Saturday, July 24, 2010

Let's Do the Time Warp Again!

The Fordham Foundation, talking about our math standards:
Washington’s standards are easy to read and well organized. They come with extensive explanatory notes and examples. They cover nearly all the essential content with rigor and do an excellent job of limiting and prioritizing the content to be covered. In elementary school, arithmetic is both given priority and developed well. The high school content is generally strong, but a few STEM-ready topics are not included.
Neat! Hey, what math document did they look at?
Washington State K-12 Mathematics Learning Standards. July 2008.
Accessed from:
Well, that's 2008. What does the Washington Policy Center say about things?
Washington's math standards, which in 2005 earned an "F" from the Fordham Foundation, were rewritten last year by a consultant hired by the State Board of Education in response to a legislative directive. This new set of math standards has now earned an "A" from the Fordham Foundation.
But....last year was 2009, and these standards came out in July of 2008. Easy mistake. Hell, I can barely remember my age most days thanks to years of Red Bull abuse.

Here's a mistake not anyone can make:
Here we have a clear example of how contracting out to a private consultant a government service (like writing learning standards) results in a superior product (math standards) and not doing so (English Language Arts) results in a mediocre product.

I'm guessing I can find some people who disagree with that. I'll open with OSPI:

The state’s K-12 Mathematics Learning Standards have been revised by dozens of educators and mathematicians from across the state and the nation.
Then consider the actual standards document, which lists 34 Washington State professionals who were involved in writing the standards (see page 249).

And to close? Go to the original WPC post and look at what State Rep. Ross Hunter, one of the legislators most involved in the ed reform legislation of recent years, has had to say. I took a picture for posterity:
I'll be curious to see how Fordham feels about the other Common Core Standards that are supposed to come down the line.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have hardly scratched the surface of the development/revision of the WA math standards. It has a fascinating history.

$700,000 contract with the Dana Center when a lower bidder had a much better proposal

The work the Dana Center produced while guiding all of those people listed... Well, with work like that, I am surprised the Dana Center is still able to get contracts. The legislature passed SB 6534 in response to OSPI's failure to produce acceptable math standards, Directs SBE to retain a national consultant to analyze the February August 2008 version of revised mathematics standards from SPI and make specific recommendations for changes needed to finalize the standards.

Here's a link to a partial history of events related to math education in WA"

9:21 AM  

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