Saturday, July 5, 2008

Sudhakar on Myths

Sudhakar has a great posting on his blog.
Check out the last Few days HERE

Especially the piece on myths.


Anonymous said...

Iris Rotberg Global education reform, George Washington Univ. - writes the TIMSS Study is flawed. This is a think-tank of academic scammers that says the US is in the middle of the pack and that's ok, because its a reflection of our unique culture, sort of a humble roots theory of learning and that American education is a quasi-experiment in democracy. Rotberg and Warfield belong to the same club - calculas reform, more scatatology and you might as well learn math from Plato.

Adams, LM, Tung KK, Warfield, VM, Knaub, K, Mudavanhu, B.and Young, D. (2000, November). Middle School mathematics comparisons for Singapore Mathematics, Connected Mathematics Program, and Mathematicas in Context (including comparisons with the NCTM Principles and Standards, 2000). A report to the NSF, November 2, Seattle, WA : University of Washington. (unpublished).

This has got to be the biggest scholarly hoax of the century - completely faked.

Anonymous said...

Here's the report

I read the summary and these are idiots of the first order.

This was one of their 'significant findings' and its called by the seat of your pants writing Leave it to the UW ed department -

"... it is a truism that teaching in the "Socratic mode" requires more knowledge on the part of the instructor than traditional teaching in the "lecture mode".

signed panurge!

Anonymous said...

This is Rotberg(April 2007) writing in the AASA

Why Do Our Myths Matter?
By Iris C. Rotberg

Its essentially the same piece, she wrote for Edweek and Rotberg. Her thesis is test rankings don't tell the public enough about the quality of education in classrooms or a country's ability to compete economically.

Particularly, she addresses the Singapore curriculum, calls it a magic bullet, implying that transplanting it into the US in no way implies success, since a whole variety of social factors are at play.

Rotberg discusses test score comparisons and sampling problems with the PISA/TIMMSS study. She writes the studies reflect the social backgrounds of the students, not the quality of the teachers or the "principals." She omits curriculum from this sentence.

Here would be the first myth of the reform movement:

1. We cannot change our education system without first defining what we mean by "best," a value judgment that depends on our beliefs about how our society should be structured.

From Rotberg's POV then curriculum is a tradeoff or a time management issue. Should we sacrifice children's creativity, so children can excel in math and science?

The next two points do not support the first point, so she hasn't thought this through clearly. Tracking and promotion are not the same in other countries.

2. Countries share the same social problems found in the US, such as the achievement gap. She uses Germany as an example of a heavily tracked educational system.

The difference of course which makes the US seem arbitrary and unfair is social promotion. In Germany as in most country's you take a test that determines your track or where you go to school and what certificate you earn (promotion based on merit).

In the US, you are taught with a different textbook and you are promoted socially. The test students take affects funding, seldom does it change a student's social status in the school and hardly ever if you were to try to make comparisons between students attending different schools.

So tracking is different. In the US, all tracking leads to a HS diploma, but only 20%of the students qualify for college enrollment.

In Canada which is closest to resembling our country, the drop out rates and the dropout rate is considerably lower than in the US (9% overall, 7% women) with rural men having the highest rates of leaving school early. Its the opposite in the US.

The US has a dropout rate that is 25% (hasn't improved since 1990) and mobility rates that are higher than any other nation in the world

Here is a recent report on dropout rates in the 50 largest cities. Its absolutely appalling -

An indictment of the profit system
High school drop-out rate in major US cities at nearly 50 percent
By Barry Grey
3 April 2008

A report released Tuesday by an educational advocacy group founded by retired general and former Bush administration Secretary of State Colin Powell finds that almost half of all public high school students in the US’ fifty largest cities fail to graduate.

The report states that only 52 percent of public high school students in these cities graduate after four years, while the national average is 70 percent. Some 1.2 million public high school students drop out every year, according to researchers.

This is as if none of the seniors in Washington graduated this year or an economic cost of about $8 trillion dollars per year.

(So Rotberg is omitting important data and making comparisons that are not thought out clearly.)

3. Rotberg says - we shouldn't hold teachers accountable, because other countries don't. NCLB punishes schools with accountability requirements that no other countries use. And then she goes back to the dribble that its social factors at work, like poverty which prevent children from learning.

Rothberg is low in her analysis. She ignores curriculum and she is unaware that countries which have language diversity issues, national curriculum (like Singapore), and high test scores were able to achieve what the US hasn't and its embarrassing for US educators - even Cummins has pretty much the same criticism. The Russians and Chinese have pretty much given up on the Toronto Public School system and created their own schools. Its Toronto's loss, not theirs.

Anonymous said...

The best way to improve productivity is preparing students with a math science education that emphasizes algebra and geometry. That's why our country is not going to be competitive. Iris belongs on the sheep wagon.

Anonymous said...

Yes, and you need programmers, not powerpoint artists - US imbeciles think teaching powerpoint is computer science...

dan dempsey said...

Excellent point made about PowerPoint and computer science.

Back in the days of the VIC 20 and TI-99 computers, there was a small window in time where kids would show up in grade 7 and be computer programmers. They programmed their own games.

Then when more commercially available games appeared along with more powerful computers .... only consumers of software showed up not creators with underlying knowledge.

The Power point comment is similar. Just because you teach a child to be a consumer does not indicate fundamentals are learned.

Of course if the kid's goal is to be a bureaucrat then the kid is on the right track with Power Point.

I do believe that any competence may well be beneficial.... but where are the priorities??

Anonymous said...

I noticed when we started paying stipends for technology experts then powerpoint became a requirement. I teach programming which requires students to think logically and use mathematics. Most 12 year olds can powerpoint in about 2 days without any help at all. Teachers rarely even go the extra step to teach kids how to storyboard or do proper research. I used to write technology plans, but I couldn't stand being around so many multimedia jackasses. Technology merit pay should go to teachers that have some merit. It would be more useful to teach kids how to build networks or chatrooms than a multimedia project. Do you see how lame our schools are?

My seventh graders built a chatroom with MSW Logo - we just had to have the IP addresses for the computers in our network.

We fear viruses now, but in the 80's we were building bots using core war assembler and battling them in an arena and we built all our own computers.

Anonymous said...

Memorable moment: I built a concatenation program with turbo pascal that read cyrillic text and succeeded in crashing our vax in the middle of the night.