Educating All Parents To Ensure The Future Of Our Republic

May 2007 Education Subcommittee Meeting - Loose Transcription

Please note this is not an exact transcript and you should not quote it as if it's what was exactly said. My notes got more involved as they went on, but I still just summarized at times. If you want to listen to the full audio here's the link: Listen to segment 5 on this page.

Nicole Paulson (State Math Curriculum Director):
Focus groups were held throughout the state
Elementary core is 2 months ahead—In April there were public hearings on the elementary standards
            External review occurred as well
            June-presentation to state board for final approval
Secondary core
            June-request permission for public hearings
            August-final approval
Standards will be for implementation of 07-08 school year

Content reviewed against other states and nations
Clarity and coherence is significantly increased in the math standards

David Wright:

Thanks the committee, Patti Harrington for bringing in the state school board, Russell Thompson for chairing the committee, external reviewers were excellent, Nicole Paulson for getting the standards done.

David thinks they’re very good standards and has the support of the state office of education and teachers in the state and the NCTM focal points.

Margaret Dayton: How does the Investigations math controversy play out in all of this especially in light of how one of our local district superintendents has called parents extremists for being opposed to Investigations math?

Nicole Paulson: In regards to Investigations, it is instructional material.  Our core document describes what students should know and be able to do.  They are entirely different.  Teachers may use instructional materials to meet those standards.  Any primary instructional materials purchased after 7/1 has to undergo a third party core alignment.  Districts still have local control to determine what programs to use in their classrooms.

Rep. Newbold:  What were some of the changes made to the core?

Nicole: A few examples, moved some requirements from 6th grade to 5th such as surface  area and volume –based on NCTM’s focal points.  Another NCTM point had specific requirements for having quick recall of basic facts by 4th grade.  2nd grade is quick recall of addition and subtraction facts.  Transformations on a grid moved from 5th to 6th to accommodate additional depth for 5th grade concepts.

Rep. Newbold: I’ve heard the former core is wide and not deep.  Did we reduce the number of concepts so we have greater depth?

Nicole: Yes. We have reduced concepts so we can have more depth.
Draft is online from elementary and secondary web pages. (here's a link)

Senator Madsen: We had a projection on the wall when we took this up before and it showed some of the math concepts in the former standards were actually false or incomplete.  Am I recalling that correctly?

David Wright: Yes that’s correct.  There were problems with the state core and problems in the standardized tests.  The thing we had going for us was there were two mathematicians on the elementary committee, Hugo Rossi and myself.  The group worked well and listened to each other.  In the past there have not been mathematicians but only math educators and now the document is much better than in the past.

Senator Madsen: It would be nice to think we’ve cured those most glaring instances where before the concept was just wrong.  You said you looked at other states that were high performing.  That’s great if we’re on par with the better states, but how does this compare in the global context because we’re sending our kids out to compete with the best of India, China and European countries and they are really performing well, so where are we in the global context?

David Wright: The standards are good enough and this is a good foundation but there’s more to education than just standards.  Now we need qualified teachers and the standards are the basis of professional development and we need training on math content.  Pedagogy is good but we need training on math content.  The other thing that needs to happen is good end of level tests.  If we do all this work and have bad end of level tests, what’s it going to do for us?  I’d like to recommend that end of level tests be given and turned over to the students every year.  Right now they’re kept secret, but to be useful the student needs to be able to take the test home and show the parents so they can see where they did well or had short-fallings.

Senator Madsen: What is the model we’re seeking after to incorporate pedagogy and content?  Do we want teachers to learn pedagogy in college and content later or vice-versa?

David Wright: To discuss abstract childhood learning for math should involve some substantial mathematics.  They (pedagogy and content) go hand in hand, but there are extreme philosophies that push hands on learning and manipulatives beyond what they should be.  There needs to be a fair amount of direct instruction and a fair amount of homework.  You could even call it drill but that’s a bad word in the educational community.  They need sufficient time on the subject just like music or sports players do.  Good teaching comes from good understanding.

Unknown (stated he's in ASD): Is Investigations math supplemental material and not core material? 

Nicole: All textbook companies material are instructional to teach the core standards.

Unknown: Has Investigations been mapped to the core?

Nicole: Each new edition of textbooks are aligned to the core curriculum.

Unknown: So you wouldn’t know if it’s been mapped, you set up the process but don’t monitor teachers.

Nicole: Well the '03 edition they submitted said 80% of it matched the previous core document.  There’s also other components the committees look at like the durability of the document.  The '05 edition they found it did NOT meet the standards and recommended it for supplement only.  The '08 edition will now go through an alignment process.

Unknown: So is the threshold 80% alignment to be able to use as an approved text?

Nicole: Yes.

Unknown: So at 80% that means 20% is missing from the curriculum?

Nicole: That’s where teachers come in and realize what’s missing and to teach the gaps so they supplement.

Unknown: So in the '03 edition they would have to supplement with 20% other materials.

Nicole: Correct, but most texts are not at 100%.

Unknown: I’m just curious where Saxon comes in with the core.

Nicole: If I’m remembering correctly, that wasn’t recommended primary as well because the content that was addressed met 80% or more, but with that the two you mention have very different methodologies of teaching.

Unknown: (interrupt) Yes they do!

Nicole: That’s described on the site so when districts look at the materials they can make judgments.

Unknown: Could we have Mr. Wright comment on those questions?

David: What I’d like to see is a way of having good instructional materials to go with a good state core.  That will be difficult to regulate.  Most elementary texts have most of the topics but it’s whether they do it in a deep or shallow way.  We’d like to have texts that are teacher proof, but what we need are teachers that are textbook proof.  The investigations book has come out with a new edition.  They are out of line with what’s going on nationally and NCTM is pushing standard algorithms and now they are reluctantly putting them in there…maybe not with a lot of enthusiasm, but it’s in there so they’ll get a check mark for being “in there”.  I’m not a real fan of Saxon but I like it a lot better than Investigations.  The important thing is to get teachers to think mathematically.  The best thing is to have good end of level exams.  There are other things we need to do well and a lot of the problems will go away if we just focus on them.

Senator Dayton: Last session we funded a bill on professional development based on content, what happened to it?

Nicole Paulson: Bill passed out of senate but didn’t get to the house, it did not pass and it was also entirely based on content knowledge of 4-6 teachers.

Senator Dayton: I felt it was appropriate to go based on your recommendations.

David Wright: Our committee doesn’t have a charge to do that.  It would be appropriate to keep some of our committee involved after the standards are revised to address development issues.  It’s important to have mathematicians as part of the equation (no pun intended I’m sure).  We are not the complete answer, but we have something to offer and I think there are other mathematicians who would be willing to support this.

Senator Stephenson:  I remember a report from a year ago, this discussion was not as comfortable as this one today. We appreciate your work to bring these standards forward.  Based on your comments I understand we need mathematicians who can teach regardless of what the textbook does and teach effectively.  We had an earlier meeting today about getting teachers paid as much as 80% more with current resources and with differential pay we may have math and science teachers making $80-100,000 in this state and maybe then we can really start competing with the private sector and maybe then people will go to school with the desire to be a math teacher instead of working for Evans and Sutherland.  So we’re trying to do what we can there and maybe next year at this time we’ll have something in place that will attract qualified teachers.

We talked a year ago about comparing our standards to Singapore and California.  Dr. Wright how would you compare these new standards to Singapore and CA.

David Wright: Our standards are good, but they don’t have the clarity of California’s standards.  However some of our standards are better particularly when we discussed with Dr. Wu one of the external reviewers who worked on the CA standards the importance of the number line and other items.  If these were given to the Fordham Foundation they might get a B rating, I’d like to get an A rating but we have to start somewhere.  If we adopt CA standards there would be a lot of rebellion among teachers having something forced on them where they weren’t part of the process.  As I said earlier, end of level tests and professional development are also important to the process and I think that we have the potential in this state to do very well indeed.  We have great teachers in Utah who will get the job done.

Discussion on tests…

Senator Stephenson: I’m a little chagrined that there’s politics in the math community that prevents us from getting to world class standards.  What I’ve heard you say is we’ve got pretty good standards in a pretty great state.

Closing thanks. End of meeting.


Investigations Math Menu

** Most important pages to read (all have value but if you will only read a few pages make it these)
* Very important

Research and Information Press Coverage

THE PETITION TO REMOVE INVESTIGATIONS MATH** (OVER 5% of ASD represented--still ignored by ASD)


Math With Madeline Video

All Weekly Email Updates **

Edspresso Article on WMD Comics

Weapons of Math Destruction Comics**

What Can You Do About Fuzzy Math in Your Area - 13 Ideas**

Brain Programming

ASD's Saxon Math Deception
Part 2 of the Deception

4/21/07 ASD Superintendent Calls Parents Extremists (for wanting the times tables in schools)

Alpine School District Residents Should Choose Saxon Math

9/13/06 Dual Enrollment Guidelines - Opting Out of Math or Other Classes

9/2/06 Jaime Escalante and NCTM Standards**

9/2/06 Amber Lee's Independent Research

The Math Story (ie. How I Got Started)

7/31/06 Educators Ignore Project Follow-Through**

7/26/06 Comparison of Alpine to Nebo and Provo Districts and comments on Orem City Breaking Off **

3/30/06 Utah Public Radio Broadcast with David Wright and Damon Bahr* (Right-Click and use Save As to download)

Insane Supplementary Materials Compound Investigations Math Nightmare**

Map of ASD Precincts and Election information- You must register to run by 3/17

3/2/06 David Wright's Mathematician Petition to the State of Utah*

2/14/06 Why are Charter School Scores Better than Alpine School District's?*

2/14/06 Alpine School District IOWA Test Math Scores

10 Myths About Math Education and Why You Shouldn't Believe Them

2/1/06 The Case for Utah adopting California's Math Standards-Testimony to Utah Congress**

1/10/06 School Board Meeting challenge to find just one valid study by 1/31/06 ** (I'm still waiting)

Math Tutors in Utah (find one/list one)

11/9/05 Update - How ASD is failing more children each year**

ASD's statement to teachers authorizing them to teach traditional math without fear of repercussion

California Study showing tripling of scores for schools that left constructivist math and implemented Saxon Math**

10/31/05 Petition Maps (see where people are signing the petition-blue dots are schools, red are petitions)

How About Grades 6-12 Connected and Interactive Math?**

Raising Critical Thinking Skills*

Pro-Investigations websites (for anyone interested)

8/15/05 Update (compares Alpine to other districts and charter schools) *

7/29/05 Update (resources given to ASD, sample problems, ASD vs. Nebo School District) *

Investigations Math Origins and Articles*

Math Programs Compared ("Traditional", Investigations, Saxon)

Supplementing your Public School Student's Education**

The California Investigations Math Failure**

Community comments - both Pro/Anti Investigations **

Investigations Math Poll Introduction and Question Summary*


Additional articles are covered in weekly updates since April 2007

Victory in Utah - State to Revamp Standards (11/16/06)

Major Breaking News...NCTM does a 180 after 17 years of destroying math in America

It must really irritate the folks at Alpine School District (ASD) who have taken to calling all my work "biased and flawed" to have such no-name disreputable organizations pandering to my lies. The legacy of ASD will be the disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of students unable to obtain a technical higher education degree.

4/25/07 Provo Daily Herald - Math petitioners called 'extremists' in Alpine District

4/24/07 Deseret News Article - So how many different programs are appropriate to use at one time Mr. Henshaw?

3/1/07 - Deseret News - Schools' grades mixed - Utah system rated by U.S. Chamber in a new report

2/14/07 Provo Daily Herald - Committee makes math program suggestions for Alpine: Many in district pine for 'Investigations'

2/14/07 Deseret News - Alpine seeking balance in math

2/12/07 Deseret News - Math Program Deleted - Alpine District dumps controversial approach

11/16/06 Deseret News - State leaders support math overhaul for schools

11/16/06 Salt Lake Tribune - Utah's 'fuzzy math' curriculum scrapped; legislators endorse plan to revamp state standards

11/15/06 New York Times - As Math Scores Lag, a New Push for the Basics

10/29/06 Provo Daily Herald - Survey: Math Program Doesn't Add Up

10/25/06 Deseret News - Students decline at 5 Utah colleges

10/19/06 Deseret News - Math learning is shallow in U.S., professor says

10/19/06 Deseret News - Math in Utah — 'fuzzy' or A-OK?

10/06 Salt Lake Tribune - Bad marks for Utah's schools

10/9/06 BYU NewsNet - Alpine School District Under Attack

9/30/06 Provo Daily Herald - Districts evaluate 'failures' in testing

9/29/06 Provo Daily Herald - Utah schools receive progress rankings

9/26/06 - Parents Know the Right Equation for Teaching Math - by Phyllis Schafly

9/12/06 Wall Street Journal - New Report Urges Return to Basics In Teaching Math

9/6/06 Provo Daily Herald - Parent suggests Alpine district be responsive

8/28/06 Provo Daily Herald - Alpine readies to let schools choose curriculum for math (be sure to check out the comments section)

8/26/06 Provo Daily Herald - Charter schools attract parents concerned about public education

7/29/06 Deseret News - Burned-out teachers problematic

7/26/06 Deseret News - Most favor creation of small school districts

5/28/06 Salt Lake Tribune - Alpine School District relents and will change its math offerings***

5/26/06 Deseret News - Alpine opts for choice in its math programs***

5/25/06 Provo Daily Herald - District Reviews Math Options***

5/23/06 - Provo Daily Herald -Orem OKs feasibility study of splitting from Alpine district

5/23/06-Deseret News - Orem not hastening into a schools split

5/23/06-Salt Lake Tribune Article-Orem to study Alpine District split

5/12/06 Provo Daily Herald - Math decision delayed

5/10/06 Provo Daily Herald - Petition Requests District Division

5/6/06 Deseret News - Utah to study states' math programs

4/16/06 Provo Daily Herald- Alpine District continues to lose students to charters

4/6/06 Provo Daily Herald- Charter school debate heats up in Alpine school district

3/20/06 Salt Lake Tribune - Alpine in grip of 'Math Wars'

3/3/06 Provo Daily Herald-Professor: Clearer math standards needed

3/2/06 Deseret News- Math Petition Circulating

2/19/06 San Jose Mercury News - Math back in forefront, but debate lingers on how to teach it.

2/18/06 Salt Lake Tribune-Battle over math teaching spreads

2/15/06 Salt Lake Tribune-Indifference to math skills part of the problem

2/15/06 Deseret News-Parents voice their views on Alpine math

2/15/06 Provo Daily Herald-Provo district seeks math balance

2/9/06 Deseret News - Alpine trio defend approach to math
Rebuttal Letter to Editor: Math approach is harmful

2/7/06 Deseret News - Alpine defends math classes

2/2/06 Deseret News - Lawmaker Gives Alpine Math an F

1/29/06 Salt Lake Tribune - Charter School Funding Tight

1/20/06 Deseret News Letter to Editor: Rote exercises pay vital role in mathematical education

1/7/06 Provo Daily Herald - Investigations: Not your parent's math

12/18/05 Provo Daily Herald -Math doesn't add up for all

12/13/05  15 Charter Schools Scheduled to Open Next Year

11/24/05 Provo Daily Herald - Parents mad over new math curriculum (be sure to read the comments)



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