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Welcome to the Baltimore Curriculum Project's bi-monthly e-newsletter. BCP is a non-profit that exists to improve educational opportunities for all Baltimore City Public School students through direct operation of charter schools and advocacy of policies that provide equitable opportunities for all city schools and students. We believe that all students can learn when their teachers have effective tools and the training to use these tools; that all students deserve access to teachers with these tools and training; and that effective teaching tools are developed and improved through scientific research.

You are receiving this e-newsletter because we thought you would be interested in our work. If you would like to unsubscribe from this e-newsletter, please email lschugam@baltimorecp.org. If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail: bcpinfo@baltimorecp.org

 
In This Edition:
 
BCP NEWS

 

SpacerSpacer Picture of BCP Website

BCP Unveils New Website and Logo

BCP would like to officially announce its new website and logo - www.baltimorecp.org.

The BCP logo was designed by artist Lucinda Morreale of Ladderback Design.The website was designed by BCP Director of Policy and Development, Larry Schugam.

The website includes information about BCP charter schools, programs, press, resources, and more.

Please visit our website and send any comments or suggestions to lschugam@baltimorecp.org

 

BCP Advocates for Continuation of Direct Instruction in City Schools

The proposed Baltimore City Public School System Budget for FY2007 includes $10 million to finance the removal of Direct Instruction (DI) from BCPSS schools. Direct Instruction has been used successfully in 18 Baltimore City public schools since 1996 and has 30 years of research to support it. Since news of this proposed change came to light a few weeks ago, BCP has been actively advocating to save DI in Baltimore City.

BCP President Muriel Berkeley and Executive Director Alison Perkins-Cohen spoke about the benefits of DI at the BCPSS Open Budget forum on January 31. They were joined by Roland Park PTA President Robert Heck, Roland Park Acting Principal Linda Taylor and Roland Park 1st grade teacher Cathy Gearhart.

Ms. Gearhart, who was the 2004/2005 Baltimore City Teacher of the Year, referred to DI as the "meat and potatoes" of her student's educational diet. She explained that DI provides her students with the basic nutrients of literacy skills. This frees her to supplement with desserts and appetizers of more advanced knowledge.

Ms. Gearhart also explained that before she was introduced to DI, she lacked the tools to teach her students to read. “Imagine trying to clean a gymnasium floor with a toothbrush,” Ms. Gearhart said of her life as a teacher before she knew DI.

Baltimore City plans to replace DI with Open Court in traditional public schools. As charter schools, the three schools operated by BCP will not be impacted by the proposed change. According to BCPSS’s Chief Academic Officer, Linda Chinnia, DI will also remain in the city’s 6 Reading First schools and its replacement in other schools will be decided on a school-by-school basis.

Specifically, Ms. Chinnia indicated that schools that are doing well with DI and scoring well on state tests will not be forced to eliminate DI. Unfortunately, it is those schools that are not scoring as well on State tests that are the highest poverty schools serving the most disadvantaged populations and are most in need of the DI curriculum.

Ms. Perkins-Cohen and Ms. Berkeley both made this point in their testimony before the school board. Also, though BCPSS has publicly stated its intention to keep DI in Reading First schools, principals at those schools have recently been ordered to send their teachers to professional development sessions on Open Court and the announcement has made that all preK programs will be switched from DI to Open Court.

BCP will continue to monitor this situation and advocate publicly for the continuation of DI in the 17 BCPSS schools that are currently using it. BCPSS feels strongly that the $10 million budgeted for the elimination of Direct Instruction could be better spent providing appropriate professional development for DI teachers and dedicated administrative support for the DI schools.

For more information on Direct Instruction, Open Court, and why DI should be kept see the BCP press release and fact sheets below:

 

BCP Expands Tutoring Program

BCP has expanded its Supplemental Education Services tutoring program to include an additional two-and-a-half months of services, beginning services in September of 2005. This was possible thanks to BCPSS allowing the program to start early with students continuing from last year’s program rather than waiting for all of the new applications to be processed. BCP began offering Supplemental Educational Services (SES) at Collington Square School in 2003.

Students who qualify for free lunch and attend a school that has repeatedly failed to meet AYP are eligible for free after-school tutoring. The federal government funds this program through No Child Left Behind and the State authorizes providers to offer these tutoring services.

More than 30 BCP tutors offer SES to about 95 students two times per week. Students receive approximately 3 hours of tutoring per week, and up to 54 hours total. The tutoring program employs the Direct Instruction curriculum used during the day, providing a seamless approach to each student's education.

Some students are tutored for reinforcement in the exact same programs as they use during the day while others are working in supplemental programs that hone in on specific skills the students need help with. All tutors are trained before they begin working with students and are supported with additional training as needed. Brenda Kahn, Collington’s Elementary School Curriculum Coordinator acts as on-site manager for the program. Her familiarity with the students allows her to ensure the ultimate level of coordination between the students’ school work and their tutoring sessions.

"There is a large group of students who are incredibly enthusiastic about the program," says Joanna Musumeci, BCP's Director of Student Services and manager of the tutoring program.. "Students show up to tutoring on days they are not scheduled and ask, 'Is my tutor coming today?' or ask other adults, 'Can you tutor me today?'

"Two students have chosen to do extra reading with their tutor, beyond their set schedule. Other students have been known to ask for make up sessions because they want to make sure they get everything they can out of their tutoring," says Mrs. Musumeci.

One of the many incredible tutoring success stories involves a middle school student who had very basic comprehension skills at the beginning of tutoring. He placed into an elementary comprehension/reasoning program in September 2005 and has been moving through it swiftly. In school recently, he tested into the next level of the comprehension program, having mastered the skills he was lacking at the beginning of the year.

BCP is very proud of Mrs. Musumeci, Ms. Kahn, the tutors, and all of the students who have worked so hard to make this program a success.

 

QUOTATION OF THE MONTH


"What if somebody could come up with a method of teaching children how to read that was simple and worked every time. That sounds like the impossible dream to parents and school kids. But we found such a method. And you may be shocked to find out that most schools refuse to try it."

- Interviewer Hugh Downs commenting on Direct Instruction, during a 1996 episode of ABC's 20/20.

 

WHAT'S HAPPENING IN OUR SCHOOLS

 

News from City Springs School (#08)
City Springs Celebration of Learning
Click the photo above to view a video of Mrs. Turner's 1st grade class demonstrating their math skills. (Requires Quicktime)

City Springs "Celebrations of Learning"

During the month of December City Springs held its Celebrations of Learning. Students in grades K through 8 were given the opportunity to show off the knowledge they have gained so far this years to parents, teachers, community members, mentors and their peers. The sessions were held over a 3-week period and featured 29 teachers and their classes. Click on the photo to the left to see a Quicktime movie of Mrs. Tuner's 1st grade Celebration.

BCP staff members attended a number of the Celebrations and were very impressed. Here are just a few of the wonderful celebrations we visited:

Students from the Middle School Academy demonstrated their knowledge in a quiz show format. Four or five teams of students ascended the stage in each round to compete to answer timed questions testing their knowledge of science, literature, mathematics and history. Teams comprised of three students each conferred around desks to come up with the answers to a series of questions posed by the teacher/quiz master.

Teams providing the correct answer to questions ranging from geometry to early explorers to The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe scored a point for each correct answer. At the end of the competition, Ms. Edwards’ class had accumulated the most points and was deemed the winner. A large audience came to watch the competition including School Board Commissioner George VanHook, about 15 mentors from Collard Pinkard and a number of parents.

Mrs. Turner's first grade class wowed parents by reading out loud, reciting numerous facts from memory, and answering math questions during their Celebration of Learning. Students were please to have the opportunity to show off by reading from unfamiliar texts and reciting the days of the week, months of the year, and the seasons, among other information.

Mrs. Turner gave a compelling demonstration of the power of Direct Instruction to engage students and enhance learning. Once the students had finished their presentation and the parents had left, she rewarded the children by turning on some music and dancing with them to celebrate their achievements

Mr. Gwynn's first grade class took turns reading out loud for their Celebrations of Learning audience. They also showed off their knowledge of math facts and finished by playing a game of around the world. In this game the teacher begins at one end of the room with one student standing behind another student who is sitting at his desk.The teacher poses a math fact question and the first person to answer it correctly moves on to compete at the next student’s desk, and so on. The student who travels the farthest distance from their desk is the winner.

The Spring Celebrations of Learning will be held in May. If you would like to attend please call BCP at 410-235-0015 or email for more information.

 

News from Collington Square School (#97)

Close Encounters of the Artistic Kind

Baltimore Museum of Art

During January and February 17 students from Ms. Kwaw's Language Arts class participated in an arts education program run by the Baltimore Museum of Art. The Museum's Close Encounters program provides an in-depth six-week art experience for Baltimore City fourth graders.

During the first week of the program, BMA educators visited Ms. Kwaw's classroom. This was followed by three visits to the Museum during the ensuing weeks. Miss Anderson and Miss Fillion of the BMA taught the students about a variety of artists and artistic techniques.

Students were given journals, coloring pencils, clay, and a one-year family membership to the Museum. During the visits students spent time drawing sketches of the BMA's many sculptures.

Ms. Kwaw said that Miss Anderson and Miss Fillion were very warm and personable with the students. They BMA representatives made a great effort to remember the students names and other details about the students. Ms. Kwaw also said that she was surprised at how many facts the students remembered about the art and the artists.

At the end of the six week program the students got to vote on their favorite work of art and the BMA presented the class with a framed print of the winner: a work by Henri Matisse. BCP would like to thank the BMA for providing such a wonderful opportunity for our students. If you would like to learn more about the BMA's programs please visit http://artbma.org/.

Sankofa Dance Performance. On February 10, students at Collington Square school were treated to a performance by the Sankofa Dancers. Twenty Collington Middle school students performed on stage with the Dancers. Founded in 1989 by husband and wife team Kauna Mujamal and Kibibi Ajanku, Sankofa Dance Theater includes a touring African dance and drumming company, as well as a school open to the Baltimore community. The performance was the culmination of a six week class offered by the Sankofa dancers to Collington students

Mini-Course Presentations. On January 27 Collington Middle School students demonstrated the skills that they acquired during their first-semester mini-courses. Collington's mini-courses are 45-minute classes taught on Friday mornings by volunteers. A wide variety of classes are offered. During the event, seamstresses showed their dresses, elaborately decorated cakes were displayed, cartoons were drawn, and one group of aspiring actors presented the fight scene from Romeo and Juliet.

 

News from Hampstead Hill Academy (#47)

Hampstead Hill Wins Chess Tournament

chess piece

On January 21, 2006 The Hampstead Hill Academy Chess Club won the Baltimore Kids Chess League Winter Tournament for the fourth year in a row. The tournament was held at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. More than 90 students from 12 schools entered the competition.

Under Coaches Ralph Marchetti and Lothar Schoenfliess, Hampstead Hill fielded 15 boys and girls in grades first through fifth. Every team member scored points to contribute to the team’s victory.

Everything that make chess a valuable experience for children was evident at this tournament. Hampstead Hill students displayed determination, concentration, self-control, support for other team members, good sportsmanship, and self confidence while winning the team trophy.

Special thanks and appreciation are due to the parents and guardians for supporting and encouraging their children to learn and play chess. Without their help car pooling, Hampstead Hill would not have been able to take enough players to insure their victory. Chess Club members include: Paul Duff, Steven Youngblood, Kayhl Cutrone, Richie Burger, Jake Townsley, Ange Gousse, Nathan Adams, Drew Wehner, Caleb Nowakowski, Justin Auffarth, Zachary Hewins, Jacob Powers, April Fay, Karol Dabrowski, and Tyhe Cutrone.

Hampstead Hill Academy Needs an Auditorium – Call Your Elected Representatives
Hampstead Hill is working to raise political support to build the Hampstead Hill Arts Center – a state of the art auditorium designed to seat 650 people. In addition to school activities, the auditorium could be used by the community and City for performances, events, music, theater, conferences, and more.

Please call your elected representatives and express your support for this project. The points to make are:

  1. My name is _____________ and I’m one of your constituents.
  2. Hampstead Hill is a public school where my child attends. (if applicable).
  3. Hampstead Hill is a great school but it does not have an auditorium.
  4. There is no other auditorium that serves the Hampstead Hill community like the one being proposed.
  5. This building could be used by the community and City for performances, events, music, theater, conferences, etc.
  6. Hampstead Hill is a school community that will take care of the building for generations.
  • Most importantly call your representatives from the 46th legislative district currently in session in Annapolis.
  • U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings at 202-225-4741 or 410-685-9199.
  • U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (an alumnus) at 202-224-4654 or 410-962-4510.
  • Baltimore City Councilman Jim Kraft at 410-396-4821.
  • MD State Senator George Della at 410-841-3600 or 301-858-3600.
  • MD State Delegate Peter A. Hammen at 410-841-3772 or 301-858-3772.
  • MD State Delegate Carolyn Krysiak at 410-841-3303 or 301-858-3303.
  • MD State Delegate Brian McHale at 410-841-3319 or 301-858-3319.

BCP and the Hampstead Hill community thank you for your support.

Hampstead Hill Nights – Coming to You in May
The 2nd Annual Hampstead Hill Nights is just around the corner.  There will be fun festivities for all including live music from some of the area's best bands.  Look for our Hampstead Hill's own band to make an appearance too! 

Mark your calendar now for three nights of relaxation, harmony, and gathering of the friends of Hampstead Hill Academy. Gates will open at 6 p.m. and entertainment will be from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The dates are as follows:

  • Thursday, May 11
  • Thursday, May 18
  • Thursday, May 24

 

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spacerLEGISLATIVE UPDATE

 

New Charter School Bill Clarifies Charter School Law

Maryland flag

On Wednesday, February 15, the General Assembly’s Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee considered Senate Bill 293 - a bill that seeks to clarify Maryland's Charter School Act.

SB293's provisions include:

  • Setting a deadline for charter application submission and review.
  • Prohibiting public charter schools from seeking waivers from specified charter school laws.
  • Requiring county boards to disburse unrestricted current expense funds in accordance with a specified formula.
  • authorizing county boards and public charter schools to negotiate for excess funds; etc.

The bill was drafted by a working group of the Senate’s Education, Heath and Environmental Affairs (EHEA) Committee. One of the working groups main tasks was to clarify the the definition of “commensurate funding” provided in the original law.

SB293 defines commensurate as 85% of an LEA’s resources after all restricted, Special Education and transportation funds have been removed. This methodology would render a funding level close to what BCPSS currently provides charters.

During the EHEA Hearing, MSDE testified that it supported the bill – though only with significant amendments to the funding formula.  Specifically,  MSDE proposed amending the bill to require LEA’s to calculate the per pupil amount due charters by taking the total amount of funding provided the LEA, removing restricted grant funds but leaving Special Education and transportation funds in the calculation.

MSDE would then require LEA’s to provide charters with 98% of that, much larger, portion of LEA funds.  Essentially the same as the methodology proposed by the Maryland State Board of Education in a ruling last year that was then appealed by BCPS, the MSDE amendments would result in about  $10K per pupil going charters in Baltimore City or over a third more than is received currently by charter schools students or their traditional school counterparts.

BCP strongly opposes the MSDE amendments and contacted committee staff to make their opposition to the MSDE changes known before the subcommittee met to consider amendments. Legislating a higher per pupil level for charter schools would significantly damage the viability public school systems throughout Maryland as LEAs would be forced to finance the higher per pupil provided charters by reducing funding provided to students attending traditional public schools.

Additionally, equal funding for charter schools is essential, not only for the health of the entire public school system, but also for the long-term health of a charter school movement that prides itself on its ability to serve traditional public schools through its capacity to function as a laboratory for innovation and reform.  If those innovations cost substantially more to provide, the lessons are useless.

Following the full committee hearing, the subcommittee met on Monday,  February 20th to consider the amendments and reported the bill out with a number of clarifying amendments proposed by the Maryland Association of Boards of Education and others. The subcommittee rejected, however, the funding amendments proposed by MSDE.  The schedule for bringing the bill to the Senate floor is unclear and the House has yet to take up the companion bill.

 

 

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SPOTLIGHT

 

Interview with University of MD Mathematics Professor Jerome Dancis

The “Math Wars” have been fought since the 1980s. The debate centers on what Mathematics should be taught and how it should be taught. In the following interview, Dr. Jerome Dancis talks about the math wars, why mathematics education standards are so low in Maryland, and what we can do about it. Dr. Dancis is an Associate Professor Emeritus in the Mathematics Department at the University of Maryland, College Park.

The following is an abridged version of the interview with Dr. Dancis. The full version is available at http://www.baltimorecp.org/newsletter/jerome_dancis.pdf. (PDF file)


Q: The following quote from Education World describes the Math Wars:

On one side of the conflict are the traditionalists who claim that students should learn math by memorizing and practicing basic facts and skills. On the other side are proponents of what is often called “whole math,” who deride the old “kill and drill” methods of education, claiming that children learn best when they discover, understand, and integrate knowledge through independent exploration. [1]

Would you say this is an accurate depiction of the longstanding debate over math education?

A:  It is a common way the Math Wars conflict is misrepresented by many advocates for the Reform Math Movement. It only mentions differences in teaching styles while not mentioning the more important differences in curriculum (much weaker under Reform Math) and the even more important differences in the amount of mathematics learned  (much less under Reform Math).

In fact, mathematicians advocate the importance of both conceptual understanding (Reform) and basic skills (Traditional).  They are not mutually exclusive. Basic skills are necessary for conceptual understanding and problem-solving. [2]

In theory, the Math Reform Movement places great emphasis on conceptual understanding, but, in practice, the Math Reform conceptual understanding is at a very low level. Some of the Math Reform conceptual understanding is wrong and some of it is misleading. Math reform often mistakes vocabulary knowledge for conceptual understanding.

However, there is a place for the good elements of both traditional education, such as learning the usual method of multiplication and having a coherent curriculum, and a few aspects of a Math Reform education, such as group work, in an effective mathematics program.

Is the Reform Math movement an attempt to address the ineffective math curriculum of the 1980s?

Partially, but the Reform Math curriculum, including the Maryland State Department of Education’s curriculum (MSDE), is far more underachieving, very repetitive, even more ineffective, and even more inefficient than the 1980s math curriculum. Some of the Math Reform curriculum is wrong and some of it is misleading.

The Maryland School Performance Assessment Program (MSPAP) exams were an example of the Math Reform curriculum’s lowering of math standards. Former head of the Maryland State Board of Education, Robert Embry, wrote:

I realized … how fundamentally serious some of MSPAP’s deficiencies were.  For example, one question had students manipulating a dozen small pieces of paper to figure out the area of a room--seemingly to avoid making a simple calculation using the traditional paper and pencil … Perhaps no issue about the MSPAP concerns us more than the clear lack of substantive knowledge required for the test. [3]

Why is it important for students who do not plan to pursue math or technology in college to learn real algebra?

As 1960s civil rights icon Dr. Robert Moses says, Algebra is the next civil right. Moses (Ph. D. in the philosophy of mathematics [Harvard]) states that “the most urgent social issue affecting poor people and people of color is economic access. In today’s world, economic access and full citizenship depend crucially on math and science literacy.”[4]

Not knowing Algebra significantly prevents many students from obtaining their first or second choices for a career or college major.

Who decides what will be taught?

An administrator from Prince George’s County summed up how state exams shape what is taught in the public schools. This administrator cautioned the State not to include "any item in the Core Learning Goals for the high school assessments that it did not then plan to use in the test. 'Forget about us teaching anything you’re not testing. All anybody cares about anymore is if the material is going to be on the test.'" [5]

If a student does well on the Maryland High School Assessment (HSA) Algebra exam, will the student do well in college math?

Not necessarily. Furthermore, it does not provide the background for even college remedial algebra (real Algebra I or II); or for high school Algebra II or for high school physics. As University of Maryland, Baltimore County President Freeman A. Hrabowski III noted: “the [Maryland state] standards [are] woefully inadequate.” [6]

As 40 Maryland college Math faculty have noted: “Maryland’s mathematics standards … neglect the math skills [like arithmetic] and conceptual understanding that are essential for real algebra” and “teaching to such a low standard will increase the already high number of students taking remedial math [that is, real Algebra] in college.” [7]

What about NAEP [National Assessment of Educational Progress]? Will a student who does well on NAEP be prepared for college math?

Not necessarily. Most of the questions on the Grade 12 NAEP belong in Grade 8.

Is real arithmetic or algebra being taught at all in Maryland schools?

Arithmetic has been marginalized.

Knowing that  x + 2x = 3x or solving  2x = 8, without the aid of a calculator is not on the syllabus for the Maryland Algebra exam. This is why I nick-named it Maryland’s pretend Algebra Exam. "Even one of the people responsible for the [Maryland Algebra] test, Maryland State Education Department official Gary Heath, said, 'We would be the first to tell you it doesn’t have a lot of algebra, nor was it intended to.'" [8]

Maryland schools are replacing their real Algebra I course, with MSDE’s pretend Algebra syllabus.

Why are the standards for K-12 math education so low in Maryland?

Because MSDE is not willing to set appropriate standards for teacher certification.

In order to learn Real Algebra, students need to be fluent in arithmetic. But many students leave middle school not fluent in arithmetic. To achieve fluency in arithmetic, students need teachers who are fluent in arithmetic. But fluency in arithmetic, especially calculations with fractions and decimals, is not required for MSDE’s endorsement as a “highly qualified” middle school Math teacher.  So what to do?  Option #1 is for MSDE to raise its Math standards for “highly qualified” middle and elementary school Math teachers; this would enable MSDE to raise its Math standards for students.

Option #2 is to marginalize Arithmetic and “reinvent” Algebra as “pretend” algebra, wherein students do all calculations on calculators. MSDE chose Option #2.  Maryland school systems are revamping or replacing their traditional Algebra I curriculum with MSDE’s pretend algebra.

Do public school math teachers have a strong background in mathematics?

Many teachers have very good knowledge of Mathematics. Unfortunately for our children, many others do not. We would like to assume that MSDE’s teachers’ certification guarantees appropriate and correct knowledge of Mathematics. This assumption is not correct.

A child of mine had mathematically correct answers marked wrong on Algebra I and II exams and on a Geometry exam. This occurred at Blue Ribbon schools, which received national honors from the first President Bush as “Schools of Excellence”

At a University of Maryland seminar for Math Education graduate students, the question came up: why is it that a negative times a negative equals a positive. A math education professor from Harvard explained it as follows:  If we consider good to be positive and bad to be negative, then doing bad things to bad people is considered good.  This is a cute answer, but it has no connection to a correct explanation.

How do Maryland teachers become “Highly Qualified” under No Child Left Behind?

One way teachers may earn the “highly qualified” middle school math teacher endorsement from MSDE is by passing the Praxis II “Middle School math content” exam. Teachers may use calculators on this exam, so fluency in fractions and decimals is not required.

Alternatively, middle school math teachers can use (pretend) college Math courses, specifically designed for elementary school (K-5) teachers, to partially fulfill the college math requirements for MSDE’s endorsement as a “highly qualified” middle school math teacher. The level of these Math courses is so low that college students, majoring in basket weaving, cannot get credit for these courses.

Is Maryland’s high school Math curriculum effective at all?

Maryland High Schools had an effective high school Math curriculum, at least for many students. Of course, it was not effective for the many students who did not know Arithmetic. The overuse of calculators (this century) has resulted in students being less well prepared for college. As Maryland High Schools replace Real Algebra with Maryland (HSA) Pretend Algebra, students will be even less well prepared.

What prompted California to drop the Reform Math curriculum?

California developed its current math curriculum after experiencing the disastrous impacts of the Reform Math movement.  Eight years of Reform Math in California public schools resulted in the remedial math (Algebra) rate, at the California State College System, skyrocketing from 22% to 52% among entering students.

The drastic drop in student math achievement contributed to a counter-revolution against the Reform movement and led to the creation of the California Math Framework (1999).

What can be done to improve K-12 math education in Maryland?

I would recommend the following changes in order to improve math education:

  1. MSDE must first bite the bullet on standards for teacher certification. Especially raising Arithmetic content standards for K-5 teachers and Arithmetic and real Algebra content standards for Middle school Math teachers.
  2. Institute new state certifications for combined middle school math and science teachers and for AP Calculus teachers. An AP Calculus teacher could provide math expertise and math leadership for his/her high school’s math teaching team.
  3. Provide serious professional development in Arithmetic and real Algebra for those K-8 teachers who would benefit from it.
  4. Provide bonuses for elementary and middle school principals and vice-principals who are fluent in Arithmetic and Real Algebra. They could provide their teachers with leadership in Arithmetic instruction and could accurately evaluate Arithmetic instruction.

    Raising the math standards for math teachers will enable the state to raise math standards for students.

  5. Replace the counterproductive Maryland Content Standards with the 1999 California Standards. Better yet, use the Singapore standards for K-7 or use a cut-down version of Achieve’s K-8 math curriculum standards [9] by moving its Grades 6-8 probability material and much of the Geometry to high school. Maryland is one of 18 states that joined Achieve’s “Mathematics Achievement Partnership”. Singapore textbooks were used with great success in College Gardens Elementary (Montgomery County). [10]
  6. For High School use textbooks approved by the state of California for this Century or academic math textbooks from the 1950’s.
  7. Use the PSAT Math exam for the states standard Math exam for Grade 8, required by NCLB.  The bulk of the PSAT Math exam consists of Arithmetic and pre-Algebra questions. Teaching to the PSAT Math exam would considerably raise the level of teaching mathematical thinking and analysis. [11]
  8. Replace the Maryland pretend Algebra exam with the Algebra I questions on the common Math placement exam of Maryland community colleges.
  9. Require that Maryland Hope scholarship recipients be able to enter college, without the need to take any remedial course. This would pressure high schools to raise standards.

  1. Starr, L. (2002). Math Wars! Education World. http://www.education-world.com/a_curr/curr071.shtml
  2. Dr. H. Wu’s great article, “Basic Skills Versus Conceptual Understanding – A Bogus Dichotomy in Math Education” in The American Educator, American Federation of Teachers, Fall 1999.
  3. Robert C. Embry, Jr.’s, (former head of the Maryland State Board of Education), 1996 memorandum to Nancy Grasmick, Maryland State Superintendent, on the web at
    https://listserv.umd.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0108&L=ctetch-l&P=424 ; it was an MSDE state secret until summer 2001.
  4. Dionne, Jr., E.J. (6 March 2001). Into the Math Mix. The Washington Post, pg. A.23. As leader of the Mississippi Voter Rights Project, Dr. Moses was one of the ten most important civil rights activists in the1960s. Moses has a Harvard Ph.D. in the philosophy of mathematics. For the past decade he has been organizing the Algebra Project.
  5. Robert C. Embry, Jr.’s, (former head of the Maryland State Board of Education), 1996 memorandum to Nancy Grasmick, Maryland State Superintendent, on the web at
    https://listserv.umd.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0108&L=ctetch-l&P=424 ; it was an MSDE state secret until summer 2001.
  6. Bowler, M. (31 March 2004). A call to raise the standards; Expectations: UMBC’s president urges state education officials to push schools toward academic excellence. The Baltimore Sun, pg. 2.B.
  7. Petition to Upgrade Maryland’s Mathematics Standards. http://www.math.umd.edu/~jnd/subhome/petition_w_sign.htm
  8. Mathews, J. (19 August 2002). Algebra = X in One School, Y in Another; Teaching Inconsistent as Standards Waver;. The Washington Post, p. A.01.
  9. Achieve Initiatives/MAP: MAP’s K-8 Expectations. Achieve Website: http://www.achieve.org/achieve.nsf/MAP-k-8?OpenForm
  10. Singapore textbooks are written in English and can be found at: http://singaporemath.com.
  11. Bowler, M. (31 March 2004). A call to raise the standards; Expectations: UMBC’s president urges state education officials to push schools toward academic excellence. The Baltimore Sun, pg. 2.B. “When opponents of the SAT, for example, tee off on its purported bias against minorities, [University of Maryland, Baltimore County President Freeman A. Hrabowski III] replies that he has been writing SAT test questions for years -- and that minorities can, and many do, ace the SAT.”

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