Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Do NOT Buy a Car


Parallels drive me crazy.

If you were going to buy a new car, would you not carefully examine the models that you found likely to fill the bill?

Giving a huge weight to reliability based on Consumer Reports reliability rating and perhaps to J.D. Power's initial quality report.

Of course you would NOT do that you are an Educator.

You would imagine what the ideal car would be like based on smell, visual appearance, weight, load capacity, fuel mileage, politically correct country of manufacture, etc etc

You would put together a committee of people who only ride buses and bicycles and are without drivers licenses to help you refine your criteria. Then once the created and approved criteria produced by the automotive ignorant were finalized, an enormous panel of folks which actually had a few individuals that new a bit about cars on it would be convened.

Those who knew about cars were aghast at the criteria, but it did not matter as they were hardly noticeable with the size of the committee doing the ratings.

When finished although many had hoped for a Prius while others a Ferrari Testarosa it was agreed that a Kevlar Ox-Cart best matched the criteria. Now you the educator will drive it. While everyone else goes home and about their normal lives.

If you find this method of vehicle selection objectionable, why keep buying it for textbook decision making?

Suggestion: Check the relevant data this does NOT work for either cars or textbooks.

If you wish to produce positive results check out the reliable stuff that works and use it. The 2004 MSSG says so. Of course how we would determine that in today's climate -- well probably not allowed.

Me, I would use the top performing math curriculum in the English speaking world which even works for ELL and learn to use it.

My God the Israelis translated it into Hebrew, but we like Everyday Math because it smells better.

What a country!!!!

It is time for the Math teachers to discredit this entire process, not by selecting the best books, but by resigning.

Resigning and applying for jobs in the district, state, and national education offices. There is NO accountability for anything having to do with math or science at that level, but even better is the fact you can then base the pathetic performance on the math teachers need for more training. For goodness sakes do not blame it on the teachers lack of content knowledge because in your new position it is required you know absolute zero about math content.

We now have in place a system that expands the number of jobs for those who know nothing about math and has been continually enlarged over the last decade creating more and more math-decision making positions for the math illiterate.

W. Edward Demings said: if you can remove it and it has no detrimental effect on the production process, then do so. Here is something begging for removal that will actually enhance the production process with its removal.

Alas we are unable to see the obvious because we've been conditioned to keep eyes closed and blindly feel about for solutions.

The magic bullet is out there just keep feeling about for it. Good luck with that plan but it is the only plan given credence in this world of make believe.



Anonymous said...

may 22, 2008 NY Times
Publishing sensationalism

WITH education high on the national agenda, some scholars have been tempted to publish sensational but premature conclusions. These can exploit policy makers' inability to distinguish simplistic analyses from those that stand up to closer examination.

This was apparently the case with an analysis of Florida's voucher program, published in February by the conservative Manhattan Institute. The author, Jay P. Greene, a former University of Texas professor and now a Harvard researcher, concluded that Florida scores showed schools ''rising to the challenge of vouchers.'' On the eve of Congressional debate over President Bush's plan to give students at low-performing schools federal money for private school tuition vouchers, Dr. Greene announced that Mr. Bush's proposal would work as well.

''That's not a theory,'' Dr. Greene stated, ''but proven fact.

Right!!! Seeing is believing.

Bush republicans are attacking public education. They will not stop until public education is destroyed. This is a parasite government. Voters should repeal NCLB, vouchers, and throw away their lousy textbooks. Adopt Singapore for children; you will get proven results. I have yet to meet a 'real' teacher dispute my observations.

The Issaquah adoption was a bunch of c... Their curriculum specialist said parents voted overwhelmingly in favor of Everyday. The parent survey is posted on Wikipedia. 157 parents responded primarily from two elementary schools (second and third grade) The survey was done online.

3 questions for parents, I'm sure this was a textbook sales reps doing...

1. Do you think math is important for college?
98% agreed

2. Do you think math should be balanced?
98% agreed

I presume parents were told what balanced means...

Notice there is no mention of Everyday in the first two questions.

Final question --
3. Should Issaquah adopt Everyday?
79 against
76 for

Wow, what a surprise. And the board made their decision on this survey and apparently almost all the teachers wanted Everyday.

Board members said they HAD to make a decision quickly. They didn't want to wait for OSPI to finish writing standards. I presume board members were unaware both Texas and California failed to adopt the 5th grade Everyday textbook.

Bush democracy in action.

Anonymous said...

I am also disappointed with La Conner's adoption - I thought they were using CPM - and they do - for one year (CPM 1). That's supplementing, that's not an adoption. I think its appalling.

If school board members are being asked to make critical decisions regarding curriculum, then they need to be informed. Don't believe everything you hear from teachers. They can act like twits too (we're all human, so far as I know)

Anonymous said...

The best adoption I ever saw happenned in Quebec - it was a textbook designed for ELL students - the kids and parents loved it so much that when they were mainstreamed in the fourth and fifth grades, they wanted the books written in English.

This was a textbook that incorporated weekly chess lessons in the curriculum. Chess became part of the cultural landscape and all I can say is the results were so profound, that even the TIMMS researchers felt obligated to put Quebec province separate from the rest of Canada which I believe uses a traditional Harcourt textbook.

You could do the same with ELL students and Singapore in Spanish for instance - you would get immediate positive results and possibly force everyone to rethink what mathematics education is all about.


dan dempsey said...


Three awesome comments:

#1 You are looking for informed decision makers... Most Industry positions require decision makers to be informed or hit the road. See my most recent post... in math education it is the uninformed and they do not wish to make a decision they just want to follow.

#2 If school board members are being asked to make critical decisions regarding curriculum, then they need to be informed. Don't believe everything you hear from teachers. They can act like twits too (we're all human, so far as I know)

Sorry to hear about La Connor. It seems a prime requirement of math decision makers is to be almost totally uninformed. By the way the NSF professionally develops many teachers to be twits. Those with out any NSF professional D will aspire to be like the professionally developed and thus aspire to twit-dom.

Notice the entire absence of aspiration for verifiable positive improvement in math. No interest in data just in philosophical alignment. This is truly the generation of faith based math.

If you have enough faith this crap will eventually work... I am a pure pagan in this regard.

#3 There is no rest of Canada. Alberta has their own k-12 math plan. It is tremendous. Canada is a high achieving country in math but Alberta is the really high achieving province. If Alberta was an independent nation, they would give Finland a run to the finish on PISA and Alberta might well be number 1.

Final thought... Knowledge and logic are definitely assets in forming an improvement plan.

In WA MATH that will produce nothing. To get a change requires political action, even this requires substantial time.

Politically we finally have the ball rolling - but where it is rolling to in WA Math is now the big question.

My current view is that this is golden opportunity time to make something happen on the local school district level. Teachers of Math need to get active NOW. Parents can also play a major role.

The rejection of Dr Bergeson's re-election bid will definitely be a huge step on the road to recovery.

Thinking of 12 steps the rest of some peoples careers could consist of apologies to those harmed during the great math debacle.

In the SPS they should start simultaneously with the ending of non-example based textbooks, requesting forgiveness and coupling that with profuse apologies.

Anonymous said...

Why not motion a public math apology at the next board meeting?

Anonymous said...

Where can you point me to learn more about Alberta's math program? I'm at a loss, since while I know about TIMMSS and Challenging Mathematics in Quebec - I haven't a clue about Alberta.

Have you ever heard of Tic Liem?

Anonymous said...

Dr.Tik Liem wrote a book on science inquiry - he was Canadian and lived for a time in San Diego, but I know he was ill and probably has passed away. His demonstrations were very entertaining and memorable. I would recommend reading for any teacher. In particular, discrepant events (changing patterns of the mind).

dan dempsey said...

Here is a place to start on finding out about Math In the Province of Alberta ... the wild rose country