Wednesday, July 14, 2010

ACSC Meetings July 14, 2010

submitted by Gretchen Muller

General observations:

The day started with introductions and after a quick removal of objections over adding rigor to the math criteria, discussion continued on the ELA standards until lunch. After lunch discussion started on math. It's obvious that Evers is using stalling tactics. Again the commission got bogged down on procedural issues that took up valuable time. At this point, unless something miraculous happens, it looks like neither the recommendation to adopt ELA or math standards will come through. The ELA are close but it depends on when the commission takes them up again – first thing in the morning or after the math discussion. The math discussion is very nit picky by Wurman. A lot of discussion about 8th grade Algebra course and how to prepare students. Concerns about the discussion of pathways could be interpreted at tracking. Some commissioners have brought up the issue that designing courses is not part of their charge. I did record audio from the math portion of the day and will work on posting that material later.

Greg Geeting went over the agenda for the day. 

Pat Sabo spoke regarding the daunting task of analyzing the math standards. She urged the chair to allow all commissioners to speak before calling on others to speak multiple times. 

Discussion regarding the adoption of a 5th criteria regarding rigor. Scott Farrand pointed out that part of their discussion regarding rigor pertained to an overall evaluation of the standards and not an item by item analysis.

The criteria used to analyze the math standards are as follows.

1.     Substantively enhance

2.     Address a perceived gap

3.     Be defensible to classroom practitioners

4.     The original standard remains intact

5.     Ensure that the rigor of California's existing standards is maintained.

Commission continued discussion on the ELA standards and proposed changes. A lot of discussion on pronouns and recitation/memorization. Also a lot of discussion regarding dictionaries.

More discussion on the introduction and prefatory sections of the standards. Further discussion has been postponed to tomorrow so that the commissioners can have a chance to look over these sections.

Pat Rucker from CTA spoke in support of adoption of the CCSS.

After lunch, Pat Sabo made a motion to accept the CCSS standards 8 – K as written with a second pathway leading to 8th grade algebra with consideration of proposals that have been worked on.

Discussion on clarity of the motion. Motion seconded by Robert Ellis.

A substitute motion made by Evers, proposing that two common core pathways. One Algebra in 8th grade and another common core 8th grade that would involve more grades level paths than just 8th grade. Starts with the common core standards being part of the work that is being done.

1st vote on Algebra and the note on unprepared students being pushed into 8th grade. Part of this is looking at the proposals

2nd looking at K-5

3rd look at 6-7

4th look at HS courses

Discussion about whether or not HS course pathways are part of their charge.

Wurman seconded

Weiss – concerned that the motion is too complex for the commission to act on. Asks that the motion be removed.

Wurman asks that both motions be withdrawn.

Farrand argued against the substitute motion so that we can move as quickly as possible and move in favor the Sabo motion so that we can get to the business at hand.

Evers his motion proposes a process. Sabo's does not.

Sabo – would accept a friendly amendment to start with Algebra.

Freathy – supports Farrand

Evers withdraws motion, but includes unanimous consent to start with Algebra 1. Not withdrawn. Wurman objected.

Wurman – wants Sabo's motion withdrawn so that we can look at all of the documents without approving the CCSS first.

Weis – against the motion. Concerned that "pathways" means tracking.

Evers - If we don't have pathways, we can't have students taking Algebra in 8th grade. I think it's racist not to have pathways.

Farrand – frustrated that debate on the motion is not occurring and other issues are coming up. I move to close debate. Seconded.

Passed – no further debate on the substitute motion.

Evers requested a roll call vote.

Evers is using stalling tactics. 

20 minutes spent on whether or not to do a roll call vote. Defeated (wurman and evers yeah)

Substitute motion – defeated (W-E only yeah)

Evers – I amend this motion to include algebra. Sabo accepted. Seconded by Ellis.

Kathy Gaitner – urged the commission to take other action than this motion.

Evers wants to change the motion to look at two pathways before algebra. Seconded by Ellis.

A lot of frustration expressed by the commissioners. Want to move on to the actual discussion.

Sabo – main motion and amendment withdrawn.

Sue Stickel – proposes that the two proposals be presented then discuss Algebra, then talk about how to proceed through the grade levels.

Scott Farrand presented his proposal. Talked to MDTP group, Achieve Pathways, Jason Zimba, Evers/Wurman proposals. Believes there should be algebra in the 8th grade. Each group had a problem in how to prepare students. Many of the 8th grade CCSS prepare students for Algebra. Sensitive to the problem and how tracking could be a result. Their proposal does not have two different 7th grade courses to differentiate students going into Algebra.

Needed 8th grade Algebra course to subsume some of the 8th grade CCSS. 5 standards would be moved to the 7th grade and still remain at the CCSS 8th grade.

Lori – there are less standards than the CA but that is not a bad thing. 7th grade teachers feel they have too much to cover. I think that adding the 5 standards into 7th grade would not impact the 7th grade CCSS.

Deborah Keys – Can you help me understand pedagogically where students can start to fall off the boat?

Farrand response – CCSS looked at the A+ countries and what they do. CCSS give students the foundation they need especially in number sense. Fractions are also a big area that can "doom" students. Students typically lack the understanding of what a fraction is.

Calahan – there is an unculturing of the curriculum and allows the students to focus on number sense in the early grades.

Grip – This proposal allows a student to take the K-7 courses then either take an 8th grade course or algebra.

Callahan – the 8th grade algebra course includes more of the modeling standards of the CCSS than many traditional Algebra courses and the 8th grade CCSS are incorporated so the 8th grade Algebra 1 course is more integrated.

Jim Lanich – 8th grade Algebra placement is a civil rights issue. This is a preparation challenge.

Evers – wants clarification on the number of standards.

Farrand – this is what we struggled with. Concerned about overpacking courses. Didn't want to have a tracking system in 8th grade.

Lengthy discussion about discrepancy between the larger number of standards that would constitute the 8th grade Algebra course and 7th grade.

Wurman raised an issue about how to assess all of the standards in the 8th grade Algebra course.

Calahan – a mathematically rich task can assess many standards.


Sabo – she does not believe that it is the charge of this commission to make courses.

Wurman – presented his proposal

In grades K-5, a significant amount of content is missing from Common Core. Middle School – if I were to place an algebra course in grade 8, there would be a significant hump in grade 8 so he tried to spread the hump over grades 6-8. One path for all K-5 and then two paths to Algebra or PreAlgebra in 8th grade starting in 6th grade. Not happy with this because of two paths through HS, but is the best that he could come up with.

Evers asked Wurman – what if you just spread out the standards across the two grades (6th and 7th) and every student take the "upper track". He doesn't like the hump in Scott's 8th grade Algebra.

Calahan – We are giving more weight to the number of standards than we should. Illustrated that we do not teach standards as separate entities, but teach them as an integrated package.

Concern that this would track students starting in 6th grade.

Wurman – it's not tracking but laning.

Lori - Einstein doing the same thing but expecting the same results.

Wurman – is there a better way of doing it, and would one of these proposals be better than let's do it.

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