Tuesday, March 24, 2009

He's Back

I was doing some research on Connecticut math standards when I happened across the Connecticut Academy for Education and a reference to the Algebra I Curriculum Project. Channeling the eternal optimist, I wanted to believe that perhaps there was hope and that CT might finally be on the path to joining the ranks of those states with world-class algebra standards.*

One click led to another and I ended up learning that in December 2008, the CT DOE opened up the bidding process for a
curriculum grant for the Connecticut Algebra I Model. They don’t appear to have had an overwhelming response given that of 25 available spaces at the bidder’s conference, only 4 were taken. Four. Not yet ready to abandon all hope, I trudged on to the winning proposal submitted by the Connecticut Academy for Education folks.

I was stopped dead in my tracks when I hit page 8, regarding personnel:

“The Steering Committee includes a diverse group of individuals, respected within the state, nationally, and internationally, who will provide vision and guidance for the work. The committee members are Steve Leinwand…”


This would be the same Steven Leinwand who in February 1994 said,
It’s Time to Abandon Computational Algorithms.

"It's time to recognize that, for many students, real mathematical power, on the one hand, and facility with multidigit, pencil-and-paper computational algorithms, on the other, are mutually exclusive. In fact, it's time to acknowledge that continuing to teach these skills to our students is not only unnecessary, but counterproductive and downright dangerous."

The same Steven Leinwand who in September 1998 sealed our doom with CT Math PIRK. The very man who can take all much of the credit for our failing math standards -- earning an “F” as well as a place on the list of “states to shun”. His hand in our state standards is glaringly obvious and the result of his handiwork makes it no surprise that 40% of incoming freshman at Central, Eastern, Southern and Western Connecticut state universities are ending up in remedial math. (Courant)

The same Steven Leinwand who made decisions on which math programs recommended by the Department of Education to the tune of billions of edu-dollars, would be rated “exemplary” or “promising” despite having “personal connections with ‘exemplary’ curricula.” (
Math Problems) The very programs which have prompted districts such as my own to sink boatloads of taxpayer money into well-hyped and expertly marketed snake-oil.

Yes. He’s back.

He’s crept back into the Connecticut math standards game and that’s a very, very bad thing.

In fact, I'd say it's "counterproductive and downright dangerous".

*Not surprisingly, Connecticut is NOT on the list of states with standards for Algebra I and II courses. (
National Mathematics Advisory Panel Final Report: Report of the Task Group on Conceptual Knowledge and Skills- Figure 2)

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