Cavanagh: 'Focal Points' reflects a growing consensus that A) the current math curriculum is overcrowded and confusing for teachers and students; and B) creating a more focused curriculum and encouraging students to master certain key topics lay the groundwork for their foray into more difficult math later.
Steve H: Everyday Math does not meet either condition A) or B). But then again, "encouraging" mastery is just so wishy-washy it could mean anything. The Focal Points are just used to get others to go away so that schools can continue to decide on all of the details.
Cavanagh: Which raises another question, in all of these skirmishes: Where are parents getting their information about the various math curricula?
Steve H: You can't pick and choose your arguing points. You know quite well that there are many serious, well-founded objections to these math curricula. By not focusing on real problems, like ensuring mastery rather than "encouraging" mastery, you either don't understand what's going on or you're trying to change the subject.
The Focal Points is an educational turf manifesto. It's designed to make others go away. It won't work. Details matter. It's time to move beyond the simple argument that parents just want what they had when they were growing up. Let's talk about why parents have to care about this in the first place. Because schools aren't getting the job done.
March 18, 2009
The notion that Well-meaning parents should not be able to vote based on five minutes of Google research is going to be hard to sustain given the fact that Google now supplies a very large portion of the "curriculum" to which American children are exposed.
In my district, which has adopted every known "initiative" promoted by ed schools and their ancillary consultants and vendors,* "research" means Google and teachers routinely pull "projects," assignments, and tests from the internet.
e.g.: recent Advanced Placement writing assignment given to high school students: Google 10 pieces of nonfiction writing on the web -- any kind of nonfiction writing written by anyone at all -- and summarize each.
If Google is good enough for AP Comp teachers, it's good enough for parents.
What's Google for the goose is Google for the gander.
* differentiated instruction, 21st century skills, media literacy, balanced literacy, reading workshop, writing workshop, Assured Writing Experiences (AWEs), middle school model, exploratories, interdisciplinary teaming, cross-curricular everything under the sun, character education, and so much more!
ignoring parents in Palo Alto
welcome to the Grand Canyon
a teacher-mom on Everyday Math
the plot thickens
Steven H on Everyday Math in Palo Alto
where parents get their information
"reality" in Palo Alto