Horrible math presentation mars evening of welcoming new board trustees : Sutherland for Schools blog
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Horrible math presentation mars evening of welcoming new board trustees

by Ann Sutherland on 05/15/19

Board president Tobi Jackson was sworn in for a third term and a likely continuation of her presidency, accompanied by new board members Anne Daar, Quinton Phillips and C. J. Evans.  Though this was a pretty dirty election, the good guys won big.  Thanks to the many many hands that contributed time and money.  It will be worth it.


But the celebration was delayed until the board and very large audience sat through a deliberately misleading presentation of our supposedly rapidly improving math scores. 

Staff actually refused to answer the question, "Did you really think student performance was going to improve when you cut class time by 20%?"  after which it went downhill.

 By sheer chance, just yesterday a teacher sent me the district-wide profile of scores in one secondary grade:  only 13 percent of FWISD students are on grade level or above as of the second testing (final scores are not yet released).  

And, although the district has publicly said the 45-minute class times will continue next year, a number of math and possibly English classes will actually be allocated two class periods.  

Dr. Scribner, these presentations MUST be improved.  Here are the guidelines for effective presentation to decision-makers:

1.  Results only.  If things are just for information, we can read them.

2.  Conclusions first, then the data, then sources.  Quit confusing board members with a lot of ancillary data.  

3.  If you can't say it in 5 minutes, you shouldn't be presenting.

What was wrong with this presentation?
1.  No results:  not tied to Goal #2
2.  Use of arbitrary benchmarks
3.  Refusal to present spring-to-spring or fall-to-fall data.  Within -year comparisons exclude summer loss.
4.  Way too much data up front.  

This doesn't even touch the crippling emphasis on "training" imposed on teachers--many math teachers were subjected to full-day sessions, taking them out of classes, for weeks.  People, these sessions don't work.  That is why the management audit said we are spending $11 million too much in curriculum development, data analysis and travel.  Best practice recommends 150 minutes of consecutive collaborative planning time for tested core teaching teams weekly.  


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