Skip to content

To School Officials Seeking an Alternative to Eureka Math

April 5, 2015

As I begin this post, let me note that my position remains unchanged on the Common Core as a chiefly-non-classroom-teacher-created, untested, rushed conduit for roping states into unprecedented standardized testing, a vehicle designed to profit education companies and other “edupreneurs” at the expense of the democratic institution of public education. However, in an effort to provide districts with leverage to choose an alternative to Eureka Math, I present the information that follows.

According to the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE), Eureka Math is the only endorsed game in town. It is also the only supposedly “Common Core aligned” math curriculum for which LDOE plans to offer specific professional development at its June 2015 Teacher Leaders Summit.

“Primarily” (as in $3 million) Gates-funded EdReports.org also really likes Eureka Math. According to EdReports.org, only Eureka Math is fully “Common Core aligned” out of 20 math curricula that it reviewed. That the EdReports.org review will influence school officials’ selection makes this report a powerful factor for influencing the math curriculum market.

However, there is reason to believe that the EdReports.org review is slanted in favor of Eureka Math. This issue is problematic for districts that do not wish to use Eureka Math but whose district officials have taken the EdReports.org favor with Eureka math as established proof that it should be THE Common Core math curriculum.

Until now.

One of the other 19 math curricula in the EdReports.org review is Math Expressions.

According to Math Expressions author Karen Fuson, EdReports.org misrepresented Math Expressions in its evaluation of the curriculum’s  lack of “fit” with Common Core. Fuson has painstakingly detailed her assertions in this 34-page report: Fuson_to_ER_about_Math_Expressions

Fuson begins her report as follows:

In this response, I am drawing on my background as the author of over eighty research articles on mathematics teaching and learning about content in the Common Core State Standards Math and on knowledge gained by participating in and contributing to the writing of the National Research Council’s Mathematics Learning Study Committee that wrote Adding It Up and the Committee on Early Childhood Math that wrote Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood: Paths Toward Excellence and Equity.  I wrote the chapter on whole numbers for the NCTM Research Companion to the 2000 Standards and wrote the introductory chapter for the National Research Council’s How Students Learn: Mathematics in the Classroom. G1, G2, G5).  I worked on the Common Core State Standards-Math on the Feedback team and was a member of the writing team for the standards progressions describing learning progressions in these standards.

I am requesting EdReports.org to engage with me to modify their evaluations in response to the feedback I am providing below about their review.  We are all trying to improve math teaching and learning in this country, and I invite EdReports.org to contribute to that goal by modifying their review and awarding of points in response to this informative feedback. In the analysis and discussion of the report that follows, words from the report are in quotes to differentiate the report content from my discussion of the report. …

The way you summarize the results of the parts of your report does not represent your actual data well and is consequently misleading. The summary code you use for each Math Expressions grade K, G1, and G2 is Not Aligned.  But when one digs into the parts of the report about Math Expressions, one finds many positive comments and many full or partial alignments for each grade.  To be taken seriously and to inform your readers, you need to summarize your results in a fair and balanced and mathematically accurate manner. …

Fuson’s detailed dismantling of the EdReports.org poor review of Math Expressions is useful to districts seeking alternatives to solely-state-endorsed Eureka Math for two noteworthy reasons. First, in her report, Fuson presents a solid case for districts to utilize Math Expressions as an alternative to Eureka Math. And second (and perhaps more importantly), Fuson’s report raises serious questions regarding potentially misleading information in its review of all 20 math curricula– including Eureka Math.

The public is told on the “official” Common Core website that Common Core is “not a curriculum.”

Let’s hold the Common Core promoters to their words by preserving curricular choice.

Image result for math

________________________________________________

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has her second book available on pre-order, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?, due for publication May/June 2015.

 

 

 

 

7 Comments
  1. This is an important rebuttal. I am a 7th grade math teacher in NY, and I received training directly from some authors of the EngageNY / Eureka modules.

    I am also a parent and my son’s elementary schools used the Math Expressions program.

    Of course Eureka is the only “fully-aligned” program. It’s the only one rushed out the door after CCSS was finalized. Eureka is the more rigorous program. It throws students and teachers into the deep end of the pool without sufficient supports.

    Math Expressions is based upon Singapore Math and is much more kid- and teacher-friendly. I would recommend it for K-6 students despite its slight lack of perfect alignment.

    Mercedes, if Ms. Fusion or your readers would like to reach out for more information, please feel free to call or text me at my Google number, 585.210.8943. It is important that one review not shut the market to superior alternatives for our children around the country.

  2. Don Bunger permalink

    Mercedes,
    Your link to the 34 page article by Dr. Fuson is a broken link! Thanks for your leadership!

  3. Before NCLB, I used a CPM math textbook. I thought it was the best textbook materials ever. That program was able to survive the drill and skill NCLB era and CPM is now a fully developed constructivist program complete with a lot of training in how to develop productive group work. There is also a pretty good free program out of Utah called the Math Vision project. Just search the MVP and download the pdf files. I used it this year for Integrated math II. It is good and the price is right. Both CPM and MVP are aligned with CC$$.

    Of course the publishing industry wants to sell their bloated expensive offerings designed to maximize profits instead of learning.

  4. Sunshine permalink

    Happy Easter, I would like to thank you for bringing your full game to this fight Dr. Schneider. You have my deepest respect and gratitude.

    That said, this comment is only for you. As you know, miracles are real.

    On Labor Day, our gorgeous 18 year old granddaughter had trouble breathing. Within the next week she had become completely paralyzed by a mysterious virus affecting her central nervous system. Legacy Emmanuel hospital saved her life with an emergency tracheotomy, she lived for the next three months on life support, first in the Neurotrauma ICU, then in a horrible nursing facility. What a dark time. She was not in a coma, she was a “shut in”, she could feel everything, she could hear us, she could cry. Being kept alive by a ventilator, a tracheotomy, an ostemy device that suctioned her lungs, a PIC line and a stomach feeding tube, she never lost HER faith.

    Slowly, with the guidance of God (and her amazing mother) she learned to blink. Then she could mouth words. (She reports that when many people pray for you, you can actually feel it) By Thanksgiving she was able to breathe for 10 minutes off the ventilator. On Christmas Eve, we brought her home. She started college last week.

    What an unbelievable year this has been. Our test, our cross, her life given back to us. Thank-you Jesus, thank you God, you are great:)

    Yes, Happy Easter.
    Elise Kampfer
    (Sunshine)

  5. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    Long post. Not a math teacher. Big picture: Every set of standards implicates curriculum and teaching methods. The writers and the defenders of the CCSS insist on misrepresenting the standards as “neutral and non-prescriptive” in relation to curriculum and instruction for many reasons.

    First, the specter of having a national curriculum with prescribed teaching methods would be too hard to sell. Just deny that the CCSS have any implications for curriculum and how to teach. Lies aren’t noticed.

    Second, USDE needed protection from charges that it was funding a prescribed approach to curriculum and specific teaching methods because that is unlawful. Never mind the law. USDE paid for curricula to make the PARCC and the SBCA tests possible. Illegal. No inspectors general are investigating.

    Third, the CCSS must to be used verbatim. They are not a pick and choose menu. You can add 15% more standards (in ELA and math respectively) but these add-ons have to be segregated from the CCSS so they do not “contaminate” the tests that are designed to produce comparable scores.

    Fourth, shortly after the launch of the CCSS the writers of the CCSS set up “publishing criteria” for curriculum and instructional materials. These initial criteria morphed into a rating system for judging materials put out by Student Achievement Partners with the National Governor’s Association, Achieve and CCSSO– all of these implicated in producing and marketing the CCSS. This rating system for curriculum materials was a ready-to-use 392-page document filled with iron-first rules and criteria. When look at the criteria you will see that any claim that the CCSS are disconnected from how to teach and what teach is down the tubes–basically a lie.

    This rating system for CCSS-compliant materials from Student Achievement Partners with the National Governor’s Association, Achieve and CCSSO began with two “non-negotiables.”

    “Non-Negotiable 1. Freedom from Obstacles to Focus. Materials must reflect the content architecture of the Standards by not assessing the topics named before the grade level where they first appear in the Standards.” Scoring is “Meets or Does Not Meet/Insufficient Evidence.” (No review of content from prior grades).

    “Non-Negotiable 2. Focus and Coherence. To rate Non-Negotiable 2, (do this) first rate metrics 2A–2H each of these eight metrics must be rated as “Meets” in order for Non-Negotiable 2 to be rated as “Meets” …. “ Materials must “be clearly aimed at helping students meet the Standards as written rather than effectively rewriting the progressions in the Standards.” (p.127). (This is a restatement of the verbatim rule).
    The current rating kit is available at http://achievethecore.org/page/285/materials-alignment-toolkit

    These rating criteria for instructional materials— comprehensive textbook or textbook series; lessons, units and modules; grade or course-level tests; and individual test passages, items and tasks—are as hard-nosed as the voices of the authors of the CCSS.

    The new EdReports.org ratings are a ”lets pretend challenger” to the 397-page rating system offered by Student Achievement Partners with the National Governor’s Association, Achieve and CCSSO.

    A press release (Politico, Aug, 19, 2014) announced the creation of a ‘CONSUMER REPORTS’ FOR THE COMMON CORE, a nonprofit outfit with start-up funding of $3 million from the Gates Foundation and the Helmsley Charitable Trust. The launch was being managed by the PR firm, Education First http://www.education-first.com/our-focus founded by a person who worked as a marketing expert for the Gates Foundation in promoting the CCSS. Additional start-up funding from the soon to be EdReports.org came from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. These ratings, of course, are designed to put publishers on the defensive (much like the Gates-funded ratings of teacher education). The press release said the ratings would be online and “invite responses from the publishers.”

    These Gates-Helmsley-Hewlett ratings under the banner of EdReports.org are intended to play on the reputation of Consumer Reports, as if the ratings are “independent” and authoritative. At the time of the press release for EdReports.org there was no evidence that this new “user friendly” rating scheme would be based on or coordinated with the hard-nosed 397-page “publishers criteria” from the primary authors of the CCSS—-Student Achievement Partners, with the NGA, Achieve and CCSSO.

    What EdReports.org managed to pull off was a “simple version” of the same rating criteria, with enhanced graphics and some change in language, but the same iron-first criteria.

    The criteria once characterized as “Non-Negotiable” are now dubbed “Gateway Criteria.” They function in exactly the same way as those published in 39-page rating system.

    If you have the time and interest in making a case that the there is a not-so-hidden-hand intent on pushing a national curriculum for the United States, watch the results from the ratings from EdReports.org properly viewed as one of many operational arms of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The criteria for judging math curriculum materials that will be “certified” as CCSS-compliant by EdReports.org can be found here. http://www.edreports.org/files/EdReports-Quality-Instructional-Materials-Tool-K-8-Math.pdf

    In brief, Gates funded the development of the CCSS. Money from this foundation with a tad from two others is funding high-profile ratings that can be used to bypass ratings by state and local committees, and shape a national market for specific curriculum materials leaving others that may have merit in the dust. I am not certain what legal recourse, if any, there may be for challenges to these ratings.

  6. cartersaa permalink

    Our district uses Math Expressions. I don’t know if it is fully Common Core aligned or not, but I think the Kindergarten curriculum is awful and many of the student pages are developmentally inappropriate. Also, our district brought in a trainer for the online aspects of the curriculum and she was terrible.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: