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Ridgewood School District Turns Down Pro Bono Services of Eminent National Mathematics Advisory Panel Member

In BOE, math wars, Sandra Stosky on January 5, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Dr. Sandra Stotsky, a member of the President’s National Math Panel who had learned of Ridgewood’s internal math divisions, offered to make her extraordinary expertise available to Ridgewood’s administrators seeking to align the district’s K-5 math curriculum for students. Stotsky, if invited, would have joined the process already underway to learn from various experts in the education and mathematics fields. A quick read of Dr. Stotsky’s background brands her as a stellar light in the mathematics field, with tremendous national and international recognition. An accomplished mathematician, consultant, author and speaker, Stotsky advised Massachusetts, which was one of only two U.S. states to receive top scores in the international TIMMS tests, scores that rank them near the Asian countries that lead the TIMMS every year. None of the experts selected by Ridgewood for math guidance compares to her background, experience and achievements. Instead, Ridgewood’s top administrators prefer to hear from its unbalanced and patently reformist math panel of Philip Daro, Nancy Schultz, Alfred Posamentier, and Joseph Rosenstein. So with two years into our local math wars, and no solution in sight, why would Regina Botsford and Daniel Fishbein pass up such an offer? It’s anyone’s guess.

Sandra Stotsky – Harvard Graduate School of Education
Research Scholar in the School of Education at Northeastern University
Senior Associate Commissioner at the Massachusetts Department of Education
Research Associate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education
Consultant, United States Information Service and the U.S. State Department (developed civic education programs in Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Romania)
Chair, Sadlier-Oxford Mathematics Advisory Board
Member, Advisory Board for the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School, Marlborough, Massachusetts
Member, ERIC Steering Committee for the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences
Member, Steering Committee for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading assessment framework for 2009.
Editor, What’s at Stake in the K-12 Standards Wars: A Primer for Educational Policy Makers (Peter Lang, 2000)
Author, Losing Our Language (Free Press, 1999, reprinted by Encounter Books, 2002)
Her publications address “School-related influences on grade 8 mathematics performance in Massachusetts”(Third Education Group Review, 2005) and Progress in Mathematics Research Base (a 2005 review of mathematics education research and related reading research, for W.H. Sadlier, Inc.).
Teacher, elementary school, French and German at the high school level, and undergraduate and graduate courses in reading, children’s literature, and writing pedagogy.

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  1. Typical behavior emanating from Cottage Place. And they wonder why they are never taken seriously.

    This just proves the point – the math moms were right all along, Regina and company are dead set against anything other than constructivist math.

    How sad that Daniel Fishbein is proving to be such an inept leader.

  2. “…why would Regina Botsford and Daniel Fishbein pass up such an offer?”

    Because it doesn’t support their quest to preserve the discredited constructivist math agenda they so cherish.

  3. Unbelievable!!! How could our district pass up this extraordinary opportunity? There isn’t one valid reason to turn Dr. Stotsky away. Not ONE!! This action on Dan and Regina’s part clearly demonstrates their agenda. BOE PLEASE step up to the plate and represent the tax-payers that elected you to demand our admins to do what’s in the best interest of our children! I beg you, PLEASE! You can be our heroes!

  4. Could this be true? What a loss to the district. Truly sad I think.

  5. Where is it shown that a) Dr Stotsky offered to help RPS, and b) RPS turned her down?

    I haven’t seen this in the local papers or on the RPS web site.

  6. Maybe they were afraid of her. But get real Dan the man and Regina the King. This was a stupid move politically, not to mention educationally. But then again, you don’t really care about education. It’s all lip service to you folks. I’m pretty fed up with both you. Wish you were outta here.

  7. From the U.S. Department of Education website. Not that I’m an expert but it sounds like she is extraordinarily well qualified to assist Ridgewood in selecting a program that fits our students and community.

    “Sandra Stotsky is an independent researcher and consultant in education and resides in Brookline, Massachusetts. She also directs a one-week summer institute on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, titled We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, co-sponsored by the Lincoln and Therese Filene Foundation and the Center for Civic Education in California.

    From 2004 to 2006, she was a Research Scholar in the School of Education at Northeastern University. From 1999 to 2003, she was Senior Associate Commissioner at the Massachusetts Department of Education. During that period, she directed complete revisions of the state’s licensing regulations for teachers, administrators, and teacher training schools, the state’s tests for teacher licensure, and the state’s PreK-12 standards for mathematics, history and social science, English language arts and reading, science and technology/engineering, early childhood (preschool), and instructional technology. She planned and directed two major research projects on middle school mathematics education and a number of research reports on various curricular areas in PreK-12. In addition, she planned and directed statewide conferences for the Department on history education, character education, mathematics education, and Structured English Immersion. She also helped to shape policies on teacher professional development and license renewal, and supervised the review of proposals from school districts for state and federal funds for professional development activities.

    From 1984 to 2000, she was a research associate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education affiliated with the Philosophy of Education Research Center (PERC). For 12 years, she directed a summer institute on civic education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, sponsored by the Lincoln and Therese Filene Foundation. From 1991-1997, she served as editor of Research in the Teaching of English, the research journal sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English. On a consultant basis from 1992 to 2002, she worked for the United States Information Service and the U.S. State Department on the development of civic education programs in Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Romania with educators and ministry officials from Eastern Europe. She has taught elementary school, French and German at the high school level, and undergraduate and graduate courses in reading, children’s literature, and writing pedagogy.

    She is editor of What’s at Stake in the K-12 Standards Wars: A Primer for Educational Policy Makers (Peter Lang, 2000) and author of Losing Our Language (Free Press, 1999, reprinted by Encounter Books, 2002). Her publications address many areas and disciplines in education and include “School-related influences on grade 8 mathematics performance in Massachusetts”(Third Education Group Review, 2005) and Progress in Mathematics Research Base (a 2005 review of mathematics education research and related reading research, for W.H. Sadlier, Inc.).

    She currently serves as Chair of the Sadlier-Oxford Mathematics Advisory Board, member of the Advisory Board for the Advanced Math and Science Academy Charter School, Marlborough, Massachusetts, member of the Advisory Board for the Shimer University Core Knowledge Educational Initiative, member of the Advisory Board for Pioneer Institute’s Center for School Reform, and member of the Advisory Board for the Carus Publishing Company. She is also on the ERIC Steering Committee for the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences. She served on the Steering Committee for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading assessment framework for 2009. She received a B.A. degree with distinction from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in reading research and reading education with distinction from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.”

  8. So we have Nancy Shultz, little miss Stalag 13 from Montclair or Sandra Stotsky, National Math Panel, Harvard Univ. Yep. I am having a tough time picking between these two. I say, we go with the dumber one, that way, I can look smart by comparison. Nancy it is.
    NO joke. This is how public school executive decisions are made.

  9. Specifically, how was Dr. Stotsky’s offer made and rejected? If there any paper trail on this or is this rumor/innuendo? Was it an informal offer made from collegue to collegue at a conference or a written request to join the already in place “panel of experts (LOL)?

    I’d love to see the paper rejection of this offer and the BOE’s reasoning. I swear I’d make copies and hand them out all over town.

    Anyone know?

  10. 4:48 are you waiting for the district press release to announce this high level stupid decision? How suicidal do you really think they are? Curious, no word of a denial from RPS.

  11. Thanks 4:53 for posting that info. Can’t believe we would turn down someone like this lady. What could be going on at Cottage Place?

    Does the board of ed have info on this? They are the ultimate responsible entity. I hope parents take this up at the next board meeting.

  12. I am dismayed that our new superintendent did not welcome the contribution of such an obviously accomplished and learned person such as Dr. Stotsky. What could possibly be the rationale?

    Does’nt it seem funny that Ms. Nancy Schultz is on both the advisory panel and the math expert panel. She is a paid consultant who works for Montclair State and has ties to Pierson Publishing, the folks who sold us Everyday Math.

    Let’s see, Ms. Shultz’s background consists of pedaling a failed teaching method and working at a third rate teachers’ college while Ms. Stotsky hails from Harvard and has a long list of educational accomplishments.

    Don’t try to tell me there isn’t a political agenda emanating from Cottage Place. This whole process stinks to high heaven.

  13. Some one should ask Mr. Valerini about this. I bet he can shed some light on the subject.

    Hey Joe, what say you?

  14. If a person of Dr. Stotsky’s caliber was within the District’s grasp, I find it hard to believe that anyone in the administration would not pursue getting her. It’s just ridiculous to presume, as we all are doing here, that she was.

  15. We have three men and one woman on our math team of experts. As a district that cares deeply, deeply about diversity, we should have ensured that our three men were balanced with three women. For that reason, in addition to all the others, we should have invited Sandra Stotsky to the mathematics tea party. As another poster pointed out, we have become a lip service community.

  16. 5:19 how long have you lived here. just visiting I guess otherwise you would know better.

  17. It’s true and I have the proof, but I will keep it in confidence because it was info shared with me by a district parent. Daniel Fishbein did turn down inviting her after she offered her services for free. From what I understand, they would only have to cover her travel from Mass.

  18. Maybe the RN will call up Fishbein and ask him about this. If it’s true, he will have to explain and if it’s an unsubstantiated rumor, then he will have the chance to disavow it.

    God help him if it’s true, though. We are a high performing district and that is the reason why we continue to pay the taxes asked of us. We don’t want to be as good as Montclair or Rutgers, or City College (from whence the other unproven math experts emanate). We aspire to much more for our children. Fishbein, pray it isn’t so.

  19. Now that we know Fishbein is a useless idiot, the board should intervene. Is it too late to invite this lady to Ridgewood. Can’t this be fixed somehow. She sounds like exactly what we need. I noticed that Massachusetts ranked really high on the TIMMS, but I had no idea about her at the time. I’m also very impressed with her participation in NEAP. That is the true assessment of our children’s skills and achievements. Children ranked in the 70th percentile in the NJ standards tests rank only in the 30th percentile on the NEAP. NEAP should be our marker. It’s tougher and more high performing. The people we have invited to help us don’t seem to have any expertise with educational standards. How did we let this one get by us?

  20. 5:33 – hate to burst your bubble but “information shared with my by a district parent” is hardly proof. I’d like hard-core proof, something substantial, so that the BOE/Superintendent can be held accountable for this. Rumor amongst mommies and daddies does NOT cut it. Welcome to the real worlds.

  21. 6:03 PM you are not “bursting my bubble.” If the original recipient of that information wishes to share it, I’m sure that person will. But maybe that will burst your bubble so keep a towel handy.

  22. 5:33/6:30 — You were the one proclaiming you had “proof”. Nice story BUT keep it to yourself unless you can produce factual information. Hearsay is inadmissable in court for a reason.

    Show me the documentation. Solid evidence of an offer and a rejection. If your friend directly saw/heard something, I suggest he/she memorialize it if only for his/her files. If he/she decides to share it, the memorialization of the event at the time it took place is important. If you’re going to accuse someone of something then document, document, document.

    Accountability will only come when the Superintendent/BOE are presented with facts. (Okay, maybe not even then).

  23. “Rumor amongst mommies and daddies does NOT cut it. Welcome to the real worlds.”

    To the “rumor” poster — why not call Daniel Fishbein (201-670-2700) and ask him if it’s true. Then post the answer here so we’ll all be the wiser.

  24. 5:01 – I’d like to see some evidence that this really happened (i.e. Dr. Stotsky made herself available to the panel, but was rejected) or whether this is just a rumor. thanks, 4:48

  25. I sincerely hope that if this is true, the person who has this information will stand up at the next BOE meeting and request an explanation. I would also hope that it would make more people aware of what seems to be going on with our math panel. Maybe this will prove once and for all that the people who question/complain about Regina, et al. have a valid issue.

  26. Ask the Bd of Ed at the next public meeting!

  27. UN-BE-LIE-VA-BLE!!!!! They’d rather defend their agenda than restore the level of excellence that the Ridgewood school system used to take for granted? They said NOOOOO? If they don’t come up with good results next testing period, they should be sued personally for such obvious and spectacular “falling down on the job”.
    This has gone on long enough, and there are no excuses left except that they’re doing this on purpose.

    5:27, I hope that you’re being sarcastic about balancing men vs. women and just pick the best experts, people with a proven record of excellence. It seems that all this political correctness has been getting in the way of good judgement.

    Math has not changed, esp. math taught in the K-12 levels. Why was the Rwd School System one of the best (second to Waldwick’s) in Math, and now we’re having such a major problem? Because we’ve had egomaniacs fixing what was not broken to make a name for themselves. Throw the bums out!

  28. 5:33pm said, “It’s true and I have the proof… Daniel Fishbein did turn down inviting her (Ms. Stotsky) after she offered her services for free.”

    I concur, for I too have seen the proof as have others who read the blog.

  29. 5:33/6:30/12:46 – same people??

    Let’s see the proof. Give some details. We’re waiting.

  30. 5:27 PM here. I was making a joke about balancing women and men on the panel. It’s just so PC and hyper diversity sensitive, just the sort of thing our public schools advocate doing.

    Ironically, they didn’t do it in this regard.

  31. Extra, Extra! Read all about in The Ridgewood News!

    At your local news stands Friday morning and mail boxes by the afternoon.

  32. Let’s see the proof. Give some details. We’re waiting.

    This story sounds like mere hearsay & rumor-mongering

  33. I would have to disagree 4:16. Given the past predelictions of the BOE and the district administration, this sounds like just the sort of thing they would do. Don’t you think they would have been some denial from Cottage Place by now? They all read the blog.

    I am more curious as to why are you plagued with such disbelief? What if it is really true? What will you think of them then?

    PS: I don’t think you’ll have to wait long to find out. Fishbein’s already been queried on the matter and his response is now within reach of the public.

  34. I don’t care who’s at fault for this. I say let’s get this woman here now. I’ll even pay for her trip. I want the best decision made before all our elementary school children end up using one single math program.

  35. 5:27, sorry I assumed that you might be serious, but in writing you never know, i can’t see your face to see that you’re kidding…after the whole Christmas tree debacle where some ACTUALLY thought those were decorations, you realize that these days, even in RWD, the PC factor can run high!

  36. 4:11, are you serious about this being in the paper? I’d actually go out to buy it…

    4:26: AMEN! Homeowners in RWD paid $10,000s more for their homes than people who chose to live in neighboring towns, because of the RWD school system. A disproportionate amt of local taxes go to the school system (disproportionate, given that we also need to pay for Kumon/Sylvan/Kaplan etc) because the school system was given a lobotomy.

  37. 4:26 pm – Amen to that! Let’s get some “experts” on our expert panel. Let’s actually demand it!

  38. Some people like to do it in the dark. Remember what Al Pacino said in “Dogday Afternoon”: “Kiss Me!”.

  39. More district folly at work. Our administrators are paying Nancy Shultz from Montclair $250 per hour for approx. ten hours.

    They are paying Daro $2500 and they are paying on top of this for his trip to NJ — he’s based in California, you do the math.

    The other two are only in town for about 1/2 hour each. Don’t know what they may be getting, perhaps car fare.

    This math panel lady would give us her services for free (take that DARO) and all we would need to do is pay for her to come in from 2 states away.

    What is Fishbein and Regina hired to do? Turning her down, someone so skilled in precisely the sort of guidance we need is worse than a bad decision or folly. It’s MALPRACTICE.

    Regina are you this smart or experienced? IF so, you would have solved this as your job description indicates you should have done.

    Are you “Dr” Fishbein? Is Nancy Shultz, or Daro, or Rothstein? I read the brief bios on the RPS website. None of them, none of them have the actual experience we need.

    If these people worked for me they would be fired immediately.

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