Grade-Level Expectations and Common Core State Standards for mathematics, and are active learning-oriented, inquiry-based, differentiated to meet diverse student needs, and concept/content-based;

I was also interested in this part of HB2 because high quality PD, focused on content, really is essential to professional growth in teaching.

Section 2.115. To the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

2 For the Instructional Improvement Grants Program pursuant to Title II

3 Improving Teacher Quality

From Federal Funds……………………...........................$59,348,890

From Federal Funds……………………...........................$59,348,890

So I googled:

and I found the

__second document__had been revised in Aug 2013. (The same month that HB2 had passed) I find no mention of Common Core with respect to Professional Development at all in the revised document, however ALL of the high school math PD currently taking place in my district is on Common Core.
This (again) leads me to believe that local school boards are not aware of the legislation.

And then of course, we have the real kicker!! DESE’s October 3, 2013 News Release announced the *New* Missouri Learning Standards website: http://www.missourilearningstandards.com/

Any confusion that may be caused by their re-labeling Common Core as Missouri Learning Standards can quickly be dispelled by following the content supports for teachers here: http://www.missourilearningstandards.com/teachers/ which lead straight back to CCSS.

## Tuesday, November 5, 2013

### Professor Milgram's Nov 4, 2013 Statement on Common Core Math Standards

*Many parents across the country are currently expressing concerns over the content of their childrens' math lessons, many of which are said to be "common core" aligned. The statement below is published with permission of Professor Milgram. It may provide a little insight on math education issues brought to light recently due to the common core initiative.*

*I believe that although the elementary math standards are an improvement over those of many states, unfortunately the focus on the "Standards for Mathematical Practice" - rather than math content - creates an avenue for unproductive folly. (yes, that's my opinion) The secondary content standards are too weak, a point that I've made many times before.*

*Best wishes to all parents, grandparents and teachers as they seek the truth on the best way forward in improving education for children. Lisa Jones*

Statement
of Jim Milgram, November 4, 2013

I
don't endorse a blanket condemnation of the Common Core Math Standards since
there are definite positives in the lower grade content standards. They really are significantly better than the
standards that were written by 90% of the states IN GRADES K-6 or K-7. But the
problems with the overall math standards are huge, or even more than huge.

First, while some of the Mathematical Practices standards are ok, they provide a forum for the fuzzy math cranks and a path to re-approve most of the horrible math texts we found 15 or so years back and mostly got rid of then. They also provide a poor perspective on "what mathematics is" and should never have been at the beginning of the document where they give the superficial reader the impression that this is what mathematics is all about. It isn't.

Second, the objectives of the 8 - 12 material are not what one might think they should be. The real intent appears to be a total focus on the "efficiency" aspect of Ed School dogma. Since most students will never "use" higher level math, it is mostly suppressed, except for the part that I more or less forced them to add covering Algebra II. But that material is horribly incomplete and only provides a pathway for most students that leads nowhere and prepares them for nothing but truly dead end jobs.

Third, the standards were put together too fast by McCallum and Zimba, with the obstructive tactics of Daro only designed to minimize content as far as I can tell. All three of them were amateurs at standards writing, and appear to have had little to no idea of what actually goes on in the curricula of the high achieving countries. As a result, there are too many errors and inconsistencies in the standards and exemplars themselves.

First, while some of the Mathematical Practices standards are ok, they provide a forum for the fuzzy math cranks and a path to re-approve most of the horrible math texts we found 15 or so years back and mostly got rid of then. They also provide a poor perspective on "what mathematics is" and should never have been at the beginning of the document where they give the superficial reader the impression that this is what mathematics is all about. It isn't.

Second, the objectives of the 8 - 12 material are not what one might think they should be. The real intent appears to be a total focus on the "efficiency" aspect of Ed School dogma. Since most students will never "use" higher level math, it is mostly suppressed, except for the part that I more or less forced them to add covering Algebra II. But that material is horribly incomplete and only provides a pathway for most students that leads nowhere and prepares them for nothing but truly dead end jobs.

Third, the standards were put together too fast by McCallum and Zimba, with the obstructive tactics of Daro only designed to minimize content as far as I can tell. All three of them were amateurs at standards writing, and appear to have had little to no idea of what actually goes on in the curricula of the high achieving countries. As a result, there are too many errors and inconsistencies in the standards and exemplars themselves.

So, all in all, I judge that we would be better off if the standards would just go away.

Jim

*In his first point, I believe that Professor Milgram is referring to the Open Letter to U.S. Secretary of Education, Richard Riley, from 1999. Check It Out Here*

## Thursday, October 31, 2013

### An Interesting Common Core Exchange

From Fordham

54min50sec

Question: Garrett Fryer
American Youth Policy Forum

Was there ever a discussion,
when you all were designing it, to implement it on a kindergarten level and
letting it grow with the students as they aged on through each grade, as
oppossed to implementing it with the entire school system nation wide?

Answer: Jason Zimba

This is something that states
have each approached differently. Some
states have done something more like that, some states have done something less
like that. I seem to remember at one
point I saw a MA plan where the grade level wasn’t the key parameter, but they
had a Venn diagram, what we do now the Common Core doesn’t do, what the Common
Core does that we don’t, and then what sort of overlap, where we want to do it
better. In year one, we’re gonna focus on the overlap and do it better. In year
two, we’ll drop things… and then in year three, we’ll add… I got the details of that wrong, but… my only point is that
different states all approached it differently, and we may find out that some
states were much wiser than others in this way.

Singapore has a long
standing, high functioning system in which they not only revise their syllabus
ever so often, but they do it actually on the basis of how kids do, so think
about that, a performance-based loop, a feedback loop. Which is something we
are taking halting steps toward, but can only image. And so roughly every six years or so, they’ll
put out tweaks to the thing. This year I
noticed that they’ve rolled out a new thing in kindergarten.

*I wonder... How in the world can one "image" OR take "halting steps toward" creating a "high functioning system" based on a "performance-based feedback loop" when we are STARTING with a top-down DESIGN by the name of Common Core?*

### A problem with Common Core Math Standards at the High School Level

I've explained my concern about the weak high school math in Common Core many times before, but here it goes again as I’ve had many questions lately.

In the Common Core Math Standards, Algebra I is not completed in 8th. That creates a problem for students interested in stem fields, and also for students that may have latent abilities in mathematics which may not develop in high school as a result.

CC high school math (years 1 to 3) is an amalgam similar to Alg1, Geo, Alg2(light) in my opinion.

There are currently 4 years in high school. Common Core lays out 3 years but did not provide a stem alternative for acceleration during those 3 years, so this is what we have to work with:

1- CC hs math year 1

2- CC hs math year 2

3- CC hs math year 3 – doesn’t complete Alg 2 imo and would not prepare

students to take PreCalc/Trig at my school currently.

4 - Students have the following options for math during their senior year. None of these include AP Calculus. Remember, the College Board found that Common Core high school math does not “reconcile” with AP Calculus (and I agree!)

The students’ choices at this point are limited to three options:

A) AP Statistics B) PreCalc/Trig or C) try to complete both simultaneously

Option A) If they chose the AP Stats class senior year, to try to get some college credit while in high school, then they would really be two years behind in stem math progression on entry to college, and would have also had a entire school year between Algebra 2 (light) and PreCalc/CollegeAlg/Trig - (definitely not an ideal situation...)

BTW – This option is what a College Board Senior Vice President recommended to school superintendents!

Option B) They could take precalc/trig during senior year, but as some of you know, the ACT determines scholarship money for many, many students. Efforts on that test and applications for colleges and scholarship start late junior year and finish early senior year for most students. (Ask one!)

Option C) is not viable in my opinion. The slow pace of Common Core math from 7th though 11th grades leaves students woefully underprepared for trigonometry in particular and will create an unnecessarily steep learning curve if they choose this “option” during senior year.

In the Common Core Math Standards, Algebra I is not completed in 8th. That creates a problem for students interested in stem fields, and also for students that may have latent abilities in mathematics which may not develop in high school as a result.

CC high school math (years 1 to 3) is an amalgam similar to Alg1, Geo, Alg2(light) in my opinion.

There are currently 4 years in high school. Common Core lays out 3 years but did not provide a stem alternative for acceleration during those 3 years, so this is what we have to work with:

1- CC hs math year 1

2- CC hs math year 2

3- CC hs math year 3 – doesn’t complete Alg 2 imo and would not prepare

students to take PreCalc/Trig at my school currently.

4 - Students have the following options for math during their senior year. None of these include AP Calculus. Remember, the College Board found that Common Core high school math does not “reconcile” with AP Calculus (and I agree!)

The students’ choices at this point are limited to three options:

A) AP Statistics B) PreCalc/Trig or C) try to complete both simultaneously

Option A) If they chose the AP Stats class senior year, to try to get some college credit while in high school, then they would really be two years behind in stem math progression on entry to college, and would have also had a entire school year between Algebra 2 (light) and PreCalc/CollegeAlg/Trig - (definitely not an ideal situation...)

BTW – This option is what a College Board Senior Vice President recommended to school superintendents!

**“If you’re worried about AP Calculus and fidelity to the Common Core, we recommend AP Statistics and AP Computer Science”**

Option B) They could take precalc/trig during senior year, but as some of you know, the ACT determines scholarship money for many, many students. Efforts on that test and applications for colleges and scholarship start late junior year and finish early senior year for most students. (Ask one!)

Option C) is not viable in my opinion. The slow pace of Common Core math from 7th though 11th grades leaves students woefully underprepared for trigonometry in particular and will create an unnecessarily steep learning curve if they choose this “option” during senior year.

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