To School Officials Seeking an Alternative to Eureka Math
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.
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.
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.