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Sales Rep May Have Picked PA Math Text for Elementaries

Original post made by Parent, Gunn High School, on Apr 20, 2009

CA Education Code states that a publisher may not "become associated with any combination in restraint of trade in instructional materials." A representative admitted, "I made the decision that Everyday Math. . . would be a better fit in Palo Alto."

The math adoption committee had voted unanimously to pilot SRA/Real Math but the publisher denied it and sent only Everyday Math for piloting.

Superintendent Kevin Skelly agreed: "We were told they would not provide the (pilot) materials"

The choice is important because "publishers are not, by the state code. allowed to make a choice."

Comments (11)

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 20, 2009 at 10:50 am

The article was published on Friday, April 17: Web Link

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 20, 2009 at 10:55 am

Web link 9/15/06: Web Link

"Everyday Math is one of those constructivist "problem solving" based curricula that progressive educators like so much. It's currently in use in about 20% of all elementary schools.

It also doesn't work, as WWC has finally determined.

In Everyday Math's case there were 61 "research" studies. 57 did not meet WWC's evidentiary standards. That means that 93% of the Everyday Math research sucked.

None of the research fully met the evidentiary standards. Only four of the studies met the evidentiary standards with reservations. These were quasi-experimental studies.

This study was funded by the Noyce Foundation, one of the authors of the study, which also has a financial stake in Every Day math. So we have a quasi-experimental study that was conducted by a potentially biased researcher.

David Klein also noted the following defects in the study:

One of several shortcomings of [the Riordan/Noyce study] is that the schools studied are not identified. That makes it impossible to verify the results independently, thereby raising the possibility of fraud. This is a realistic possibility as the Noyce Foundation (headed by one of the authors of the study) has invested a lot of money in CMP, one of the programs found successful by the study. Clearly, that author has an interest in good results for the schools using the program she endorses.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Apr 20, 2009 at 11:11 am

Here's a petition circulating. Any adult residing in Palo Alto may sign it and remain anonymous: Web Link

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Posted by silence is consent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 21, 2009 at 9:15 am

People's apathy baffles me. We must not adopt allow the publisher to dictate what we purchase. Publishers are profit driven, and want to sell all the extras that EDM requires. We need a real pilot and assessment, even if the committee ultimately decides against SRA.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2009 at 7:34 am

It's no surprise that the publishers are pushing Everyday Math on districts. It is the biggest and most expensive math curriculum ever conceived.

If you look at the CA Department of Education website, they list the prices for instructional materials at Web Link.

Real Math is a traditional textbook. The district would by one book for each student at about $58 and keep it for 7 years. Everyday Math uses a small student reference guide and two consumable "Math Journals" each year. That's about $20 for the hardcover guide and $20 per student per year for the workbooks for a total of $160 per student over the 7 year cycle.

Furthermore, each classroom in PAUSD will get a set of teacher materials that costs a whopping $1200! That's right TWO zeros.

It is no wonder that the sales rep declined to show the district the less expensive alternative. Furthermore, he knows that if parents wise up and finally get rid of Everyday Math, he will have an opportunity to sell yet another set of books to the district.

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Posted by PointOfView
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 23, 2009 at 7:51 am

Just curious - what happens to the math textbooks after the seven years?

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Posted by Get the Facts Straight
a resident of University South
on Apr 23, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Information about materials:
(1) If the only material provided were a re-useable textbook, each student would not have a workbook. That would mean that children would need to copy the problems from the textbook onto paper and then do the actual work of mathematics. For students (especially in grades K-1-2), this would then become an exercise in copying as much as it would be a math learning activity (i.e. applying and practicing math computation and concepts). Consumable workbooks provide the opportunity for time on task focused on the objective of the lesson. Most math series offer consumable materials for at least some of the grade levels. And, yes, it is more expensive over time than re-useable textbooks. Having not seen the consumables for any of the current materials, I can not attest to their content.
(2) After 7 years: Often classrooms maintain at least some of the earlier books to use as an additional resource for students and teachers. I believe (am not positive) that there is a prescribed process for "discarding" textbooks and/or for donating them.

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Posted by silence is consent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2009 at 1:34 pm

The Board should send a message to the publisher by refusing to adopt EDM at this point, and postpone the decision a year while it pilots the other programs that were at least as popular with the committee members as EDM and Envision(eg SRA and Singapore). Also, the Board should set an example of stweardship by considering whether other, less expensive programs might not benefit district kids as much. In these tough ecenomic times, it looks awful to adopt the most expensive program under these circumstances after having extended the bond and received approval of Measure A. Time for the district to consider cost as a factor. If a less expensive program will achieve the same educational results, please consider not choosing the most expensive. That is not even considering the fact that this is a controversial program and that its adoption may well result in reduced PiE donations as parents spend more of their own money educating their kids in math.

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Posted by math concerned
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Silence brings up a good point. Someone brought up a similar Q at the Tues meeting. Please do write to the Board - they need to see this perspective.

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Posted by silence is consent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2009 at 7:44 am

Someone posted actual $$$ values on another EDM thread - take a look. The sales people stand to make over half a million dollars more from EDM than SRA. It is extraordinarily naive to think that the sales people were so altruistically adamant about the value of EDM over SRA for our particular district that they refused to send us SRA to decide for ourselves. That stance, if true, is paternalistic (not to mention still illegal) and insulting. Yet, District staff and the Committee seem to be sticking doggedly to their position of "trust us, trust the publisher." What a joke. In a town full of adults with higher education degrees, to believe this would require wilful disregard of common sense.

PS: How was the question answered at the Tuesday meeting?

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Posted by math concerned
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 24, 2009 at 9:47 am

silence - the Q in Tues meeting was not as detailed as you have posted here, it got lost in other discussions. So, you should email the board your question. I have been communicating with the board (other points about EDM) and they have been engaging and are looking for community feedback to help them make decision by Tues. I will look for the post on the other EDM thread...

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