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Not everyone happy with EDI

Original post made on Sep 14, 2012

While the superintendent of Mountain View's elementary and middle schools has touted the success of a new district-wide educational protocol, others are speaking out against it -- saying it stifles individual creativity and forces students capable of working at a faster pace to slow down to keep pace with those who are struggling.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 14, 2012, 11:11 AM

Comments (20)

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I doubt the benefit seen in the test scores is solely due to EDI. One year on the system is not enough to conclude what Mr. Goldman asserts. I'm not familiar with this system, which seems to be going back in time. Is there any research in the education community showing the benefit of EDI? I certainly hope the district based the decision on sound research and not on "gut feelings".

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Posted by James
a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 14, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I believe the schools are required to meet the needs of all students and this includes differentiated instruction. At our school they do this for both Math and English.

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Posted by Andrew
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm

If Craig Goldman really believes that there "is actually broad support for the program amongst our teachers," he is deluding himself. It's true that teachers do not openly oppose it, but that's because teachers know that to do so is to invite trouble.

As with most initiatives in the MVWSD, the decision to implement EDI (like CI before it and probably like whatever fad comes next) was made at the top without significant input from a broad range of teachers.

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Posted by gcoladon
a resident of Slater
on Sep 14, 2012 at 2:51 pm

gcoladon is a registered user.

I was personally a little surprised to hear that the right to pull names from a jar and have kids concurrently write answers on personal whiteboard slates needed to be purchased from some company.

I admit to knowing very little about EDI beside what I learned about it from reading this story, but if those are two of the most salient aspects of this 'new' educational system, I have to wonder what it cost to license them.

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Posted by Nicole/Castro Mom
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Hey, I'm the parent in the article. And while of course I'm concerned about my kids, I also am looking that from the entire population. Additionally, even if this is raising test scores, which I too tend to doubt it can work that quickly, I'm more concerned about whether a new educational system is fostering creativity, problem solving, a love of learning in all kids.

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Posted by castromom
a resident of Castro City
on Sep 14, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Agree with all the posts, thus, so far!!

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Posted by Jerry Talley
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Once again we're seeing administrators talking about improvements "on the average" and parents and teachers complaining about the lack of differentiated instruction. We need to stop teaching to the average and start acknowledging the variability of students and their need for individualized learning pathways. Lock step instructional strategies like EDI miss the obvious fact that students aren't all alike, and their diversity is the untapped strength in our future educational system...but only if we stop treating average test scores as an accurate reflection of teaching quality. The obsession with average scores is only a testament to our short-sighted view of education.

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Posted by Rossta
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Rossta is a registered user.

Why is it that people always want to do things all one way or all a different way? The EDI type of instruction is great, for some people. I know that for me, it would work poorly. I work best with more abstract learning of concepts before doing the concrete work. I know others don't all do well with that.

Let's consider teaching in several different ways, to reach more students by recognizing that there are many different learning styles.

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Posted by divergent
a resident of another community
on Sep 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm

EDI epitomizes the worst of teacher-centered pedagogy. I don’t know if it’s a “scripted approach” to teaching, but it’s pretty darn close. Not only does it removes creativity and divergent thinking from the classroom, there is no room for collaboration, project based learning, and just as important, learning activities that promote social and emotional development among students.

I am surprised Google chose to invest their money in this program. Given that Google’s founders were “out of the box” thinkers, they are putting money into a program that does not promote creativity or divergent thinking. Someone at Google messed up big time.

The school district also blew it here. The article is correct in pointing out that the school district lacks a mechanism for teacher feedback. The district’s “one size fits all” approach is a serious concern. If EDI were a tool that teachers could use when appropriate, then this wouldn’t be much an issue. It’s not! Teachers are expected to implement EDI in all their subjects, all the time, without any deviation from the “script.” Hence, the term “EDI Police” has now emerged among community. There used to be a time when teachers were hired and expected to make professional and educated decisions about the children in the classroom. EDI’s “teacher proof” lessons allow anyone off the street to deliver “learning” to our kids.

The school district also blew it here. While nearby districts are investing in Common Core Standards, STEM, and Next Generation Science Standards, the district office chose to spend what limited resources it has on a system, developed in 1960s and geared towards low-income, disadvantage populations in urban cities (look up Project Follow Through).

The school district also blew it here. There is absolutely no evidence that EDI has contributed to the growth in test scores. To do so, one would have to identify students who received full implementation of EDI in their classrooms, and then measure growth v. students who did not receive EDI. I challenge the district to produce data that shows a causal link. The district also claims to have broad support. Again, there is no evidence to support this claim.

Still not convinced that EDI is not what we need in our schools, check out the following link, Direct Instruction advocates love this:

Web Link

Who knows? Maybe your kindergartener will be solving Algebra problems very soon. Can’t wait to see your 6th grader solving Calculus equations.

Bottom line: This is a way to raise test scores and nothing more. I’ll leave you with this excerpt from the article link below:

Door #1: If our goal is to accelerate short-term learning of predetermined and easily tested academic knowledge and skills (regardless of broad and long-term effects), then direct instruction would be judged to be clearly more effective.

Door #2: However, what if we want what works best in the long run for the range of goals we value most for children, including real-world competence in subject matter plus creativity, love of learning, initiative, problem-solving, independence, critical thinking, citizenship, good decision-making, communication skills, leadership, and to be caring, happy, and healthy? If we really want this, then education with substantial child-initiated and jointly-planned learning is clearly superior.

Web Link

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Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 14, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Direct Instruction is one of the standard tools in any teachers toolbox. "Explicit ... is a copyrighted version that uses particular teaching and teacher training materials. I am sure Google founders ran into DI in school, WE ALL HAVE! The issue of "sticks" is a research proven (have you done Poission distributions lately?) way to randomize the selection of students. The 11 cent 'whiteboards' are a proven way of doing quick "formative assessment". "Pair-Share" is also a way of using cooperative learning (the group size = 2).
"Project based learning" is not always an appropriate tool either!
Board Math is another - different program and tool. "Here is what you are going to see and do!" I had a bit of a time figuring that out (even went to the one day instruction). THEN I substitute taught in a kindergarden class - and the kids there showed me how it works (when taught by a master teacher).

None of this is bad - just don't get pedantic. The MV Voice coverage of this last school year was better. There is absolutely no statistical test of efficacy for this program here.
'average test scores are not an indication of teaching quality' - several of the candidates agree!
SN is a MVWSD Board candidate
& MVWSD substitute with a science and math credential

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Posted by jane
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 15, 2012 at 9:43 am

Ok, I'm going to unload on this school district and Landel's specifically. First of all, I was born and raised here. Received a horrible education from Bubb, Graham and MV High School. Teachers didn't give a crap about us. Now, I have a child at Landel's and her teacher last year stopped giving homework in MAY! On top of that, you have crazy parents driving irrationally in the school parking lot. My car was hit once by a parent who couldn't speak English, I was so frustrated I just said "forget it" even though it was his fault. Then, another mom flipped me off in front of her kids and mine, just because I passed her car in the parking lot.

We are catering too much to minority kids that don't speak English. My child attended an extremely good school in Evergreen area of San Jose, for K-3rd grade. When she started at Landel's last year, she was the top kid in the class. She said the homework was "super easy". In Evergreen, she had 2 hours of homework everyday, and intense education at school. I was very impressed that they worked these kids! Our kids will not be able to compete against kids from other countries as long as they teach like they do here. I see Landel's as lousy as it was when I was a kid.

Mountain View is overrated now. Too expensive, schools not that great, and way too crowded for us now.

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Posted by William Symons
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 16, 2012 at 7:27 am

still owning in MV, but living in OH for a few years with our kids in public schools here, I really get a new perspective of the sad affects of CA being, what, #47 or #48 of 50 states in per pupil spending. And the effect of Prop 13 and lack of tax base for CA public schools. I too was always concerned that there was little or no support for the achieving kids. The BIG picture is Craig is doing the best he can with what he has to work with.

Here in our community (New Albany OH) we have a rediculously HUGE professional and caring school staff that would make you head spin, and multiple programs before during and after school, for every level of learner. The schools and staff in general here ACTUALLY REALLY do everything within their power to identify and support every child on an individual basis, and challenge them to their ability, rather than only implement random blanket programs that they hope result in a rise in state test scores.

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Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Just another reason to abolish all public schools. They limit our choices as parents.

Give me my money back and I'll put my kids in the school I like. You can do the same with your kids.

People without kids can go on vacation every year. It's their money.

Sounds good to me..

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Posted by Whisman School District Parent
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 18, 2012 at 2:01 pm

First of all, if you have any feedback regarding EDI, please email Craig Goldman directly at Web Link. I hope he'll take some action if enough parents write to him regarding their dissatisfaction with EDI.

Personally, I have a 4th grader and a 7th grader in the Mountain View School District, and both of them had an immediate negative reaction to EDI when I asked them about it. According to my 7th grader:

“It slows down the class so much it makes learning tedious. In math, I don’t mind it, but in everything else it isn’t a good idea. They don’t need to put EDI for everything. If they want to slow down the class for the slowest learners, they should have a separate class for them. It penalizes the students that do get it. There’s just too much repetition, and the entire class in Language Arts and Social Studies has to keep reviewing the same sentence over and over again.”

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Posted by Not an EDI fan
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 18, 2012 at 2:34 pm

If you look at the EDI website, it appears EDI focuses on low performing students. What does that mean for the rest of the students? BOREDOM.

Web Link

"EDI is an approach that encompasses our goal of improving learning for all students and especially for low-performing students."

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Posted by teacher's perspective
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2012 at 12:43 pm

If you look at the EDI website, it appears EDI focuses on low performing students. What does that mean for the rest of the students? BOREDOM.

Web Link

"EDI is an approach that encompasses our goal of improving learning for all students and especially for low-performing students."

Hmm. maybe I misread the sentence, but its goal is to improve learning for all student, AND especially for low-performing students."

If your student is bored in class, then that means that they already know the material, if that is the case, then your student should probably be moved to higher grade level. Repetition in learning is NOT a bad thing. It is through repetition (not only at the time, but periodically at later dates) that we move things into our long-term memory.

While EDI presentations can be boring, we must also remind ourselves that teachers are competing with students' constant stimulation for entertainment. Students should be engaging during these lessons, because the expectation is to have a thoughtful answer at all times.

As a teacher, I have noticed students who are generally bright who check out during lesson presentations. When they are called on, or asked to demonstrate on their whiteboard, these students who report boredom, often don't have the correct answer or can't produce a thorough answer as to why something is the done a certain way.

EDI is not a script, but a set of strategies to help teachers ensure students are learning while you are teaching.

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Posted by Wow
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm

"Students should be engaging during these lessons, because the expectation is to have a thoughtful answer at all times."

Please don't tell me you are actually a teacher!

Repetition is a bad thing if many student already knows the answer and they are just waiting for the hopeless ones to catch up.

I guess we know the ones who will end up being teachers.

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Posted by Teachers perspective
a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2012 at 5:05 pm

I actually am a teacher, and unlike you I don't view my students as hopeless. This could be where there is a disconnect in the argument. Fundamental I believe students are capable of learning material if the teachers use the best and most effective strategies for content.

Edi is more than rote memorization, when implemented well. Yes there is practice in skill development to help build proficiency, bit equal amounts of time should also be spent developing concepts. Many student know how to multply decimals, but ask them to explain why It works and you see even the "non hopeless" students struggle. Again, Edi is a single tool in our toolkit, not the only tool.

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Posted by Scary
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 20, 2012 at 6:30 am

There are ten grammatical errors in the comment written by the teacher posting above. Maybe EDI was lacking in this teacher's education.

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Posted by inbetween
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm

EDI has some great components. I attended the summer lab for teachers this past summer and saw students grow tremendously with his model, however, I do agree that it slows down the rest of the class (especially the fast learners).

In fact, they get so bored, they eventually just check out and then when you call on them, they can't answer because they checked out about half an hour ago. I think teachers should be able to use components of EDI as a tool.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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