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I am dismayed and surprised by your 13 January 2009 post on the Ridgewood Blog

In BOE, math wars, NMAP, Ridgewood New Jersey, Ridgewood Schools, Sandra Stosky on January 14, 2009 at 10:58 pm

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.

Free Tax Returns.com Inc.

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  1. John bless your heart for setting straight that poor misguided woman. I had expected more from Goodman but now find myself totally disappointed. It was simply shocking that she would dismiss the work of hundreds of mathematicians, educators and researchers over a two year period as “political.” Her mention of religion was but a Freudian slip. It is she who has abandoned the side of careful study and reason for the zealotry that underpins reformed math dogma. I am saddened for the children of Ridgewood. They deserve better representation, certainly the kind a PhD like you would have provided.

  2. We don’t need no stinkin’ PHDs in Chemistry!!!

  3. John,

    Thank you so much for writing to Laurie. You have put into words what so many of us have thought. Well written. Could you run for the Board?

  4. In what field of study does Dr. Sheehan have a doctorate?

  5. One of the hard sciences… chemistry maybe?

  6. Thankfully, Sheehan has a doctorate. Is there anyone, anyone in the education industry in Ridgewood that actually has one? NO. They make up for this by simply calling themselves “Dr.” All pomp, no circumstance.

  7. What is Mr. Sheehan an expert in?

  8. I’d be happy if any expect could explain why kindergarteners at Ridge are getting 1+1 etc. . . for math homework and kindergarteners at Orchard are getting read “A Zebra and its Stripes” for math homework. . .

  9. Dear John,

    The difference between what BOE member Goodman wrote and what you have written is night and day. It is a window into your characters. I don’t like who Ms. Goodman is.

    Thank you for taking the time to so thoughtfully respond to her. Her diatribe had left me quite speechless.

  10. Mrs. Goodman has not learned the first rule of communication: Know of what you speak. Too ironic especially as she speaks mostly about what she calls “misinformation” from parents seeking more rigor in their school’s math program.

  11. This entire thread is an unfair attack on Ms Goodman. She is owed an apology.

  12. Ms Goodman – I’m sorry you got elected to the BOE.

  13. 7:08pm,

    You have got to be kidding. She attacks parents using falsehoods and misinformation and you think Ms. Goodman is owed an apology. Get real. She is an elected official who chose to opine without knowledge and then did so in a cavalier way.

    Dr. Sheehan is being kind in his critique of her defense of the administration’s attempt to ram through a constructivist math curriculum for our elementary students.

    I suggest you too get the facts before spouting off. Otherwise you look boorish like Charlie.

  14. I agree that Laurie is owed an apology. Her only mistake was in thinking that she was joining in on a discussion on this blog, and not being afraid to put her name to her post.

  15. I think parents their children and the tax-payers are owed and apology. The BOE and Admins allowed certain schools to use math programs that are unfounded and detrimental to the future of the children. The kids don’t get a do-over. The tax-payers don’t get a refund.

  16. 7:34 you seem to be agreeing with yourself. Ms. Goodman was more than just wrong. She showed very poor judgment. This is highly detrimental to anyone who serves on a Board of any kind. It is especially harmful when that board is a school board.

  17. Sheehan has an advanced degree in the sciences; Goodman has an advanced degree of egomania.

    Sheehan is dying to see a quality math program in our schools; Goodman is dying her hair.

    Sheehan lies awake at night concerned about this dumbed down math; Goodman lies.

  18. When Mrs. Goodman ran for the BoE she stated that one of the strengths she would bring to the Board was that she was a communications expert. Oh really?

  19. “Her only mistake was in thinking that she was joining in on a discussion on this blog, and not being afraid to put her name to her post.” 7:34 AM

    You are as misinformed as Ms. Goodman. Is it any wonder you support her. She did not write on this blog. The passage was lifted and posted here from her blog.

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