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Topic: Saxon Development - Denver, CO
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 13,035
Registered: 12/3/04
Saxon Development - Denver, CO
Posted: Aug 12, 1998 8:11 PM
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Colleagues:

I recently returned to my office to find the following note, dated July
28th, from
the person inidcated below.

To follow up on what is reported, I contacted a colleague in the Denver
area who sent the note that follows the first.

All good wishes.

Jerry Becker

P.S. I will be out of town for about two weeks.

************************************************************
Subject: EDUCATION DUMB DOWN

Standards. The Denver School Board in a 3-2 vote decided that a
series of math books used in 3 elementary schools did not meet the standards
set by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and removed them from
the list of approved texts. The Saxon text books are quite popular with
home school parents, and feature old fashioned, back to basics math
instruction.

If you do a few thousand problems, you will probably learn how to do
the math. Test scores in the 3 schools have all been near the top of
district scores in standardized tests. The Board president, DeStafano, was
defiant, making the point that the decision represents a crossroads for the
district. "District materials must be adopted by the board on the basis of
whether they meet standards, not by "pressure" from parents at
individual schools." Parents have not yet mounted a recall petition for this
educrat.

They are trying to convert the 3 back to basics schools into charter
schools and withdraw from the district, though it will take them a
year or two to do so. Saxon has a pretty good series of math and science
books. We solved a small algebra problem here with one of my daughters by
working through one of their books a couple of summers ago. Be very careful
about standards - as the Blob uses them to dumb down the entire curriculum.

Denver Post, 5/9.
_______________________
Martha Schwartz
Research Associate
USC Paleomagnetism Lab

Department of Earth Sciences
SCI 117
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089
213-740-5816, FAX: 213-740-8801
mischwar@earth.usc.edu
***************************************************************


The Jefferson County School Board was the agent, not the Denver School
board. At three middle schools in Jeffco the teachers used Saxon texts as
supplements and sent them home with students often. The three schools
are among the most affluent in the district, which was mentioned by the
superintendent when explaining that the high achievement may not be due to
the books. Anyway, the district has a textbook committee that did not
recommend the Saxon series for the reasons mentioned. This does not mean
the books are banned, only that the district will not pay for them.
Nothing prevents the parents from chipping in, or the teachers from
continuing to use them.

One of our students
teaches at one of the schools and when I visited him I saw him teaching in
a way that was very consistent with the NCTM Standards. After a review of
surface area and a discussion with students about the meaning of total
surface area and lateral surface area he had them work on a tiling problem
in groups of three or four. The students seemed accustomed to such
activities, and only when class was over and the students were leaving did
I notice the Saxon books. I consider this fellow a very progressive
teacher, so any high achievement seems due more to his skills than the
use a the books as supplement. It is so disappointing in these math wars
that no one considers the critical importance of the capacity and skill of
the individual teacher.

bj

Bill Juraschek
UCD Box 106
PO Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364
wjurasch@carbon.cudenver.edu
****************************************************************
****************************************************************
Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618)453-4244
Phone: (618)453-4241 (office)
E-mail: JBECKER@SIU.EDU





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