Posted: October 14th, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 0 Comment(s) »

TNTP had a blog series last week.  They looked at the 5 years since their report called The Widget Effect.  Tim Daly writes:

The paper identified a striking and nearly universal problem in America’s schools: a near total failure to acknowledge differences in teacher effectiveness. Each place we looked (and we examined a diverse set of 12 school districts spanning four states), we found that schools were treating teachers like interchangeable parts—as though one were the same as any other.

We called this phenomenon “the widget effect,” and it manifested itself in many different ways. Most notably, we found that virtually all teachers were rated “good” or “great” on their...

Posted: October 6th, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 0 Comment(s) »

Guest post by Stig Leschly, CEO of Match Education

Hi all.  Stig here.

We just posted our full school results from 2013-14 on AP exams, the SAT, MCAS and college success, as well as our final attrition and demographics statistics for the year.

You can see all the numbers here, in our annual letter.  It was our strongest year ever, we think.

And below are three scatter plots that capture a few of the major plot lines from 2013-14 in our schools.

Scatter Plot 1: Student Attrition

In 2013-14, attrition across our schools was 8% from September to September. Our elementary grades had 4% attrition, our middle school grades had 13% attrition, and our high...

Posted: September 15th, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 3 Comment(s) »

Hmm.  Maybe one of my readers can check this out?  It's on Rick Hess's Edweek blog

As for the third half-truth, I don't know if you know the work being done by Marc Tucker's NCEE group developing Board Examination Systems (I am on the Technical Advisory Committee). For the first time, we know what students actually need to know to be college-ready, and it's nothing like what most people think!

That piqued my attention.  Anyone want to track it down? 

Posted: September 14th, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 5 Comment(s) »

Paul Friedman, math teacher at Edward Brooke charter, wrote this on Facebook at the end of August.  I share it with his permission.  He writes:

Today my colleagues and I went canoeing with 150+ primarily black and Latino, low income middle school students in a wealthy white suburb. This at least the 6th time we've done this trip and it's always a blast. We canoe about a third of a mile (which can take up to an hour and half - I know, I was in charge of "sweeping" the river), BBQ at a park where the kids can run around and play games, have a lovely community meeting and then canoe back up river hoping that none of the boats tip over.

This year something happened that I am thankful I don't think many / any of our kids noticed:

Parks and Rec called the...

Posted: August 17th, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 0 Comment(s) »

I asked John Mighton about his latest thinking on math teaching.  JUMP (a non-profit math curriculum producer based in Canada) has been getting some traction in the USA.  This is not a response to the NYT Magazine piece, just a general view as he watches discussions about Common Core re-trigger debates from the past few decades.  Here's a 2011 NYT article about John's work. 

So here's what John emailed to me:

Posted: August 6th, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 0 Comment(s) »

1. Best thing I'm reading right now is a 6-part Boston Globe series by Farah Stockman.  She was a summer-camp counselor years ago, a camp that served poor kids in Mission Hill.  She catches up with them now.  

Start here.   

2. A busy Kimberly Steadman from Edward Brooke charter took a moment to share with me their school's math teaching document; it opens with:

Students engage in the struggle

- We reject I-we-you teaching in which students watch a teacher solve a problem and then imitate the teacher’s approach.  Instead, good math lessons require students to use what they know to struggle with and logically attack a new problem that is more challenging than anything they have seen before...

Posted: August 5th, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 1 Comment(s) »

Randall is curriculum director of Match Education's small graduate school of education.  It is named in honor of a schoolteacher, Charlie Sposato. 

This Ed School is unusual in several ways.  One is that tuition is low, because it's subsidized by "employers" -- top charter schools willing to pay a premium to hire recent graduates of the program, a finder's fee of several thousand dollars per candidate. 

That, in turn, means Randall and the Ed School team are often on the phone with school leaders.  By understanding what top charters want, Randall can make sure the teacher residents are better prepared to succeed there. 

In terms of our math teaching discussions, Randall says (some edits for clarity):

We prep rookie teachers for both "I We You"...

Posted: August 4th, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 0 Comment(s) »

1. Jen

Jen made her bones as a math teacher at Roxprep.  She also has 2 kids same age as my 2 kids, so when she writes "Things were pretty busy this week at the Spencer house in the past few days" I have some idea of what she means.  Thanks Jen, for making some time for sharing your thoughts.

One perspective she brings builds on Sean's observation from yesterday: You Y'all We has higher upside but bigger downside. 

Jen worked in a typical Boston elementary as a math coach.  Here is her recollection using the district's assigned curriculum (called "Investigations" which is conceptual, uses manipulatives, etc).  With slight edits for clarity, Jen writes:

Straight up untrained, fully conceptual, little practice (Investigations) ends up with

Posted: August 3rd, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 0 Comment(s) »

Hi folks,

I'm 45 years old today.  Taco night with Pru's family at our house.  I suspect they'll bring a cake.  It'll probably be from Rosie's.  Rosie's is waaaay better than all other bakeries in the world.  I'm not exactly sure why.  I wonder what the baking equivalent is of the math teacher question we've been discussing, which is I-We-You versus You-Y'all-We. 

Sean works on schools in Kenya, for Bridge International Academies.  Before that he taught math in NYC and was a star coach at Match Teacher Residency.  MTR gets every trainee to rate every single coaching session, so the result is a database that notices outlier coaches, and Sean was high on that list. 

Sean knows Ryan and Eddie, and he knows Paul's school (Brooke), so I wondered about his opinion on...

Posted: August 1st, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 2 Comment(s) »

Max Tuefferd, teacher coach, writes:

I think that Paul is probably hitting the nail on the head by suggesting that students (especially those who receive less outside/parental support on their studies) are served best when we do not focus on ONE method of instruction. While constructivist approaches do seem harder to pull off well than the traditional method, it seems as though it can lead to a much deeper understanding of math. I have seen teachers attempt this and succeed and fail.

The successes seems to happen when the teacher has a masterful grasp on management and their own deep understanding of the concepts they are teaching, which, sadly, many do not have.

Can a rookie teacher pull that off? Why not? If it is harder, then it means we raise...