Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Math Symposium

This afternoon, representatives from every branch of the P-16 education tree met at AWSP as a follow-up to the recent OSPI Math Symposium held in SeaTac last month. Their special guest was Dr. Uri Treisman, executive director of the Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Austin in Texas. Treisman addressed the group for more than an hour and emphasized several steps Washington state could take to bolster its math retrenchment efforts:

1. Build data systems that yield answers to key questions.
2. Manage the curriculum. The top five performing school districts on the NAEP all have managed curricula. The worst-performing districts were all local control.
3.Rethink our teaching system. We need to "think more creatively" about our sources of new teachers.
4. Modernize the teacher compensation system. In Washington state, we still reward teachers based on seniority, not performance.
5. Reassess teacher preparation programs and professional development.
6. Create effective student support systems.
"Remediation almost never works. We need accelleration."
7. Tread carefully with information technology. Treisman cited the U.S. Department of Ed study mentioned in today's earlier post about the failure of reading and math software to increase achievement. Use technology carefully, Treisman cautioned, and find ways to help administrators be smarter about IT purchases.

Other Triesman comments worth noting:
  • On high school course offerings: "We need to make sure what's on the marquee is what's showing in the theater."
  • On being a principal today: " There's virtually no economic incentive to be a principal today."
  • On education reform: "The biggest change in most states: We've shifted from a K-8 focus to college readiness."
  • On teaching: "Everyone underestimates how hard it is to teach. Just open a pre-calc book. The stuff's hard!"


Anonymous said...

Nothing is more natural than learning math, not even reading. Treisman and company are attempting to defend their textbooks and strangling any attempt by other teachers to use anything but their prescribed teaching methods. Its a disgrace to the teaching profession. The textbooks can't be read or understood by the children. Are you so short-sighted?

Constructivism, once a thriving field for research, has turned into a euphemism for the method they propose teachers use. Goodlad called it discovery learning. Furthermore, their research is non-supported. Its been faked or at least slanted to favor "their" textbooks. Teachers in this state are cowards. If you saw what I've seen you'd be angry too. Your alternative and remedial programs are a disgrace. It will be ironic the year, Bergerson hired Treisman to rewrite standards for more than a million dollars the dropout rate for high school students will be at its highest. Washington deserves to lose its Title I money. You have districts using funds with no community oversight. Holding tanks and dropout mills - that is the voice of the public. It is absolutely the worst administrative nightmare ever.

tattatu said...

Treisman was the key defense witness in a lawsuit parents filed against Plano school district in Texas - Treisman helped the district arrive at a settlement, rather than have it go court and get publicity. You can bet he is here in Washington for that very reason.

This was an interview with the TAAS attorney:
I was in sixth grade we had tracking, and in the top classes you got a pretty decent education. The bottom classes didn�t; the dropout rates were terrible. The dropout rates are still bad. That�s one of the real tragedies. There are a lot of missing kids. The TEA has been so terrible about covering that up.

TO: The Obfuscation Society?

AK: You bet. In the TAAS case, one of the state�s experts was Uri Treisman from the Dana Center at UT-Austin. They get millions from TEA and he is their big defender of the testing system. Even he said that he could not defend their dropout numbers. TEA changes its definition of a dropout almost almost every year. It�s a tragedy.

The dropout data in washington is very sketchy. The numbers on the OSPI report card web site are not accurate. Steps have been taken by administrators to hide low scores or not even test some students. Bergerson should resign and the legislator should vote for an investigation into the possibility of fraud. There is a complete lack of public confidence in OSPI. There is absolutely no community oversight in some districts. The accreditation in this state is a sham. How is the Pugest Sound MSP connected to the textbook industry? Find the Matched Study comparing 22 High schools to WASL results is a sham. It uses as its reference the OSPI website. No standards for education research - charlatans and racehaters. Its a disgrace to the profession.