kitchen table math, the sequel: Independent George on the pundits and their ways

Friday, October 3, 2008

Independent George on the pundits and their ways

re: March of the pundits, part 3
That thread really is astonishing. On the one hand, you have a professional backing EM in vague generalities, while the "civilians" independently demolish her every argument with specifics about the most minute detail. It's pretty much the model of an engaged, informed citizenry participating in the public sphere - and the reaction was pretty much the model of an entrenched, indifferent bureaucracy.

October 3, 2008 10:35 AM


The worst part is Ms. Cullen's constant refrain for the parents to 'give EM a chance', when it was painfully obvious that they were intimately familiar with EM, and and were clearly documenting all of its deficiencies based on first-hand experience. On the flip side, it was equally apparent that she had only passing familiarity with Singapore Math, and was completely unable to address the numerous substantive issues being brought up. And somehow, she manages to dismiss the entire debate as just another battle in the Math Wars without ever directly addressing the substantive issues mentioned. It's mind-boggling.

October 3, 2008 1:08 PM
You can say that again.

march of the pundits, part 1
speaking of pundits
march of the pundits, part 2

how to change the system
parents need a union

Independent George on the pundits and their ways
one is a nutjob, twenty five are powerful
first person


Barry Garelick said...

OK, I'm going to try the embedded link one more time. The Quick and the ED" which is a blog published by the same group that publishes Eduwonk (Education Sector)
href="">contained a post about EM

I talked about the What Works Clearinghouse and how EM is one of the few texts that got a favorable rating.

The author (Chad Aldeman) seems convinced that WWC is credible, first of all. Second of all, he is unaware of what WWC's rating of EM is all about.

He also is dismissive of commenters who wrote in to try to tell him about EM. Why is Education Sector promoting EM? Are they so smitten with whatever comes out of their mouths that they cannot accept what anyone has to say? I guess not--particularly know-nothing parents who don't have policy degrees like them.

SteveH said...

"The worst part ..."

And she is not just some random teacher off of the street. We see this level of debate over and over. The academic head at my son's former school used the What Works Clearinghouse justification. She hadn't seen Singapore Math, so I loaned her my copies. She eventually said that it looked interesting, but "Everyday Math is better for our mix of kids".

SteveH said...

This is his conclusion from the WWC data.

"One and only one program, Everyday Mathematics, is able to demonstrate potentially positive effects. Teachers, principals, district administrators should all be out buying it. It's developers and publishers should be citing this distinction on their homepages and in all their sales materials. But the news that it is the only rigorously evaluated and proven mathematics curriculum is nowhere to be found."

People like this are telling us what critical thinking is all about. "Potentially". One sample. And he wants everyone to rush out and buy it. His bias is transparent to everyone but himself.

SteveH said...

From Education Sector, What We Believe"

"We should create every opportunity for new ideas to flourish and for innovators to thrive in American education; it is time to rethink what public education is and who public educators are. Students' diverse needs are best served by a range of educational options. Consumer choice in education and competition among schools for students can help make such options available to more students. But such reforms must treat students equitably and provide for public accountability."

"Education policies and practices should be based on sound empirical evidence. And educators, schools, and colleges should be held accountable and rewarded for their performance under measures that are fair and accurate."

"sound evidence"?

One is good enough for them. Everyone need to rush out to buy Everyday Math.

" ideas to flourish..."

... that they approve of.

"Students' diverse needs are best served by a range of educational options."

Chosen by the parents. Choosy parents choose Singapore Math. It's ironic. They seem to be for choice, but they don't think parents are capable of choice.

Barry Garelick said...

They seem to be for choice, but they don't think parents are capable of choice.

Help wanted: Need parents who understand why EM is inferior to Singapore Math. Must have policy degree from Harvard.

We need to battle these heavily credentialed jerks on their own terms.

Dawn said...

I read the other thread and sheesh, the EM people sound like nothing more then math Gnostics. You'd understand if you saw the standards. You'd understand if you saw the teacher editions. You'd understand if teachers taught it properly.

It's all a bunch of secret knowledge that only the intiates are privy to and those of us outside who haven't been invited in can only hope to aspire to.

Anonymous said...

I agree, Dawn. They were getting downright creepy as they continued to ignore the fact that they were dealing with people who knew the curriculum as well as they did.

It really didn't matter how many ways Steve and others countered them, they simply did not hear.

Was it Catherine who coined the term "No Vender Left Behind"? That's what I kept thinking as I read the thread.

The thing is, schools put themselves at a disadvantage if they adopt only Saxon or Singapore because the state tests are as mile wide and inch deep as these reform curriculums are.

It's almost as though the people who design the tests are the same people who profit from the curriculums. Nah, couldn't be.