The Math Forum

Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.

Math Forum » Discussions » Education » math-teach

Notice: We are no longer accepting new posts, but the forums will continue to be readable.

Topic: An Open Letter to Arne Duncan
Replies: 10   Last Post: Mar 25, 2010 8:56 PM

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
kirby urner

Posts: 3,690
Registered: 11/29/05
Re: An Open Letter to Arne Duncan
Posted: Mar 25, 2010 8:56 PM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

On Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 3:23 PM, Michael Paul Goldenberg
<> wrote:

> All the rest aside, Kirby, a couple of points: GWB looked like an idiot most
> of all because the mission clearly was not accomplished. And it is very
> difficult to ignore the fact that his party and his father made a great deal
> of political hay from the ill-conceived posting in a tank by GHWB's
> opponent, Michael Dukakis. Turnabout does generally prove to be fair play.
> But in this case, there was a real war, one phonied up by GWB and his
> puppet-masters, and his posing on that ship really looked bad at the time
> but horrid in retrospect.

If this really were an opportunity to tie it off, then lets hope "getting back"
for that tank story (re Dukakis) was not the whole reason for continuing to
fight and spill blood.

You say "the mission clearly was not accomplished" but then what
was the mission again? Roll the tape forward and GWB is on some comedy
hour, crawling around on hands and knees pretending to look for those
missing WMDs. Nothing here. Nope, nothing here either. Was there a
laugh track? Probably.

Now anonymous officials wanna do the same trick again, even though
they've admitted in advance that Iran doesn't have those WMDs, just seems
too greedy for nuclear medicine (who could fight that much cancer?).
Seems a funny reason to rattle for war, yet here we are once again,
apparently not one iotum wiser (maybe dumber!).

I'm with Freeman Dyson (Princeton Institute of Advanced Study emeritus)
in thinking our focus needs to be deeper cuts in the big arsenals, stop
making bit players the issue. If IAEA needs to pay a surprise visit
to Hanford, OR or Rocky Flats, CO, that should happen. An open door
policy is what you'll need when you criminalize those stockpiles. This is
how many scientists and engineers see the problem, including in Israel
and Iran.

Anyway, lets get back to those math teachers, not sharing American
heritage. If I were a student, I might be getting really antsy about that,
as that's my future they're messing with. All fine and good to talk
about the hypocrisy of elected officials, but what if the textbooks
themselves have some hoax-like aspects, are hollow, under-nourishing.
Shouldn't we holler about "fake food"? Or is this all a manufactured
crisis, even the diabetes epidemic?

I'm not saying all math teachers are as willfully ignorant, plus the
NCTM conference is coming right up. Lots of kite action. Lots of
cool math circles out there. The winds of change are blowing strong.

Steve Holden gave me a copy of that 'Out of the Labyrinth' we've been
talking about here. I put some pictures of that in my Photostream.

I'd say Python Nation is light years ahead of most math teachers, when
it comes to knowing what's what. The business community isn't just
slacking, and it's not some Anglophone country club either, isn't
a bunch of Republicans riding golf carts. Maybe too much Michael
Moore and not enough Michael Crichton, if that's how you think.

The business community has its math teachers as well, and might
contribute services gratis to those public schools ready to pilot a new
kind of math class. I know I've been doing a lot of that. Don't think
of me as personally rich. I believe in institutional wealth, like the
military does. "My" aircraft carriers and submarines don't show up
on the books as my private possessions, praise Allah. Maybe some
have vegan kitchens?

A lot of my travel money came from Sweden and South Africa,
where concern about "dumb Americans" is off-the-charts high.
That's when I was being an international consultant on the new
math-computer hybrid. We got a lot done, and many reforms
are underway. This new text from the Litvins is one more cool
asset to flash around, amidst a lot of other content. edu-sig
remains a busy list, frequented by many experts (including from
both UofM and MSU if I'm not mistaken (Dr. Chuck and Bill
Punch respectively)).

Pycon had the new poster session in 2010, with outreach to
younger students through Vern Ceder's kind offices.

> But when you play GOP politics, replete with all the jingoism, I think you
> have earned the shite you get for having weaseled out of combat when it was
> your turn.

I don't share your partisan predilections as many a Democrat has
money from armaments, yet takes artful dodges to save a kid from
the body snatchers.

Demonizing the opposition is just more crazy American talk, as
bad as Shia / Shiite (hey, the USA had a civil war too come to
think of it, maybe should look into that more deeply rather
than inflict all the "drain bamage").

Sometime we should both join a list where American History and
Literature are front and center, so we might compare notes in more
detail. I am mindful this is a math list, so want to bring it back to
that. How Mark Twain and E.J. Applewhite connect, through the
Cosmos Club, could be for another session.

In echoing president Reagan in calling on the Russians to rip aside
the Iron Curtain twixt math and computer topics, I'm obviously coming
off as a right winger.

I was also hawkish on Gitmo, in support of Bush Jr,, thought it
should be bombed to smithereens, after getting the people out,
maybe saving a few exhibits for the Visitors Center. Just more
Pentagon Math I suppose, all in a day's work (right up there
with Supermarket, Casino, Neolithic and Martian Math -- fun
heuristics we've been developing over on WikiEducator of late).

I recall all those protesters shouting "not my president, not
my war" but now tables have turned, and it *is* their prez and
their war. So why did the channel get changed to health care
all of a sudden, like the war was suddenly over already? Are
people really that optimistic? Or are they secretly colluding
amongst themselves to find a way to start a new one? We
know they wanna keep those bases, hear them whispering
about that loudly (plus there's that "transit center" under
Russian supervision).

As long as the math-teaching bureaucracy keeps suppressing
American Heritage in math class, I'm thinking we'd better not
trust these people. Too much "forked tongue" (hypocritical

I'm going to be hawkish and conservative, pointing to the Medal
of Freedom that president Ronald Reagan awarded our tetrahedral
accountant, R. B. Fuller in 1983. He also awarded the Presidential
Citizens Medal to Jaime Escalante in 1988. We need to show
movies and Youtube clips about both of these great teachers,
talk about their contributions to the culture.

Per other posts in this thread, I'm lobbying for these domestic
international schools with counterparts overseas that give students
with no special economic advantages some real opportunities
to tour the world, even pre-college. Fighting xeno-phobia around
the globe is a cause many sponsors find worthy, and this way
of doing it is time-tested. The Linus Pauling Center for Peace
is all for it (there's actually a longer name over the entrance).

If I don't champion something positive and inventive that the USA
brings to the table, such as new housing solutions or global grid
ideas, better pedagogy and/or andragogy, then I just won't have
any clout or credibility with my community, will be "just one more
American," a loud bully against the world. "How to be more fascist
by making tests harder" is not going to impress anyone in
Singapore or Japan.

This doesn't mean I'm betraying the Obama team however, if we
wanna look at the big picture. Seems to me that his is a hard-
working crew really hoping to make a difference. Rebooting with
the Russians was maybe actually worth doing and looks like
it's paying off. The Iran thing should calm down accordingly.
Our spatial geometry, more 60-degree-informed, recognizably
different, is headed to HDTVs around the world. So, in the
words of Alfred E. Neumann: "What Me Worry?"

It's still not a "manufactured crisis" though. Readers looking
back should understand this was all plenty real. Or visit a museum.
Look at those geometry textbooks.

We went with the army we had.


Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© The Math Forum at NCTM 1994-2018. All Rights Reserved.