Thursday, July 16, 2009

Not national standards draft #3

A Plan to Increase Achievement: Explicit Instruction Not National Standards.

see final copy ...


Anonymous said...

The NSF grants you describe really do create a conflict of interest for school districts and states between what is in the best interest of the students and our society. We need as many citizens as possible with the knowledge and competencies to function well in the information rich global economy of tomorrow.

School districts and states raise Money through grants and increase their political power by restricting who may teach in our schools to the products of ed schools.

Government entities are thus being paid multiple times for the same service to the same students.

They get paid to provide an education. Too many then also sell their ability to determine what gets taught and how. They get paid to insist on Reform math textbooks and inquiry learning approaches.

Their ed schools and prof devt activities also take money to indoctrinate the only people allowed to teach that only inquiry learning works best in math and science.

This is shameful. Our tax money is being used to take away our childrens' futures and our society's opportunities to thrive.

Anonymous said...

The NSF Math-Science Partnership (MSP) grants stipulate that only certain textbooks can be used by participating districts - these are the 14 textbooks on the DOE's list of 'exemplary and promising' textbooks. The majority of these textbooks have been discredited and discarded, so districts have very few choices.

The second unfortunate happenning was that Singapore was developed after the DOE made the selection. Singapore was not even considered in the second round of grant proposals, nor any 'traditional-based' textbooks.

What sets Singapore/Traditional textbooks apart from these reform textbooks? There is far more inquiry and problem-solving in Singapore and traditional textbooks than even in the reform textbooks. This is the first misconception created by the math wars.

So what makes the DOE's remaining reform programs so odd from traditional textbooks. Here's an incomplete list of some of my criticisms.

1. Multiple non-standard algorithms in Everyday math.
2. More emphasis on 'basic' probability and statistics. Some of the jargon they introduce is obsolete.
3. Fewer problems and more repetition of trivial 'definition-type' problems. Look at the first few chapters of Core Plus. Their methodology for discovering the equation of a line is trivial, incomplete, uses graphing calculators, and its non-standard. Meaning it wouldn't be counted on a test, even if a student were to use their methods for finding the equation of a line (which they insist doesn't exist in the real world anyway. Idiots!)
4. Where discovery methods are invoked (it looks arbitrary and shallow) - classrooms may take a stab at the first one or two explorations, but usually most teachers move on (they don't have any choice) the lessons are a complete waste of time for most of the students.

This list is endless and shocking for most readers. But one should be asking what can a government gain by squandering money into a school system that doesn't work for the majority of students? Who does it enrich? About 40% of students drop out of high school. Roughly 10% finish college. Most adults enter the work force with a shade better than a high school education. If it weren't for military service, many Americans would not have good-paying, technical jobs.

Lets start with the publishers and the trainers hired by the school district. Then you have the curriculum writers themselves. How about the school administrators and teachers who gain a professional edge over their less convinced colleagues by 'supporting' the grant (not necessarily having to teach the curriculum)

How's that for being hypocritical? I think if you support some wacked up textbook, then a faker should at least be made to teach it and eat their words.

The Feds can print money, but states cannot. Presently, California is finding that out. IOU's won't cut it anymore.

I am perplexed as to why we would stimulate banks when the bankers merely pocket the stimulus - the stimulus is like loose change for them and WHY do they deserve more stimulus.

Inflation will happen, but it will catch most of us by surprise.

Asset prices plummeting is not inflation, that is called wealth destruction. First expect shortages and then watch prices rise as too many dollars follow too few goods.

Education is no different. The pyramiding evolution of these NSF curriculum grants going clear back to the 80's, shows how little Americans have paid attention.

It is the same people who have enriched themselves over and over and no one ever bothered to check up on how well our students were learning. This is a perfect example of how a few butchers colluded under the pretext of competition to create a few products that were absolutely rotten to begin with.

Anonymous said...

Inquiry should be distinguished from Discovery.

This is the problem with using jargon - we cannot assume that we are talking about the same thing.

Inquiry is a process of analysis and synthesis. In classrooms, the complete cycle of inquiry is seldom carried out. Whole learning, using 2 or more disciplines, would be a subset of inquiry.

Discovery is mostly learning by deduction.

Traditional textbooks do not integrate with other disciplines to teach mathematics. Integrated textbooks contextual (embed) problems borrowed mostly from the social studies framework. The rationale being that classrooms have diverse populations, people's learning modalities are primarily visual and concrete, and students are naturally drawn to learning more about themselves.

Science would be my first choice, but students are less inclined to answer questions pertaining to science which tend to require more specialized "secondary" knowledge (the reason for schools?).

Anonymous said...

99% of school time devoted to inquiry is analysis. And 99% of analysis is spent on definitions and tools for analyzing. Algorithms are the tools used for analysis.

Students spend nearly all there time deducing and seldom infer - a skill that is slightly more practical, although time-consuming.