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RE: [nyceducationnews] Minority Students Decline in Top New York Schools

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  • Leonie Haimson
    Danny Jaye, the asst. principal for math at Stuyvesant, is on record saying that the math curriculum used in most District 2 schools (TERC and then CMP) is
    Message 1 of 21 , Aug 19, 2006
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      Danny Jaye, the asst. principal for math at Stuyvesant, is on record saying that the math curriculum used in most District 2 schools (TERC and then CMP) is substandard, and that most of the students who go to Stuyvesant from the district have to be put in remedial math course when they get there.  It doesn’t matter whether they are in a “gifted” program or not – the curriculum simply does not prepare them for either the test or the work that they will do once they get there. 

       

      I have no idea whether the math used in most other schools and districts is sufficient, but I doubt it.  Everyday math is the mandated curriculum in most elementary schools, not sure what’s standard in middle schools – but any program is better than TERC in preparing kids to do “real” math.

       

      Even so, throughout the city, the most prepared students for the Stuy test are those who went to private school in middle school – though “gifted” programs or schools in D3 or in Brooklyn or Queens might be better.  I received an email from a Chinese public school parent who assured me that many of them have their kids tutored in math to prepare for the test starting in 1st grade!

       

      Leonie Haimson

      Class Size Matters

      124 Waverly Pl.

      New York, NY 10011

      212-674-7320

      leonie@...

      www.classsizematters.org


      From: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com [mailto: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of LRN1212@...
      Sent: Saturday, August 19, 2006 10:32 AM
      To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [nyceducationnews] Minority Students Decline in Top New York Schools

       

      My son was in 8th grade about six years ago.  I sent him to a tutoring class at the beginning of 8th grade to prepare him for the high school exam.  I soon found out that he was a year behind what he needed to know in math to pass the exam. He attended a District 15 school in Brooklyn , and a District 2 Manhattan school for middle school.  The math program that they were following and I believe many other school districts were using, did not prepare students for the exam.  He would have had to have been in a "gifted" program or perhaps in some kind of "accelerated" program.  I am a NYC teacher, but did not know that what he was learning in math was not enough.  My son is now in college and one of his favorite and easiest subjects is advanced math, so it was not that he did not have the ability to do more advanced math work......but that he was not given the chance. 

      I do not know if the current math program in NYC schools prepares students for what they would need to know to do well on the specialized high school exam, but if not, then it is serving as a way to keep most students out.  Lisa

    • solarmedia@aol.com
      Danny told me that it would be very hard for these very smart but math-challenged kids from District 2 to achieve the high levels of math - that other kids
      Message 2 of 21 , Aug 19, 2006
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        Danny told me that it would be very hard for these very smart but math-challenged kids from District 2 to achieve the high levels of math - that other kids were reaching at Stuyvesant - after completing a middle-school math program that was  "dumbed down" , ie TERC and Everyday Math.
         
        Then you have the segregation that is rampant inside the schools of New York City. At Booker T. Washington MS 54, the DELTA students have a rigorous, traditional math program that is cutting edge for any middle school. The students are mostly white. The other three programs at the school which have minority children, have Impact math, a "fuzzy" curriculum, and there is doubt that the teachers of the Impact math are certified to teach math at all. It is important to understand that all four programs are not schools, but programs under one principal, Dr. Elana Elster. We have read the Comprehensive Education Plans for the school and have parents, teachers and staff calling us all the time about this school, and the information on the segregation is all there, so I'm just the messenger, folks.
         
        And, Danny Jaye, the icon of the Stuyvesant Math Program and one of my most favorite people (my children have been at Stuyvesant now for 7 years), left Stuyvesant at the end of the 2005-2006 school year to become a Principal in New Jersey. This, combined with Dr. Olga Livanis' departure from Stuyvesant to become the Principal of NEST, promises to bring massive change to Stuyvesant years after it was necessary. Stay tuned.
         
        Betsy Combier
        Editor, parentadvocates.org
        Campaign Sponsor, www.wespeakup.org
         
         
      • Eugene Falik
        My daughter was in a private school through sixth grade when she entered a District 2 middle school where they used TERC. Up until then, she hadn t had any
        Message 3 of 21 , Aug 19, 2006
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          My daughter was in a private school through sixth grade when she entered a District 2 middle school where they used TERC. Up until then, she hadn't had any problems with math.  After a few weeks of TERC, she could barely add 2+2.  As we viewed the SHSAT, and had her work through the books, it was clear that she had no chance at all of getting in, so we placed her in a prep class.  In a few weeks, they retaught the math that hse should have learned in middle school.
           
          It is my opinion that the administrators who have selected such nonsense programs should be prosecuted for educational neglect and child abuse.
           
          Also interesting question: On most reading tests, my daughter scores in the top 2 (98th) percentile.  On the NYC seventh grade test she scored in the 70th percentile.  When I asked why, Lori Mei wouldn't talk, or have any of her staff attempt an explanation.
           
          By the way, she did get into one of the Specialized high schools and LaGuardia.
           
          Eugene Falik
        • LadyDae@AOL.com
          Lisa, the exact same thing happened to me, it was not until my daughter took the class to prepare for the test that I realized that she was not taught any of
          Message 4 of 21 , Aug 19, 2006
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            Lisa, the exact same thing happened to me, it was not until my daughter took the class to prepare for the test that I realized that she was not taught any of the math that was required. Lucky for her that I too am a teacher and was able to re-teach myself the math to teach it to her. She will be attending Bronx Science in the fall, but her math score was 50 points below her verbal. It is ridiculous. She was in District 24, Region 4, but I live in 25, Region 3, and it is the same thing here. The "Everyday Math" program is a joke. It is not so much that it is "dumbed down:, as it is completely useless and illogical.
          • MAMASWIRLZ@aol.com
            Wait a minute. What list serve am I on?????? I usually quietly read and enjoy information on the anti-testing movement and the struggle to lower class size. I,
            Message 5 of 21 , Aug 19, 2006
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              Wait a minute. What list serve am I on?????? I usually quietly read and enjoy information on the anti-testing movement and the struggle to lower class size. I, too, am angered by the fact that there is such a low percentage of Black and Hispanic students at the specialized high schools.

              But somehow the discussion has moved away from the topic and we are now we are looking to select math programs based on their effect on kids' performance on standardized math tests (including the one that, coupled with a standardized reading test, gets them into one of the "top" schools). As an educator with over 20 years in the NYC schools, and the parent of two young women who went through NYC public schools (one Bronx Science graduate, one Beacon graduate), this discussion concerns me. 

              Someone made the statement,
              ".....but any program is better than TERC in preparing kids to do 'real' math."

              TERC and CMP are great programs. They do real math. For example, in 8th grade CMP the students discover the Pythagorean Theorem for themselves. These are math programs, not test prep programs.  Kids engage in real mathematical work and discussion when they are implemented by trained professionals.

              Of course kids from "gifted" programs do better on tests. They had to test well to get in. That's how they get into Delta and other such programs. That's their learning style. And as someone said, they are predominantly whilte. A good question to ask is "What do Stuyvesant and Bronx Science do to support the very small Black and Hispanic population once they get in?"  Try to get the statistics on Black and Hispanic drop outs.

              I am not saying that math education is where it needs to be, but trashing TERC and Connected Math (or even Everyday Math) as "fuzzy" (I never thought I would hear this from progressive educators and parents) is not the answer to the math problem and certainly not the answer to the "
              Minority Students Decline in Top New York Schools."

              Eugene said "My daughter was in a private school through sixth grade when she entered a District 2 middle school where they used TERC. Up until then, she hadn't had any problems with math.   After a few weeks of TERC, she could barely add 2+2.  " First of all, TERC is an elementary school program, so I highly doubt that she had that program, it was probably Connected Math.  Secondly, if after 6 years of being in a private school, she could not add 2+2, I think I would look at what happened before she got to the middle school.  Students who understand math do not forget it.

              I think those of us who struggle against the use of high stakes tests, those of us who understand how little we know about children from these tests, should be looking at how kids are chosen for "top" schools and "gifted" programs. We should look at why the Math & Science Institute has drifted from its mission.


              Naomi



            • Jon Moscow
              Thank you Naomi. ... From: MAMASWIRLZ@aol.com To: leonie@att.net ; nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com Sent: Saturday, August 19, 2006 9:34 PM Subject: Re:
              Message 6 of 21 , Aug 19, 2006
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                Thank you Naomi.
                ----- Original Message -----
                Sent: Saturday, August 19, 2006 9:34 PM
                Subject: Re: [nyceducationnews] Minority Students Decline in Top New York Schools

                Wait a minute. What list serve am I on?????? I usually quietly read and enjoy information on the anti-testing movement and the struggle to lower class size. I, too, am angered by the fact that there is such a low percentage of Black and Hispanic students at the specialized high schools.

                But somehow the discussion has moved away from the topic and we are now we are looking to select math programs based on their effect on kids' performance on standardized math tests (including the one that, coupled with a standardized reading test, gets them into one of the "top" schools). As an educator with over 20 years in the NYC schools, and the parent of two young women who went through NYC public schools (one Bronx Science graduate, one Beacon graduate), this discussion concerns me. 

                Someone made the statement,
                ".....but any program is better than TERC in preparing kids to do 'real' math."

                TERC and CMP are great programs. They do real math. For example, in 8th grade CMP the students discover the Pythagorean Theorem for themselves. These are math programs, not test prep programs.  Kids engage in real mathematical work and discussion when they are implemented by trained professionals.

                Of course kids from "gifted" programs do better on tests. They had to test well to get in. That's how they get into Delta and other such programs. That's their learning style. And as someone said, they are predominantly whilte. A good question to ask is "What do Stuyvesant and Bronx Science do to support the very small Black and Hispanic population once they get in?"  Try to get the statistics on Black and Hispanic drop outs.

                I am not saying that math education is where it needs to be, but trashing TERC and Connected Math (or even Everyday Math) as "fuzzy" (I never thought I would hear this from progressive educators and parents) is not the answer to the math problem and certainly not the answer to the "
                Minority Students Decline in Top New York Schools."

                Eugene said "My daughter was in a private school through sixth grade when she entered a District 2 middle school where they used TERC. Up until then, she hadn't had any problems with math.   After a few weeks of TERC, she could barely add 2+2.  " First of all, TERC is an elementary school program, so I highly doubt that she had that program, it was probably Connected Math.  Secondly, if after 6 years of being in a private school, she could not add 2+2, I think I would look at what happened before she got to the middle school.  Students who understand math do not forget it.

                I think those of us who struggle against the use of high stakes tests, those of us who understand how little we know about children from these tests, should be looking at how kids are chosen for "top" schools and "gifted" programs. We should look at why the Math & Science Institute has drifted from its mission.


                Naomi



              • Eugene Falik
                Naomi, I think that you neither read and understood my original statement, nor understood what you copied. I think that the statement speaks for itself she
                Message 7 of 21 , Aug 19, 2006
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                  Naomi, I think that you neither read and understood my original statement, nor understood what you copied.  I think that the statement speaks for itself "she hadn't had any problems with math" [until then - i.e., until she was subjected to TERL/Connected Math].
                   
                  I think that I was clear.  She had no problem adding 2+2, or even doing algebra in the sixth grade at a private school.  It was only when she was exposed to what I can only describe as nonsense math that she had a problem with math.  There can be no doubt that some people think that it is a great program, but from my experience they are in a very small minority (parents, teachers, and students).
                   
                  There can be many objections to standardized tests, but achievement tests would appear to measure subject area mastery when comparing similar populations.  District 2 consists of a large number of upper income families - those whose children should do best on standardized tests.  Even with tutoring, my understanding is they do not achieve the "expected" scores.  I can only attribute that to the curriculum.  Of course, I'd be interested in another explanation.
                  ----- Original Message -----
                  Sent: Saturday, August 19, 2006 9:34 PM
                  Subject: Re: [nyceducationnews] Minority Students Decline in Top New York Schools

                  Wait a minute. What list serve am I on?????? I usually quietly read and enjoy information on the anti-testing movement and the struggle to lower class size. I, too, am angered by the fact that there is such a low percentage of Black and Hispanic students at the specialized high schools.

                  But somehow the discussion has moved away from the topic and we are now we are looking to select math programs based on their effect on kids' performance on standardized math tests (including the one that, coupled with a standardized reading test, gets them into one of the "top" schools). As an educator with over 20 years in the NYC schools, and the parent of two young women who went through NYC public schools (one Bronx Science graduate, one Beacon graduate), this discussion concerns me. 

                  Someone made the statement,
                  ".....but any program is better than TERC in preparing kids to do 'real' math."

                  TERC and CMP are great programs. They do real math. For example, in 8th grade CMP the students discover the Pythagorean Theorem for themselves. These are math programs, not test prep programs.  Kids engage in real mathematical work and discussion when they are implemented by trained professionals.

                  Of course kids from "gifted" programs do better on tests. They had to test well to get in. That's how they get into Delta and other such programs. That's their learning style. And as someone said, they are predominantly whilte. A good question to ask is "What do Stuyvesant and Bronx Science do to support the very small Black and Hispanic population once they get in?"  Try to get the statistics on Black and Hispanic drop outs.

                  I am not saying that math education is where it needs to be, but trashing TERC and Connected Math (or even Everyday Math) as "fuzzy" (I never thought I would hear this from progressive educators and parents) is not the answer to the math problem and certainly not the answer to the "
                  Minority Students Decline in Top New York Schools."

                  Eugene said "My daughter was in a private school through sixth grade when she entered a District 2 middle school where they used TERC. Up until then, she hadn't had any problems with math.   After a few weeks of TERC, she could barely add 2+2.  " First of all, TERC is an elementary school program, so I highly doubt that she had that program, it was probably Connected Math.  Secondly, if after 6 years of being in a private school, she could not add 2+2, I think I would look at what happened before she got to the middle school.  Students who understand math do not forget it.

                  I think those of us who struggle against the use of high stakes tests, those of us who understand how little we know about children from these tests, should be looking at how kids are chosen for "top" schools and "gifted" programs. We should look at why the Math & Science Institute has drifted from its mission.


                  Naomi



                • LadyDae@AOL.com
                  thank you, Naomi, you are right. Although I stand by my opinion of Everyday Math, the true issue is this overtested situation that the state and city have put
                  Message 8 of 21 , Aug 19, 2006
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                    thank you, Naomi, you are right. Although I stand by my opinion of Everyday Math, the true issue is this overtested situation that the state and city have put our children in. We learn very little about what the children actually know by these tests. Because of press from abpve, Pricipals often put so much pressure on teachers to teach to the test that the true art of teaching is compromised.
                  • nealhugh@aol.com
                    In a message dated 8/19/2006 8:57:43 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, LadyDae@AOL.com writes: Lisa, the exact same thing happened to me, it was not until my
                    Message 9 of 21 , Aug 19, 2006
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                      In a message dated 8/19/2006 8:57:43 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, LadyDae@... writes:
                      Lisa, the exact same thing happened to me, it was not until my daughter took the class to prepare for the test that I realized that she was not taught any of the math that was required. Lucky for her that I too am a teacher and was able to re-teach myself the math to teach it to her. She will be attending Bronx Science in the fall, but her math score was 50 points below her verbal. It is ridiculous. She was in District 24, Region 4, but I live in 25, Region 3, and it is the same thing here. The "Everyday Math" program is a joke. It is not so much that it is "dumbed down:, as it is completely useless and illogical.
                      If my daughter wanted to go to Stuyvesant, etc. and she does not now...I would get her tutoring this year (7th grade), and it would be individualized.
                       
                      Anyone who knows anything about testing knows that you need to practice on the questions that the specific test uses, as people do say for the Law boards.
                       
                      Best, Neal
                    • Leonie Haimson
                      I agree that it s not useful at this point to get into an extended debate on the various constructivist math curricula in use in NYC schools and their
                      Message 10 of 21 , Aug 20, 2006
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                        I agree that it’s not useful at this point to get into an extended debate on the various constructivist math curricula in use in NYC schools and their comparative efficacy.  Suffice it to say that as a parent whose two children have gone through District 2 schools, and as someone who has looked into this issue rather closely, I have become convinced that TERC math is entirely inadequate to prepare most students for the rigorous math needed in high school, college and beyond. 

                         

                        I don’t think an overemphasis on testing has anything to do with it, nor does this have anything to do with whether I should be called “progressive”.  My views on this issue as well as class size, high stakes testing, and what actually works in education are informed by common sense, research and personal experience. 

                         

                        I watched my daughter fall further and further behind in math, while each year being taught by the school “leader” in TERC, until I finally spent an entire summer doing Singapore Math with her seven days a week to catch her up to grade level.  Even so, now in high school I think her skills in math are behind what they should be.  Most parents I have spoken to in District 2 schools have similar stories to tell and the rate of private tutoring in math in most of the district’s schools is scandalously high.

                         

                        For those who are interested in pursuing this issue further , I recommend the NYC math forum list serv which Elizabeth Carson moderates; her email is nycmathforum@...  and more info can be found at http://www.nychold.com/  The group also contains a large number of math professors at NYU and other universities who experienced their children’s education being degraded by TERC, and because they were professionals couldn’t be intimidated by the educators and administrators in District 2 who had successfully browbeat most other concerned parents that they simply didn’t understand what was involved in real mathematical thinking.

                         

                        But let’s halt the discussion of this issue on this list serv now and move on to other issues; snip, snip. 

                         

                        To answer Naomi’s question about dropouts at Bronx Science and Stuy: both schools appear to have quite low dropout and/or discharge rates, even among their minority population, and consequently high graduation rates.  The specialized high school with a surprisingly low four year graduation rate is Brooklyn Tech, when I last looked at the statistics released by the state – though the school does enroll a much higher percentage of black and a slightly higher percentage of Hispanic students than the other two.  The four year graduation rate for the entering class of 2001 at Tech was only 55%, though it appears from this document that the school has a low dropout and discharge rate and most of the students will eventually graduate.

                         

                        From an earlier DOE document, however, it appeared that Brooklyn Tech has a much higher graduation rate, but also a much higher discharge rate, with more than 10% of its students leaving the school before graduation.  Another tangled web in the graduation reporting of NYC schools.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

                        For those who are interested in looking at the State graduation data themselves, check out http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/irts/press-release/20060213/allschool-outcomes-2000-01cohort.pdf  By the way, the graduation rates for individual schools as reported by the state are usually ten to 15 points lower than as reported by DOE, just as in the system as a whole.

                         

                        Thanks,

                         

                        Leonie Haimson

                        Class Size Matters

                        124 Waverly Pl.

                        New York, NY 10011

                        212-674-7320

                        leonie@...

                        www.classsizematters.org


                        From: MAMASWIRLZ@... [mailto:MAMASWIRLZ@...]
                        Sent: Saturday, August 19, 2006 9:35 PM
                        To: leonie@...; nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [nyceducationnews] Minority Students Decline in Top New York Schools

                         

                        Wait a minute. What list serve am I on?????? I usually quietly read and enjoy information on the anti-testing movement and the struggle to lower class size. I, too, am angered by the fact that there is such a low percentage of Black and Hispanic students at the specialized high schools.

                        But somehow the discussion has moved away from the topic and we are now we are looking to select math programs based on their effect on kids' performance on standardized math tests (including the one that, coupled with a standardized reading test, gets them into one of the "top" schools). As an educator with over 20 years in the NYC schools, and the parent of two young women who went through NYC public schools (one Bronx Science graduate, one Beacon graduate), this discussion concerns me. 

                        Someone made the statement,
                        ".....but any program is better than TERC in preparing kids to do 'real' math."

                        TERC and CMP are great programs. They do real math. For example, in 8th grade CMP the students discover the Pythagorean Theorem for themselves. These are math programs, not test prep programs.  Kids engage in real mathematical work and discussion when they are implemented by trained professionals.

                        Of course kids from "gifted" programs do better on tests. They had to test well to get in. That's how they get into Delta and other such programs. That's their learning style. And as someone said, they are predominantly whilte. A good question to ask is "What do Stuyvesant and Bronx Science do to support the very small Black and Hispanic population once they get in?"  Try to get the statistics on Black and Hispanic drop outs.

                        I am not saying that math education is where it needs to be, but trashing TERC and Connected Math (or even Everyday Math) as "fuzzy" (I never thought I would hear this from progressive educators and parents) is not the answer to the math problem and certainly not the answer to the "
                        Minority Students Decline in Top New York Schools."

                        Eugene said "My daughter was in a private school through sixth grade when she entered a District 2 middle school where they used TERC. Up until then, she hadn't had any problems with math.   After a few weeks of TERC, she could barely add 2+2.  " First of all, TERC is an elementary school program, so I highly doubt that she had that program, it was probably Connected Math.  Secondly, if after 6 years of being in a private school, she could not add 2+2, I think I would look at what happened before she got to the middle school.  Students who understand math do not forget it.

                        I think those of us who struggle against the use of high stakes tests, those of us who understand how little we know about children from these tests, should be looking at how kids are chosen for "top" schools and "gifted" programs. We should look at why the Math & Science Institute has drifted from its mission.


                        Naomi




                      • LRN1212@aol.com
                        As a NYC teacher and parent, I wrote about the fact that my son was not prepared mathematically to be successful on the specialized high school test. The
                        Message 11 of 21 , Aug 20, 2006
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                          As a NYC teacher and parent, I wrote about the fact that my son was not prepared mathematically to be successful on the specialized high school test.  The point I was trying to make was that every student in NYC should be given the skills needed to pass a NYC test for high school. (I also agree that one high stakes test is not the only measure that should be used for admission) He was a year behind what he needed.  Whatever method or curriculum is used, it seems like the system is setup against student's who's parents do not know or cannot spend large sums of money getting their children tutored.  I didn't know, and I am a basically a middle class parent who has tried to "know" the system so that I can get my kid the best education here in NYC.  The point is the system is not fair.
                           
                          PS I do believe in a constructionist method of teaching math.  My son has a much better grasp on understanding fractions and other basics of math than I do.  He can figure out math by reasoning while I have to try and remember the "formula," which I often can't.  That said, I do think we need to integrate some of the rote learning of facts and formulas also! In the elementary school in which I teach we had an AUSSI staff developer who liked Everyday Math, but also gave teachers on each grade level different work they could do to help kids memorize the facts they would need.  Lisa
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