Thursday, January 7, 2010

So, Shayna was right!


Fulton educators are waffling on the new math. As reported recently in NorthFulton.com, "It’s out with the new and in with the old for 2010 as the Fulton County School System prepares to dump the controversial math curriculum in favor of back-to-the-basics traditional math."

Shayna kindly wrote an article for this blog back in July, called, "All About Math" in which she made an incredibly cogent argument for holding off on the wholesale implementation of the new Georgia math curriculum. Shayna researched the topic diligently and came to the conclusion that, while the curriculum is a good one at it's core, it is very difficult to teach and requires an incredible amount of teacher training. She further noted that although Cobb and Gwinnett chose to layer the new curriculum over the old a piece at a time, DeKalb instead chose to go in "whole hog". Her findings were very interesting and although she shared a copy of her article with each board member and appealed to them as a speaker at a board meeting, the program was implemented - "all in" - anyway.

Now comes Fulton County, reporting, "“While students were certainly challenged with [the new standards], the way of teaching with the discovery or inquiry method was confusing to some students, teachers and parents,” said Loe.

The system also began to see fewer students being accelerated or advanced, and students not working to their full potential, noted Loe. More significantly, high school math teachers began seeing students who lacked basic computation skills and math scores on nationally-normed tests began flat-lining or dropping."


Fulton leaders also tell us, "In coming to the decision to dump Investigations and Connections, Loe and her staff looked at the results of a recent book which summarized 50,000 studies of student achievement to determine which practices actually correlate to higher achievement. What the study found was direct instruction far exceeded results over inquiry-based learning."

This could be bad. Are there math teachers out there or parents who would like to share their experiences with DeKalb's new math? We really need to keep our eyes on the math ball -- even as our administration continues to distract us with all kinds of irrelevant emergencies.

44 comments:

Dunwoody Mom said...

Here is where I'm puzzled as to the complaints about this math: If my husband, who as a Math major 35 years ago, can understand assist my children with this Math, why are teachers having such difficulty with it?

Dunwoody Mom said...

Understanding that it takes more than a few years to see any type of results from curriculum changes, I wonder if this change is less about the actual curriculum and more about the lack of implementation and support that the state offered with this new curriculum?

themommy said...

Everyone should go look at DeKalb's ITBS scores this year. They can be found here. Keep in mind that the test was renormed this year, so a 2 percentage point drop means the same as no change from the previous year.
That said, some schools had such dismal scores in previous years, that it was hard for them to get much worse.

http://www.dekalb.k12.ga.us/instruction/testing/files/EFD9F3BD1D634FFAB6A8897C548637E9.pdf

DeKalb had significant drops in grades 1 and 3 and a drop in grade 5. 7th grade was flat. Keep in mind, though that if this is a good curriculum, scores in the upper grades should be improving. Third graders for example have only had the new curriculum.

The state DOE would argue that the ITBS isn't based on GA's curriculum -- but I argue that my child needs to be compared to his/her peers around the country not just locally. There is no evidence anywhere that an integrated curriculum works. And given that GA DOE's rollout plan was so poorly executed (the teacher train other teacher's method is baloney), I am not sure that GA is the place where it will be proven effective.

Dunwoody Mom said...

I have wondered why the ITBS was not chosen as the testing mechanism. These tests are already available and we certainly would get a clearer picture as to how our students are faring nationwide, not to mention the amount of money it would have saved.

Anonymous said...

Math Expressions is a wonderful program if implemented correctly. One or two teachers were chosen from each school to attend a train the teacher class. They were then to train the teachers back their school. The teacher trainers that I have encountered didn't understand the program, so how are teachers supposed to understand the program.

With this said, DeKalb does not use Math Expressions the way that it was meant to be taught. We are to teach a lesson here, do part of a lesson there, and maybe do a few lessons in a row. Huge assumptions are made that the kids remember what they were taught in previous years. Because we skip around we cannot effectively use the best parts of Math Expressions, the Remembering part, as our students have not usually encountered several parts of it. Even the Expressions homework and teaching a lesson can be difficult if you haven't taught the previous lessons that the section assumes that you've already taught.

The DOE Frameworks have great exercises that engage the children and excite them about math. They are just being made up to date and we do not have time to teach them as we are trying get the broken up parts of both Math Expressions and Math Georgia taught before we have to get the next Benchmark.

Right now we are teaching to a 10 question benchmark, so that the school looks good. This will be especially true now that we are scanning in the scores and they will be available for all to see. Students are exposed to material, but have no time to master anything. Even the brighter kids in the class have trouble because they don't have the back ground knowledge of previous years imprinted on their brains. I have witnessed students in fourth and fifth grade struggling with basic addition and subtraction facts. Forget about multiplication and division and word problems are a nightmare.

I have contacted the state about why DeKalb does math the way that it does and doesn't utilize the state frameworks more and was told that the decision to buy and implement the math program the way that the county did was a political decision LOL-someone's family members or friends made out on the purchase of 2 math series.

If you care about your child having any understanding of math DeKalb elementary schools will not provide your child with a strong foundation, unless their principal has the guts to do math a different way.

Anonymous said...

I have expressed my significant concern about the "new math" to my middle schooler's principal. Her math teacher gives only online homework two days a week, and she most definitely does not understand concepts before the schedule rushes on to the next unit. Her teacher has said "pencil work is not appropriate according to current research." Huh? The principal is no help because he wants to support his teachers. So I'm filling the blanks with additional homework and considering hiring a tutor. This is ridiculous.

Cerebration said...

That's very strange. I would definitely encourage parents to hire math tutors. In fact, you may wish to consider forming independent groups to pay a tutor to teach math - the old fashioned way - after school. I wouldn't just throw my hands up - if kids miss these core math concepts, they are in for a rough row to hoe.

Anonymous said...

The new math is being taught in an exploratory way. Some students do not explore well. Many students perform better with direct intruction.

I am seeing students who do not have any sense of basis fact knowledge. It is a little scary to me. I am not a great math student but I cannot do the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions, etc. These students appear to be missing out on some of the basic knowledge needed when they get to us in high school. Something is not working in Fulton in the middle school and grade school new curriculum compared to the old curriculum. It is showing up on the test scores.

Ella

Shayna said...

My middle son was in Accelerated Math 1 in 8th grade last year at HMS. He was supposed to have completed geometry (with only a tiny bit to go in the next 2 years according to the handy state provided color-coded chart) and be ready for Algebra 2. He wound up, therefore, on the "front end" of the new math curriculum -- 1st year. He would have been in Accelerated Math 2 at Lakeside this year with teachers teaching their first round of it. We pulled him private and he is in geometry (all 3 private schools we looked at wanted to put him in geometry and not algebra 2 --none of them believed that the curriculum adequately covered geometry by the time he finished Math 1 even though he had high As and high scores on the CRCT - yet that same state chart does not show much of any geometry being taught in Math 2 or Math 3). He has just completed his first semester of honors geometry and has done well but he has been shocked at how much new material has been covered in the class-- initially, he thought he may have been better off in Algebra 2 but he quickly realized that he was missling a lot of geometry that they were covering in class this year. I don't know when his 9th grade classmates are going to get this material. Maybe they ultimately won't need it.

Anonymous said...

The Mommy: I agree with everything you said but can add some more. The fall ITBS scores are awful for the 5th and 7th graders at many DCSS schools and these students have had several years of the "new" inquiry based math. I heard that some of the northern suburban counties also experienced poor math ITBS scores.

But the ITBS scores started dropping with the first group who have been the guinea pigs for the new math (who are now in 10th grade). In 7th and 8th grade, we saw huge drops in the scores on the computation portion of the ITBS. (that is why I LOVE that test- it breaks down the math scores in useful ways).

If students enter middle school without solid computation skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions) they are lost.

Dunwoody Mom- the high school integrated math is very, very different from how most math teachers learned mathematics. Add to that overcrowded classes and some disruptive students, the possibility of teaching in a way where the students "discover" the formula on their own is pretty hopeless. The high school teachers also say the state and county curricula skip around too much. Instead of completing an entire unit on matrices or polynomials or rational functions, it skips from algebra to geometry to statistics without any mastery of core areas.

Bottom line, the state foisted this on every county without proper training, materials and a gradual implementation. As Shayna advocated, it would have been vastly cheaper to just look at Massachusetts or another top math state and copy their curriculum.

Anonymous said...

This morning my daughter's third-grade teacher (who was wearing black) pointed to a shelf of new math books (or so it seemed) and asked me WHY the school system can't give raises, but has a policy to replace books every five years - even when they are NOT needed! Apparently that new stack of books is destined for replacement very soon. It's a business, and it's an ego thing. Everyone wants to "leave their mark" and prove they brought greatness to the system. So they make rules, design new curricula, create more bureaucracy, all the time hoping to make education better but just adding layers that get in the way of education
aaarrrggggghhhhh

Anonymous said...

The other day my dd was going to do math homework w/ a classmate (third grade). One said the assignment was Chapter sixteen, the other said no, it's chapter ONE, silly. I'm not sure if they were starting a new book or skipping around, but the whole thing seemed crazy.
last year dd was part of a small group of gifted kids who had weekly lessons with a parent who is a univ mathematician and she did great. this year, she's really all over the chart w/ math grades.
she is 99 percentile on all her ITBS and COGATS except one BASIC section of math on ITBS, she was a solid 52%. I was dumbfounded. She has a GREAT teacher, but on more than one occasion, an e=mail has gone out in the evening telling us not to worry if kids don't understand math homework b/c the assigned exercise wasn't explained yet, even tho she's sending home the work to correspond with what they did in class. You should see the worksheets - they are NOT in a book and they do NOT have examples, and the terminology is NOT what we grew up with.

Anonymous said...

This is because of the discovery or exploration part of the math. However, as data indicates most students need direct instruction.

It would seem to me an appropriate time to get a new Ga. Secretary of Education as this new math is under her watch and it really has done a great deal to hamper our states progress in math. I agreed totally with Shayna back then and I see know the data continues to show she is correct.

However, I have heard Mr. McChenney indicate he has seen indications of improvement in our math scores under the new curriulum. Mr. McChenney has probable spent a great more time reviewing Dekalb's math data than I have so I want to make sure I give him the credit he deserves as he does appear to review information provided to him by the School Board personnel. He really appears to do a good job of this.

Ella

Anonymous said...

Ella, I believe McChesney is talking about CRCT scores and the state can set the cut scores low enough to generate the appearance of "improvement."

And of course, Kathy Cox still won't release the Math 1 EOCT scores or the cut scores for the high school tests.

I wish DeKalb would follow Fulton.

Cerebration said...

Gloria Talley is the director of curriculum. I would suggest that people who have questions about the new math (and it's results thus far) contact her.

Here is her email address -

GLORIA_S_TALLEY@fc.dekalb.k12.ga.us

There is also a new PDF document available (replacing the loosely described "Blueprint for Success") that tells us more about our curriculum. The math framework on page 9 indicates that we implemented a test program back in 02 and again in 06.

Blueprint Overview

And here is the link to the actual new math curriculum (the link is in the article above as well) In it you will find the names of the content coordinators for math in ES, MS and HS.

Foundations for Success
Raising the Bar to Strengthen
Mathematics Instruction
K-12


This is a very interesting document. Read it carefully. There are many checks and balances that should be occurring. Check with your principal to ensure these things are happening.

Several new or revised tools and processes for support have been developed for 2009-2010 to assist elementary schools in the teaching of the state-revised GPS in mathematics based on best practices. The revisions include:
• Math benchmark documents
• Protocol for Elementary Focused Walks and Focused Walk Forms for all content areas every six weeks
• AYP Network Group (training only for leaders and teachers in schools not making AYP in July 2009)
• Elementary Math Quick Start Guide (planning to teach)
• Math documents for student remediation
• Parental support communications regarding classroom instruction
• Web-based teaching training
• Elementary Principals’ Instructional Forum on June 18, 2009


Schools that did not make AYP should be getting additional support. Please - follow up with your principal.

There are supposed to be support personnel involved as well - for example in elementary -

Collaboration with Other Departments to Monitor Mathematics

To continue collaboration with other departments and raise a cadre of district-level coordinators and support personnel who can monitor appropriate mathematics instruction, the following groups will have full access to elementary math training:
• Elementary Mathematics Cadre (teacher-leaders)
• Title I Coaches
• Pace Coaches Itinerant Teacher Support Specialists
• Class-size Reduction Coaches
• ProCorps Instructors
• Special Services Department


Are these "focused walks" happening? Are teachers getting the support they need and were promised? What is a "ProCorps Instructor" and does your school have one?

Read the document and ask for accountability.

Shayna said...

One outcome of the math curriculum that I have been advocating for is that the State Legislature actually pass legislation that absolutely prohibits the State Department of Education from creating curriculum that exists and is succeeding (on objective criteria) elsehwere, at taxpayer expense. In speaking with Dan Webber about such legislation, I suggested that it could be framed as a "best practices" law that requires the State DOE to research and adopt the "best practice" for a particular discpline (e.g. math) -- this won't work for Georgia Studies but would for just about every other subject we teach. DOE would be prohibiited from adopting a curriculum, in toto, that did not match some other, previously adopted curriculum that was already placing in the top 10 in the country (particularly given how far down we are, and have been as a state). Once we, as a State, are in the top 10, we can consier giving the DOE, license to use our kids as guinea pigs at taxpayer expense. For now, we should use what already exists (and various parts of it can come for different states -- eg. Math from Massachussetts and English from Iowa rather than a National Curriculum, which I see as somewhat different).

So how can we do this: Each of you can recruit others and, many, many people can contact legislators, particularly those on appropriate state house and senate education committees and push for this legislation. This is how we accomplish this (of course if it passes, we need the governor to sign it).

Anonymous said...

I would never again question Gloria Talley or anyone else working with curriculum. They forward your questions on to your AP and you get a non-answer answer and then are asked to come and see the AP and get chewed out.

There is so much elementary math crap that a teacher does not have time to go through it all, deal with esis, help children who are struggling, contact parents, create lessons for all of the other subjects that you are to teach, get ready for lessons and make photocopies, and do all of other things teachers are supposed to do.

Square Peg said...

The "Foundations for Success" document bothers me very much when I read it. (I'm a parent, not a teacher.) The focused walk protocol is all about making sure that teachers follow the required pacing and use particular techniques. From the high school checklist on page 71: instruction must be on target with the yearlong alignment guide, teacher points to the standard of the day, teacher has a current word wall, students complete a 5-10 minute Sponge activity, students communicate with other students using the Language of the Standards, students evaluate and revise each other's work and provide feedback, etc.

The teacher is specifically forbidden to use direct instruction or drilling. "...there is not a predictable, well-rehearsed approach or pathway explicitly suggested by the task, task instruction, or a worked-out example."

I see nothing in the focused walk rubric which addresses real problems: students who do not have an adequate foundation, students who need more time to understand a topic before moving on, students who don't "get" discovery-based learning, students who are unmotivated to put forth effort, or even the consequences of being required to teach topics out of order from the original curriculum design.

Cerebration said...

Great input on the document Square Peg. I hope others will read these and bring their perspectives to the blog.

====

I have to agree with Anon above. I have had interactions with Gloria and found her to be incredibly arrogant and dismissive.

I posted these documents, to ask parents and teachers to follow up since I have a feeling that Talley has such an enormous disconnect with the teachers, parents and students that she actually considers her job simply as one that involves writing down policy. Implementing -- not so much. Following up - not at all. (Has ANYONE seen follow-up data on the new math?)

This makes me very unclear as to where McChesney is getting his info about the improved test scores. I don't really trust what McChesney says since back during the military academy fiasco he was so insistent that the Heritage school could hold 700 high school students for a military academy - blatantly calling those who disagreed as simply wrong. This - in spite of the fact that the fire exit map on the building itself showed only 18 small classrooms and a cafeteria. This in spite of the fact that the system's own planning department website listed the tiny buildings capacity at 380. Heck, that tiny elementary school only has 40 parking spaces! It needs to be sold to the county as parkland - but Womack won't allow it.

So, I disagree, Ella. I don't think McChesney checks facts whatsoever. I think he just parrots what Womack tells him to say.

Anonymous said...

What's incredibly frustrating is the complete lack of response from teachers and administrators. I and many parents have asked, over and over again, why our students don't have pencil homework, why morning tutorials don't help students master concepts covered hastily in class (the teacher is often absent, despite scheduling tutoring with students), why the school isn't providing resources for students who are floundering in math.

Peachtree Middle School has a Math Night coming up when a DCSS math specialist is supposed to explain the curriculum and teachers are to answer questions. (I don't know the date, but it may be in the school's e-news soon.) I think that's a great forum for giving that DCSS rep some solid feedback on the curriculum's failures.

Not that I expect it to go anywhere, but parents must speak up and we need to get our feedback documented.

Anonymous said...

Your children do not have homework because the curriculum people have read research that homework doesn't really help students learn. This idea came from a book in education-sorry I cannot remember the name, because I thought it was bull. Therefore teachers are discouraged to give homework. This is why only 5% of a child's grade is homework.

Anonymous said...

So, children explore concepts such as coordinate planes, "discover" the formulas and how to solve the equations, and do this in class. No homework needed.

Nope. Not working.

The semester final in math at my kid's school was very telling. Many, many students failed. Most barely passed. That's because they hadn't understood the concepts in the first place, had no reinforcement at home outside of two-a-week five-question mental math practices online, and had no tests to study by because the teachers keep them for the students' portfolios (in other words, they like to use the same tests over and over again, so don't want them going home).

Not just my kid's math teacher, either.

Kim Gokce said...

I have no experience and claim no insight on this subject. However, I did see this AM a venue for those interested in this issue. "Registration" is via Survey Monkey site. Take this valuable "virtual" discussion to the upcoming DCSS "Math Community Meetings" - see:

DeKalb Schools Communty Math Meetings

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kim! This info has not been given to parents, but I will put into my classroom newsletter. I hope that parents go in droves and question, question, question.

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dunwoody Mom said...

Well, I'll brag - my 8th grader made a high "A" on the Math final last semester. Of course, I will admit that my husband spent a lot of time helping with Math homework - which was just about every night.

I guess my children been lucky, so I'll count my blessings and hope it continues

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom, did your student have actual homework every night?

That's likely one of the key differences. My child's team math teacher does not give nightly homework - just the two-a-week online "assessments." We have to decipher what is covered in class, try to reinforce it with found materials (workbooks, my older student's old algebra book), etc.

My student scored an A, too, thanks to our support. But that isn't the case for many, many students. They don't have the parent resources.

Anonymous said...

Dunwoody Mom, it is great that your child is doing well, your teacher gives homework, and your husband can tutor. However a course grade or Georgia test doesn't mean as much as it should. Sounds like you're definitely on the right track, but the real test will be whether your child also does well on the PSAT and SAT and has the background to succeed in AP or college math courses if she or he takes them. Another thing that shines a spotlight on gaps is when our students practice for math competitions against other schools statewide and nationwide. Unfortunately math team isn't offered at most Dekalb schools.

My daughter is a sophomore this year, so she was on the leading edge of the new math curriculum. Math had always been part of our home life, but the summer before her 8th grade year I was concerned enough to bribe her to work through an Algebra I study book we picked up at the bookstore.

As it turned out, she got some traditional Algebra I instruction at school after all. The biggest piece of luck I'm grateful for is that the 2007-2008 cohort of 8th graders was allowed the option of accelerating into the old curriculum (thanks to parent pressure, I believe). She chose that path because she felt her integrated middle school math classes were "watered down," and has had no regrets despite the inconvenience of being required to take 2 math classes in 9th grade.

Unfortunately most Dekalb students can't opt out, nor do they have math major parents like Dunwoody Dad.

Cerebration said...

Wow. Good find, Kim. I wonder why this information is not available at the school system's website?

This deserves a post of it's own.

Anonymous said...

I hope those meetings are better than the informational math meeting offered at our high school in 2008-2009. Topics pretty much look the same, though. County math staff compared GPS with QCC and explained standards-based math by demonstrating a mini-lesson. We were told that the new math was more "rigorous." Concerns were dismissed with the standard answers.

Dunwoody Mom said...

Oh, I know that my kids are lucky to have their "Math Dad" around. I'm sure we would be spending large amounts of tutoring, if not - at least for my 8th grader. I know that many students are struggling with Math and the cost of outside tutors is prohibitive. As far as homework, 8th grader has Math homework maybe 2 or 3 nights. However, I'm not a parent who supports children so much homework each night that they cannot participate in outside activities, so I find that to be balanced approach.

The jury is still out with regards to my 10th grader. She took the accelerated Math 2nd semester in
8th grade and did very well, but we chose not to go the accelerated path in high school, so basically, 9th grade Math was a review for her and she did well. Her PSAT scores have been excellent, as well. She just may "get" Math like her Dad. I think this semester will be the test, though. Because of the block, she did not have Math first semester, so I'll be keeping a close eye on her Math.

I am keeping my finger crossed that with DHS going to a modified block that Math will become year-round starting this fall.

Anon@11:54 said...

Dunwoody Mom, I bet your older child's experience will be better than that of Shayna's son. A high school teacher who has taught Geometry or Algebra 2 for years will have a solid awareness of the course content and how to explain it, and the new math will simply be a different teaching technique with topics in a different order. On the other hand a middle school teacher won't have that background knowledge to draw on when teaching the geometry component of Accelerated Math 1, especially the first year.

Still, it's worrisome that your sophomore found 9th grade math (Accelerated Math 1?) to be a review of the so-called Hybrid Algebra 1 offered in 8th grade in 2007-2008. According to the curriculum charts, Math 1 and Accelerated Math 1 especially focus on geometry. The charts say Algebra 1 content is mainly covered in middle school, with the only overlap between Algebra 1 and Math 1 supposedly being "Radical, polynomial, and rational expressions; quadratic, rational, and radical equations"

Dunwoody Mom said...

"Review" was the wrong word to use, but she had no problem with Math 1 in 9th grade. Maybe I just assumed that taking the accelerated math in 8th grade helped with her with Math 1.

We'll see how Math II goes.

Anonymous said...

I am thankful my son is not on the Math I track.

My students are confused and need much more direct instruction.

Shayna is correct. Georgia should not be designing its own math curriculum when so many other states have successful programs that have put them as the top math producers in the country. Ga. needs to spend time getting ideas from a successful program that has results verses going and spending torns of money that this state's education department and state could have used more wisely for our children.

When looking at decisions made, I believe it is important to determine if the decision was good for our children. Apparently this decision was not good for many of our students so it was a bad decision.

Ella

Dunwoody Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dunwoody Mom said...

Interesting read on those pesky "graduation tests". Are they really worth it? Could the state save a lot of money in the education budget by doing away with them?

I realize I am old, :), but I did not have to pass a test to graduate - my 5 years of grades were good enougth.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34818318/ns/us_news-the_new_york_times//

Anonymous said...

Time to put the house on the market and move to Fulton. I pulled my child out of DCSS & into private when the new math was implemented. My child's math knowledge was so convoluted that this semester he is taking two math classes; geometry and the 2nd half of algebra I. Had to fill in the gaps from the "new" math.

Anonymous said...

The DCSS high school math posttest benchmark is a score of 80. When the teachers start a new unit (chapter) they give a pretest, a mid-unit test and a posttest. All scores are expected at the DCSS offices by a deadline depending on the unit covered. Lakeside's Math I - 9th grade - two recent units posttest scores were both 70. The Accelerated Math I class posttests scores - 79 and 81 (same units as regular Math I). The Math II (10th grd) 2 units covered scored 74 & 78on the posttests, Accelerated Math II posttests scored 78 & 77 (same units as reg. Math II). With 8 posttests being given only one posttest made the county's benchmark score. If this is happening at "high achieving" Lakeside one can imagine what the scores look like at schools that are stuggling. Will the county lower their expectations and change the benchmark score? An additional problem of the "new" math is appearing in the sciences. The concepts needed to solve problems in physical science appparently aren't covered in Math I. The students are now stuggling in science as well. With test reporting deadlines for math the teachers & students aren't afforded the opportunity needed to step back and review where the breakdown in knowledge occurred. What a huge mess!

Cerebration said...

Yikes! That is very relevant input, Anon. Thanks for posting it here. We like real data.

Anonymous said...

Shayna Steinfeld, please, please, please run again for the Board of Education. We really, really need you to serve. Things would have been so much better with people like Shayna, Ernest Brown, Ella or Marshall Orson on the BOE. We are heading into Clayton County territory with the current board and superintendent.

Trust me on this: We are going to lose many, many quality veteran teachers at the end of this school year. I've heard it time and time again for our teachers. It's a combination of things, but eSIS and the Crawford salary and expense account increase capped it off.

We aren't going to lose any administrators, because they have it made with made up positions in which they are only mildly productive in.

But lord bless our children, because they are going to be taught by hundreds of rookie teachers in DCSS schools in August 2010.

Shayna said...

Thank you for your support (to all of you who supported me -- I really do appreciate you). I sometimes wonder about my decision to run in the first place. I think that it is very important that there is a majority (5) people on the Board that really understand concepts like "fiduciary duty": to all citizens of Dekalb County regarding the school system's use of taxpayer money and the responsibilty they have to use it wisely and to all of the students in the DeKalb System -- that they are really there for all children in the system and not just those in their district or part of their district; "conflict of interests" (need I say more?) and "civic duty" -- this is not a job it is public service. Perhaps with a majority who understand these concepts, we could pull away from Clayton territory and start really focusing on spending taxpayer money wisely to really educate the kids. Good luck in working together to get the "good ones" the rest of their majority (there are good ones on the Board, they just need help).

Cerebration said...

To reiterate -- Shayna really was right!

Check out this latest post at the AJC's Get Schooled Blog -

The state’s new math program: “Kids are failing left and right”

Looks like Kathy Cox is leaving the state just in time to save face. This new curriculum itself may in fact be "all that", however, it appears that teachers were not fully trained to teach it - and students are paying the price.

Anonymous said...

"Shayna researched the topic diligently and came to the conclusion that, while the curriculum is a good one at it's core, it is very difficult to teach and requires an incredible amount of teacher training. She further noted that although Cobb and Gwinnett chose to layer the new curriculum over the old a piece at a time, DeKalb instead chose to go in "whole hog"......the program was implemented - "all in" - anyway."

Is it just me or does this remind anyone else of the eSis rollout?

Anonymous said...

Lots of luck attracting quality math teachers to DCSS. What has DCSS's administration done to attract and retain quality math instructors? This is a question parents/taxpayers should be emailing Ms. Tyson and the BOE about.

I certainly hope their answer is not "put more pressure on them" or "require them to go to complete more in services". If you want quality personnel, you must prove attractive to quality personnel. This is something they can't seem to wrap their minds around.