Monday, June 16, 2008

Self Esteem in the Houston Chronicle

Try this on self esteem. HERE

Two thoughts not in the article follow....

A thought from a professional:

Interesting article summary plus link to full article.
Personally, I don't like to see the term itself, "self esteem", get bashed. Self esteem is not a bad thing, but some portion of it must be based on one's actions and competence. But like so many things, it's harder to take a complex, nuanced approach to self-esteem building, and so most teachers seem to just take the easy way out.

A thought from a parent:

My children have always seen through the BS fed to them by
guidance counselors and k-8 teachers who repeat the
"good job!" mantra even when the work is crappy and everyone knows it.

Telling them they're great just for having a pulse is not helpful.
Neither is the baloney about "You can do anything you put your mind to"--
which they also recognize as a lie.

My kids are smart, short, white boys. The odds of them playing in the
NBA are astronomically small
, even if they "put their minds to it".
They are smart enough to know that.

A better mantra would be "Hard work always helps."
This is true, and they know it.

Set realistic goals, plan out how to achieve them, and get to work.
Once you DO something good, you will have earned true self esteem.

In the comments to the story:
catdragon2 wrote:
Since my kids, now in their 30's, started school, I've been shouting this theme to the rooftops. My kids got less of an education than I did way back when because there is no discipline, no failures, no pushing to achieve in the school systems. Combine that with teaching to state-mandated tests and it equals a plan for disaster in education. No wonder we lag behind every other country in the industrialized world.


Anonymous said...

I would agree with the article except that it uses wrong ideas to explain the mechanism for violence in schools. The violence was present in schools before 'self-esteem' programs were instituted to counter that violence. Its a placebo effect and you can't attach any weight to their effectiveness.

Rather the violence is caused by unrealized fulfillment - students are leaving/graduating high school without the skills to go further in education or properly prepared for work. The chastizing students receive while in school from peers, staff, and parents, is the opposite of self-esteem which is a better explanation for the sleepy, listless, inattentive, forgetful, sort of apathy you get from most teenagers. Its called passive aggressive behavior and it still suggests children are creative and applying their thinking, althought not in the context of school. The best suggestion is come up with academic curriculum that makes a difference, so students leave school with skills for a future.

Better than self-esteem classes (leave it to a psychologist) I would start implementing more music and drama. Don't start a video class, you'll be surprised by what you see.

Anonymous said...

Finally, if a child is repeatedly failing a subject, like math or science, it affects the grades in their other subjects. Take them out of the stupid program and give them music. If they have to fall in love with something, why not their own voices - it won't harm anyone and they can always research a math program they're good at later. Give them a skill so they can leave high school and start working. Self-esteem doesn't do anyone any good.

Anonymous said...

Finally, if a child is repeatedly failing a subject, like math or science, it affects the grades in their other subjects. Take them out of the stupid program and give them music. If they have to fall in love with something, why not their own voices - it won't harm anyone and they can always research a math program they're good at later. Give them a skill so they can leave high school and start working. Self-esteem doesn't do anyone any good.

Anonymous said...

Here's a concerned core plus consultant and the author who researched - How 22 high schools that use core plus do better on the WASL - you'll find it on the core plus web site.

This is a letter to the editor Reg wrote to the Seattle Times!

As a retired high school mathematics teacher, I was dismayed by the "facts" that Sen. Cheryl Pflug cited in her guest column of Dec. 12.

She stated the standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics are the biggest problem in our efforts to have students pass the WASL mathematics exam. She alleges those standards are weak in basic skills. Not true! In fact school districts in Washington that have adopted programs that align well with the state GLE's and consequently the NCTM standards, are showing much higher pass rates on the WASL, good SAT scores, and higher ACT scores.

This report and other data show that Core-Plus students are significantly more likely to pass the mathematics 10th grade WASL exam, than students in traditional mathematics programs.

The problem is that many school districts are using mathematics textbooks that are not well aligned. In contrast, such programs as Core-Plus are very well alligned. It is not a surprise that students in those schools using Core-Plus score higher on the WASL examination.

Reggie Nelson
Mount Vernon


dan dempsey said...


Interesting thought:
She alleges those standards are weak in basic skills. Not true!

The proof for this is WASL Math scores???

How much math is on the math WASL?

Also I would be interested in seeing his data as I find a lot of districts going nowhere with Core-Plus.

The Core Plus math books need more numbers..Maybe Reg is talking about increased WASL reading scores through the use of Core Plus.

Paul Kurose director of Seattle's Transition Math Project, which is looking at how to better prepare students to be successful in Community College mathematics through better HS Math preparation, has an entirely different view of Core Plus.

I will stick with Paul rather than Reg.

Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Here's the link to the study - its also available in .pdf, but I'd download it quick. I don't think cpmp has reviewed it.

A Matched Study of Washington State 10th GradeAssessment Scores of Students in Schools UsingThe Core-Plus Mathematics Program

This would be a perfect target for debunking, if anyone cared to prove cpmp was a piece of cra...

This is the report that was used to sell cpmp textbooks to the districts in washington.

The schools of course are not named and the only reference cited is the OSPI web site. Here's the conclusion at the end of the report.

The pass rate on the 2004-05 Tenth-Grade WASL Mathematics test for the 22Washington high schools that were in at least their second year using the Core-PlusMathematics curriculum was compared to that of a sample of 22 schools carefullymatched on prior mathematics achievement, percent of students from low-incomefamilies, percent of underrepresented minorities, and student enrollment. The mainfindings are the following.

• The pass rate in mathematics was significantly higher in the schools using theCore-Plus Mathematics program.

• The higher pass rate in the Core-Plus Mathematics schools was evident for bothstudents from low-income families and those from other families.

• Although the higher pass rate in mathematics is consistent across income levels,there is no evidence that using the Core-Plus Mathematics curriculum eitherincreases or decreases the "achievement gap.

"Pass rates on the WASL Science test were also higher in the schools using the Core-Plus Mathematics program (significantly higher when one outlying pair of schools isremoved).Data in this report are found on the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI)internet site:
Page 5
1The match schools used a variety of textbook programs, but none used another NSF-funded, NCTMStandards-based curriculum.

Examples of the main textbook series used in match schools are thefollowing: Addison-Wesley Secondary Mathematics Series (Focus on Algebra, Focus on Geometry, etc.),Freeman's Geometry, Glencoe's Mathematics series, McDougall Littell Integrated Mathematics, KeyCurriculum "Discovering Algebra" and "Discovering Geometry" books, University of Chicago SchoolMathematics, and College Preparatory Mathematics.

2 The percent of underrepresented minorities is the sum of the percents of Native Americans, AfricanAmericans, and Hispanics.

3 For grades 10-12 schools, the mean of the national percentile ranks across all junior high or middleschools in the district was used for the ITED-Q. If a school opened after 1999-2000, the earliest availableninth-grade ITED-Q percentile was used.

4The CPMP sample has 14 schools that include grades 9 to 12, four are grades 10 to 12 schools, oneincludes grades 8 to 12, and one includes grades 6 to 12. Because of the more important need toapproximate the other matching variables and the relatively small numbers of schools in the state thatserve the last three grade level intervals, it proved to be impossible to get a one-to-one match on gradelevels of the schools.

In the final analysis, the match sample contains 15 schools that include grades 9 to12, three grades 10 to 12 schools, one grades 8 to 12 school, and one grades 6 to 12 school. The fact thatthere is one fewer grades 10 to 12 school in the match sample is a partial explanation for why the numberof students taking the tenth-grade WASL tests is slightly smaller in the match sample than in the CPMP sample even though total school enrollments in each sample are nearly equal.

Study initiated byReggie NelsonCPMP Independent Consultant1520 Alpine View PlaceMount Vernon, WA 98274360-770-5910

Something else interesting about reggie - he likes to leave his name embedded in test questions!

Sample Math WASL Questions

7L-5) Answer: Vic

Monty, Nelson, Phil, Megan, Elise, Reggie, Salesi, Troy, and Vic are getting their tickets for the upcoming concerts by the Madison Shuttle and Frodo and the Fronds. They can only afford one concert, so they are deciding which one to go to and whether to attend the early or late show. Five of them are going to see Frodo and four of them are going to see the Madison Shuttle. Five have decided on the late show and four on the early show. Monty, Phil, Megan, and Salesi are going to the same show. Troy and Vic finally decided on different shows. Nelson, Reggie, Troy, and Elise are going at the same time. Vic and Phil wanted to go together but have to go at different times because of their jobs. Who is going to the Madison Shuttle's early show? Explain in detail how you found your answer using words, numbers, and/or pictures.

Anonymous said...

I imagine he used some of the same trickery that Jo used in her study - such as, comparing two different populations of students within schools matched by their populations - but neglecting other factors.

Anonymous said...

Here's another logic sample WASL problem from the previous site.

Imagine a seventh graders surprise to have to answer a question like this using numbers, pictures, or words. This would be nonsense of course for most of us, but these idiots are serious and it really flies in the face of good common-sense.

7L-2) Answer: Bus 2: Amy, Nancy, David, Barbara, Michael, Claire, Alex, Helen, Amanda; Bus 3: Jeff, Danny, Charlotte, Clarissa, Susanne, Matthew, Murray, Jimmy, Booker; Bus 8: Mabel, Justin, Nora, Denise, Hope, Lars, Steve, Stanley

The seventh grade is going on a field trip to the local aquarium. The teacher told the children to remember which of the three buses they had been assigned to Bus Two, Bus Three, or Bus Eight. She assigned Amy, Nancy, and David to Bus Two. She put Jeff, Danny, Charlotte, and Clarissa on Bus Three. Mabel, Justin, Nora, Lars, and Denise were assigned to Bus Eight. To which bus did the teacher assign each of these children: Booker, Steve, Barbara, Michael, Susanne, Claire, Alex, Helen, Amanda, Matthew, Stanley, Murray, Jimmy, and Hope? To which bus should she assign Dennis? Why? Explain in detail how you found your answer using words, numbers, and/or pictures.

Anonymous said...

I'll file this under daughters of Anne Coulter

Ashley Herzog is a conservative columnist and you might ask yourself why she decides to rave about 'self-esteem' and not about texbooks in Houston all the while she's attending Ohio University.

There was an interesting scandal involving herself and another 'firecracker columnist' by the name of Michelle Malkin in which pictures of Michelle were stolen from Ashley's computer and then photoshopped onto another girl's body clad only in a string bikini. Thank goodness for that. You can search for the story yourself. Some comments noted the belly button was too high to be hers. I don't have any idea.

Anonymous said...

Another odd coincidence of this story are the number of times an Ohio journalist writes about the liberalism of Houston. And I think its strange that Project Seed was a research study on inquiry based learning done by Ohio State graduates (William Webster, from a publishing family) who then partnered with MWREL (McCune) in Houston. And who jumped on the bandwagon then Treisman and Warfield. And of all things, this same group of researchers sits oddly in Kalamazoo running a national testing and evaluation center right next to the Core plus development team with zen master Burrill (alien expert), Christian Hirsch, and James Fey. Its a soap opera.

I'll bet Burrill and McCune are friends they have too many things in common. No universe could keep them apart.