In This Issue...
ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (CALIFORNIA FOCUS)
(1) Field Review Draft Mathematics
Letter from the California Mathematics Council
The following was posted this morning on the Web site of the
Mathematics Council (CMC):
The board and members of CMC have been very active in the
parts of the Mathematics Framework. The current draft has been
by the Curriculum Commission and is awaiting final approval in
the State Department of Education. While we still have issues
of the content, we were heartened by the process used for this
which was much more open than in the past.
The State Board is expected to discuss the document during its
and determine the next steps eventually leading to new textbook
To view the latest version, go to http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/cf/allfwks.asp
and click on the 2004 Draft of the Mathematics Framework [http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ma/cf/index.asp].
The following is a letter that the California Mathematics
to the Curriculum Commission regarding the January 28 draft. We
you to give your input to the draft as well.
Text of letter from CMC to the Curriculum Commission via
Dr. Tom Adams, Director,
Curriculum Frameworks and Instruction Resources Division, CDE
January 23, 2005
Dear Dr. Adams and members of the Curriculum Commission:
The California Mathematics Council (CMC), appreciates the extent
our professional organization, along with many other
been able to provide input for the updated Mathematics Framework
Public Schools. The responsiveness of mathematics subcommittee
by Dr. Norma Baker and the CDE staff to our membership has been
We note many changes in the draft versions of Chapters 10 and
E that were available for the January 10 teleconference that we
improve the quality and usability of the document. In this
respectfully request that the full Commission consider
to the framework which would benefit students and teachers in
1. The criteria for selection of instructional materials should
not limit the reference to CA standards only. Flexibility will
opportunities for diverse learners. Suggested wording, beginning
8417: It should be clear in the materials that the mathematics
are expected to know and do are the California Mathematics
developed under Education Code Section 60605. The principles of
must reflect current and confirmed research. The materials must
with the California Mathematics Standards or the Mathematics
Rationale: Boards of Education, schools, and teachers are faced
challenge of preparing students for full participation in the
civic life of the 21st Century. They are accountable to student
as outlined in state and federal legislation. Within those
flexibility is required. As one of the most diverse states in
with low rankings in many measures of student success, we owe
the best the nation has to offer. Some instructional materials
success with diverse students were created for a larger market
Our students should not be denied access to effective materials.
the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM)
for Mathematics offer broad organizing principles of the type
teachers asked for during public comment. A copy of the entire
NCTM algebra standards, K-12, is attached so that Commissioners
can see that they present no conflict with the California
2. Every effort should be made to avoid the tracking that could
result when students are placed in an intervention program
without a clear
and final exit plan. The core programs should be of such high
that most students learn the materials well the first time. The
level of intervention should occur during the initial
instruction in the
basal program. At all times while a student is participating in
access should be provided to the core grade-level mathematics.
3. CMC maintains a neutral position on the design of Algebra
materials. The focus on 7th Grade and Algebra I Standards in the
recent draft is an important step toward assuring students who
help are not left further behind. The intent to re-teach
students the foundational skills so that they understand and
knowledge and can apply it in more advanced settings is
recommend flexibility at the district and site level to
Readiness in a variety of configurations. On the other hand, we
to be concerned about the mismatch between the Algebra Readiness
and those in the CAHSEE. The workforce needs graduates who can
in many settings, as presented at Superintendent O'Connell's
Summit last October. Without adequate experience using
and geometry during their middle and high school years, students
not be prepared for future jobs. This leads us to support the
design of the CAHSEE.
4. Technology tools should be used where appropriate to help
visualize abstract mathematical concepts such as functions and
representation of data, and perform complicated calculations
data. The mathematics education community values fluency with
facts as well as the ability to use mental calculations,
technology, as appropriate, and know the value and restrictions
While early access to technology for basic skill practice may be
for some students, other uses such as pattern generation and
and the visual presentation of applications problems, are
helpful to many.
The labor force of California needs to be technologically
need to harness the enthusiasm students already have for
and make sure that schools maximize opportunities for the
applications theses devices provide.
5. The language of this framework should be consistent
For example, it is disturbing that the word "balance" does not
appear in Chapter 10, considering the emphasis on a balanced
Chapter 1. Similarly, Appendix E includes frequent repetition of
"concepts and skills" while remaining silent about the value
of problem solving for students who are not at grade level.
should clearly state that problem solving is an important part
students' experience, including students in intervention
The California Mathematics Council and its many associates
to working with policymakers and leadership groups to assure the
programs for our students. We thank you for your consideration
President, California Mathematics Council
Enc: Principles and Standards for School Mathematics,
394-395 (NCTM Algebra Standards)
(2) "Schools Bracing for Bush's
Cuts" by Maureen Magee and Eleanor Yang
Source: San Diego Union-Tribune - 9
California's schools are bracing for a funding hit, outlined
in President Bush's proposed budget, that would eliminate 48
programs and shift more money toward the national effort to
achievement and improve test scores.
The far-reaching cuts would terminate vocational education
readiness programs and early education initiatives, among
programs targeted have been deemed either ineffective or
The president's spending plan includes about $1.5 billion next
extend student achievement requirements and testing in the No
Behind Act to high schools. Bush has also recommended increased
of special education programs for disabled students and federal
I grants to school districts with a heavy enrollment of
Bush's $56 billion education budget is down $500 million, or 0.9
from the current spending plan.
Gerry Shelton, director of fiscal and administrative services
California Department of Education, said it is too soon to
California will fare under Bush's budget.
The state receives about $7.5 billion a year in federal dollars
that run from kindergarten through 12th grade. That's in
addition to the
approximate $53.6 billion in state and local money for
"It's kind of a wait and see," Shelton said. "But we are
especially concerned about Bush's budget, when put hand in hand
proposals in the state budget."
Higher education officials were mixed in their responses to the
budget, applauding increases to student grant programs and
cuts to programs designed to support low-income students who
want to attend
The proposal would raise the maximum Pell grant by $500 to
the next five years. Yet that increase would come at the expense
elimination of the long-standing Perkins Loan program. The
program provides low-interest loans for middle-and lower-income
The intent is to use Perkins money to pay for the increases for
grants and resolve a $4.3 billion shortfall in the program.
"If this were to work, and that's a big caveat, it would help a
more low-income students afford college," said Kenneth Redd,
of research and policy analysis at the National Association of
Financial Aid Administrators.
The president's recommendations come as California school
reeling from some of Gov. Schwarzenegger's education-funding
"It's disappointing, overall. We are getting hit by the governor
and the president now," said Scott Patterson, the chief
officer for the San Diego Unified School District.
Under Bush's budget, school districts would see a cut in federal
that helps pay for the day-to-day operations of schools,
Patterson and others expressed concern over the loss of some
But they were hopeful that in the end, benefits would cancel out
Several programs proposed for elimination are designed to help
lower-income students for college Æ Gear Up, Upward Bound and
The threat to eliminate those programs prompted strong outcries
lobbyists and educators... More than 1 million students
the three programs, and receive help in core academic subjects.
Hector Garza, the president of the National Council for
Education Partnerships, called the proposed cuts to Gear Up
"If we can't get our kids ready for college, the Pell Grants
going to mean anything," said Larry Perondi, area superintendent
for Sweetwater Union High School District. "If education is a
(this budget proposal) is not showing it."
Advocates of vocational education criticized the president for
the importance of programs designed to prepare mostly high
for the work force. The proposed budget would cut $1.2 billion
Legislators said yesterday they are prepared to fight many of
"Education cuts are sending the wrong message to our kids,"
said Rep. Susan Davis.
"Higher Education Community Issues Statement on President
FY 06 Budget"
American Council on Education - 7 February 2005
"President's FY 2006 Budget Request for the U.S. Department of
(3) "Gov. Battles Rising Criticism on
Fronts" by Robert Salladay
Source: Los Angeles Times - 8 February 2005
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is working to reverse declining
over his handling of California schools, while facing mounting
about his planned government overhaul.
On Monday, Schwarzenegger visited his third school in 10 days.
signaled that the otherwise highly popular governor is worried
recent poll showing that 51% of voters disapprove of his school
People surveyed also said education--not government reform,
mantra this year--had become their biggest concern...
Schwarzenegger predicted that people would howl at his 2005
he is being proved correct. His state budget proposal and
reform agenda have energized a cadre of opponents, most of them
by Schwarzenegger as special interests...
Broadly, the governor's agenda this year would change how
districts are drawn, allow state workers to enroll in 401(k)
plans, broaden his power to restructure government, institute a
limit on state finance, and grant merit pay for teachers...
The California Teachers Assn. has been running pointed radio ads
languages on 56 stations criticizing the governor's education
Teachers say the governor went back on his promise to provide
the full amount they are owed under Proposition 98, a
that gives schools a fixed percentage of state revenue...
(4) "Governor Defends School Funding" by
Ann E. Marimow
Source: Contra Costa Times - 9 February 2005
...On talk radio Tuesday, Schwarzenegger said, "even though you
sometimes that I made cuts, which is totally ludicrous and
wrong, we added
$2.9 billion to education"...
It's ironic for Schwarzenegger to be on the defensive about
The governor's first foray into politics in 2002 was a ballot
Proposition 49, to provide state funding for after-school
But the crux of the debate has as much to do with a perceived
on the part of the governor as it does with the details of his
One year ago, the powerful education lobby and Schwarzenegger
a budget compromise. Schools agreed to forgo $2 billion last
year in exchange
for protection from deeper cuts and a boost in funding if
The governor is today offering schools $2.9 billion more than
a year ago. But that's $2.3 billion less than they're owed under
struck last year.
Moreover, the governor is proposing to make local schools pay
in annual teacher-retirement payments that the state typically
And he's proposing to change Proposition 98, the school-funding
that many consider sacred.
Today, a broader coalition of education officials turns up the
a new advertising campaign to highlight the "governor's broken
Democratic consultants say the governor has picked a fight on
issue with the wrong people. Richie Ross, a political consultant
pass Proposition 98, said Schwarzenegger is out-of-touch with
want on education.
"People like teachers more than they like politicians, even the
they like," Ross said. "This is not a fight he wants to have."
Ross said his polls echo the PPIC findings that voters consider
the most important issue facing the state in years.
Adding to the governor's challenges, the nonpartisan Legislative
Office, which advises lawmakers, Tuesday reported that
proposed changes to Proposition 98 would put school spending on
The LAO report says Schwarzenegger's proposal would "add to the
of autopilot spending" that Schwarzenegger says he wants to end.
As a recall candidate, Schwarzenegger skipped traditional
at the editorial boards of the state's major newspapers. But
past month, he has been making the rounds to promote his broader
to revamp state government and clear up confusion about his
Assembly Republicans, with Education Secretary Richard Riordan,
week helping spread the word that the governor's new budget
spends more -- not less -- than last year.
"We think that message is not getting out there as clearly,"
said Assemblyman Guy Houston of Livermore. "It's our job to help
him to relay and communicate that message to the people."
The governor has also returned to one of his favorite venues,
with friendly hosts on talk radio. When asked Tuesday if he is
by the misrepresentations, Schwarzenegger said, "That's not my
I don't get frustrated, I just fire back.
"I think that the people understand here in California that the
interests don't like to make those kind of changes and reforms."
Schwarzenegger returns to the airwaves today for another round
ARTICLES & ANNOUNCEMENTS (NATIONAL FOCUS)
(1) "NUMB3RS Gets the
Math Right" by Keith Devlin
Source: Devlin's Angle - MAA Online - February 2005
If you've read the January 21 issue of Math Games by my
MAA Online columnist Ed Pegg Jr. [http://www.maa.org/editorial/mathgames/mathgames_01_21_05.html],
you will have some general background on the new CBS prime-time
Surely almost anything that can improve the image of mathematics
population at large deserves the support of the mathematics
The widespread ignorance among the general public of what
is all about is testified by the fact that one of the criticisms
new series after the first episode was screened on January 23
it defied credulity. Many TV critics, it seems, could not
mathematics could be used to help solve criminal cases in the
in the program. Yet that first episode, like all the other
in the first season, is based on a real-life case. Not just
on it, but closely so...
The mathematical formula you see actor David Krumholtz (who
mathematician) write on the blackboard in his home [during
is in fact the equation used in the real case. The other
see (and will see) in the series, including the water sprinkler
near the start of episode 1, were written by the series'
advisor, Gary Lordon, the head of mathematics at Caltech, by
graduate students at Caltech, and by other professional
a great many of whom the series producers have contacted to ask
(They sent a representative to the Joint Mathematics Meetings in
last month, to extend their network of contacts in the
much for all those TV critics who thought the plot was too
The second episode, which was broadcast on January 28, is based
on a real
life series of bank robberies in Maryland last year. In that
case, a mathematician
in Arkansas provided the pattern analysis that resulted in the
lying in wait at the bank when the gang struck...
If the series does go down the tubes after a few episodes, it
because the math is wrong. The producers have gone to great
get the math right. (They also have a real-life FBI agent on the
make sure the police stuff is correct as well.) Nor is
of the math genius off the mark. Okay, he's cuter than most of
looks apart, his character seems to me like an amalgam of a half
mathematicians I have met. (In preparing for the role, Krumholz
Caltech for a while, seeing what real mathematicians are like.)
the writers and the actors employ dramatic license in their
of mathematicians and what is involved in doing mathematics...
heart they get the mathematician and the math right.
Failure of the show is also unlikely to result from viewers
off by the math. When CBS tested an early version of the pilot,
audience was not only intrigued by the math, they said they
of it in the show! Similar highly positive responses to the
of mathematicians and mathematics followed both of the stage
the Code and Proof and each of the movies Good
Pi, and A Beautiful Mind.
...But if NUMB3RS does make it, it could do wonders for
perception of mathematics among the general public, and perhaps
more young people to go into the field...
(2) "Spellings to Listen, But Not
on NCLB" by Erik W. Robelen and Lynn Olson
Source: Education Week - 9 February 2005
U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said last week
"is room to maneuver" through the administrative process in
carrying out the No Child Left Behind Act. But, she cautioned,
donÍt want people to think that No Child Left Behind is up for
Ms. Spellings, who took office Jan. 20, emphasized in a Feb. 4
with Education Week that there are some "bright-line
of this statute that are nonnegotiable." One of those, she said,
is annual testing in grades 3-8, which she called "integral to
implementation of everything."
President BushÍs administration has given a lot of time and
to help states put the tests in place, she said, "so don't be
down here and telling me you haven't done it."
Despite many calls to amend the law in Congress, Ms. Spellings
no desire to go that route. ñI hope that the Department of
be the first place that people seek a solution,î she said.
But she maintained that refinements and modifications could be
administrative actions "without running to the Congress and
for a statutory change"...
(3) "First Lady Wants Students on
Behavior" by Elise Castelli
Source: Los Angeles Times - 9 February 2005
When her husband announced the Helping America's Youth
last week's State of the Union address, Laura Bush found herself
a new role--heading up a $150-million program.
Though the onetime teacher and librarian has gone to schools to
such administration policies as No Child Left Behind, the first
visits are now related to a program of her own that aims to
and gang activity among at-risk youth, especially minority boys.
On Tuesday, she appeared at George Washington Elementary School
where she spoke to 100 students, teachers, community activists
officials about the relationships among classroom management,
learning and success.
"Research shows that children who are overly aggressive as early
as the first grade are at a greater risk for delinquency,
of school, drug abuse and depression later in life," Bush said.
in the Baltimore public school system, children with behavioral
in poorly managed first-grade classrooms were up to 20 times
to be severely aggressive in middle school compared to similar
in well-managed first-grade classrooms."
She cited one of the school's approaches to teaching proper
"good behavior game"--as a model for keeping children in school.
Shortly before her noontime speech, Bush observed a first-grade
engaged in the game during a reading lesson. The children were
into teams, and any child who acted out while the class
completed an exercise
would get the entire team a check mark for bad behavior...
"This team-based structure uses peer encouragement to help
follow rules and learn how to be good students," Bush said. "The
students quickly learn that their success is tied to their
The game is part of a program created by Dr. Sheppard Kellam, a
fellow at the American Institutes for Research, called "Whole
First Grade." Introduced 20 years ago in 24 Baltimore schools,
program focuses on improving educators' teaching and classroom
skills, and communication with families.
"The risk factors that Mrs. Bush has referred to--early
disruptive behavior--are highly correlated with academic
Kellam said Tuesday.
In her remarks, Bush noted that according to Kellam's research,
at-risk youth who participated in the Whole Day program
high school, compared with 19% of those who did not.
Kellam said government at all levels needed to respond if
his were to move across the country...
(4) "Boys Only/Girls Only"
by Melanie Ave
Source: St. Petersburg Times - 2 February 2005
...At Woodward Avenue Elementary School in Volusia County,
are experimenting with same-sex classes, a growing but
in public education. Six classes of kindergarteners,
fourth-graders are part of a voluntary program aimed at reducing
differences between boys and girls.
Halfway through the program's first year, administrators and
like what they see. "So far," said principal JoAnne Rodkey,
"it's been a wonderful learning experience"...
[Most same-sex schools fell out of favor after the 1972 passage
IX, which barred sex discrimination in public schools. In 2002,
the federal No Child Left Behind Act allowed some flexibility in
same-sex schools and classrooms.] The number of U.S. public
same-sex classes grew from just four eight years ago to 154 this
according to the National Association for Single Sex Public
Like Woodward, most are coeducational schools that offer some
Advocacy groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and
Organization for Women oppose the change. Kathy Rodgers,
of Legal Momentum, a women's rights group in New York City, said
education is discriminatory...
Supporters say same-sex classes are not inherently
can be beneficial to students. Some studies show disadvantaged
blossom when taught separately.
Rosemary Salomone, a law professor at St. John's University and a
of an all-girls Catholic high school, says same-sex schools
available in the public arena just as they are in the private
"For me, it's largely an equity problem," said Salomone, author
of the book Same, Different, Equal. "Poor parents have not had
same choice that the wealthy have."
Principal JoAnne Rodkey decided change was needed at Woodward
reviewed the school's test scores. Girls outpaced boys in
writing, and boys led the way in math. Though the state gave the
an A based on student performance, she knew it could do better.
Rodkey began researching same-sex education, sought teacher
and went to the Volusia County School Board for approval. It
school a year to test the approach.
Plenty of parents agreed to enroll their children, who are at a
of ability levels. The two sexes are only apart for their
They eat and attend physical education classes together.
Denise Lane signed up her 5-year-old, Jacob, for Michaelos'
know boys and girls tend to learn differently," said Lane, a
care worker. "Girls are more into coloring and detail. Boys are
into learning by building things and using their hands..."
Rodkey thinks all-boy classes are harder to teach. Two of the
who do not want to return to the same-sex classes next year
Michaelos is one of them.
"Boys require a lot more ingenuity and activity," said
39, who has been teaching 10 years. "The noise level is
I'm physically and mentally more tired after teaching the boys.
me hours to do lesson plans."
She thinks girls benefit more from being separate than boys, who
girls as role models.
Key to the success of same-sex classes and schools is teacher
says Dr. Leonard Sax, executive director of the National
Single Sex Public Education. Teachers, especially all-boy
learn the research and learning styles of boys and alter their
To be truly effective with boys, teachers need to funnel their
not quash it.
"Boys need a teacher who is always moving and never standing
Sax said. "The problem with most elementary schools is the boys
in there and (are told), we need you to sit down and be quiet.
Woodward's teachers have adapted their classrooms. During
in James and Deborah Roberts' combined fourth-grade boys class,
are free to lounge on the floor, sit at desks or crowd under
They get a 15-minute recess in the morning to burn off energy.
"It's better than other classes," said Monolito Hamilton, 10.
"When I had girls in my class, they got almost everything they
They told on us."
Deborah Roberts has gotten used to the higher noise level and no
is offended when the boys won't make eye contact.
"Boys need fast-paced instruction," she said. "You don't
have to dwell on things with boys. They're very direct."
Teachers in the all-girl classes have had few difficulties. Most
problems have been about friendship disputes.
Some shy girls have come out of their shells without boys
around. A few
seem more assertive when tackling math and science lessons,
Without the distraction of young boys, the girls are focused on
lessons. Many have excelled, teachers said...
Teacher Myrna Bedenbaugh, 57, could not be happier with her 17
Bedenbaugh realized how different the year was going to be on
day of school. She had planned a week's worth of basic rules and
But the girls blew through her plans in one day. That had never
in her 33 years of teaching coed classes.
"Everybody asks me how do I like it," Bedenbaugh said, as she
did a little shimmy. "Am I in heaven? Am I in heaven?"
Next door to Bedenbaugh, Mary Catherine Michaels uses a
game to review a story her boys had just read, "How I Spent My
Vacation." Her classroom has two cages with hamsters, a tank
salamanders and a bowl of mealworms.
The boys love competing, so she uses lots of games to teach.
review the rules for Jeopardy--no cheating and no spying--the
into teams and huddle with their arms around each other like
on a football field...
Though Michaels plans to go back to a coed class next year, she
experiment has improved her teaching skills.
"It's been a phenomenal experience," she said. "It's changed
the way I view boys. They can stay focused on an activity, we
to hook them in."
(5) Call for Volunteers: Algebra
Source: Helena Miranda -- email@example.com (via the NCSM
The role that standardized tests play in today's educational
increased dramatically. For many teachers, however, today's
tests provide little new insight into the performance of their
Through funding from the National Science Foundation, the
Assessment Study Collaborative at Boston College is attempting
tests that will provide more diagnostic information about
The first set of tests focuses on algebra and are designed to
whether a given student's achievement in algebra is being
one or more common algebraic misconception. If successful,
new tests will not only provide test scores that indicate how
well a student
is achieving in the area of algebra, but will also provide
to students and their teachers about misconceptions that an
student holds which may be interfering with their achievement in
Currently, we are seeking teachers who are interested in helping
this new approach to testing. In total, there are seven 20-item
pilot tests. While teachers may ask their class to complete as
of these pilot tests as desired, we are seeking teachers who are
to ask their class to complete at least two 20 item pilot tests
complete a short survey. These pilot tests will provide
and teachers with immediate feedback on the students'
will provide information about misconceptions that individual
To see a sample test, please visit http://corvus.bc.edu/Misconcept/pilot/sampleAbility.htm
If you are willing to have your class participate in this pilot
you can register your class for participation starting on March
To do so, please visit our Web site (http://www.bc.edu/research/intasc/studies/DiagnosticAlgebra/description.shtml)
beginning March 1.
Should you have any additional questions, please contact Helena
at (617) 552-3646 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
COMET is sponsored in part by a grant
California Mathematics Project.
COMET is produced by:
Carol Fry Bohlin, Ph.D.
Professor, Mathematics Education
California State University, Fresno
5005 N. Maple Ave. M/S 2
Fresno, CA 93740-8025