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.

Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

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.


Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

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.

Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

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.

Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

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!!

Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

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.

Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

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)


Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

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.

Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

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.

Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

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.

Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous

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?

Posted via email from concernedabouteducation's posterous