The (NY, DC, LA, and CA) Story of Eureka Math
In Louisiana, there has been a bit of mystery surrounding the only math curriculum “selected” in March 2014 by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) and promoted as
It sure sounds like… dare I write it… grass roots CCSS math development, huh?
Then comes the fine print.
LDOE’s “Louisiana Believes” website offers this overview of Eureka Math, which includes the following tiny wording regarding its funding and development:
Eureka Math is based on research and development made possible through a partnership with the New York State Education Department. The modules within Eureka Math are available online at engageny.org and commoncore.org
©2014 Common Core, Inc. All rights reserved.
Common Core, Inc., is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that creates curriculum tools and promotes programs, policies, and initiatives at the local, state, and federal levels that provide students with challenging, rigorous instruction in the full range of liberal arts and sciences. Common Core was established in 2007 and is not affiliated with the Common Core State Standards.
So, where is LSU in all of this? According to this 2013 LDOE Common Core State Standards (CCSS) transitional summary, there is no mention of Common Core, Inc. (the Eureka Math copyright owner) and no mention of New York State/EngageNY:
Curriculum. The state will produce a Louisiana Curriculum Guidebook for English Language Arts and Math in grades Kindergarten through 12 that will include learning standards, a recommended sequence of skills to be taught, recommended units to present, and recommended materials to use in the classroom. The state will also recommend math curricula, including LSU-developed Eureka Math, along with English reading materials. [Emphasis added.]
Much better for business for Louisiana State Superintendent John White to pump up the “LSU-developed” angle and not the rest of the story– including Eureka Math’s connection to New York’s slice of federal Race to the Top (RTTT) funding and the copyright of Eureka Math by an organization that is DC-based, not Louisiana-based.
Commoncore.org offers this funding and development background on its Eureka math:
In 2012, Common Core (the nonprofit) won three contracts from the New York State Education Department to create a PreK–12 mathematics curriculum to be hosted on the state’s EngageNY website. Common Core makes PDF files containing that work available free of charge. [Emphasis added.]
No mention of LSU’s role– because the LSU folk were just the hired workers.
Interestingly, I located a precisely-detailed account of Eureka Math development and ownership in this May 2013 memo for the Berkeley (California) Unified School District (BUSD).
Among the BUSD-noted Eureka Math history is the acknowledgment of Daro’s oversight. (Daro is also associated with the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Education.)
And now, the Un-John-White-washed story of Eureka Math, compliments of BUSD:
A Story of Units is the K-5 math curriculum designed by a group of math educators working with Common Core, Inc., a not-for-profit organization started in 2007 by Lynn Munsen with the goal of providing in-depth “core” materials to schools and districts. Common Core, Inc. won a bid to work with New York Regents who were charged with using Race-to-the-Top funds to implement the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM).The development of the curriculum was originally funded by New York under the “engageNY” umbrella, but Common Core, Inc. reserves the rights to the materials and is creating a less “New York” version of the curriculum under its newly formed “Eureka Math” group. The Eureka Math Story of Units curriculum (which is essentially the engageNY curriculum minus the references to New York’s Learning Standards) will be available to all states next year for purchase, with Josey-Bass Wiley publishing printed materials and Common Core, Inc. overseeing a web version. Because the curriculum has undergone extensive revisions in its development, the writers are not anticipating major changes between the engageNY version being implemented this year in New York (and offered for free to other users) and the final version that will come out in 2014-15….
The math educators writing the curriculum include Nell McAnelly, Co-director of the Cain Center for Scientific, Technological, Engineering and Mathematical Literacy at LSU, and Scott Baldridge, math education professor at LSU and Singapore math training expert. Dr. McAnelly is the Project Director for A Story of Units, and Dr. Baldridge is Lead Writer for all the “Story” curriculum, including the K-5 curriculum A Story of Units, the 6-8 curriculum A Story of Ratios and the 9-12 curriculum A Story of Functions. Other key writers for A Story of Units include Bill Davidson who is writing the fluency component and Ben McCarty who is writing the assessments. BUSD is working directly with Nell McAnelly to plan the Professional Development training for the district, Bill Davison to train a group of teacher leaders in the fluency practices of the curriculum, and Ben McCarty in understanding the assessment pieces and in creating ways to train teachers to develop formative assessments to augment the curriculum-embedded assessments. Because BUSD has built strong relationships with the key people overseeing the development of A Story of Units, we are in an optimal position to train our teachers and offer support during the 2013-14 school year and into the next. Finally, the Common Core, Inc. team is working directly with Phil Daro, one of the three writers of the Common Core Standards for Mathematics, in finalizing this curriculum, to ensure it accurately reflects the way math is developed in the standards. Dr. Daro’s insistence on precision has required the writers to rewrite sections of the curriculum so that it more accurately teaches and assesses the mathematics of the Common Core. [Emphasis added.]
As much as John White tries to spin Eureka Math as an LSU creation, it just ain’t so. The LSU profs were only hired hands in this enterprise.
Washington, DC-based Common Core, Inc., owns Eureka Math.
And CCSS math chair Phil Daro had the final say in Eureka Math as accurately modeling CCSS.
In a December 2012 presentation, Daro had the following to say regarding CCSS math:
…we designed a new species of standards on which to build, as a platform for building a new kind of instructional system…. (23:25, first video).
In other words, Daro intended the CC math standards to drive the curriculum.
Those who insist that the “CCSS math” that just happens to be popping up all over the country and frustrating parents in states nationwide is actually curriculum divorced from a neutral CCSS need to reread my Daro citation above.
This shift in math curriculum is intended by the man accorded the title of CCSS math development chair.
That’s right. All of that unorthodox math that insists upon problem solving a certain way for a certain grade level despite a student’s arriving at a correct answer? That’s Phil Daro. (He discusses as much in minute four of the Q&A video included as part of a December 2012 presentation in the Mill Valley School District in California.)
There now. Eureka Math can make sense, if only for the moment.
Like my writing? Read my newly-released ed “reform” whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education
NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE.