It has become painfully obvious that D181 has become a district that promotes unfounded and ineffective theories and trends on the backs of our children and teachers. First, Learning for All and whatever that means. The Advanced Learning Plan morphed into Full Inclusion with little to no pullouts to address the varied needs and levels of learning. Now, differentiation is touted as the district's saviour, along with heterogeneous classrooms. There is research we have presented on this blog that shows each of these district mantras are ineffective and are selling our children short. For a district of our means and the preparedness of students, our test scores and student growth should be off the charts and far ahead of other affluent school districts.
Instead, what do we have? Downward trends in many cases. Zero proof of the efficacy of the strategies that Kurt Schneider and now Don White have embraced and continue to promote with little justification.
And now comes along their math mantra, as evidenced by a recent PTO meeting at Walker School back in November 2014. Take a look at the meeting minutes that were posted and are available online:
The following excerpt is from the 11/19/14 Monroe PTO Minutes:
"VI) Introduction to Dr. White and Dr. Schneider
We are seeing the shifts in the Math Curriculum
75% to meet or exceed their RIT growth
Fall and January 2015 assessments, and May for Spring 2015
Goals are 85-90-95% of MAP Testing and Growth Benchmark Data
Students within the fourth quartile to be maintained or increase at the building level and each
of the grade levels
Teachers are offering Flexible and Fluid Instructional Groups
Eight Mathematical Practices are being introduced via the Common Core
Teacher is a facilitator of learning in the classroom. Child participation is encouraged and
necessary in every situation. It’s no longer a teacher’s narration of procedure, it is teaching
with interaction in every opportunity.
Student Driven Mathematical Discussions not just doing Math the way we learned as kids but defining it and looking at the problem from different perspectives and utilizing words to explain
Kids are asked to show how they got your answers.
Deeper Conceptual Understanding and Application within problem-solving context
Dr. White spoke to Common Core
• Teaching Math has become Procedural & Conceptual
• It was heavy on procedural in the ‘old days’ when we were kids.
• We are shifting to get a balance of conceptual and procedural when it comes to math
Now in our Math, Johnny requires the conceptual underpinning of the answer, and this differs
from the procedural
conceptual needs to be embedded at the primary level or otherwise there is remedial math in
Feels front-loaded and heavy because of the need to hit home on conceptual.
District 181 is working to find balance between Conceptual with Procedural.
Dr. Schneider spoke to the Common Core - “We are looking at what students accomplish in a K-12 curriculum.’
Deeper - supporting, writing and reading - ask your child, “How Do You Know This?”
What’s the difference between increments of (5)? Make it more than just memorizing...
Metacognitive Levels of children and how to help them learn.
History is less about the facts, but why those things happened...
Set goals, know the struggles and the areas of progress: social, emotional and readiness to
Notice the focus is on the conceptual understanding of math before basic skills are mastered. Huh? Can this really be what these two administrators believe? Ahh, yes. With both of these "educators" promoting unfounded trends in math education (due to Common Core in their minds), we are reminded of a children's puppet show, where strings are pulled and movements are made to be in sync with rigid dialog to insight and engage an audience of children. While in front of a PTO, we can imagine the double talk while heads bobbed up and down in agreement.
But who is the puppet and who is the master? Judging by the Walker meeting notes and witnessing other presentations by Kurt Schneider, we believe he is now pulling the strings of the administration and teachers. In our opinion this puppet act, much like those related to Learning for All and Differentiated-Full-Inclusion-Heterogeneous-Classrooms-Workshop-Model-Student-Graded-Writing-No-Ability-Groupings-Shama-Lama-Ding-Dong-Reading-Fundamentals-With-No-Leveled-Readers smacks of Schneider's quest to continue his crusade toward national stardom.
Readers, the very idea that teaching math concepts trumps a fundamental basic understanding of math skills is terrifying and should concern every parent. This is yet another unproven trend that has been foisted upon our kids.
The following article, for example, addresses the need for basic math instruction instead of this new and unproven idea of conceptual understanding before basic skill mastery:
Time to end this rag-tag puppet show and vote in board members who give a darn and will demand accountability (Burns, Czierwic, Giltner and Gray).
We need a new master with a fresh set of strings.