Thursday, December 16, 2010

Educational Insanity

This post is intended to provide background information for anyone seeking to learn why America's math education is failing so many students.  Parents may not learn of this failure until their child places into remedial math courses in college, but courageous mathematicians and scientists have earnestly tried to stop this nonsense for years!!


School math books, nonsense, and the National Science Foundation

American Journal of Physics, February 2007

Why the U.S. Department of Education's
recommended math programs don't add up

American School Board Journal, April 2000


My previous post had an example of how "reform" math "teaches" long division.  The article above explains exactly why the standard algorithm must be mastered by students in elementary grades to prepare them to divide polynomials in algebra.




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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wake Up Call !!

The WSJ published an article entitled "A Sputnik Moment for U.S. Education" and a couple of days later, a friend showed me the way her child is being taught "division" via a popular "reform" math program.  I seriously doubt that China wastes valuable class time on this sort of DRIVEL!

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Improve STEM with more red tape??

Yep, that's the plan!

You've GOT to be kidding!

My bill, H.R. 6248, addresses these problems by providing the education and skills necessary for students to compete in today's global economy and to understand increasingly complex issues. Additionally, it improves STEM education coordination and coherence among federal and state governments in order to advance STEM education across the nation.

How? First, this legislation creates an Office of STEM at the U.S. Department of Education at the assistant-secretary level, responsible for coordinating STEM education initiatives among all federal agencies.

Second, this bill institutes a voluntary Consortium on STEM education, comprised by no less than five states representing at least five of the nation's nine geographical regions. Its mission: to develop common content standards for K-12 STEM education, engineered at the state and local levels.

Third, the bill creates the National STEM Education Research Repository, which would be a clearinghouse for educators to research the latest innovations in STEM. This will break the silos that keep creative programs from being replicated and will make these resources available through simple internet searches rather than having to sift through convoluted websites.

Common Core = WEAK Math Standards


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Budget Crisis = Historic Opportunity????

To this day, federal dollars represent less than 10 percent of public education funding. State governments provide the bulk of the funding, so they are mostly immune to federal efforts to reform education policy.The current crisis in state budgets has created a historic opportunity to change this paradigm. State governments, mired in long-term fiscal trouble, are willing to accept the requirements the federal government has imposed in order to receive desperately needed aid.Paradigmatic change is already happening. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has altered the political landscape through competitive grant programs like Race To The Top, that provide state and local governments with funding if the recipient agreed to some form of educational reforms. More than 30 states have changed laws around the issue of teacher evaluation. The impending reauthorization of ESEA has taken the process a step further: 37 states have agreed to the Common Core standards for curricula to ensure they will qualify for future federal funding. The groundwork has been laid for an increased federal role in education. We need to build on these accomplishments to ensure that federal dollars can continue to be leveraged to produce local successes after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding runs out.




Scrapping Education Dept. Could Be Tough Task

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Trade practice threat to US manufacturing - from EPI

Comments on the USTR investigation of

China’s subsidies to green industries


Robert E. Scott
November 17, 2010

The United Steelworkers recently filed a petition with the U.S. Trade Representative, accusing China of illegally stimulating and protecting its producers of green technology exports, ranging from wind and solar energy products to advanced batteries and energy-efficient vehicles. After the USTR opened an investigation, EPI International Economist Robert Scott submitted the attached comments outlining how Chinese trade practices "pose a direct threat to the recovery of U.S. manufacturing." 

Recall:  As concerns for energy independence, climate change and other issues drive the sale of electric vehicles the demand for batteries made with rare earth compounds will climb even faster.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What does the future hold for public education?

An Interview with Laurie H. Rogers: Betrayed 

Q. What does the future hold for public education? 

A. That depends on the people. If parents and teachers can resist the negative messages that divide them, and instead work together to take back the classroom, many good things can happen. The country is desperate, the children are desperate, the taxpayer is desperate, and businesses are desperate. People must rise up and insist on the education system they want. It’s a pretty good thing to do for the children and the country.

I look forward to reading her book "Betrayed: How the Education Establishment Has Betrayed America and What You Can Do About It," which will be published in December by Rowman & Littlefield Education.


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Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's ALL Education! (REE)

From an ealier post:

It took slightly less than a decade for the U.S. trade balance in high-technology manufactured goods to shift from a positive $40 billion in 1990 to a negative $50 billion in 2001.


Now consider this:

The US imports 100% of it's rare earth elements, even though we have the world's third largest deposit.  These imports come mostly from China, who has banned exporting them in recent weeks, putting our economy in an even more vulnerable position.

Check out:  The USGS Report The Principal Rare Earth Elements Deposits of the United States—A Summary of Domestic Deposits and a Global Perspective

"At the present time, the United States obtains its REE raw materials from foreign sources, almost exclusively from China. Import dependence upon a single country raises serious issues of supply security."


Rare earth metals and alloys that contain them are used in many devices that people use every day such as: computer memory, DVD's, rechargeable batteries, cell phones, car catalytic converters, magnets, fluorescent lighting and much more.

During the past twenty years there has been an explosion in demand for many items that require rare earth metals. Twenty years ago there were very few cell phones in use but the number has risen to over 5 billion in use today. The usage of computers and DVDs has grown almost as fast as cell phones.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010


Reform Math, American Thinker, November 20

Few things could be more useless than a system of math instruction concocted by developmental psychologists, and serious questions must be raised about the real effects (and intent) of Everyday Math.  Human beings have been performing simple math since hunter-gatherers realized they had digits and things that needed to be counted.  Only a starry-eyed progressive fool would attempt improvement upon methods of simple addition and subtraction, which were used by Franklin, Edison, and Einstein.


And an epiphany found in the comments:

The rot that is destroying our public schools can only be fixed by communities unwilling to suffer the pathologies found there.

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NGA Announces STEM Advisory Committee

“The increasingly globalized economy requires workers with strong science, technology, engineering and math skills,” said John Thomasian, director of the NGA Center. “This Committee is intended to provide the perspectives of a variety of stakeholders to governors and states as they work to establish and grow STEM education programs that can contribute to economic competitiveness.”


Now seriously, when "variety of stakeholders" is used to describe a committee, you can bet it's stacked with educrats. 

(IMO) Just 2 out of the 19 (Stephens and Quinn) are really equipped to contribute and possibly improve our ability to compete in the globalized economy. 

Feel free to check the committee's credentials and content specific experience yourself!  Happy hunting!!

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Sunday, November 14, 2010


Improving math and science education is the single greatest challenge to our continued economic and national security leadership. Without a profound improvement in math and science learning, America will simply not be able to sustain its national security nor compete for high value jobs in the world market.


(And Yes!! Let's get REAL!!) 

 There has been a steady growth in the amount of money spent on red tape, bureaucracy, and supervision. We now have curriculum specialists who consult with curriculum consultants, who work with curriculum supervisors, who manage curriculum department heads, who occasionally meet with teachers. [and, for the most part, the curriculum they develop is extremely WEAK!]

The more we seem to spend on education, the smaller the share we spend on inspiring and rewarding those actually doing the educating.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

SOOOOO glad to stumble upon this!

Association of American Educators

AAE is America's fastest growing national, nonprofit, nonunion teachers' association with members in all 50 states.

AAE offers professional member benefits such as liability insurance and legal protection, professional development, newsletters, scholarships, classroom grants, and a voice on educational issues—but at a fraction of the cost of most other associations' dues.

AAE does not spend any of our members' dues on partisan politics, nor do we support or oppose controversial agendas unrelated to education.

(special thanks to Kyle Olson)


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Friday, November 12, 2010

Education and National Security

The NSA: Security in Numbers

The success of the NSA hinges on the health of American math education. "If the U.S. mathematics community isn't healthy," Schatz says, "the NSA isn't healthy."

Unlike the tech companies it must compete with, the NSA can hire only U.S. citizens. This is a severe constraint. About half of the estimated 20,000 math graduate students at U.S. universities are foreigners. They're off bounds, as are the bountiful math brains in India, China, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere.

China dominates NSA-backed coding contest

Whether the outcome of this competition is another sign that math and science education in the U.S. needs improvement may spur debate. But the fact remains: Of 70 finalists, 20 were from China, 10 from Russia and two from the U.S.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Love the Dunce Cap! :)

Race to the Top's Hidden Price Tag

When the Obama administration dangled $4.35 billion in Race to the Top (RTTT) funds before money-hungry public school systems around the country, educators and politicians in most states reacted as if it were free money for simply singing the school-change tunes the feds wanted to hear.

Of course, the money isn't free at all. It was carved out of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the "stimulus"), meaning it is borrowed money for which our grandchildren will be on the hook. It is highly doubtful that those future taxpayers will see benefits anywhere close to equaling a price tag that will soar with added interest.

In addition, local and state bureaucrats who competed for RTTT grants like a pack of wolves snapping at juicy pork chops are finding the grants may cost more than they bring in.

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Saturday, November 6, 2010

He's spent alot of time in America's classrooms!

K-12 Budget Picture - Lean Years Ahead

Boosting productivity, though, requires grappling with the cost of teaching. Teacher salaries and benefits amount to half or more of district spending. The most promising way to control costs without slashing services is to get more value out of each employee. While American schools have been in a multidecade push for class-size reduction--cutting student-teacher ratios from 23:1 in the early 1970s to about 15:1 today--this massive increase in staffing has shown no evidence of academic benefits. While smaller classes are attractive in the abstract, the need to hire more bodies dilutes teacher quality. Indeed, some high-performing countries, like South Korea and Singapore, have some middle school and high school classes with forty or more students per classroom. Increasing aggregate student-teacher ratios by about two students, from 15:1 to 17:1, could cut district spending on salary and benefits by nearly 10 percent.


I suggest that, in the future, he considers class-size for academic subjects only when making a conclusion about the"academic benefits" of class-size reduction. 

Please let us know of ANY schools in the US that have a 15:1 ratio in their high school math, science or English courses.  It is typical for a US core subject teacher to have 150 students daily.

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Suggestion - Focus on Content

School Budgets

School budgets should also be focused on content.  When school boards (local and state) analyze their budgets, they need to start considering how much of the overall budget supports the actual teaching and learning of real subject content.  For example, the largest department in my school is not English, math or science.  Is that the case in your area too?  How many people does your district employ that do not have direct interaction with students on a daily basis in a teaching capacity? 

Local Control

Tax-payers have a right to know remediation rates of their district's students in English, math and science when they enter colleges or universities.  This is the best indicator or K-12 success in my opinion.   It could shed some light on the effectiveness of certain K-12 curricula used in local districts if that information was included in the information provided. 

Is the content taught in your school district college preparatory or not?  Do student's grades in your district accurately reflect their understanding of the content knowledge expected at the next level?  

Teacher Evaluations

There's alot of talk these days about teacher evaluations with little focus on who is conducting the evaluations.  My evaluations are conducted by an administrator who has no familiarity with the subect I'm teaching.  I imagine this is the case throughout the country.  I wouldn't mind having my salary tied to my evaluation - if it was done by someone who knew mathematics.  Otherwise, the evaluator is looking for things that might be beneficial in other areas, but not necessarily in mathematics.  (See post on cognitive research) 

How much time is spent during an administrator's ed school training on content area cognitive research?

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Math and Science Fact Sheet


"The Labor Department projects that by 2014 there will be more than 2 million job openings in science, technology and engineering, while the number of Americans graduating with degrees in those subjects is plummeting." – The Economist, April 12, 2008


Corporate America has a business interest in creating more homegrown engineers, amid growing evidence of an impending shortage. In the U.S., 62 percent of doctoral degrees in engineering went to foreign nationals in 2006, compared with 50 percent in 2000, according to a recent report from the American Society for Engineering Education.

It took slightly less than a decade for the U.S. trade balance in high-technology manufactured goods to shift from a positive $40 billion in 1990 to a negative $50 billion in 2001.


BusinessWeek’s ranking of world information technology companies, only one of the top 10 is based in the U.S.

Only one of the 25 largest initial public offerings (IPOs) of stock in 2006 took place on American exchanges. IPOs in Europe surpassed those in America – in both number and dollar volume.

Nearly 60 percent of patents filed with the U.S. Patent Office in information technology now originate in Asia.

The U.S. share of the world’s leading-edge semi-conductor manufacturing capacity dropped from 36 percent to 11 percent in the past seven years.

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

STEM Report to the President (Sept 2010)



In the recommendations of the Executive Summary, you'll find this -
The Federal Government should vigorously support the state-led effort to develop common standards in STEM subjects, by providing financial and technical support to states for (i) rigorous, high-quality professional development aligned with shared standards, and (ii) the development, evaluation, administration, and ongoing improvement of assessments aligned to those standards.

The standards and assessments should reflect the mix of factual knowledge, conceptual understanding, procedural skills, and habits of thought described in recent studies by the National Research Council.




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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wondering What's Up with US Math Ed? Read this!!

An honest account regarding the junk taught in schools of mathematics education.
My comment: 
[The claims of the]“just in time” approach to learning, in which the tools that students need to master are dictated by the problem itself by not burdening the student's mental inventory with “mind numbing” drills for mastery of a concept or skill until it is actually needed [are not consistent with research in cognitive science]

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American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy

By Daniel H. Bowen
September 10, 2010
Research by William Peterson and Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute has raised questions about whether RTT possesses the objectivity required of an impartial evaluation process.  While this research has dissected the shortcomings of the RTT application process, the extent of RTT's subjectivity remains unaddressed.  This Education Stimulus Watch report [the fourth in a series of special reports] uses independent studies of states' education-reform track records on certain RTT criteria to examine disparities between projected and actual scores for the first round of RTT.

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Reliable National Mathematics Achievement Test Nonexistent

David Klein's article What do the NAEP math scores really measure? (to appear in the Notices of the American Mathematical Society, Dec. 2010) puts into serious question the use of NAEP as an external audit of the developing Common Core assessments.

Until such time as a reliable national mathematics achievement test comes into existence, the plethora of education research articles that base their findings on NAEP math scores should be considered with reservations. More reliable, for the time being, are state administered K-12 mathematics assessments directly tied to the content of credible state standards, as in the case of California.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Historical Disconnect - Cut Scores and NAEP Achievement

The School Administrator June 2008 Number 6, Vol. 65

Cut Scores, NAEP achievement Levels and Their Discontents

The attempts of political bodies to bludgeon public schools with arbitrary performance standards
[selected excerpts]
In 1988, Congress created the National Assessment Governing Board and charged it with establishing standards. NAEP [then] became prescriptive, reporting not only what people did know but also laying claim to what they should know. The attempt to establish achievement levels in terms of the proportion of students at the basic, proficient and advanced levels failed.

The governing board hired a team of three well-known evaluators and psychometricians to evaluate the process — Daniel Stufflebeam of Western Michigan University, Richard Jaeger of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Michael Scriven of NOVA Southeastern University. The team delivered its final report on Aug. 23, 1991. This process does not work, the team averred, saying: “[T]he technical difficulties are extremely serious … these standards and the results obtained from them should under no circumstances be used as a baseline or benchmark … the procedures used in the exercise should under no circumstances be used as a model.”

NAGB, led by Chester E. Finn Jr., summarily fired the team, or at least tried to. Because the researchers already had delivered the final report, the contract required payment.

The inappropriate use of these levels continues today. The achievement levels have been rejected by the Government Accountability Office, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Education, the Center for Research in Evaluation, Student Standards and Testing and the Brookings Institution, as well as by individual psychometricians.

I have repeatedly observed that the NAEP results do not mesh with those from international comparisons. In the 1995 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, or TIMSS, assessment, American 4th graders finished third among 26 participating nations in science, but the NAEP science results from the same year stated that only 31 percent of them were proficient or better.

At the press conference announcing the [U.S. Chamber of Commerce/Center for American Progress jointly developed report “Leaders and Laggards” in February 2007], an incensed John Podesta, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, declared: “It is unconscionable to me that there is not a single state in the country where a majority of 4th and 8th graders are proficient in math and reading.” He based his claim on the 2005 NAEP assessments.

Podesta could have saved himself some embarrassment had he read the recent study by Gary Phillips, formerly the acting commissioner of statistics at the National Center for Education Statistics. Phillips, now at the American Institutes for Research, had asked: “If students in other nations sat for NAEP assessments in reading, mathematics and science, how many of them would be proficient?”

Because we have scores for American students on NAEP and TIMSS and scores for students in other countries on TIMSS, it is possible to estimate the performance of other nations if their students took NAEP assessments.

How many of the 45 countries in TIMSS have a majority of their students proficient in reading? Zero, said Phillips. Sweden, the highest scoring nation, would show about one-third of its students proficient while the United States had 31 percent. In science, only two nations would have a majority of their students labeled proficient or better while six countries would cross that threshold in mathematics.

NAEP reports issued prior to the Bush administration noted that the commissioner of education statistics had declared the NAEP achievement levels usable only in a “developmental” way. That is, only until someone developed something better. But no one was or is working to develop anything better. When I wrote an op-ed piece for The Washington Post (“A Test Everyone Will Fail,” May 20, 2007), an indictment of the achievement levels, I got feedback that officials at the National Assessment Governing Board were quite satisfied with the levels as they are. That can only mean NAGB approves of the achievement levels used as sledgehammers to bludgeon public schools. They serve no other function.


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Common Core's Standards Still Don't Make the Grade!!

Why Massachusetts and California Must Retain Control Over Their Academic Destinies
Pioneer Institute White Paper by Sandra Stotsky and Ze’ev Wurman, July 30, 2010
The case for national standards rests in part on the need to remedy the inconsistent and inferior quality of many state standards and tests in order to equalize academic expectations for all students. The argument also addresses the urgent need to increase academic achievement for all students. In mathematics and science in particular, the United States needs much higher levels of achievement than its students currently demonstrate for it to remain competitive in a global economy.

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Silenced Dissent

Expertise Lost at Crucial Time

7.29.10 - GOVERNOR PATRICK has purged the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education of the two members who held the deepest suspicions of the newly-adopted national Common Core standards in math and English. On a number of other issues,

Sandra Stotsky and Thomas Fortmann were the two board members who posed the most challenging questions — in public — to state education officials. In declining to reappoint the two, Patrick sacrificed a diversity of opinion that has served the board well.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

National Standards and Assessments Craze

AND an interesting post from Jay P. Greene on Checker Finn's change of mind...
Checker made an excellent case against national standards… in 1997.

The current national standards and assessment craze has similarly not been authorized by Congress and is being spear-headed by the very same Council of Chief State School Officers that Checker denounced as “one of the establishment’s most change-averse crews.”

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

RttT Finalists

A total of 46 states and the District of Columbia applied for either the first or second rounds – or both. The 19 finalists are: Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and South Carolina.

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The Money Question!

As often in education-reform efforts, the procedure has been hijacked by the tar babies.The hijacking takes the form of contracts that are already being signed with neither congressional approval nor independent oversight.

Why was Congressional support essential then (in 1997) but not now?

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Good Questions!

Why was it troubling that CCSSO had a central role in 1997, but it’s apparently hunky-dory in 2010?
Why was it a bad thing to blow off critics in 1997, but alright today?


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Proposed Math Standards Unteachable

Viewpoints: Proposed math standards unteachable

By Bill Evers and Ze'ev Wurman

Algebra I is taught in eighth grade in high-performing foreign countries, and this is also recommended by America's 2008 National Math Panel. California has made immense progress in this direction in the past decade, and we now lead the nation in the percentage of algebra-takers in eighth grade. Regrettably, all these gains are in danger of being reversed because of these ill-advised standards recommendations.
Bill Evers is a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and member of the institution's Koret Task Force on K-12 Education. He was formerly U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education. Ze'ev Wurman is an executive at a Silicon Valley high-technology company. He was formerly a senior adviser in the U.S. Department of Education.


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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fordham's New Report

I don't agree with Fordham's analysis of Common Core Math Standards.  I believe that they are much too weak at the high school level to prepare our children for competitiveness in a global economy.  With that said, I thought that readers might be interested to see the Fordham Institute's new report comparing each state's mathematics and ELA standards to Common Core.

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Room for Debate July 21

New York Times Room for Debate Blog, July 21

Will National Standards Improve Education?

[The answer to this question seems to be "NO"]


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Friday, July 16, 2010

Ever So Quietly, National Standards Spread

Neal McCluskey of the Cato@Liberty
If you are not familiar with the Cato Institute, their mission is to increase the understanding of public policies based on the principles of limited government, free markets, individual liberty, and peace. The Institute will use the most effective means to originate, advocate, promote, and disseminate applicable policy proposals that create free, open, and civil societies in the United States and throughout the world. 

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010


If you find it interesting to track the common-standards movement, you might want to
cast your eye toward the West Coast. Things are getting interesting in California.
California Dreamin'or Is It Reality?

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Preparing America to Compete through Math Ed

The proposed Common Core standard is similar in earlier grades but has significantly lower expectations with respect to algebra and geometry than the published standards of other countries I examined. The Common Core standards document is prepared with less care and is less useful to teachers and math ed administrators than the other standards I examined. I have reservations about the Common Core standards regarding statistics in grades 7 and 8.
Ze'ev Wurman & Bill Evers - The California Academic Content Standards Commission is considering adopting the national Common Core standards in place of the state's existing standards and at the same time also modestly augmenting the Common Core standards in order to maintain the rigor of California's expectations of students.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Categorically Speaking...

I'm not sure how to title this one, but let me just tell you about my personal experiences... 
I think my mom gave me an IQ test one time and that it was rather low. 
I'm sure she was disappointed because I think her's is in the much higher range on that test.
Anyway, one day more recently I ran across this thing online that was a fluid intelligence test. 
This may have been the website, you can try it yourself if you like:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Keep It Simple - Stupid!

This is something that an old friend often says.  I'm not sure if it's directed at me, but I take it personally because it's been a very good thing in my life!  When I start over-analyzing things, I remember his words... 
The problem is that few things seem "simple" OR maybe they are and I just haven't figured that out yet... I couldn't tell you...
Have a great day!

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The Tension. . .

I was listening to a financial show yesterday, while waiting in the car... Anyway, one of the
guys talking saying something that I think may be a common misperception.  He said,
Democrats are a party of PASSION and the Republicans are a party of LOGIC
It was such a revelation for me, I had to write it down because I didn't want to forget exactly what he said, and how I felt at the time... It's strange that it happened on Independence day, too.  It explains exactly why I haven't been able to identify with either party exclusively.  I consider myself an independent. 
I don't believe that passion and logic have to be exclusive in our lives (or our politics)  In fact, I'd say that when I have been able to make a good decision, it has been a result of both - not in equal parts necessarily, but applied appropriately for the circumstance... 

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Friday, July 2, 2010

House Passes Edujobs with RttT Cut

With Race to the Top Cut

But Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis), the House Appropriations Chairman and the author of the bill, made no apologies for the education offsets he chose, which were part of a broader package of $16 billion in cuts to pay for the jobs fund, and other new domestic spending.

"The secretary of education is somewhat unhappy," Obey acknowledged. "One of the secretary's objections, evidently, is the fact that last year in the stimulus we provided him with a $4.3 billion pot of money to use virtually any way he wanted to stimulate educational progress--$4.3 billion. He has spent a small amount of that." Even if this legislation cuts $500 million, "that still leaves him with $3.2 billion that he can spend any way his department wants. ... The secretary is somehow offended because he only has $3.2 billion to pass around," Obey said. "To suggest that we're being unduly harsh is a joke."
Here are a couple of FACT SHEETS from the Committee on Appropriations that you might find useful:

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Thursday, July 1, 2010

What Are We Doing?$?$?

The last post raises the question for me... seems ironic...
With all of the money that's going into education right now, through RttT and the Investing in Innovation Fund, can't someone/something somewhere provide the funds to preserve these valuable and authentic historical documents?

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Beginnings and Ends of Our Bloodstained Century

A Hidden History of Evil
Why doesn’t anyone care about the unread Soviet archives?
Claire Berlinski is an American journalist who lives in Istanbul and is a contributing editor of City Journal,
She is the author of There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters.
This is the first time I've read Claire Berlinski's writing.  
It caught my eye, and I couldn't stop cutting and pasting!
For evidence of this indifference, consider the unread Soviet archives. Pavel Stroilov, a Russian exile in London, has on his computer 50,000 unpublished, untranslated, top-secret Kremlin documents, mostly dating from the close of the Cold War. He stole them in 2003 and fled Russia. Within living memory, they would have been worth millions to the CIA; they surely tell a story about Communism and its collapse that the world needs to know. Yet he can’t get anyone to house them in a reputable library, publish them, or fund their translation. In fact, he can’t get anyone to take much interest in them at all.
[Vladimir Bukovsky] possesses a massive collection of stolen and smuggled papers from the archives of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, which, as he writes, “contain the beginnings and the ends of all the tragedies of our bloodstained century.” These documents are available online at, but most are not translated. They are unorganized; there are no summaries; there is no search or index function. “I offer them free of charge to the most influential newspapers and journals in the world, but nobody wants to print them,” Bukovsky writes. “Editors shrug indifferently: So what? Who cares?”
When I first heard about Stroilov’s documents, I wondered if they were forgeries. But in 2006, having assessed the documents with the cooperation of prominent Soviet dissidents and Cold War spies, British judges concluded that Stroilov was credible and granted his asylum request. The Gorbachev Foundation itself has since acknowledged the documents’ authenticity.
There are other ways in which the story that Stroilov’s and Bukovsky’s papers tell isn’t over. They suggest, for example, that the architects of the European integration project, as well as many of today’s senior leaders in the European Union, were far too close to the USSR for comfort. This raises important questions about the nature of contemporary Europe—questions that might be asked when Americans consider Europe as a model for social policy, or when they seek European diplomatic cooperation on key issues of national security.
Stroilov says that he and Bukovsky approached Jonathan Brent of Yale University Press, which is leading a publishing project on the history of the Cold War. He claims that initially Brent was enthusiastic and asked him to write a book, based on the documents, about the first Gulf War. Stroilov says that he wrote the first six chapters, sent them off, and never heard from Brent again, despite sending him e-mail after e-mail. “I can only speculate what so much frightened him in that book,” Stroilov wrote to me.
Stroilov says that he and Bukovsky approached Jonathan Brent of Yale University Press, which is leading a publishing project on the history of the Cold War. He claims that initially Brent was enthusiastic and asked him to write a book, based on the documents, about the first Gulf War. Stroilov says that he wrote the first six chapters, sent them off, and never heard from Brent again, despite sending him e-mail after e-mail. “I can only speculate what so much frightened him in that book,” Stroilov wrote to me.
“I know the time will come,” Stroilov says, “when the world has to look at those documents very carefully. We just cannot escape this. We have no way forward until we face the truth about what happened to us in the twentieth century. Even now, no matter how hard we try to ignore history, all these questions come back to us time and again.”
And In summary:
Above all, they should be well-known to a public that seems to have forgotten what the Soviet Union was really about. If they contain what Stroilov and Bukovsky say—and all the evidence I’ve seen suggests that they do—this is the obligation of anyone who gives a damn about history, foreign policy, and the scores of millions dead.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Liberty Chick Explains...

In an older post entitled
Liberty Chick explains "And so it was that I decided to get involved, and I made it my first objective to find inspiration again in the history of our founding fathers, their writings and the Constitution, and the greatness of our country."
This is very much like my personal journey...
And just like Liberty Chick, I often  "feel like 'Chicken Little', screaming for
people to pay attention, [to math education issues in my case]
even emailing media outlets almost daily, pleading with them"
I'm sure that many people can relate to her story.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Keep Watching - Education Reform

Federal Common Core Standards incentives for public education opposed by some states
and having so many strings attached that the cost would exceed any funding they would receive.
This article reminds me of the rhetoric endured in ed school course work, but we seem
to agree on one thing - "improving learner ability to make sense of reality" 
is most likely to improve education.
However, I believe the author fails to acknowledge that some subjects, like mathematics for example, are inherently highly structured.  In order to improve the learner's ability to make sense in those areas, the structure of the content must be respected and taught or they will be unable to experience success and build their repertoire of useful tools.  It's not enough just to have the "tools" in mathematics either, successful students must also learn how they are appropriately applied.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Transparency - Yeah, right!

Common Core Standards Miss the Mark
Last year Dr. Stotsky was appointed to the validation committee which approved the Common Core State Standards this month. Dr. Stotsky's absence from the list of signers, as well as that of another committee member, James Milgram (a Stanford mathematician), go unremarked in the committee's official report
Another article by Stotsky asks
I guess Common Core doesn't...

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A State Exercises Its Constitutional Authority

  • The subtle differences between the SOL and the Common Core do not justify the disruption to instruction, accountability, professional development and teacher preparation that would follow word-for-word adoption.
  • Adoption of the Common Core would leave teachers without curriculum frameworks, scope and sequence guides and other materials specifically aligned with the standards students are expected to meet. Experience shows that these supports are critical to successful standards-based reform.
  • Virginia’s accountability program is built on a validated assessment system aligned with the SOL; validated assessments aligned with the Common Core do not exist.
  • Virginia’s investment in the Standards of Learning since 1995 far exceeds the $250 million Virginia potentially could have received by abandoning the SOL and competing in phase two of Race to the Top.
  • Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Friday, June 25, 2010

    Your Liberty Is At Risk

    From Congressman Todd Akin
    The DISCLOSE Act has a cautionary message for Americans:
    when powerful Washington insiders try to control
    what other people can say publicly about their voting records, watch out – your liberty is at risk.

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Debating (or Not) the DISCLOSE Act

    The House Rules Committee met yesterday to set the rules for debate on the DISCLOSE Act.
    True to form, the committee kept the public out of a hearing
    about a bill intended to promote “transparency” in elections.

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Fight The Good Fight!

    Good Morning!
    Time for some inspiration!
    [turn the sound up]

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Time to Stand Up to the National Standards Agenda

    Instead of moving toward a system of rigid national standards, which would represent an unprecedented federal overreach into education, states should empower parents with information about school performance and increase transparency about academic achievement. And ultimately, parents should be able to use that information to choose a school that meets their child’s needs.
    We know what works in education, and it begins and ends with parents–not the federal government.

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Quote of the Day

    I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against
    every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
    Thomas Jefferson

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    NAEP Performance vs Authentic Preparation

    Listening to all the chatter about NAEP performance and California math standards, one may be misled to believe that CA's standards are "just too high" because their performance appears to be comparatively low. 

    All I have to say is CA MUST BE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT!!

    Looks like Professor Milgram knows what he's talking about!!

    See National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Testimony

    Conservatism and Reform

    Today's conservative reformers appreciate that within its limited sphere
    government should be excellent.
    "tradition cannot be conserved without political freedom, and that political freedom
    cannot be conserved without restraining and reforming government"
    Notice the importance Berkowitz places on education.
    Common sense conservatives cannot sit idly by!

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Objective Analysis - Yeah, Right!

    Jim Stergios of the Pioneer Institute explains what I call "The Rush to Mediocrity"

    With the date set by the Commissioner for the Board to adopt the proposed national standards (July 21, 9 am, Malden), there really isn’t room for a public comment period, which usually takes 60 days. Originally, because the Commissioner’s plan called for a special Board of Education meeting on August 2nd (60 days after the June 1 application submission date), we hoped they would allow a comment period. Nope. Nada.

    So, we are taking one of the most important steps in education policy without any real vetting. I’ve heard that there may be an organization invited by the Commissioner or possibly the Hunt Institute to do a comparative analysis of the MA standards up against the proposed national standards. Interestingly, the Hunt Institute, which has received $3.8 million from the Gates Foundation to advocate for the national standards, is fishing around for a group in MA to do the analysis. The Gates Foundation will pay to do the work. Given that Gates has funded dozens of organizations across the country and specifically two trade organizations (the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers) to advance national standards, I think any even slightly skeptical person would ask if the conclusion of the report is pre-baked.
    Doesn't the timeline make you wonder... "WHAT'S THE RUSH?!?"

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Friday, June 18, 2010


    Every state should have a bill like that introduced asap and be holding hearings in May before the June 1 deadline.
    And when was the final version of the
    Common Core Standards Released? (June 2, 2010)
    I recommend that those of you in states with a minimal "public comment" period and little input from teachers and parents across the state contact their Attorney General's office and a specialist in school law (and/or some key legislators) about the lack of outreach by their DoE and BoE on one of the most far-reaching changes to be made in local control of curriculum and instruction.
    State Board Members should contact NASBE about advice they are giving to solicit input from across their states on Common Core's final standards (not due out until June 2) so that major stakeholders (parents, teachers, and local school administrators, as well as legislators and other active citizens) know what lurks behind the concepts of "college and career readiness" and where the dividing lines are with respect to academic level in math and ELA.  
    NASBE is supposed to be helping state board members, and the effort (or lack of) for outreach to help them gain input from all major stakeholders is their responsibiity, not their DoE's. 
    Ask major editorial boards and reporters in the state what outreach plans are being made to obtain genuine input from parents across the state.   

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Representation in America

    After contacting many state legislators over many months, one Missouri Representative reported
    "This [Common Core/RttT] is all being handled on the bureaucratic level. This program is designed so that the power to make all of these decisions is concentrated where there no legislative oversight or accountability to the General Assembly. Contacting your legislators won't help, and I will never have the opportunity to vote on this proposal."
    Now I realize that education isn't always "big news" but this is about our representative
    form of government - the foundation of America.
    Where is the PUBLIC OUTCRY?!?

    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    MO BOE Adopts Common Core

    Missouri Board of Education Adopts Common Core
    We need THIS legislation
    Please Contact YOUR Representatives!

    Worth Repeating!

    Do you have "Inquiry-Based" programs in your schools? 
    Here's some "Not-So-PC food for thought" that you may not receive from educrats...

    Educational Psychologist, 2006

    Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist,Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching

    How Much and What Type of Guidance is Optimal for Learning from Instruction?*
    For the past half-century,studies examining the interaction between student aptitudes and different forms of instructional treatments (most often called aptitude x treatment or ATI studies)have consistently reported that students with lower ability levels and/or less prior knowledge and/or lower motivation are more vulnerable to learning difficulties when instruction is incomplete, unstructured,or gives inaccurate information (e.g., Cronbach & Snow, 1977; Kyllonen & Lajoie, 2003).

    ACT-R Learning Theory and Math
    One does read claims that such cognitive analyses are no longer relevant to the new curriculum standards but such claims are simply false. Instead, we have found that the learning of the new curriculum consists of componential learning just like the old curriculum (Koedinger, Anderson, Hadley & Mark, 1995). It is every bit as important to practice these components of “new look” curriculum to achieve a high level of mastery as it was to practice the components of the “traditional” curriculum.


    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous



    Seattle, Washington – February 4, 2010 – Judge Julie Spector today announced her finding of “arbitrary and capricious” in the Seattle School Board's May 6 vote to adopt the Discovering Math series of high school texts despite insufficient evidence of the series' effectiveness.

    Judge Spector's decision states, “The court finds, based upon a review of the entire administrative record, that there is insufficient evidence for any reasonable Board member to approve the selection of the Discovering series.”

    The brief misstates and misinterprets many aspects of our case.  One of the most egregious examples [in the appeal] is the contention that the court overstepped its authority by making a decision on curriculum. Not so – the court simply remanded the board's decision back to the board on the basis of the lack of evidence to support the decision.
    Martha is a retired math teacher.  Please consider donating to The Seattle Math Group's worthy cause!
    Actual Court Documents Available on the bottom left side of their site.



    Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous