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Welcome to EduIssues.com, a site to discuss education issues facing the area around San Mateo, CA.  Please read the Welcome message for more details about this site.  All discussions are moderated as explained in the Welcome message.

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Topics

(Click on any topic title below for all articles in that category in reverse chronological order – only the most recent or important articles are listed below)

Education News

  1. “Mutual Assured Destruction”
  2. My Speech to the SMUHSD Board on NGSS
  3. Ohio: Stephen Dyer and Bill Phillis Explain Why the State Wants to Take Over the State Board of Education
  4. Julian Vasquez Heilig: Why California Should Ban For-Profit Charters and Hold All Charters Accountable
  5. An Open Letter to the SMUHSD and SMFCSD Boards of Trustees
  6. Why Can’t We Teach Mathematics Properly?
  7. How Can We Reclaim Our Public Schools??
  8. Attention SMUHSD Parents! State Mandated Testing Negatively Impacts Aragon’s Physics Program
  9. Video of Diane Ravitch Speech to the California Association of School Boards
  10. Never Believe Educational Experts (or Me)!

 

Issues in Teaching Mathematics     

  1. Why is 10^0 = 1 ???
  2. Why Can’t We Teach Mathematics Properly?
  3. Here We Go Again….
  4. Pros and Cons of the CPM Math Textbook Series

 

AP Class Crisis

  1. “Mutual Assured Destruction”
  2. Attention SMUHSD Parents! State Mandated Testing Negatively Impacts Aragon’s Physics Program
  3. Taking the Fight to Harvard
  4. It’s AP ex(sc)am time again!
  5. Critical Warnings re AP Classes
  6. A Hole in the Aragon Math Curriculum
  7. very unfortunate local test practice that I think is hurting students.
  8. How to Interest Kids in Science, Engineering, and Math.
  9. Confirmation from UC Berkeley on problems with AP classes

 

Teacher Salaries

  1. IMPORTANT – SMFCSD Seeks Community Input on School Finances
  2. “I’ve Ended Many School Days Crying in My Car”
  3. SMFCSD Settles Contract Dispute with Teachers, But What Comes Next???
  4. SM Daily Journal: Battle over teacher pay gets worse

 

College Admissions

  1. How to get in to Harvard
  2. SAT Test Prep Recommendations

 

Top Ten Most Read Articles

  1. Pros and Cons of the CPM Math Textbook Series
  2. It’s AP ex(sc)am time again!
  3. Critical Warnings re AP Classes
  4. “Educators laud test success” – Give me a break!!!!
  5. Back to School – Changes at Aragon HS
  6. “I’ve Ended Many School Days Crying in My Car”
  7. How to Get in to Harvard
  8. No Last Minute Miracle for Measure Y 🙁
  9. Info from UC Berkeley confirms why students should not skip from Precalculus to Calculus BC
  10. A Hole in the Aragon Math Curriculum

Thank you for reading and participating on this site.  Together we can make a difference and improve education for our local students!

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“Pros and Cons of the CPM Math Textbook Series” is now the Most Read article on EduIssues.com

Today, 3/21/2018, my article Pros and Cons of the CPM Math Textbook Series became the most read article on my blog at over 1,040 views surpassing number two It’s AP ex(sc)am time again! currently at 1.020 views.  The CPM article is getting on average over 12 views per day from around the country.  It appears that parent groups are going to their local school boards and rebelling against this curriculum in multiple locations around the U.S.

Democracy is still alive in our country!

Ohio: Stephen Dyer and Bill Phillis Explain Why the State Wants to Take Over the State Board of Education

A couple of days ago I reblogged Diane Ravitch’s article highlighting how the California State Board of Education was taken over by charter proponents. Now here is an article about how Ohio’s School Board is under attack by politicians associated with an online learning company accused of fraud.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Stephen Dyer, a former legislator and currently a fellow at think tank Innovation Ohio, wonders why the state of Ohio is considering legislation to have the state dissolve the state board of education. He wonders if the move is payback for meddling with the fraudulent practices of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, which rewarded legislators for favoring ECOT and ignoring its inflated enrollments. Is it mere coincidence that five of the eight sponsors of the legislation received generous gifts from the owner of ECOT?

Be sure to read Dyer’s testimony to the legislature on HB 512 and why it should be dropped.

Bill Phillis, founder of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy, writes that HB 512 is an outrage and is unconstitutional.

“HB 512 is an affront to the Ohio Constitution-a change in governance of the State Education agency must be submitted to Ohioans on a statewide ballot

“HB…

View original post 201 more words

Julian Vasquez Heilig: Why California Should Ban For-Profit Charters and Hold All Charters Accountable

An important warning from Diane Ravitch about how the CA State Board of Education is overruling local districts and forcing charter schools upon them that they do not want. This drains funds and sometimes facility space from local schools.

The link behind the text “testified to a State Senate Committee on Education” below is to a YouTube video of Professor Heilig’s testimony at the State Capitol.  Among the highlights: “At about 40%, the CA Board of Education has the highest charter failure rate of any level of authorizer in CA since 2001.” and, regarding Betsy Devos’ experiment in Michigan, “More than 80% of charters there are for-profit which has led to the Great Lakes State dropping to one of the lowest performing states in the nation!

Diane Ravitch's blog

Julian Vasquez Heilig testified to a State Senate Committee on Education about why charters should be held accountable and be transparent. As chair of the California NAACP Committee on Education, he cites the findings of the national NAACP, which recommended banning for-profit charters and requiring that all charters be authorized ONLY by the local school district, to be sure that they meet local needs instead of replacing  public schools.

Yesterday, the State Board of Education approved two KIPP charters for districts that had rejected them. In California, a charter school can be rejected by the local board, rejected by the county board, and appeal to the state board, which was packed with charter supporters by charter-friendly Governor Jerry Brown.

At the charter hearing, Angela Der Ramos, the CTA State Board liaison for the Dr. Oscar F. Loya Elementary School, said:

KIPP is trying to muscle their way into the SF School…

View original post 182 more words

An Open Letter to the SMUHSD and SMFCSD Boards of Trustees

The public deserves better notification and input into major changes in the math and science curricula.

[ UPDATE on 3/5/2018: The letter below has led to some important contacts, and I hope to provide additional information to the public by the end of this week. ]

In our global economy, especially here in the Silicon Valley area, our children’s future and the future of our economy depends on strong training in mathematics and science.  These are the prerequisites for most technical fields.

Unfortunately, California has a checkered history of curriculum experimentation and this has impacted our local schools.

As I indicated previously on my blog, the San Mateo Union High School District (SMUHSD) is undergoing a major revision of the non-AP science courses this year, and I am personally seeing the disruption that this causes for some of my students.

As just one example, more students than in prior years have been encouraged to take AP Physics (which is supposed to be algebra-based college level physics) before they have had a good high school level physics class.  As a consequence, the Aragon H.S. physics teacher has five AP physics classes this year, no classes using Aragon’s previously excellent regular physics curriculum, while the Aragon AP chemistry teacher has been tasked with putting together a new regular physics class at Aragon in collaboration with other district teachers.

This was done in an attempt to implement the Next Generation Science Standards even though there are no textbooks available that are aligned to those standards.  These changes are also impacting the other regular science courses in addition to physics.

As another example of bad consequences for kids, the San Mateo – Foster City School District (SMFCSD) tried to implement the “Everyday Mathematics” program for several years and then abandoned it a few years back.  This program was supposedly “highly researched,” but when I personally looked into the research studies tabulated in the U.S. Department of Education’s “What Works” database, every single one of the studies was flagged as being statistically flawed.  However, a single study pointed “in the right direction” and the textbook publisher took that fumble and stretched it into a touchdown!  I have to wonder if any of the people involved in the curriculum evaluation took the time to examine the “research!”

Every time this happens, children suffer.

They suffer particularly when the mathematics curriculum is disrupted because each subsequent school year clearly depends upon the knowledge gained previously.

 

I am requesting that both local districts take no further action on major curriculum shifts in math and science without first sending out email or other notifications to parents that such changes are under consideration.

 

I have served previously on local school committees and know that putting these items solely on Board agendas does not insure that the issues will receive the recognition and public discussion that they deserve.  The obviousness of this fact is plain to anyone who looks at the lengthy Board meeting agendas on the local district websites.

Furthermore such agenda items are often relegated to the end of lengthy meetings that deal with routine district business.  This requires parents to sit through a couple of hours of discussions irrelevant to their concerns before they can discuss issues that may have major impacts on their children!

As one parent said to me recently about the school systems, “They just wear you down” and make people give up.  Also if they do not like your opinion, one is often met with stony silence.

Regarding the SMUHSD science changes, I have met in person with both the Director of Curriculum and Assessment and later with Superintendent Skelly as I wrote previously on my blog.

Members of the SMUHSD Board have remained conspicuously silent for the last two weeks despite my having directed emails to them about this topic (I have also copied the SMFCSD Board).

Perhaps they have “public meeting” Brown Act concerns about replying to me, but the Board’s own Bylaws clearly state that “Individual contacts or conversations between a Board member and any other person are not subject to the Brown Act. (Government Code 54952.2)

I would still like to know directly from Board members what they thought was the rationale for making this science curriculum change without the availability of a standards-aligned textbook.

As I stated previously after my conversation with Superintendent Skelly (and I emphasize that it was a cordial discussion), I left the meeting with the feeling that, once again, this train has left the station and there is no way to recall it.

My ongoing purpose is therefore to try to ensure that these kind of decisions do not happen again without greater public scrutiny.

PLEASE, make sure that all parents in the both the SMUHSD and SMFCSD are notified by email or regular mail if another major curriculum change is contemplated, especially in mathematics.

Our children are more than test statistics to be used to illustrate progress for the local districts.  I see their problems one-on-one, face-to-face on a daily basis.  I just wish that others could do so as well; perhaps that would put an end to this.