I received the following message in reply to my post to Eric Becker's previous claims about his perspective on the Standards as a 13-year-old 8th grader. I am posting it to the list with his permission.
On Thu, 3 Aug 1995 MAPMAN12@aol.com wrote:
> Mike: > Actually, in my school district, they are beginning to try new > "standards" which don't make any sense whatsoever. A few guidelines include > having three classes that are combo Kindergarten-1st Grade-2nd Grade, in > which the first class has a group of K-2's (the definition for Kindergarten > to 2nd grade) learning kindergarten material. The second class has K-2's > learning at a first grade level. The final class would contain K-2's > learning on a second grade level. The good news is that the kids would learn > on the appropriate level. The bad news is that when kids go into 3rd Grade, > they are ready if they were in the 2nd grade level class, but if they were > below grade level, there's a good chance that they won't be ready. The point > of that opinion is that if the kid doesn't know how to work, he/she can't > proceed. It's as senseless as knowing that 7 times 7 is 49 without first > knowing 2+2=4. And you were right saying that the standards may work better > for other people, but if you want to get involved with it, you should also > remember that it is a new way of doing math to many people, and that it > should be voluntary before you decide if it becomes mandatory or something > similar (such as having a class designated for it.) > People can always try something new, it doesn't usually hurt to do so. > If you feel that this is the system you want to work with, do it. I'm not > going to stop you. I am just trying to say what works best at my school, so > the teachers can know what is working on certain students. > Very Sincerely yours, > Eric L. Becker >
Now, I've already been criticized by Kent Lutemann for my allegedly nasty reply to Eric's first post. So here's a couple of comments and queries:
1) Eric seems rather unscathed in this reply, so I guess I wasn't as devastingly nasty as Kent thought. Maybe I'm just losing my teeth.
2) Who do you think wrote the above reply? I seriously question that any 13-year-old did so. Further, I can't believe that the person who wrote the first post about the wonders of traditional mathematics teaching also wrote this one. "Eric" tells me he's taken Honors English as an explanation of his rather unusually mature style. I can only say that I wish I'd had the teacher he had. He writes better than a lot of graduate students I've known, as well as 99.9% of the freshman composition students I taught at University of Florida from 1974-77. His knowledge of the issues of mathematics pedagogy and the Standards is rather amazing. For some reason, I find myself skeptical as to who, exactly, wrote the above post. But then, reading some of the posts on this list have probably given me contagious paranoia.