PJ BLOGGER

For The Record…

In Uncategorized on January 13, 2009 at 2:43 pm

I understand a few folks are riled up about a Harvard-educated math person {Stotsky never claims to be a math person}, Dr. Stotsky, who supposedly {she did} “offered” her services to the District in our math quest. There’s an email circulating with plenty of misinformation and spin. {Where’s the email} 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.) {You are a Board member}

1) We are pretty far into the process {the process started this school year, thanks to the Board and administration} (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. {How can someone of this caliber bog things down? She understands this issue far better than you and would require no backtracking}

2) The Math Planning Team’s experts are also learned and experienced {Have you read anything other than the district’s bio info about these experts?} . One could argue {please specify the ONE} that they may be more math-focused than Dr. Stotsky, as my quick read {Shame on you for your quick read, this is a serious situation} of her background shows an emphasis also on reading/language. But I’ll agree that she’s at least “as expert” as the others. {You have just insulted a nationally and internationally acclaimed educator} (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!) {Ahhh, you know more than the National Math Panel; are you a mathematician, are you a math educator, are you a teacher, a scientist, a standards expert, a curricula expert, an administrator, oh that’s right… you are experienced in both communicating and Russian Studies. Hey at least in Russia, they know math}

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 {it’s Sadlier}-Oxford Mathematics). {Wrong again…. She sits on their Board of Directors} I have no idea if that company’s programs are being considered in Ridgewood {shouldn’t you?}, 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 {wrong again} by a parent with an agenda and admitted desire to undermine the administration {now this is just plain old nasty, hardly what we should expect from someone elected to represent the people, and by the way that’s all people, not the ones you want to represent}. It would not surprise me if District personnel were at least suspect of the motivations {motivations to get the best math program available}. (This is my guess; no one said this to me.) {Then why didn’t you call this supposed parent or respond to the email to verify your information}

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

6) The misinformation email {where’s the email} says there’s “no end in sight” in our math effort. That’s not true. {It is true if our district chooses a program that is brand-new, or unproven or controversial, or is the most expensive to the tax-payer, etc…}The Team is working according to a publicized schedule/plan and the end is certainly within sight {who’s sight, Regina’s?}.

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 {you’re kidding, right? Downplay the magnitude of MA’s accomplishment} — there were only a few states who even participated {now I have to ask, what’s your source of information?} 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) {Huh, what does this even mean?}. (And as an aside, isn’t Massachusetts the home of TERC/Investigations? {TERC Investigations was created by a Cambridge non-profit organization known as TERC} Aren’t they using it in a lot of schools there? {Wrong again Laurie, they dumped it many moons ago} What does that mean?. {again, huh?} Kind of ironic, at the very least!) {the only irony here is you making these statements}

You know what, Mr. Misinformation {tsk, tsk, name calling?} ? This is not helping {Is that what your intention was when writing this diatribe on your blog, to be helpful?}. (And by “this” I don’t mean talking about math. Talking and sharing are good. I welcome your comments {Apparently you don’t by the evidence you provide in your post}. What’s not helpful is spreading misinformation and trying to fan the flames.) {I couldn’t agree more, stop spreading misinformation and fanning the fire Laurie} We have a plan {Your plan is part of the smoke and mirrors effort}. We have smart Ridgewood educators working on the plan {so smart, they need to be advised on what program to choose for our k-5 math program and when all is said and done it will have taken 3 years}. We have experts advising our educators {Because our educators are so smart}. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Team comes up with and asking my questions at that time. {We are all looking forward to what questions you will ask!}

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  1. Laurie Goodman is like a “Charlie Riley wannabe”.

    I think Charlie could have written this arguement more articulately.

  2. Below is a list of of the members of President’s National Math Advisory Panel.

    Do all of these experts need to “get a fair hearing from the BOE” before people around here stop complaining”? Why is Dr. Stotsky treated differently from the other National Math Advisory Panel members?

    Chairman:

    Dr. Larry Faulkner, president of the Houston Endowment and President Emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin

    Other panelists:

    Dr. Camilla Benbow, Vice Chair of the National Math Panel, Dean of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University, Peabody College
    Dr. Deborah Ball, Dean, School of Education and Collegiate Professor, University of Michigan
    Dr. A. Wade Boykin, Professor and Director of the Developmental Psychology Graduate Program in the Department of Psychology, Howard University
    Dr. Francis “Skip” Fennell, Professor of Education, McDaniel College (Md.); President, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
    Dr. David Geary, Curators’ Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri at Columbia
    Dr. Russell Gersten, Executive Director, Instructional Research Group; Professor Emeritus, College for Education, University of Oregon
    Nancy Ichinaga, former Principal, Bennett-Kew Elementary School, Inglewood, Calif.
    Dr. Tom Loveless, Director, Brown Center on Education Policy and Senior Fellow in Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution
    Dr. Liping Ma, Senior Scholar for the Advancement of Teaching, Carnegie Foundation
    Dr. Valerie Reyna, Professor of Human Development and Professor of Psychology, Cornell University
    Dr. Wilfried Schmid, Professor of Mathematics, Harvard University
    Dr. Robert Siegler, Teresa Heinz Professor of Cognitive Psychology, Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University
    Dr. Jim Simons, President of Renaissance Technologies Corporation; former Chairman of the Mathematics Department, State University of New York at Stony Brook
    Dr. Sandra Stotsky, Independent researcher and consultant in education; former Senior Associate Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Education
    Vern Williams, Math Teacher, Longfellow Middle School, Fairfax, Va.
    Dr. Hung-Hsi Wu, Professor of Mathematics, University of California at Berkeley

    Ex-officion members:

    Dan Berch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health
    Diane Jones, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
    Tom Luce, Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Education
    Kathie Olsen, Deputy Director, National Science Foundation
    Raymond Simon, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Education
    Grover (Russ) Whitehurst, Director, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education

  3. 1:14pm

    She’s she not be treated special, let’s get more of these folks.

    If we can get Dr. Wilfried Schmid, Professor of Mathematics, Harvard University here, then we should listen to him.

    I don’t see Nancy Schultz on the list or the Rutgers guy.

  4. 1:14 PM –

    Can you please provide a list of the members of President’s National Math Advisory Panel that are directly involved with the Ridgewood BOE and their level of input?

    Thanks.

  5. Minnesota also scored high on the TIMMS…

    “Alice Seagren, Minnesota commissioner of education, said the state in 2003 revamped its education standards, which include a focus on learning math facts, such as the multiplication tables, in early grades. Many Minnesota schools devoted 90-minute, rather than 45-minute, blocks to math and reading.”

    Are we focusing on multiplication tables?

  6. “Parents in Massachusetts and Minnesota are wealthier and more highly educated than the U.S. averages, advantages that traditionally translate into higher scores. But Massachusetts officials point to success in classrooms such as those of Arthur T. Talmadge Elementary School in Springfield. The school has reported some of the highest math scores on state tests, despite a school population in which three-quarters of the students are classified as low-income.

    Elizabeth Crowley, the school’s principal, says 271-student Talmadge has instituted a before-school tutoring program that draws 76 kids in third and fourth grades. Talmadge also has a longer school day than many in the state, including 90-minute daily blocks of math and half an hour of nightly fourth-grade math homework. “It’s about high expectations and following through,” Ms. Crowley said. “We’re pretty demanding. We teach them and expect them to do the work and stick with it until they grasp the concept.”

    Does Ridgewood give 30 minutes of math homework nightly?

  7. Regina needs lower standards to match her own level of intellect. Have you all noticed that when our scores come in and they are lower than previous years she proclaims that this is “an opportunity for growth.”

  8. Oh dear me. I could faint looking at all those “political” people on the president’s panel.

    Poor Ms. Goodman does not know that the art of governing is, by its very nature, a political one. I think the word has a negative meaning to her. This says much about her own polarizing politics. She is oh, so transparent about her true agenda and politics.

  9. 2:12 Ridgewood gives 10 min. math homework at the most.
    Tutoring our kids is a necessity not a luxury.

  10. Hey I dig Math,

    Based on the facts Dr. Stotsky is not being treated differently than other members of the Presidents Math Panel. She expressed interest in assisting the BOE’ Math Panel. This information was passed on to the BOE and then on to the Administration, where it was decided that her input was not necessary.
    To answer the question will we “stop complaining”. Hell NO! Why would we or should we? Since when has demanding the best become a negative in Ridgewood? Why shouldn’t we ask for an explanation on why they chose to not seat the doctor on the panel? Its very clear the panel is loaded to insure the outcome the Administration wants. Those of us voicing our opinion believe this predecided outcome is not in the best interest of our kids.
    So you may choose to dismiss us as complainers,but just like the BOE you would be wrong.

  11. “Are we focusing on multiplication tables?”

    “Does Ridgewood give 30 minutes of math homework nightly?”

    Do we have “90-minute daily blocks of math”?

    Do we have “a longer school day than many in the state”?

    And most importantly…
    Are we “pretty demanding”? Do “we teach them and expect them to do the work and stick with it until they grasp the concept.”?

    Of course not!

    How primitive.
    How boorish.
    How boring!

    We’re Ridgewood.
    We’re progressive!
    We don’ need no stinkin’ multiplication tables
    We don’t need no stinkin’ math homework!
    We don’t need no stinkin’ President’s Math Panel!
    We don’t need to pass no stinkin’ math tests!

    We are so bright that we will evolve into mathematicians through osmosis!
    That’s how good our math program is!
    We are better!
    We know better!
    We are the Ridgewood BOE!

  12. Since when has demanding the best become a negative in Ridgewood?

    I’d like to know the answer to this as well.

  13. 6:34 since Sheila Brogan took over the BOE and WILL NOT LEAVE!

  14. It was said that Laurie Goodman was a clone of Shelia during her run for the BOE. Little did we know that she was more like Charlie Reilly. Attack your opponents when you can not defend your opinion with the facts.

    It ceases to amaze me that Ridgewood would ignore the likes of Dr. Stotsky for Nancy Schultz.

    This issue will not be settled until the parents are satisfied that the math program is world class in Ridgewood.

    Capitan Dan you need to get out in front of this issue or your tenure will be brief.

  15. She expressed interest in assisting the BOE’ Math Panel.

    To be more specific: Dr. Stotsky was contacted by a Ridgewood citizen in attempt to recruit her to the Ridgewood Math Panel.

    No one else on the NMP was recruited.

    Why don’t we have all NMP contacted and recruited by Ridgewood citizens? That way, the Math Panel won’t make its decision until 2015.

  16. 1. Do you focus on multiplication tables and math facts?

    2. Do you give 30 minutes of math homework nightly?

    3. Do you teach 90-minute daily blocks of math?

    4. Are you willing to work a longer school day than many in the state?

    5. Are you pretty demanding?

    6. Do you teach them and expect them to do the work and stick with it until they grasp the concept.?

    —————
    How to get hired to teach in Ridgewood:

    Answer NO to all of the above questions.

    —————
    How to get voted onto the Ridgewood BOE:

    Run opposed to all of the above questions as your platform.

  17. 1108 no chance parents in this town love the spec ed math….

  18. 8:09 am –

    what the hell are you talking about? What special ed math?

    I’ve got two special ed kids and they receive the standard math curriculum. If there’s “special ed math” running around out there, I’ve not seen it.

    If you are using “special ed math” as a substitute term for “reform math”, you are a dolt.

  19. I think I know what 8:09 am is talking about. CMP2 was adopted because principals, some teachers and Regina felt that it served the special ed kids very well. That was the reason, I was given by one principal when I asked.

  20. 9:18 PM

    “That way, the Math Panel won’t make its decision until 2015.”

    Hey dopey, the President’s math panel made it’s decision last year. Any idiot can use it as a checklist as to what should be in a math program. As a matter of fact, I’m sure that the Houghton Mifflin salesperson can prove her program meets all the NMAP requirements and NJ requirements.

    I am still amazed that we can spend $20,000 for a focus group and then another few thousand for Ms. Schutz and team, when we pay Regina Botsford and the other curriculum person(can’t remember who is in that spot now) over 100,000 dollars a year each as curriculum people.

    And we will have paid all this money to get garage like Everyday Math or enVision.

    And then we will get told there is a budget shortfall and we can’t hire teachers if we don’t approve the budget.

  21. Just read Mr. Sheehans response to Mrs.Goodmans post. Could you please put it in the answers to this post also? It is quite interesting

  22. Prey tell 9:18, how does a non BOE Ridgewood resident recruit a member of the Presidents Math Panel, to become a member of the OUR math panel? The answer is they can’t! I stand by my original statement “she expressed interest”
    and this information was passed onto the BOE.
    Is it now illegal for individuals who are activly involved in trying to improve math [not only in Ridgewood but throughout the state], to have conversations with experts in the field?
    Why are you so suspicious?
    Can’t you possibly see the good that could come from Dr.Stotsky addition to OUR math panel?
    The idea that individuals acting for the better good of us all, should not be a lost concept.
    Is the BOE and the administration so sure they have the right mix on the math panel? Remember they didn’t know which way to go in the first place.

  23. My child’s teacher tried to give more Math homework and other parents complained about too much homework. Now, with parent approval, the teacher gives extra work to the parents who approve.

  24. 4:58 pm – You don’t need anyone’s approval to give your child extra practice. You are responsible for your own child. suggest that if you are not satisfied with the amount of home practice your child receives, you download an additional sheet or two each night. Taking matters into your own hands works wonders!

  25. 1:20 PM –

    Taking matters into your own hands does work.
    But that is not the question… the question is where is the value? Where is the quality?

    We are spending a lot of money on what is touted to be a top shelf education, but as currently delivered, it REQUIRES supplementation to reach the baseline level.
    There is something very wrong with a “top tier” mathematics program that NEEDS supplementation in order for its students to achieve a basic level of competency.

    I will ALWAYS supplement my children’s education, because education is the gateway to their future. That is not the issue. The issue is that I should not HAVE to supplement my child’s education just so they can climb out of the academic hole they were placed in by a highly regarded school system for which I am paying top dollar. Instead, I should have the OPTION of providing my children with supplemental education to ENHANCE their knowledge and give them an even greater advantage in the future.

  26. 4:58/5:21 – so to clarify, the issue for you is the content of the homework not necessarily the amount of it. You said you wanted additional homework — not traditional math supplementation. Your issue is one of the mathematic program and training your child is receiving. I agree with you completely on this issue.

    This year, my child’s teacher is sending home, in addition to EM garbage, worksheets she makes up herself that are thoughtful, creative and educational (imagine that!). I’m downloading less this year thanks to this extraordinary, and brand spanking new out of college, teacher. Good to know that there is a newbie out there who hasn’t caught the reformed math fever; Maybe because her parents are educators!

  27. 5:59 –

    I am 5:21, but not 4:58.

    Basically for me it’s disappointment in the current math program put in place by the BOE and disappointment in many residents who back this bad program either actively or via indifference, ignorance or blind trust.

    I think the mathematics curriculum is lacking and (as part of the program) the amount and quality of the homework is insufficient.

    As for the teachers, there are some very, very good teachers in the Ridgewood School System – probably more than in many other districts. However, not all are good (in fact some are quite substandard) and you need to carefully navigate though the school if you want to give your child the best education possible.

    GIVEN all of the money (and effort) that is poured into our schools, the poor math program and uneven experience is disappointing.

    I have managed to get the most out of the school system so far for my children, but a lot of my efforts should have been put toward enhancing my children’s education, not backfilling gaps or undoing damage.

    I am glad that you got one of the many good dedicated Ridgewood teachers – just be aware that that while there are many other excellent teachers working in Ridgewood, there are also a number of teachers who don’t rise to the same standard.

    I wonder if 4:58 will respond.

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