Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Liberty Chick Explains...

In an older post entitled
Liberty Chick explains "And so it was that I decided to get involved, and I made it my first objective to find inspiration again in the history of our founding fathers, their writings and the Constitution, and the greatness of our country."
This is very much like my personal journey...
And just like Liberty Chick, I often  "feel like 'Chicken Little', screaming for
people to pay attention, [to math education issues in my case]
even emailing media outlets almost daily, pleading with them"
I'm sure that many people can relate to her story.

Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

Monday, June 28, 2010

Keep Watching - Education Reform

Federal Common Core Standards incentives for public education opposed by some states
and having so many strings attached that the cost would exceed any funding they would receive.
This article reminds me of the rhetoric endured in ed school course work, but we seem
to agree on one thing - "improving learner ability to make sense of reality" 
is most likely to improve education.
However, I believe the author fails to acknowledge that some subjects, like mathematics for example, are inherently highly structured.  In order to improve the learner's ability to make sense in those areas, the structure of the content must be respected and taught or they will be unable to experience success and build their repertoire of useful tools.  It's not enough just to have the "tools" in mathematics either, successful students must also learn how they are appropriately applied.

Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Transparency - Yeah, right!

Common Core Standards Miss the Mark
Last year Dr. Stotsky was appointed to the validation committee which approved the Common Core State Standards this month. Dr. Stotsky's absence from the list of signers, as well as that of another committee member, James Milgram (a Stanford mathematician), go unremarked in the committee's official report
Another article by Stotsky asks
I guess Common Core doesn't...

Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

A State Exercises Its Constitutional Authority

  • The subtle differences between the SOL and the Common Core do not justify the disruption to instruction, accountability, professional development and teacher preparation that would follow word-for-word adoption.
  • Adoption of the Common Core would leave teachers without curriculum frameworks, scope and sequence guides and other materials specifically aligned with the standards students are expected to meet. Experience shows that these supports are critical to successful standards-based reform.
  • Virginia’s accountability program is built on a validated assessment system aligned with the SOL; validated assessments aligned with the Common Core do not exist.
  • Virginia’s investment in the Standards of Learning since 1995 far exceeds the $250 million Virginia potentially could have received by abandoning the SOL and competing in phase two of Race to the Top.
  • Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Friday, June 25, 2010

    Your Liberty Is At Risk

    From Congressman Todd Akin
    The DISCLOSE Act has a cautionary message for Americans:
    when powerful Washington insiders try to control
    what other people can say publicly about their voting records, watch out – your liberty is at risk.

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Debating (or Not) the DISCLOSE Act

    The House Rules Committee met yesterday to set the rules for debate on the DISCLOSE Act.
    True to form, the committee kept the public out of a hearing
    about a bill intended to promote “transparency” in elections.

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Fight The Good Fight!

    Good Morning!
    Time for some inspiration!
    [turn the sound up]

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Time to Stand Up to the National Standards Agenda

    Instead of moving toward a system of rigid national standards, which would represent an unprecedented federal overreach into education, states should empower parents with information about school performance and increase transparency about academic achievement. And ultimately, parents should be able to use that information to choose a school that meets their child’s needs.
    We know what works in education, and it begins and ends with parents–not the federal government.

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Quote of the Day

    I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against
    every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
    Thomas Jefferson

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    NAEP Performance vs Authentic Preparation

    Listening to all the chatter about NAEP performance and California math standards, one may be misled to believe that CA's standards are "just too high" because their performance appears to be comparatively low. 

    All I have to say is CA MUST BE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT!!

    Looks like Professor Milgram knows what he's talking about!!

    See National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Testimony

    Conservatism and Reform

    Today's conservative reformers appreciate that within its limited sphere
    government should be excellent.
    "tradition cannot be conserved without political freedom, and that political freedom
    cannot be conserved without restraining and reforming government"
    Notice the importance Berkowitz places on education.
    Common sense conservatives cannot sit idly by!

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Objective Analysis - Yeah, Right!

    Jim Stergios of the Pioneer Institute explains what I call "The Rush to Mediocrity"

    With the date set by the Commissioner for the Board to adopt the proposed national standards (July 21, 9 am, Malden), there really isn’t room for a public comment period, which usually takes 60 days. Originally, because the Commissioner’s plan called for a special Board of Education meeting on August 2nd (60 days after the June 1 application submission date), we hoped they would allow a comment period. Nope. Nada.

    So, we are taking one of the most important steps in education policy without any real vetting. I’ve heard that there may be an organization invited by the Commissioner or possibly the Hunt Institute to do a comparative analysis of the MA standards up against the proposed national standards. Interestingly, the Hunt Institute, which has received $3.8 million from the Gates Foundation to advocate for the national standards, is fishing around for a group in MA to do the analysis. The Gates Foundation will pay to do the work. Given that Gates has funded dozens of organizations across the country and specifically two trade organizations (the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers) to advance national standards, I think any even slightly skeptical person would ask if the conclusion of the report is pre-baked.
    Doesn't the timeline make you wonder... "WHAT'S THE RUSH?!?"

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Friday, June 18, 2010


    Every state should have a bill like that introduced asap and be holding hearings in May before the June 1 deadline.
    And when was the final version of the
    Common Core Standards Released? (June 2, 2010)
    I recommend that those of you in states with a minimal "public comment" period and little input from teachers and parents across the state contact their Attorney General's office and a specialist in school law (and/or some key legislators) about the lack of outreach by their DoE and BoE on one of the most far-reaching changes to be made in local control of curriculum and instruction.
    State Board Members should contact NASBE about advice they are giving to solicit input from across their states on Common Core's final standards (not due out until June 2) so that major stakeholders (parents, teachers, and local school administrators, as well as legislators and other active citizens) know what lurks behind the concepts of "college and career readiness" and where the dividing lines are with respect to academic level in math and ELA.  
    NASBE is supposed to be helping state board members, and the effort (or lack of) for outreach to help them gain input from all major stakeholders is their responsibiity, not their DoE's. 
    Ask major editorial boards and reporters in the state what outreach plans are being made to obtain genuine input from parents across the state.   

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Representation in America

    After contacting many state legislators over many months, one Missouri Representative reported
    "This [Common Core/RttT] is all being handled on the bureaucratic level. This program is designed so that the power to make all of these decisions is concentrated where there no legislative oversight or accountability to the General Assembly. Contacting your legislators won't help, and I will never have the opportunity to vote on this proposal."
    Now I realize that education isn't always "big news" but this is about our representative
    form of government - the foundation of America.
    Where is the PUBLIC OUTCRY?!?

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    MO BOE Adopts Common Core

    Missouri Board of Education Adopts Common Core
    We need THIS legislation
    Please Contact YOUR Representatives!

    Worth Repeating!

    Do you have "Inquiry-Based" programs in your schools? 
    Here's some "Not-So-PC food for thought" that you may not receive from educrats...

    Educational Psychologist, 2006

    Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist,Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching

    How Much and What Type of Guidance is Optimal for Learning from Instruction?*
    For the past half-century,studies examining the interaction between student aptitudes and different forms of instructional treatments (most often called aptitude x treatment or ATI studies)have consistently reported that students with lower ability levels and/or less prior knowledge and/or lower motivation are more vulnerable to learning difficulties when instruction is incomplete, unstructured,or gives inaccurate information (e.g., Cronbach & Snow, 1977; Kyllonen & Lajoie, 2003).

    ACT-R Learning Theory and Math
    One does read claims that such cognitive analyses are no longer relevant to the new curriculum standards but such claims are simply false. Instead, we have found that the learning of the new curriculum consists of componential learning just like the old curriculum (Koedinger, Anderson, Hadley & Mark, 1995). It is every bit as important to practice these components of “new look” curriculum to achieve a high level of mastery as it was to practice the components of the “traditional” curriculum.


    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous



    Seattle, Washington – February 4, 2010 – Judge Julie Spector today announced her finding of “arbitrary and capricious” in the Seattle School Board's May 6 vote to adopt the Discovering Math series of high school texts despite insufficient evidence of the series' effectiveness.

    Judge Spector's decision states, “The court finds, based upon a review of the entire administrative record, that there is insufficient evidence for any reasonable Board member to approve the selection of the Discovering series.”

    The brief misstates and misinterprets many aspects of our case.  One of the most egregious examples [in the appeal] is the contention that the court overstepped its authority by making a decision on curriculum. Not so – the court simply remanded the board's decision back to the board on the basis of the lack of evidence to support the decision.
    Martha is a retired math teacher.  Please consider donating to The Seattle Math Group's worthy cause!
    Actual Court Documents Available on the bottom left side of their site.



    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    MO Funding for FY2010 - Lost Hope!

    Here's a summary of funding for FY2010. You can see that the eMints instructional model is all over the place.

    If you haven't heard about the eMINTS instructional model, look on the right side here.


    METS Coalition

    Missouri METS Coalition has a new, improved website. Let's hope that they've stopped promoting those mediocre math programs too!
    (scroll down to see the red text)

    Some of the links on that post don't work anymore, but luckily I had inserted the actual text from their old website. This is the only thing I can find on those grants right now, so maybe they've stopped their coercive practices. One can hope!

    Saturday, June 12, 2010

    From the Heritage Foundation

    But unlike the federal takeover of the banking and health care industry, this time around Obama and his liberal allies are shrewdly avoiding another public fight by moving their education agenda forward without even going through Congress. The administration is supporting a move to implement national education standards, using the $4.35 billion Race to the Top grant program to secure those ends. National standards will give the federal government – not parents – more power over education.  Now, instead of petitioning their local schools boards for curriculum changes, parents will have to trek to Washington to lobby D.C. bureaucrats for input in the content taught at their children’s school.

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Education: Preparing Americans

    I'm concerned because WEAK Common Core Math Standards (especially in traditional "authentic" Algebra 2) will diminish students' ability to achieve their personal goals. 
    Here's why..
    Adelman, C. 1999. Answers in the Tool Box: Academic Intensity, Attendance Patterns, and Bachelor's Degree Attainment. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.
    In the "selected findings" section, you'll see this:
    "Of all pre-college curricula, the highest level of mathematics one studies in secondary school has the strongest continuing influence on bachelor's degree completion. Finishing a course beyond the level of Algebra 2 (for example, trigonometry or pre-calculus) more than doubles the odds that a student who enters postsecondary education will complete a bachelor's degree. [pp. 16-18]"
    The Toolbox Revisited "Reiterations" [p. 108]

    First, there was a story about curriculum, the content of schooling, that was compelling in its secondary school dimensions in the original Tool Box, and is even more compelling now on both secondary and postsecondary stages. What you study, how much of it, how deeply, and how intensely has a great deal to do with degree completion.

    Second, this curriculum story, joined by nuances of attendance patterns that turn out to have significant leverage, continues into higher education.

    It’s not merely getting beyond Algebra 2 in high school any more: The world demands advanced quantitative literacy, and no matter what a student’s postsecondary field of study—from occupationally-oriented programs through traditional liberal arts— more than a ceremonial visit to college-level mathematics is called for.

    The Toolbox Revisited http://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/toolboxrevisit/index.html
    Paths to Degree Completion from High School Through College

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Minnesota Just Says "No"

    Minnesota education officials say they will not join an effort to develop nationwide standards in math and language arts.

    Education Commissioner Alice Seagren says the proposed national math standards don't align well with the rigorous standards Minnesota already has. She says that's what a group of teachers and other education officials found when they reviewed the proposals.
    [Yep, CCSI math is WEAK!!]

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Econ 101

    Well THIS explains EVERYTHING!
    How did the six ideological groups do overall? Here they are, best to worst, with an average number of incorrect responses from 0 to 8: Very conservative, 1.30; Libertarian, 1.38; Conservative, 1.67; Moderate, 3.67; Liberal, 4.69; Progressive/very liberal, 5.26.

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Avoid the Train Wreck and Spur Innovation!

    and consider
    Spurring Innovation Through Education:  Four Ideas
    Russ Whitehurst writes that America's economic productivity and competitiveness are grounded in education, and that the nation's public schools and higher education institutions are falling behind those of its counterparts. Whitehurst offers up four policy proposals for improving American education that are achievable and have low costs.
    My favorite part is "Link K-12 Curricula to Comparative Effectiveness"

    Little attention has been paid to choice of curriculum as a driver of student achievement. Yet the evidence for large curriculum effects is persuasive. Consider a recent study of first-grade math curricula, reported by the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance in February 2009. The researchers randomly matched schools with one of four widely used curricula. Two curricula were clear winners, generating three months’ more learning over a nine-month school year than the other two. This is a big effect on achievement, and it is essentially free because the more effective curricula cost no more than the others.

    The federal government should fund many more comparative effectiveness trials of curricula, and schools using federal funds to support the education of disadvantaged students should be required to use evidence of effectiveness in the choice of curriculum materials. The Obama administration supports comparative effectiveness research in health care. It is no less important in education.

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    Skepticism is Good!

    This could be GREAT NEWS for the nation! CA and TX often drive textbook content.

    You'll also want to read about CA legislation to ensure their educational standards are of the highest quality. Every state should have this!

    Skeptics named to common-core commission