Saturday, March 1, 2008

Welcome to McJobs USA
Land of the Mathematically Non-Competitive

The following letter went to each member of the House and Senate Education Committees. I delivered hard copies to the Capitol building on Saturday 3-1-2008.

Dear __________,

Since the adoption of Reform mathematics the Mathematical competency of USA students has plummeted. Twenty-five years ago in 1983 A Nation at Risk was published. It predicted a coming math crisis. In the last 25 years this prediction has come to pass.

During these 25 years, “High Tech Executives” have repeatedly testified about the math knowledge gap that our country faces. Now Industries are blamed for moving jobs offshore. There is rarely a public statement of the real reason for many USA job displacements, which is the math knowledge gap.

Dr. Bergeson’s selection of the Standards Revision Team for Math contained no highly competent math professionals from industry. The 2004 NSF team that recommended how to revise state math standards specifically recommended highly math knowledgeable industry representatives be a part of any revision processes. The new standards that the SRT is producing will likely have little impact on closing the math knowledge gap.

US produces 65,000 to 70,000 engineers annually. Perhaps 15,000 to 20,000 might be IT (Information Tech) professionals. How many of these were USA educated in grades K-12?

Sudhakar Kudva PhD., born in India retired Intel executive now living in Vancouver Washington, asks of those 15,000 to 20,000 how many are Asians educated K-12 outside the USA? Sang Park also living in Vancouver with 3 master’s degrees has the same question.

Cisco plans to hire 360,000 IT in the next 5 years. Cisco must go offshore. The number of trained IT professionals needed does not exist in the USA. Given current trends in math the future looks bleak.

Bill Gates has publicly stated that the best Engineering school in the world is the Indian Institute of Technology. Where would Cisco find enough IT professionals? - Not in the USA, where many of our kids lives are determined in grades K-3. The focus and thrust of things in Math education will see our nation rapidly sinking into the Sea of McJobs.

It is no surprise Cisco is headed to India. Will the Washington Legislature correct this problem at its source?

In the last few years there has been a tremendous change. Most Indians would rather stay home and attend the best school in the world and work at home rather than come to the US. Indians will no longer have to come to the USA to see $100,000+ jobs. Welcome to McJobs USA, land of the mathematically non-competitive.

Sincerely, Danaher M. Dempsey, Jr. -

State Board of Education Math Panelist
BA in Mathematics, MEd.
NCLB Highly Qualified in Math, Chemistry, and Science

Teacher at the Alternative for Individuals High School
in the Clover Park School District

See attached PISA scores for USA's current math prowess internationally among 15 year olds.

USA worst English Speaking nation tested in 2003.
USA PISA math score in 2006 was a statistically significant decline from 2003 (-9) from 483 to 474.

My one page PISA sheet goes on the back.


Anonymous said...

Hey Paul, Nice work even you are getting noticed by the progessifers. This is an email from our old fiend to [drum roll] Lou Talman in Denver.

They are trying to come up with a response to the misery we are apparently inflicting on 'their' side.

Here's the dispatch -

Don't know about you, Lou, but I can't recall anyone arguing here for understanding without skills.

We keep being told that this position is at the heart of the progressive reform movement.

We read a lot of sarcasm and satire about encouraging kids to "feel good" and not worry about the answer (when the fact is that the idea is to encourage kids
to TRY to work the problems at all without fear that they'll be
RIDICULED if they make errors; that's not quite the same as saying that all answers are correct, that getting a sensible, mathematically valid answer isn't important, or any of the other nonsense being attributed to progressive reformers regardless of what they actually say and believe). This sort of rhetoric and propaganda does scare some people and makes great fodder for those who don't much care whether the claims are true as long as they are effective in getting rid of programs they object to (and not simply because of the mathematical content in many instances).

On the other hand, we see Paul and others time and again focusing on
computation, mechanical reproduction of the steps in a proof, handing students answers on a platter rather than expecting them to strive to think for themselves, and other ideas that strike me as intellectually
shallow - at best the trappings of understanding without the substance.

One would hope that real mathematicians would know better.
And there are mathematicians who support this nonsense for schoolchildren.

It can't be because they don't understand the difference between mathematical thinking and rote, can it?

If not, then I suspect there are several possible factors, including but not limited to: 1) elitism and lack of concern with and for typical students; 2) contempt for student-centered teaching; 3) a woeful ignorance of how people unlike themselves think about and deal with mathematics; 4) a self-serving belief that their style of teaching is flawless and that those who fail to learn from it are not worth worrying about; 5) various social, political, and general philosophical viewpoints and agendas that make keeping the majority of the population innumerate or barely functional
in mathematics a necessary and/or attractive proposition.

I'm sure that list isn't exhaustive, but I think it accounts for the public position some of your professional colleagues have taken on what mathematics involves when it comes to K-16 education.

On Feb 28, 2008, at 2:37 PM, Lou Talman wrote:

> On Feb 27, 2008, at 6:59 PM, Paul A. Tanner III wrote:
>> Some say that it's horrible to teach without understanding. There are two replies to that:

There is one reply to both of Paul's statements.

Mathematics involves ideas as well as skills. Teaching either while
ignoring the other is unconscionable.

--Lou Talman
> Department of Mathematical & Computer Sciences
> Metropolitan State College of Denver

Most of what Old fiend is writing is only pertains to himself. BLT's response refers back to the Doctrine of the Unapologetic Mathematician

(The following is probably verbage, but it helps to locate such information)

These are all BLT's quotes and it is like everything else, kak.

Who says what qualifies as "ignoring the other?"

Scientists and engineers use formulas without understanding them as well as professional mathematicians do all the time. Professional mathematicians do the same type of thing: They use formulas from other fields in mathematics even though they don't understand them as well as the specialists in those fields do. It's reality. It's inescapable. And by the way, to use them, they have to first either teach themselves the
formulas or have someone else teach them. And if they then want to set out to try to understand the formulas as well as the specialists, then fine. But it's not necessary to understand the formulas as well as the
specialists to use the formulas. There's nothing unconscionable or
obscene in this.

The Unapologetic Mathematician is just essentially making this point, arguing against the anti-realistic philosophical and
political agenda that it's unconscionable or obscene to understand a formula well enough to apply it whenever one needs to apply it but not understand so as to satisfy that particular philosophical and political

(See how those who have this agenda react to Saxon)

I'm parsing this out to try and understand the flies in their logic. But these hacks are not timid in their pronouncements.

One of the things you will see in this debate is there's are an awful lot of programming geeks and AA counselors pushing the reform movement with Briars in the caboose, and Dr. B. driving this here freight train of BS into the Gulf of Puget Sound.

Anonymous said...

That quote I believe is lifted from somewhere, but I don't recall yet and I haven't located it. It is similiar to a slogan I use:
Learning without practice is dangerous and practice without learning is unforgiveable. (something like that)

their message uses three subtle inferences and actually can't be decoded logically -

1. the mind won't not register unconsciounable, so lets insert the word 'not big'

2. without infers there is an 'absence of something not big'

3. _____ is replaced by an 'absence of something not small'

skills without ideas are unconsciounable; ideas without skills are _______?

The absence of somthing not big, is compared to the absence of something not 'small'

This is a post hoc absurdity, just as good as gibberish.

fiend and blt are attempting to simplify the debate to make their programs more palatable. ideas v. skills.

This is not the case - so they have not analyzed the problem correctly. Without the structure of the old powerhouses, these villians have no ideas to throw out. They will be ahistory, not history.

1. schmidt points out clearly the failings of the current math program.
a. no coherence
b. no depth
c. no rigor

2. flawed research - use of testimonials and teacher surveys.

3. statistics that are faked or seriously flawed. choose your poison.

4. the kids and parents are not happy with the program. The model that created standards and the curriculum in the first place is based on getting average results. You can't do any better, in fact statistically it will get worse due to the 'honeymoon effect'. The more stats is manipulated, the worse will be the results. They are in a positive feedback loop. Its going to get dramatically more worse, than better. Pretty soon people will be throwing more than books out of windows...I've seen it.

5. why is their sarcasm and finger waving? because math and science teachers are saying enough, we can't do this anymore. This reform movement is too much hot air and these jerk consultants and administrators are getting paid to watch us drown in our classrooms dealing with a group of young adults that are out for blood.

6. I can't think of a more vulgar, sordid lot than the colorless maggots running our schools. The NSF, OSPI. and all their wimpy politicians can go hang themselves.

They've done it already to public education, so why not to themselves. We should just throw out these inquisitors and buy singapore with the money we'd be saving. There'll not be a person ever in the US who claims they were a Repub. when this hits the fan.

Anonymous said...

Here is the right wing rave blog if you care to see how teachers get perceived by the gentry up in the ivory tower.

you could shine a light on this bunch of mastadons and they'd probably start melting.

Anonymous said...

Here's what happens to whistleblowers in this country. Its a Puritan state. This is why the NSF were penned Lazarroni during the Civil War. They were Puritan imbeciles, who argued for reason and came up with natural slavery to end the civil war.

They preach ethics for everyone else, but themselves. NSF/2061/MAA/NCTM spent the people's money foolishly, now they'll pay the price and I hope they choke on all the filth they've created.

Two days before winter break, as the moral compass of all six [students] swung in the same direction, they shared their concerns with a university administrator.

In late May, a UW [wisconsin] investigation reported data falsification in Goodwin's past grant applications and raised questions about some of her papers.

The case has since been referred to the federal Office of Research Integrity (ORI) in Washington, D.C. Goodwin, maintaining her innocence, resigned from the university at the end of February. (Through her attorney, Goodwin declined to comment for this story.)

Although the university handled the case by the book, the graduate students caught in the middle have found that for all the talk about honesty's place in science, little good has come to them.

Three of the students, who had invested a combined 16 years in obtaining their Ph.D.s, have quit school. Two others are starting over, one moving to a lab at the University of Colorado, extending the amount of time it will take them to get their doctorates by years.

The five graduate students who spoke with Science also described discouraging encounters with other faculty members, whom they say sided with Goodwin before all the facts became available.

Fraud investigators acknowledge that outcomes like these are typical. "My feeling is it's never a good career move to become a whistleblower," says Kay Fields, a scientific investigator for ORI, who depends on precisely this occurrence for misconduct cases to come to light. ORI officials estimate that between a third and half of nonclinical misconduct cases--those involving basic scientific research--are brought by postdoctoral fellows or graduate students like those in Goodwin's lab.

And the ones who come forward, admits ORI's John Dahlberg, often suffer a "loss of time, loss of prestige, [and a] loss of credibility of your publications."

Puritans create hell for the rest of us to live in.