Apr 012015

I always tell my speech and debate competitors that a good speech takes multiple drafts, and this speech is no different. After sleeping on it overnight, and re-reading it today I realized that my speech was fighting itself in the wording, so I rewrote some key sections.

I like this version much better.

I really did not expect to spend spring break doing political activity, but here I am anyway. I also was just asked if I would do an interview for another local news story. Wow, say yes to one thing and more activities pile on. At some point I need to put this aside and start reading for my classwork. I need to do that soon!

This is the text of the final version of the speech. It is better than the previous one, I believe.

For the record, my name is Glenn Waddell, Jr., and I am the department chair and teacher of AP Statistics and Algebra 2 Honors at North Valleys High School. Chair Woodbury and members of the committee, thank you for allowing me to address you today and explain why I oppose the sections of AB 303 that delete reference to the common core. I NEED the core standards to be an effective educator. Most importantly, my learners need the common core state standards.

I need the core standards because the prior standards had different “enhancements” in Washoe and Clark counties; which means that I could not collaborate with teachers in the southern part of the state, let alone elsewhere. Today, I work with teachers in other states as much as I collaborate within my building. The internet facilitates connections with math teachers, the sharing of lessons, and pooling of resources with teachers in Oklahoma and New York as easily as teacher across the hall.

My needs pale when compared to the needs of my learners, however. My learners need the common core for two reasons. First, high standards create engagement. The current standards provide this through the shifts, the practices, and the standards themselves. An example of how much can be accomplished with the standards is two weeks ago, my learners were working on the A.REI group; solving systems of equations algebraically & graphically. My learners had a graph of two functions with solutions that were easy to find one-way and impossible to find other ways. They worked for over 30 minutes individually and in groups before they finally gave up and asked me for help. The understanding we found was; there was no algebraic way to find the solution, and they refused to believe it. The mathematical practices served my learners well. They showed perseverance, appropriate use of tools, making arguments, regularity of structure, and critiquing the reasoning of others. This is the heart and soul of a successful math classroom. My learners need and deserve this high level of rigor.

Secondly, my learners need the standards because they are working. All learners need a solid foundation beginning in elementary school upon which to build future mathematics content, and math teachers in my school agree the learners coming up from middle school are better prepared for high school algebra. The standards are not the maximum, they are the minimum body of knowledge that learners must know. The standards create a foundation that is stronger, substantive, and more demanding than we had in the past. My learners need the core standards so they can build their foundation, and launch themselves to higher mathematics with confidence. My learners do not come into my room to be average, they come into my room to be awesome, and the core standards allow and encourage them to be awesome.

Thank you.


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