
RE: RE: David Berliner on "A Nation at Risk": Three Decades of Lies #2  ADDENDUM #2
Posted:
May 5, 2013 12:57 PM


I must admit, I have missed a lot of this thread and others. But I always read Phil's postings  mainly because I've known him to be a concerned, experienced, topnotch educator.
Most of you don't know me so a quick bio: taught for 15 years in community colleges and 29 years at University of Cincinnati. I retired last week.
I also founded the AMATYC Traveling Technology Workshop program.
I mention this last bit because I have to make it clear that I am protechnology.
However, from where I have sat for the last 29 years, the abuse of technology has contributed to students becoming button pushers first and thinkers last. And now, we are on our second generation of button pushers. I recently taught courses in geometry to college juniors  all middle school prospective teachers. The future looks dim.
In Ohio, middle school majors have to have two subject matter majors. Most of my students, to my amazement, had Social Science and Mathematics as their listed majors. When I inquired, many said that it was because, although they hated math, they new there were more job openings for math teachers than social science teachers. Wow. Good luck with that inspiration!
To me, any improvement in our educational system's preparation for future engineers, scientists, and yes mathematicians, needs to start in the Colleges of Education.
I'll get off my soap box now, sip the rest of this mint julep, and collect a retirement check. It's been a good run.
Lawrence G. Gilligan, Professor Department of Mathematical Sciences College of Arts and Sciences University of Cincinnati P. O. Box 210025 Cincinnati, OH 452210025
(513) 5564869 FAX: (513) 5563417 ________________________________________ From: ownermathedcc@mathforum.org [ownermathedcc@mathforum.org] on behalf of Phil Mahler [MAHLERP@middlesex.mass.edu] Sent: Sunday, May 05, 2013 11:51 AM To: mathedcc@mathforum.org Subject: RE: RE: David Berliner on "A Nation at Risk": Three Decades of Lies #2  ADDENDUM #2
I agree it's good to question facts. Over tim air share :) ) I've concluded that we prove what we believe, not believe what we prove. (this is not meant to describe the responder, I refer to myself and everyone. It's sometimes said of scientists, too, though please, I am a great respecter of science.) So... let me proceed to prove what I believe. :)
Concerning the relook (below) at my citation that only 20% of 1932 12th graders could compute 2.1% of 60...
It is a good point to consider that the high school curriculum was dramatically different for many students then, and I had not considered that. Nevertheless it seems to me that for those taking the vocational or general ed track in the 12th grade, computing 2.1% of 60 was an expected skill to have. Perhaps more so, since their math was centered on arithmetic, not algebra. Also, a much (I use that word without backup knowledge) smaller percentage of people went to high school then. Those in the 12th grade were a select group who persisted when others did not. Further, the college bound student in 1932 had not been using calculators for the last 5 or more years, which is part of my argument about why students can't do decimals and fractions. (I have to admit that is evidence for the original statement that something drastic has happened... But if that's all it is, I'm fine with that.)
I make no claim to have absolutely refuted the comment made. But irrespective of this discussion, part of my belief is that when a person is 18 or so years old and can't compute 2.1% of 60, we should show them how it is done with a calculator, not the algorithms of decimal computation. And the same for fractions. They should know it is a multiplication problem, or proportion, though I don't like that approach, and they should know it's much less than 60, but they shouldn't be made to do the calculation by hand.
I know I'm being extreme, but I see our remedial programs doing far too much filtering, which I believe is unneeded, and no one (I'd love to be contradicted on this) has found the formula for teaching the grade 4 iculum in one or two semesters to any meaningful percentage of students placed into our developmental level programs.
Enough from me. Phil
________________________________________ ... >Consider these facts (I know that all facts are >disputable); >
Let's.
>In 1932 20% of 12thgrade students could compute 2.1% of 60.
Was this 20% of collegebound seniors? You may recall that certainly before about 1970, and maybe into the 1980's in some places, high school was not monolithic. Typically, there were three broad categories of education, often comprehended within the same school (hence, "comprehensive high school"). Roughly 80% of students followed a vocational track or a general education track. Neither track typically led to college. Only about 20% of high school students, those who were collegebound, followed an academic track. Obviously, these figures varied over time and place, but I am pretty sure I am in the right order of magnitude.
The NY Times article I cited said that 50% of students already in college need remediation. So, we are talking about college students, and for our discussion to be coherent we need to be comparing collegebound high school students, then and now.
Your 20% figure corresponds rather well to my information, viz, that collegebound students were reasonably well prepared for college. Why is this no longer true? **************************************************************************** * To post to the list: email mathedcc@mathforum.org * * To unsubscribe, email the message "unsubscribe mathedcc" to majordomo@mathforum.org * * Archives at http://mathforum.org/kb/forum.jspa?forumID=184 * **************************************************************************** **************************************************************************** * To post to the list: email mathedcc@mathforum.org * * To unsubscribe, email the message "unsubscribe mathedcc" to majordomo@mathforum.org * * Archives at http://mathforum.org/kb/forum.jspa?forumID=184 * ****************************************************************************

