PJ BLOGGER

So here is the spin on Dr. Stotsky from Laurie Goodman

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2009 at 4:43 pm

Did you hear the one about the math expert who wasn’t invited to the party?

I understand a few folks are riled up about a Harvard-educated math person, Dr. Stotsky, who supposedly “offered” her services to the District in our math quest. There’s an email circulating with plenty of misinformation and spin. Here’s my PERSONAL take on, and clarification of, the situation. (And, just so we’re clear, by “personal” I mean these are my opinions and perspectives only and I am in no way speaking for the Board.)

1) We are pretty far into the process (as the email writer says, 2 years) and the administration may feel that to bring in new participants now might bog things down, require backtracking, etc. I can understand that. We need to keep moving forward, the community has waited long enough.

2) The Math Planning Team’s experts are also learned and experienced. One could argue that they may be more math-focused than Dr. Stotsky, as my quick read of her background shows an emphasis also on reading/language. But I’ll agree that she’s at least “as expert” as the others. (And BTW, the more I learn about the politics involved in the National Math Panel, the less I view its report as the 10 Commandments, nor its participants as the high priests of math…sorry, not sure why I veered into religious terminology!)

3) Dr. Stotsky should not be characterized as a somehow “more objective” observer. Like many mathematics experts, she is also a consultant to a textbook company (Sadler-Oxford Mathematics). I have no idea if that company’s programs are being considered in Ridgewood, but the point is, everyone has a point of view; seems to me there is no such thing as a truly objective expert.

4) Dr. Stotsky did not benignly “learn of” our internal math divisions but rather was actively recruited by a parent with an agenda and admitted desire to undermine the administration. It would not surprise me if District personnel were at least suspect of the motivations. (This is my guess; no one said this to me.)

5) There has been no direct communication between Dr. Stotsky and the District administration. She did not approach, write, call or email the District.

6) The misinformation email says there’s “no end in sight” in our math effort. That’s not true. The Team is working according to a publicized schedule/plan and the end is certainly within sight.

7) The email mentions Dr. Stotsky’s involvement in Massachusetts’ high scores in the TIMMS test, and that Mass is “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.” The truth of Massachusetts’ TIMMS performance should be taken with a grain of salt — there were only a few states who even participated in the tests as states. New Jersey did not. (It’s my understanding that any state or group of schools can pay to be scored as a group). The test mainly measures countries’ performance. Also, Massachusetts is not New Jersey (in a nutshell). (And as an aside, isn’t Massachusetts the home of TERC/Investigations? Aren’t they using it in a lot of schools there? What does that mean?. Kind of ironic, at the very least!)

You know what, Mr. Misinformation? This is not helping. (And by “this” I don’t mean talking about math. Talking and sharing are good. I welcome your comments. What’s not helpful is spreading misinformation and trying to fan the flames.) We have a plan. We have smart Ridgewood educators working on the plan. We have experts advising our educators. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Team comes up with and asking my questions at that time.

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  1. pj you should set up a math tutor biz so parents can rate and coordinate which tutors work best for which kids…

  2. Thanks to Laurie Goodman for this thoughtful and informative piece.

  3. 1244 yes thanks laurie we miss you but why do you hide your education blog?

  4. yes 1244 laurie wink wink..lol

  5. so the BOE is going to lie about this as much as they lied about marty brooks? some things never change

  6. pj you know as well as i do that there are some misstatements in her retort ….

  7. This woman doesn’t seem very informed on the state of mathematics in this country. It sounds like she’s getting her information only from the admininstrators within our district.

    She uses the phrase “Harvard-educated math person” like this is a bad thing. (Those Harvard folks have cooties.) Dr. Stotsky earned her doctorate with distinction at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and was appointed by Secretary of Education Margaret Spelling to the math panel. She certainly is more qualified than a Montclair State consultant and Rutgers professor who makes their living on reform math.

    1) In my opinion, our BOE is far into the process because they decided on Everyday Math a long time ago.

    2) Again, the Ridgewood Math Panel’s team consists of people with vested interests in reform math.

    She learned of the politics involved in the Math Panel. Did she learn that traditionalist conceded quite a bit to reform thinkers so that the findings would be respected? Does she understand that it was an even panel – reform and traditional thinkers? Does she think Ridgewood should ignore the Math Panel because it was “political”? Does she understand that reform math was created to make math easier for minorities and women? Isn’t that political?

    3) Sadler-Oxford is not being considered. It a very high quality, challenging math program.

    4) God bless those parents who continue to fight the BOE with an agenda of high quality math for all. Does she really think it is sinister, wanting really good math and a Harvard person to help get it. What will these evil parents do next? Ask for grammar in the elementary schools? Oh the horror, we will have to teach the kids about “proper nouns.”

    5) Perhaps Dr. Stoksy didn’t contact the district. Perhaps a well meaning parent said they could get her here if the district would accept her. Our district said – WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ HARVARD GUYS.

    6) The end is near, we all will have Everyday Math or it’s new red headed step-sister – enVision.

    7) Massachusett’s has some very high state standards and has increased daily math instruction time to 90 minutes a day. Did she know that? Can we get 90 minutes a day in Ridgewood?

    “Smart Ridgewood Educators” – yep, we are so smart we don’t need to listen to National Standards or Worldwide rankings.

  8. What Laurie Goodman doesn’t know about math could fill volumes.

  9. Laurie has demonstrated the main reason our BOE is so ineffective. They are fed info from Dan the Man and Regina the King INSTEAD of finding the info for themselves. Laurie, you are wrong and I think you owe that “parent” you point your finger at an apology. Or are you now following suit with our administrators that parent input is unwanted? Or does it depend on the parent that’s giving the input?

  10. Laurie, a person in your position should not write such a defensive post. Doing so must mean that you know there’s some truth in what’s been said.

    Either that, or it could mean something worse. A true intellectual would be secure enough to work with concerned citizens and engage them in open, honest dialogue. Not look for holes and cracks and bash the concerned citizens who only want the best for the kids.

    So either way, there’s a problem. Either you know there’s some truth and you’re combatting it, or you’re a moron.

  11. Well said laurie. This is why I voted for you.

  12. its seems the policy of both the VC and BOE to act guilty no matter ,keep it up laurie they will make you governor !!!!lol

  13. Wow Laurie, what are you so afraid of?

    Do you have a copy of that email you reference? I’d like to read the whole thing. Or did you just make that up too.

  14. Ms. Goodman is this your attempt to communicate?

    Please, enlighten me.

  15. Laurie said: 4) Dr. Stotsky did not benignly “learn of” our internal math divisions but rather was actively recruited by a parent with an agenda and admitted desire to undermine the administration. It would not surprise me if District personnel were at least suspect of the motivations.”

    You just jumped the shark Laurie. This is a math debate, we are not under attack by the Taliban. Lady you are mental.

  16. I think Laurie has just redefined “misinformation.”

  17. It was not defensive at all. She can explain herself in a manner that almost all of you can understand. The others are hopeless.

  18. Why is there even a poll on this blog that asks this:

    Did Dr. Sandra Stotsky get a fair hearing from the BOE?
    – Yes
    – No

    Does Dr. Stotsky have children that go to Ridgewood Public Schools and this would warrant “getting a fair hearing” from the BOE???

  19. The board is not obligated to canvass every professional on the subject of math. They have been working on this for two years, and a person – who is not a part of the project – decides that there is someone else that they need to see. The board is not obligated to jump on it.

    Next time get elected. Don’t throw yourself into the middle of a Board of Ed project.

    Laurie’s take on this was very well thought out. That is why we elected her – and not the complainers.

  20. Wow.

    Laurie has never looked more ignorant. I can’t believe that the Residents of Ridgewood could have voted for such an empty shell.

  21. On the agenda for tonight: another old-world math teacher retiring. Make way for another newbie, trained only in reform math.

    The math issues isn’t only about curriculum, folks. It’s about poorly trained teachers coming out of ed school.

  22. The sad and abysmal math scenario in Ridgewood did not happen overnight. We used to be second to Waldwick in the 70s-late 80s ….so whoever changed the books/curriculum/scope and sequence/hired crappy teachers etc is at fault, which of course, is the BoE. How many years did it take the BoE to fix it, and why, given the resources it has, didn’t it invite the best?

    Point 4 is priceless: Dr. Stotsky was “recruited” by a parent “WITH AN AGENDA”. Let me tell you, the only AGENDA a parent has, is for his/her children to excel, which in terms of education is key! Seeing that the BoE is having planning meetings to have meetings to have meetings, what parent wouldn’t want to undermine the “paralysis through analysis” agenda which also includes getting third-rate “expoyts” from third-rate colleges who tout “New Math” [sic] ?

  23. 2:17, 4:26 aka Charlie Reilly get a grip and stop flacking for the BOE. Even they don’t want you.

  24. 4:49 – My child has Mrs. Vojack during the year of the CMP2 roll out. I think she tried to, for the most part, roll with the program give her but when she got frustrated with the nonsense, my child reported that she would throw her arms up and say “let me explain it another way” and go back to traditional math.

    After all of the years of teaching, it was hard to pull the wool over this seasoned educators eyes!

    Mrs. Vojack — you will be missed by students and parents alike. Enjoy your retirement.

  25. This post was misplaced. It should go on this thread ====

    Laurie wrote “by a parent with an agenda and admitted desire to undermine the administration.

    Tsk, tsk, Laurie:

    You should apologize to all parents. This is not just one parent who wants better math. It is many, many parents. How dare you insult us in this manner? What, pray tell, is your agenda? We want stronger math in our elementary schools. What do you want? You sicken me. So much for your touted skills as a “communicator.” That comment was nothing short of disgusting and rude.

  26. “I’m looking forward to seeing what the Team comes up with and asking my questions at that time.”

    Apart from the obvious point that IT WILL BE TOO LATE ONCE THE TEAM PICKS A PROGRAM, what questions are you going to ask Laurie? How low can we go???????

  27. Laurie, you have joined the board of education, not a sorority.

    The fact that the board has been working on this for 2 years is a clear sign they don’t know what they’re doing. It’s a great example of how “group activity” in math can produce bullsh*t. Since no one in the group knows math, they can’t solve the problem.

    Compare that to the work of the math panel who also met for two years. In that amount of time they managed to review more than 16,000 research studies. They also produced a lenghty final report that includes information we should be embracing, not rejecting. We can’t keep moving forward if we are going in the wrong direction.

    BTW, the math planning team does not have any experts – who are you referring to? And what math experts have you talked to? Apparently none.

  28. 2:17 – You must have voted in another town because Ridgewood did not have any referendum question during the last BOE election. If your buns are burning, you must have an anger management issue.

  29. Laurie’s perfect for the BOE.

    She’s bashing a parent or two and telling them to shut up.

    She making a really moronic arguement in favor of inferior curriculum that many parents don’t want.

    Next she’ll pull a Charlie Riley and buy an add in the paper to malign concerned parents.

    What a class act this one is.

  30. “The board is not obligated to canvass every professional on the subject of math. They have been working on this for two years…”

    Oh yea, they did that pilot of TERC2 at Travell and THE PARENTS SAID THEY HATED THE MATH.

    They did that consultant thing – 20,000 or so – and THE PARENTS SAID THEY HATED THE MATH.

    Now they’ve got a loaded team of reform math people – and THE PARENTS SAID THEY HATED THE MATH.

    Notice any common variable here???

  31. The only good news is that the Willard and Hawes folks will have reform math too.

    Now ALL THE PARENTS can be unhappy, not just a few.

  32. Laurie Goodman has shown her true colors. How long did it take her to become a Stepford boe member?

  33. PJ
    I need an intervention. I’d rather shoot myself in the head than spend anymore time watching these people (the BOE) on my computer.

  34. 4:26, you say that the BoE has been working on the Math for TWO years as if it were a good thing. are you kidding? Were they writing it the books?

    We’re not talking here about identifying the stars and planets of the the Milky Way, just look at the best programs that are NOTHING like the one they’re using, order a full set, analyse. They should not look at every math curriculum published, just the ones that have shown most success….two years to find a winning program is what we call paralysis through analysis, and shows that the BoE is unwilling to let go of its ideas, and just through motions to reinforce their point. Let’s see what new “insights” they come up with, after two, count them TWO years!

  35. I think you guys might be overreacting just a bit. Laurie didn’t say anything about silencing parents or how they shouldn’t stick up for what they want want for their children. She said she wanted to clear up some things she thought weren’t true in that email and on this Blog. I don’t agree with her but I have read and re-read her blog post and I don’t see where she says anything against parents. At the end she even said she wantsp people to speak up. Are we missing something?

  36. Laurie said: “We are pretty far into the process (as the email writer says, 2 years) and the administration may feel that to bring in new participants now might bog things down, require backtracking, etc.”

    This is the third excuse offered by either a board member or the administration for not inviting Dr. Stotsky. So far, this is the most disingenuous one. The math team has only had 2 visits from its 4-member panel. Neither Daro nor Posementier has been here yet and they are both only booked for 30 minute sessions. Are we too far into the process to bring them in now? What is this Goodman person up to? Something really doesn’t smell right about this whole thing.

    She also says: “The Math Planning Team’s experts are also learned and experienced. One could argue that they may be more math-focused than Dr. Stotsky…” Well, if they are so learned and experienced and more math focused, how come they weren’t picked to sit on the national math panel and Dr. Stotsky was? Is Goodman just someone to spout idiot nonsense as it suits her?

    Goodman next adds: “the more I learn about the politics involved in the National Math Panel, the less I view its report as the 10 Commandments, nor its participants as the high priests of math.”

    Please Ms. Goodman, enlighten us oh high priestess of our math team. What “politics” are you referencing? Are you actually saying that because diverse views on math education and a wide array of math experts sat on the President’s panel that this inherently constitutes a political assembly whose research and work need to be dismissed out of hand? Are you kidding me? And I suppose from where you sit (or are you lying down as you wrote your screed) you can detect no “politics” from the Ridgewood BoE’s attempt at managing this process to a predetermined outcome to reform math. Let’s just ignore the fact the the entire Ridgewood math team of experts are proponents of reform math. Let’s just conveniently ignore this so you can spout even more nonsense to the public. Oh, and let’s keep your religion out of it.

    And this from you is precious and a classic example of misinformation: “Like many mathematics experts, she is also a consultant to a textbook company (Sadler-Oxford Mathematics).”

    She serves on the board of Sadlier-Oxford and is not a consultant to the company. In fact so does Posementier. How come he’s ok in spite of this fact but somehow she isn’t. And haven’t you forgotten our dear friend Nancy Schultz who proselytizes reform math for Prism and earns her living being a cavalier follower of this creed. Somehow, she’s ok too. This is beyond hypocricy. Perhaps you are intellectually challenged.

    Goodman next says: “The misinformation email says there’s “no end in sight” in our math effort. That’s not true.” First, where’s the email? Why not share it with us? How is it being distributed? Are you the only person to get it? Frankly, Laurie, there is no end in sight. After you settle on Regina’s choice of a reform math program, we will all be right back where we started… with dumbed down math, retraining of our smart teachers, poor results from our students and very angry parents.

    Ridgewood will become a textbook study for How to Screw Up Math Education Without Really Trying!

  37. Dear Ms. Goodman,

    I am dismayed and surprised by your 13 January 2009 post on the Ridgewood Blog in which you accused a parent of ‘undermining the administration’ by offering Sandra Stotsky, a distinguished math standards expert, to consult with RPS’ Math Planning Team (MPT). You couldn’t have chosen a more negative characterization of the parent’s actions. Instead this parent should be complimented for attempting to provide balance to the MPT, whose external advisors are far to one side of the ideological divide.

    The external advisors Daro, Rosenstein, and Schultz represent a point of view shared by far fewer than 1% of mathematicians. They are the ‘understanding first’ and ‘multiple solutions’ crowd that leave little time for our children to become fluent in standard algorithms for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. These algorithms are efficient and they provide the foundations of algebra.

    The only advisor with a point of view respected by mathematicians is Posamentier, but his chances of providing balance are slim. He has only 30 minutes with the MPT, while Daro was given an entire day, and Schultz is both a member of the team and an external advisor. If the external advisors represented both sides of the ideological divide, and all were given equal time, then I would agree that we don’t need Stotsky.

    Most outrageous is your characterization of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel (NMAP) as ‘political,’ and your insinuation that it’s being treated as dogmatic religious text. In my view the NMAP report is far more balanced than the MPT: It acknowledges the importance of reform math, but cautions that traditional mathematical rigor should not be compromised. But the education establishment you have chosen to defend is deeply threatened by the NMAP report. It’s a simplistic cheap shot to dismiss it as political.

    I hoped when you were elected that you would be a voice for concerned parents. Instead it seems that you’ve become that administration’s biggest cheer leader.

    John G. Sheehan, Ph.D.

  38. The Ridgewood BoE, and especially Ms. Goodman, simply does not get it. How else to explain their position that

    1) the panel of experts chosen is balanced;
    2) the President’s Math Panel is political as Goodman seeks to paint it;
    3) Regina is really the right leader to solve this problem after she has failed publicly and miserably since her tenure began in Ridgewood;
    4) Fishbein is somehow going to make this right;
    5) the Ridgewood administration still has the confidence of the thinking public;
    6) elementary school children can and will be guinea pigs for whatever might be the newest fads in curriculum;
    7) the math team should have spent any time at all, any time! reviewing a program pushed by Nancy Schultz called EnVision. This is a computer teacher program meant to help failing public schools in depressed neighborhoods where the gym teacher may end up teaching math;
    8) the public has confidence in this unbalanced math team;
    9) that this process will protect them when a reform program is chosen.

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