Friday, October 24, 2008

Pathways to Excellence and Equity in Science, Math and Engineering Learning

From the UW website:

The learning of science and math is a civil rights issue, and schools should give students broad participation in those areas as early as possible, says Philip Bell, a UW associate professor of learning sciences.

Bell will deliver the College of Education's Fall Lecture, titled Pathways to Excellence and Equity in Science, Math and Engineering Learning, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, in the UW Tower auditorium. Admission is free, and a post-lecture reception will be held from 8:30 to 9 p.m.

People learn about science and math in a wide range of settings -- classrooms, homes, online communities. As such, Bell says, education needs to be understood as taking place across a wide range of associated institutions -- schools, families and after-school clubs.

Bell directs the ethnographic and design-based research of the Everyday Science and Technology Group. He has a background in human cognition and development, science education, electrical engineering and computer science. He has also developed Web-based learning platforms, designed and studied K-12 science curricula and currently conducts ethnographies of children's learning across social settings.

To register for this event, visit online at or call 206-543-0540.


Anonymous said...

I had a hard time finding anything of interest or of use on this fellow's website, or any of the websites which were linked to him. Maybe I looked at the wrong links?

I'm 48, and there is NOTHING more important to me than my time - there is too little of it, and what I have goes to fast.

I've had well over 1000 hours of training since I started this math teacher thing 5 years ago, in Sept 2003.

Less than 50 (FIFTY) hours of the over 1000 hours of 'training' I've had has been of any use to me



When I started this math teacher thing 5 years ago, so this is the start of my 6th year in this math teacher thing, I was really open to the new math stuff. Math teaching wasn't perfect 35 years ago, for a lot of reasons.

It took me 4 years, working in 2 districts full time and subbing in 3 other districts,

working with the kinds of kids new teachers work with,


to REALLY REALLY REALLY understand just how completely, staggeringly bad things are, and

to REALLY REALLY REALLY understand just how completely, staggeringly incompetent math ed trainer / policy people have been.

While I will give them kudos for attempting something new, and I think many have their hearts in the right place,

the manner in which they've dug in their heels about their failures, the way they've blamed those who won't drink the pedagogy turned ideology reform kool aid,


are inexcusable.

In 1992, I was high school graduate, poli sci major & culinary school drop out, cooking on fishing boats in Alaska. I bought a Macintosh computer and Excel and learned to create useful models to help me get job done


What useful instructional models - models to help OUR kids succeed today AND invent tomorrow - do I get from all these highly credentialed, relatively highly paid edu-crats and consultants?

I get vague tomes based on dubious 'research', and I get flashy powerpoint slides.


If I were in charge of math education Sunday, any math trainer / policy person who did NOT help teachers on Monday help kids on Tuesday would be fired.

Go work for Detroit where they haven't figured out how to produce anythign but gas guzzlers since 1974, or go work on wall street where they can't figure out how to use finance for anything but ripping off main street, or go work in health 'care' where they can figure out how to reward spreadsheet jockeys instead of providing care to the 40 million uninsured.

Robert Murphy
exercising my natural first amendment RIGHTS as a citizen, taxpayer, and worker in the real world of math education.

Anonymous said...

Come to San Diego - get paid real wages and have a great time teaching. You've got the talent and experience. Who needs Washington when you've got the devil's own running public schools. Besides California is growing, and Washington lawmakers have yet to mature.

dan dempsey said...


Thanks for the view of reality. The politicians will always hide that from view 100% of the time.

It is of particular interest to me how a Seattle School Board meeting never goes near any of the real truth behind the "Achievement Gap" or our nation's absolutely pathetic math performance. Ditto for OSPI and SBE.

Your thoughts are clearly unwelcome by the "Club ED" professionals that so thoroughly dominate the Education System in this country.
Thus explaining why lots of money is spent and improved results are usually missing.

The answer is not really charter schools but using sanity in running public schools.

Again thanks for your post.

As I have noticed ... if it comes from education, it is far removed from real scientific inquiry. Thus usually our professionals are unable to even ask the correct question much less find a solution.


Anonymous said...

Yes, Dan school board members have often raised the question why have charter schools, when public schools could be following best practices and get the same job done for half the cost and reach more students.

Best practices means keeping things simple for kids and ensuring education is equitable. There is absolutely no reason we should be doing as much testing as we do.

dan dempsey said...

Excellent Point about testing...

Finland a high performing country does very little testing. Teaching effectively is far more important than testing. THE WA OSPI testing is pretty useless to a teacher.

Many Elite private schools do very little testing (of the standardized variety) either.
If I was paying big money for a kids education I would what teaching and educating not weeks of pointless testing.

It would be interesting to compare actual instructional time from a school in 1960 with a school in 2008. (Oh yes we have all half days this week .. classes are 25min instead of 50 min)