Concerns About Curriculum in Arkansas
Math Crusades And
Qualifications of a Math Specialist
Another area where there has been total deception is with the math standards and math crusades. Math Standards Dr. Ray Simon profusely praised Math Crusades (also known as Arkansas Crusades and the K-4 Crusades) in his address to the joint Educational Meeting on July 16, 1998, saying 7,000 to teachers had already been trained through that program and that he was going to make it a priority for these Math Crusade concepts to be institutionalized by our teachers. Math Crusades functioned on a ten million dollar grant matched by Arkansas grant of ten million dollars. In Math Crusades material they say the following (1) “Grading can be detrimental to student willingness to learn and should be replaced.” p. 1 (2) “The long tradition of grading students has a detrimental effect on many students.” p. 1 (3) “ Another self-assessment is daily writing in a journal.” (This is math evaluation for K-4) (4) A quote saying the “correct” answer is not as important as what the student thinks. p.1. (5)
All the teaching manuals (at least 6 of them) used in Math Crusades and the college courses and staff developments were produced in California. Scores in California plummeted to the bottom –last out of 39 states taking the NAEP. In textbooks used in Arkansas Math Crusades at 13 university sites in Arkansas, college course textbooks say to “decreases attention to Rote Practice, Memorization, One Answer and One Method, Use of Worksheets, Written Practice and Teaching by Telling and to increase attention to “working in groups (cooperative learning) and writing about math. [This is for K-4 – doing away with traditional education]
Following is an excerpt from a teacher concerning Math Crusades: " In a K-4 Crusade college course (paid for by the state through the Arkansas Crusades grant - a ten million dollar federal grant matched by a ten million dollar state grant) the first two three hour classes were spent blowing bubbles. The presenters used this as a modeling technique to show us how to take this fun activity back into our classrooms to introduce an integrated unit on bubbles - also called thematic units. The K-4 Crusades provides the basic teacher training for teachers teaching the remedial summer school programs for K-4. Arkansas Crusades paid for six hour college credit for me and for about twenty other people in the class and for expensive text materials for the course as well. "
The main qualifications for a math specialist as outlined by the State Department are:
· A bachelor's degree and three to five years of recent teaching experience within grades seven through twelve.
· A teaching philosophy that supports the Arkansas Mathematics Curriculum
· (Taken from fax from Christi Alexander, Math Specialist for ADE, May 30, 03. after a telephone conversation and request for it.
It is obvious from these qualifications this is not about math but about philosophy. Training in the philosophy is more important than training in math. Numerous teachers have more training than a bachelor's degree and more than five years teaching experience.
Willard R. Daggett, who was contracted to head up the Character Education Program that is a component of Governor Huckabee's Smart Start program in Arkansas, is described in fliers as an "Eminent Outcome -Based Reformer & Implementer" who is "Shaping America's Future Through Outcome-Based Education." Daggett is from New York and has been a featured speaker all over the nation with William (Bill) Spady, the man who is known as the father of OBE. OBE is that philosophy that advocates:
Government Controlled Schools
Schools With No Grades
No Grade Levels
No elected school boards
No memorization and drills
Value and Attitude Outcomes as part of curriculum.
Daggett received from $7,000 to $10,000 a day for his presentations. (For copies of these fliers, contact AFA at 870- 932-5065). One large Northeast Arkansas school district’s school board refused to allow Daggett to follow through on a scheduled co-op staff development presentation (which costs $7,000.00 for one day) on their campus after reading quotes from Daggett’s books and flyers. Although Governor Huckabee denied it, Daggett was also one of the main experts hired through NSCI to do teacher staff development.
Willard Daggett addressed 1,500 teachers (May 2, 2002) and principals concerning Smart Step, Huckabee's new program in Little Rock, (May 2, 2000, The May 2 Democrat-Gazette called Daggett a consultant to the state Education Department, and printed l02 lines summarizing Daggett's remarks at this Smart Step summit. Simon is quoted as saying, "We'll use national experts in the fields of assessment and standards." Evidently Daggett is the main expert.
However, the Governor said in a letter dated April 2, 2000, "I am still emphatically opposed to OBE and will continue to ensure that the state is not mandating OBE to the schools. And people have been led to believe that Daggett was contracted to head up Character Education. In fact, the Governor's office said in a letter, "William Daggett is helping the Department of Education compile a model character education. . . Daggett will have no influence over any issue or subject that is mandated to schools from the state." From the article in the paper it appears Daggett had unbelievable influence.
Willard Daggett has also gained a reputation for dishonesty which has been reported in several newspapers and academic journals for flat out lying about numerous facts and educational research, and personal information. He claimed to be the president of a college when in actuality he was just a professor there and fabricated many other stories. His dishonesty was the feature of one newspaper that earned a national award. Yet thousands of dollars have been used to disseminate his character education material to counselors across the state.
Expert Douglas Reeves Hired By ADE
Says Competition Is Part Of Modern Daly Psychosis
Douglas Reeves was contracted to oversee Arkansas's standards, testing, and accountability programs a few years ago and was featured on Arkansas’s Smart Start web page. This quote came from AR Dem-Gaz. Feb. 23, 1999. “Education Department officials developed the accountability system with advice from Doug Reeves, a Colorado educational consultant. Videos by Reeves were used all over the state in staff development. Reeves also helped the state develop the Smart Start initiative supposedly rigorous standards. These are quotes from various writings by Douglas Reeves. If one watches carefully what educational reformers say publicly and go to the extreme opposite, that is usually what they are really saying and doing.
Douglas Reeves wrote an article “Responding to the Rhetoric of the Radical Right” in which he suggests that school personnel “Fight them [the right] at every turn.” School Administrator, March, 1998 p. 37
Douglas Reeves says, “Competition is not part of the human spirit, but part of modern day psychosis,” and that competition perpetuates “the caste system as it presently exists,” and that the competitive model is not appropriate for the educational setting. p 30 & pp 24-26 Making Standards Work
Douglas Reeves says he believes in multi-age classrooms and a K-2 continuum grade card. He says retention is not fair for children, that other forms of assessment are better than letter or number grades, and that “some students will learn to read in one year, while others may need three years.” p 19 Making Standards Work & Smart Start website arkedu.state.ar.us
Douglas Reeves doesn’t believe in norm-referenced (standardized) tests and says that school districts’ test scores should not be compared. [This is the man who is heading up our so-called tough, rigorous accountability system.] pp 31 Making Standards Work.
Reeves's organization said they did tests for states all over the nation, but Arkansas is their biggest client and Arkansas is implementing these standards on a broader scale than all the other states with whom they were working.
A Smart Start pamphlet dated November, 1999 praised two schools for doing away with grades, reflecting the philosophy of Douglas Reeves. All these are those rigorous standards they are setting.