This is an update to a story I’ve been meaning to get back to for a while on Louisiana’s textbook selection and adoption process. According to my sources Louisiana required most vendors to pay 500 dollars per book to evaluate each grade level of each subject. I have no details of where those dollars went. I was told this was the first year the department ever charged to review books. I was also told the only two first tier (best according to LDOE) vendors that were selected (Eureka for Math and Core Knowledge for ELA) did not have to pay this fee, but I have not been able to confirm this. I received some information from sources that were able to acquire the lists of all external reviewers of textbooks. I have been able to contact some of these folks to confirm this, and have confirmed their participation through some of their own online postings. I will not be turning over all of the research files as yet, but I will be publishing the names of the Math reviewers. There were only 7 reviewers for the Math curriculum selected for the entire state (15 reviewers were used for the ELA evaluation.) I have tried interviewing and questioning these folks either on or off the record, but none have agreed to comment on the selection process – even after replying to me initially. I would like to know how they were compensated, whether their instructions involved assessing the quality of the materials (which is particularly lacking with the first tier Eureka materials) among other things.

Louisiana Textbook Reviewers by Review Area

Review Area Fname Lname
Math K-5 Brittany Bush (K-5)
Math K-5 Katie Dunn (K-5)
Math K-5 Laci Maniscalco (K-5)
Math K-5 Kristina Morris (K-5)
Math 6-8, 9-12 Aquanetta Archangel
Math 6-8, 9-12 Tamara Whittington
Math 6-8, 9-12 Jessica Hunter

 

My earlier story can be found here: https://crazycrawfish.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/louisianas-texbook-selection-shenanigans/

It appears John White, Superintendent of Education, has links to the only two tier one options selected, including one which is run by his former employers, Joel Klein, now the head of Amplify – a Rupert Murdoch (NewsCorp) subsidiary and sole provider of Core Knowledge published products. If this situation sounds familiar, you aren’t wrong. Jindal’s former head of the Department of Health and Hospitals, Bruce Greenstein, was just indicted on numerous counts of perjury related to tampering with the theoretically unbiased selection process or a 200+ million dollar Medicaid contract with Bruce Greenstein’s former employer, CNSI. I wonder if there is not some unsavory influences at work here as well. I really find it hard to believe Eureka is far and away the best Math product on the market and I’ve had firsthand experience with them and a tier 2 product that while not awesome, is much better than Eureka in my opinion (and my daughter throws fewer tantrums with this new one so I think she’s having an easier time of it too.)

I was provided this preliminary research by my source although you can find much more in LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, school websites, Stand For Children materials, LDOE’s website (lauding the choices with quotes without mentioning they were part of the selection committee), Facebook, etc.

  General Information
bbush@ebrshools.org 225-343-9364 5th grade teacher Capitol Elem http://edenpark.ebrschools.org/explore.cfm/facultystaff/brittanybush
  charter school teacher New Beginnings Charter New Orleans https://www.linkedin.com/pub/katie-dunn/24/1a8/31b
lacimaniscalco@yahoo.com Broadmoor Elem 3rd gr Received $$ stipend and from publisher “LearnZillion” Curr: http://learnzillion.com/dreamteam went to SF, CA http://gettingsmart.com/2012/03/learnzillion-one-of-the-scrappy-startups-making-dc-a-hotspot/
https://www.linkedin.com/pub/kristina-morris/4b/965/3b0 been teaching for 2 years and 3 months
Naturallynette11@gmail.com “GOOGLE” Nette Archangel I.A. Lewis School in Ruston LA, graduate of LA Tech teaching maybe 5 years http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfDPHSzh1y4
tamara.whittington@tangischools.org Hammond Jr HS Magnet
no info Sterlington HS, Ouchita Schools
James Ward Elem in Jennings LA

 

I think my inquiries were pretty non-threatening although I am a stranger. . .

I was given a list of all the folks who reviewed the various textbooks last year and assigned them to various “tiers”.  Only 1 math option and one ELA option made it into tier one.  I am trying to learn more about the process, instructions you were given, and how it came to be that in your case only one math provider, Eureka, made it into Tier one.  We can converse on or off the record.  I have sent or am sending e-mails to all math reviewers.

My children are also in public elementary schools and our LEA chose Eureka after going with a related version, EngageNY last year.  I see some assignments that are interesting, but many that seem overly cumbersome, and with very poor quality in the instructions and examples departments.  I was wondering how closely you and your teammates reviewed these materials, whether you were able to take into account quality and accuracy or materials, whether you really felt these were a solid choice, the best choice, or the best of available bad choices perhaps?  Parents send me examples of their assignments and i see various ones posted different places.

Some teachers firmly embrace Common Core and some have significant problems with it.  From reviewing the profiles of the reviewers i feel pretty sure everyone really embraces Common Core that was on the selection team so i am seeking some perspective and insight from that side of the debate.  Sometimes when we like something, especially more than the alternative, we tend to overlook the flaws or measure them against our past experiences and options.  I was wondering if you think that might have occurred, perhaps in retrospect?  Any insight you can provide will be appreciated.

Thanks,
Jason

Perhaps coworkers can get more out of these folks?

I’m not really interested in calling their motivations into question, but I just want some answers to my questions. However, I do wonder if this set of teachers has all the necessary qualifications to evaluate materials for the entire state. I think it is important for school districts to understand who exactly made these evaluative decisions when factoring how they will invest their limited resources. I know firsthand that EngageNY was terrible, and first tier Eureka (as defined by these reviewers) is just EngageNY that costs money fraught with many of the same issues. Thankfully EBR ditched EngageNY/Eureka this year (they tried it out last year and found it very lacking) and went with a tier 2 product this year which while still perplexing and strangely worded at times, is much less error prone and confusing (or just plain wrong) than EngageNY/Eureka. Many parents are discovering this the hard way. I think the department and these evaluators should answer whether they felt comfortable evaluating this curriculum for the entire state. Several teachers only had a few years of teaching experience under their belts, yet they were responsible for evaluating 6 or more grade levels of content.

What are your thoughts on the math materials/curriculum your school district has adopted? It seems St Tammany and Calcasieu parents are pretty dissatisfied with Eureka based on the school board meetings I’ve seen reviewed in the news (and from parents on Facebook) . . .

Did the state really identify the best curriculum available by selecting Eureka, or do you think they really dropped the ball here?

Is this the test-tube creation of John White?

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39 thoughts on “Eureka Math. . . (I can think of another expletive to describe it.)

  1. FYI – For this year’s adoption they are charging $0. How would you feel if you paid the $500/book/grade last year, and now publishers get to send in their materials for preview this year for FREE?

  2. Jason, My grandchildren in Mandeville at Our Lady of Lake have Pearson Common Core Math workbooks. Is Pearson Math and Eureka Math the same thing? The Catholics are asleep. They also use Mc Graw- Hill Reading Wonders Literature Anthology which is Common Core. I bought a copy to study. Global Warming is a fact. The Constitution is distorted with no Bill of Rights. Thank you. Laura Broussard

    1. Those are different sources. EBR has Houghton Mifflin Harcourt now. Pearson is one of the testing companies and textbook companies involved with CC from its inception.

      Global Warming is generally endorsed my a vast majority of climate scientists and many propeery insurance companies have raised rates on coastal clients and commuinties because they believe in Global Warming (regardless of the cause.) There are also studies that suggest we may trigger an Ice Age as a result of global warming…which is interesting. It might explain why the Earth cycles between Ice Ages and Warm periods, although not at the relatively rapid pace we are observing now.

      Thanks for commenting. What is you impression of Pearson Math?

      What grade level are we talking about here?

      1. Is it (‘Global Warming’ is generally endorsed my(sic) a vast majority of ‘climate scientists’)? really?

        I think Michael Crichton said it best in his afterwood for his 2004 novel “State of Fear”.

        The evidence is still out on ‘Global Warming’ aka ‘Climate Change’ aka a number of ther long since forgotten names*. For a textbook to list a controvertial theory as fact is inappropriate.

        * something like ‘Dynamic Catastrophic Climate whatever’ was pushed by the new guy when Obama came to power.

        1. Yes. The earth is trending up a few degrees over last 150 or so years. The cause is subject of some dispute. Most folks believe it is a greenhouse effect related to carbon dioxide and other by products of the industrial revolution. The Earth goes through warming and cooling phases fairly regularly. This phase appears to be much faster than most historical changes that have been extrapolated and documented. What also might be open to dispute is whether global warming is a “bad” thing. That may be relative. If you are on a island that will be submerged as a result like Vanuatu or Kiribati you might see it as very bad. What it definitely means is change and turmoil for some countries. I’ve seen some studies that suggest the Earth might “self-regulate” but no one can be sure. Maybe prayer would help? I don’t see a man-made solution anywhere on the horizon.

          1. Are Vanuatu Kiribati and the Maldives in danger? I think not.

            Quote “Have you heard of the Australian study on 12 Pacific islands, some of them mentioned by Church? They used much more reliable equipment than the others. They claimed an upward trend but this was done by the dishonest use of a linear regression which made use of the temporary depression on all the records caused by the 1988 hurricane. If you look at the actual records in their report (attached) and ignore this temporary event you will find that there was no change for the last sixteen years. The website of the Australian Bureau of meteorology has individual and summarizing reports on this project at”
            http://www.bom.gov.au/pacificsealevel/

              1. That does not dispute the rising tide, merely that coral based islands might be able to adapt to it. I’m pretty sure the Russians are happy with the melting polar ice caps and greater access to the oil reserves in the Arctic. Greenland might actually become “green land” if the near permanent ice sheet keeps melting. Rising water levels are unlikely to help Louisiana’s disappearing coastline though.

          2. The massive Post ice age water level rises are certainly scary, but even these yappen over excessively long periods of time. We just adapt to those natural changes. They are far beyond our control.

            ‘State of Fear’ cited a lot of scientific studies ten years agO showing reLatively stable sea levels.

      2. ‘Global Climate Disruption’ was pushed by Holden circa 2007

        ‘http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/uploads/2007_11-6_Forum_(NXPowerLite).pdf

      3. The current big issue is the ‘Climate Pause’.

        THERE HAS BEEN NO ‘GLOBAL WARMING’ IN FIFTEEN (15) YEARS.

        So ninth (9) graders have experienced not a tnth of a degree of rise their entire lives !

        If you look at the published ‘Global Warming’ temperature plots, you will easily observe thirty (30) year cycles in the plot. Ie 30 of warming then 30 of cooling or plateau.

        We are currently in avout the fifteenth (15) year of a plateau.

        ‘Global Warming Scientists’ are still thrashing about for the cause…

        Some excerpts from an article:

        “‘pause” in global warming may last another decade before surface temperatures start rising again, according to scientists who say heat is being stored in the depths of the Atlantic and Southern Oceans.”

        “The cycle naturally produces periods of roughly 30 years in which heat is stored near the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, leading to warmer temperatures, followed by roughly 30 years in which it is stored in the depths, causing cooler surface temperatures, it suggests.”

        “Prof Ka-Kit Tung of the University of Washington, one of the report’s authors, said: “Historically the cool period lasted 20 to 35 years. The current period already lasted 15 years, so roughly there [are] 10 more years to go.””

        Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/climatechange/11049540/Global-warming-pause-may-last-for-another-decade-scientists-suggest.html#ixzz3MkTrpilB

        1. I’d also read that the rate is accelerating and we are already doomed. I don’t know what the truth is. I did not say i completely agree with the assessment, merely that it appears to be an overwhelming concensus. I don’t have coastal property and don’t intend to buy some, so it probably won’t hurt me. I’ll just be 2 miles closer to the beach in a decade or so if it’s as bad as they say. 🙂

          1. Lol. Good answer.

            Follow the Gore. The top acolyte/proponent for sea level rise DID buy sea level property.

            He either has money to burn or does not believe in is sales product!

            “Al Gore may tell gullible followers that rising sea level threatens to swamp global coastlines, but his recent purchase of an $8 million oceanfront mansion in tony Montecito, California, tells another story altogether. Prudent property investors do not purchase multi-million dollar oceanfront mansions if they truly expect them to be underwater soon.

            But Gore’s choice of oceanfront property is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. According to the Montecito Journal, Gore’s new mansion sprawls over 1.5 acres (“we all need to reduce our ecological footprint”); contains fountains, a spa, and a swimming pool (even though Southern California is water starved, and alarmists tell us global warming will cause more severe drought and water restrictions); and contains six – count them, six – fireplaces (because burning carbon-intensive wood in only five fire places at once simply won’t do when entertaining Hollywood friends).”

            http://heartland.org/policy-documents/sea-level-rising-gore-buys-multi-million-dollar-oceanfront-mansion

  3. Had a conversation with a Caddo elementary principal about the new math curriculum. According to her every school in the parish is struggling with it. Her school is high ranking, with selective admissions and lots of gifted kids, but math is a problem for them this year.

    1. I discovered that Caddo uses straight up photocopied EngageNY, which is Eureka with crutches. I’ve heard from others that their schools are struggling with it. I can easily understand why. Even the trainers LDOE provided at their summer conference to provide professional development struggled with Eureka and even failed to complete their presentations. Wow. Epic Fail.

  4. We had an inservice on Eureka Math in Rapides Parish Yesterday (9-29). The teachers had concerns about Eureka, lots of them! We were told by the presenter that they did not want to hear ANY negative comments. There were teachers crying at this meeting. They told us this math was WONDERFUL and that lots of teachers liked it and thought it was great. I really want to see these teachers because I don’t believe they exist. It is like a dictatorship in Rapides Parish. I was so shocked and disgusted that they wouldn’t let us speak that when I left the meeting I called our local news channel and told them about it. I was afraid to give my name, so I didn’t. They are not listening to us and don’t want to hear us. It is so sad. They also told us that we didn’t have to give the test that come with series. We could give a multiple choice test instead. Doesn’t that defeat the point. If this math is so great, why can’t the students pass the end of the module test? It is because they are not conceptually ready for the concepts. It is also crazy because they want the student to “go around the world” to get an answer to a simple problem. They also told us to look at the end of the module test and only teach the standards that are on the test and to teach them as they are presented on the test. Isn’t that teaching the test? I am beyond shocked. Are teachers in other parishes experiencing this too?

  5. I am a Rapides parish parent. My 6th grader is a Magnet student with an impressive record. He boasts only one “C” on his report card in his entire school career, and a high school reading level. You can imagine our shock that he is currently failing math! And he is not alone. According to an administrator, an estimated 25% of his grade at the magnet school is failing math as well. I am hearing horror stories all over the parish! Kids melting down, crying themselves to sleep, hating school (all of these we have personally experienced). We want this curriculum out of our parish, and a group of us intend to petition the board to do so! Can you please tell me which Tier 2 math curriculum EBR switched to? Also, ANY help you can offer in direction for the upcoming school board meeting would be very appreciated! I would like to contact the media. However, the local station is very biased toward the school board. Any suggestions there would be greatly appreciated as well. The teacher from Rapides parish who commented above is NOT exaggerating! I have spoken with high level district personnel who have told me that the school board has no authority in this. The curriculum was chosen by the Superintendent and assistant superintendents out of the need for our students to “be able to pass the statewide assessment at the end of the year”. The entire demeanor of the Rapides parish administration is that they are in control and we need to sit down and shut up. They obviously don’t know me very well…

  6. We shall see what happens in St. Tammany tomorrow night at our board meeting (10/2 -7:00pm). We are trying to get Engage NY out as well and believe all the teacher leaders will show up enmasse tomorrow, taking up the board room and speaking to how great it is. How is that for a representation of the people, pushing the parents (who are the ONLY ones to show up at the regular meetings/BESE/Baton Rouge) out of the room. It is not good everywhere. When you are following someone as bad as John White and his Tier 1 programs, this is what you get! Once again, why is it that the only people supporting this junk are PAID to support it. Still waiting to see where any of this has actually been successful.

      1. The meeting wasn’t too great last night. The room was filled with teacher leaders. When it was brought up by Sara that teacher leaders are paid for professional development she was shouted down with “NO”. Well, I pulled the application for 2014-2015 teacher leaders from the LDOE and they ARE paid a $1,500 stipend. Once again, follow the money and we all people are less objective when getting paid. No all, but some. The K-3 teachers all spoke about how great Eureka/Engage is. No problems as all. Really????? The junior high and high school teachers talked about how there are many gaps in the basics and more needs to be done. I felt that all 3 options were punitive by Cheryl Arabie. Even though it was said multiple times, teachers can use whatever curriculum they want, I believe administration is still pushing whatever John White pushes. I believe the threat of the test will be held over the teachers who want to teach a different curriculum. I hope the teachers who don’t like Eureka/Engage will do their own, as it will be better. I brought up the New York failings and the ties of John White to New York and the history of the destruction of public schools. I also brought up the Lafayette situation where the local school board said no to charters and White and BESE put in 3 (or 5, whatever it was). I said if they don’t think this is coming to St. Tammany, they don’t follow history. I don’t know what else to say. It almost felt like I was sitting amongst a cult with those espousing the virtues of Engage/Eureka and the path we are on. I understand the big picture, not sure how many others do.

        1. Thanks for the update. I started writing a story to explain some of this and I will add these details too it. Don’t think the mainstream media is putting all the pieces together here, but they actually have all the pieces. . . I will mostly just assemble them.

    1. Yes! And I intend to use it at our school board mtg. in November. Any other info would be greatly appreciated! I would especially like to know WHAT CURRICULUMS are being used in districts that did not choose Eureka? Thank you!!

  7. Our local newspaper had a great article on the front page this past Sunday. (10-5) The name of the newspaper is “The Town Talk” and the name of the article is “Educators feeling pressure ‘from top on down'”. This article describes how most educators in Rapides Parish feel.

  8. I realize I’m reading this months after the OPs. These are interesting comments. We are trying out some of the Engage 3rd grade modules and feel that our children are understanding math very well. Whenever the topic of “math programs” comes up on other blogs, sites…the opinions range from “It’s the worst!” to “We love it!” on virtually every program. (Eureka, My Math, Go Math, enVision, Math in Focus…to name a few) I’d like to know exactly WHY kids are crying and failing with the Engage modules. Not disputing…just wondering, since this has not been our experience this year while trying it.

    1. For us when we were doing the homework in first grade it was because the questions were jargon heavy, and jargon we were not familiar with. It was demanding first graders explain why things added up in their own words, when writing and explaining is still a new concept. Some of the exercises were strange and laborious, like drawing pictures of dozens of planes and trains. Some of the examples and text were jus wrong. I was sent 3 pages of worksheets with like 5 errors the teacher caught and corrected, but I still found some that were wrong or i didn’t even understand what they were asking. Those are some of the issues. My daughter uses Go Math this year, and while many of the exercises and work looks similar or like continuations of last year, the phrasing and text make much more sense. The worksheets look more professional and kid friendly with exercises that build on one another. Eureka often had lessons that had nothing to do with one another in same lesson so it was not obvious where they were going. I find the occasional typo or phrasing issue, but nothing on par to engage NY. I’m told many of the exercises and jargon relate to manipulatives (which we don’t have at home and schools did not provide.)

      1. I’m surfing in here now after attending a conference in regards to our school district implementing Eureka this year. I have to say that I am very concerned after our presenter (obviously frustrated at the commentary and questions being asked) said, “Don’t worry. You won’t get it at first, but your students will understand even if you don’t.” A room full of educators with post graduate degrees don’t get it, but the 4th graders will? This year will be interesting to be sure. I pray I can serve these students well.

        1. That sounds pretty messed up. From what I’ve heard the presenters don’t get it very well either and can’t explain it. Parents also don’t get it and neither do many of our children. But hey, it was designed by an English professor and has never been successfully inplemented or tested, so it’s got to be good, right?

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