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GS Chandy
Posts:
7,942
From:
Hyderabad, Mumbai/Bangalore, India
Registered:
9/29/05


Re: Excessive Equality
Posted:
Sep 10, 2012 11:39 PM


TOPURGENT! TOP SECRET!!!
TO: THE COMMANDERINCHIEF, 'EDUCATION MAFIA' HEADQUARTERS Fm: GSC
The patient was serious, became critical a while ago, and is now on the point of IMMINENT DEATH! See Haim's post dtd. Sep 10, 2012 7:11 PM copied below:
> Well, yes, but Mr. Vigdor does not state it exactly > right. The root of the problem is coercion. We must > stop forcing people, who lack the talent or the > interest for mathematics, into mathematics classes. > > >Stated succinctly, the root of the problem is an > >excessive emphasis on equality in curriculum. > > Another way to think about the problem of coercion > ion in education is encapsulated in the ancient > saying, "You can lead a horse to water but you cannot > make it drink." In other words, if even a horse has > enough will of its own to resist being forced to do > something it does not want to do, however much we may > think drinking water is good for the horse, how much > more so a human child, however much we may think > studying math is good for the child? > > The rest of the article is almost embarrassing to > to me. It is as if I wrote it myself, > > >Altogether, the evidence suggests that America?s > math > >wounds have been selfinflicted, illustrating the > >hazards of a singleminded focus on relative rather > than > >absolute performance. Closing the achievement gap by > > >improving the performance of struggling students is > >hard; closing the gap by reducing the quality of > >education offered to high performers?for example, by > > >eliminating tracking and promoting universal access > >to "rigorous" courses while reducing the definition > of > >rigoris easy. The thoughtless incentives often > provided > >to close the gap make the path of least resistance > even > >more tempting. > >   Selfinflicted wounds; >   Easier to reduce achievement of academically able > students than to raise achievement of academically > struggling students; >   Reduce The Gap; > > I have been making these points in this forum for a > decade. /sarcasm on Do keep in mind, however, that > there is no Prime Directive /sarcasm off > > Finally, I quibble over Mr. Vigdor's last point, > > >The thoughtless incentives often provided to close > the > >gap make the path of least resistance even more > tempting. > > Thoughtless? I think not. Thoughtlessness might > have been a characteristic of Education Mafia policy > if that policy had been in force a few years, maybe > one public school generation (12 yrs), but The Prime > Directive has been the central organizing doctrine of > American public education for 30 yrs, at least. > After 30 yrs, and incalculable harm, the only > y reasonable assumption is that the Education Mafia > know exactly what they are doing. > > Haim > Shovel ready? What shovel ready? > ================ > > http://www.aei.org/papers/education/k12/solvingameri > casmathematicseducationproblem/ > > Jacob L. Vigdor  American Enterprise Institute > August 20, 2012 > > American students test poorly in mathematics compared > to those in other developed?and in some cases, less > developed?countries. While we have seen some signs of > improved performance in recent years, these > improvements are not yet evident among high school > students. And the proportion of new college graduates > who majored in mathintensive subjects has declined > by nearly half over the past sixty years. Will the > United States lose its edge in innovation as the math > skills of our elite students atrophy? Will the > average worker possess the training necessary to take > advantage of technically demanding > twentyfirstcentury job opportunities? Most > important, why has the United States lost ground, and > what course must we follow to gain it back? > > This report summarizes recent research that yields > important insights into America?s mathematics > problem. Stated succinctly, the root of the problem > is an excessive emphasis on equality in curriculum. > Given the inherent variability in students? math > aptitude, equity can be achieved only by delivering a > suboptimal education to at least some students. > > A recent policy initiative undertaken by one of the > nation?s largest and most successful school > districts, CharlotteMecklenburg (North Carolina), > illustrates the hazards of math acceleration. In > 2002, the district joined a growing number of > education agencies in promoting eighth grade algebra > for a larger proportion of students. The push to > accelerate algebra was based on a naïve > interpretation of correlations between algebra timing > and later success, ignoring the obvious > counterargument that a propensity for future success > drives early algebra taking, not the reverse. However > illconceived the policy, though, the results are > instructive: > ?In the span of two years, CharlotteMecklenburg > g students performing below average in math witnessed > threefold increases in the likelihood of taking > Algebra I by eighth grade. > ?Students subjected to algebra acceleration scored > d 13 percentile points lower on a standardized > endofcourse test than students permitted to take > algebra on a regular schedule. > ?Accelerated students were less likely to pass an > n endofcourse test in geometry, despite receiving > an extra year to do so. They were no more likely to > pass an endofcourse test in algebra II. > > A more thorough review of curricular trends in high > school mathematics over the twentieth century shows > that the CharlotteMecklenburg experience is not a > fluke. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, > waves of reform, including the ?new math? movement, > have sought to improve the math achievement of > moderateperforming students. The emphasis on the > performance of lowerachieving students increased > after the 1983 A Nation At Risk report and the 2001 > passage of the No Child Left Behind Act. Recent > studies have verified an obvious side effect of this > focus: declining achievement among higherperforming > students. The past thirty years have witnessed a > 20point increase in average math SAT scores but a 25 > percent drop in the proportion of college students > who major in mathintensive subjects. > > Altogether, the evidence suggests that America?s math > wounds have been selfinflicted, illustrating the > hazards of a singleminded focus on relative rather > than absolute performance. Closing the achievement > gap by improving the performance of struggling > students is hard; closing the gap by reducing the > quality of education offered to high performers?for > example, by eliminating tracking and promoting > universal access to ?rigorous? courses while reducing > the definition of rigor?is easy. The thoughtless > incentives often provided to close the gap make the > path of least resistance even more tempting. > > This report concludes with a series of prescriptions > for ensuring forthcoming generations of American > workers will include both innovators who create jobs > in technically demanding industries and workers > qualified to hold them: > ?For several decades, the United States has > s counteracted its decline in math in part by > importing highly talented immigrants. American > immigration policy prioritizes family reunification > over skills, in direct contrast with peer nations > such as Australia and Canada. Any attempt at > immigration reform should address this issue. > ?Curricular fads such as Singapore math hold promise > e in many circles but may not be readily adaptable to > American cultural and educational settings. > Experimentation is warranted, but we must be mindful > that the net effect of our past curricular tinkering > has been negative. > ?Pursuing equity in curriculum must harm some > e students, and evidence suggests that some past > reforms have managed to harm all of them. American > students are heterogeneous, and a rational strategy > to improve math performance must begin with that > premise. > > Haim >Shovel Ready? What Shovel? > I BEG YOU TO TAKE THE MOST URGENT POSSIBLE ACIION!!!
The above now definitively PROVES the essentiality of a major educational THRUST that MUST now be made by 'EDUCATION MAFIA' forces worldwide, in the current campaign to improve US education:
    Substitution of courses covering 'How To Think'; 'What is a Proof?'; 'Logic 101'  instead of Arithmetic (starting from 'counting numbers'), Algebra, etc. These courses should be taught to ALL adults, starting with the ones of the group 'Mathteach @ Drexel'.
GSC a humble footsoldier in this great war ("Still Shoveling Away!")
Message was edited by: GS Chandy



