On Thu, May 9, 2013 at 1:45 PM, Greg Goodknight <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> On 05/09/2013 08:43 AM, kirby urner wrote: > > On Wed, May 8, 2013 at 11:37 PM, Greg Goodknight <email@example.com> wrote: > >> On 05/08/2013 09:16 PM, kirby urner wrote >> >> Testing is integral. Performance gets reviewed. True in scouting as >> well. You get badges, like grades in some ways. >> >> >> >> The issue is whether the testing, whether integral or not, is revealing >> the same information for the new way as for the old. >> >> A teacher in the tank for hands-on approaches reporting how great the >> kids are doing isn't the same. The plural of anecdote is not objective >> data. >> >> > You know what it means to rotate an object, such that its projected > shadows alter on the various reference planes. > > Assuming a student's testable capabilities are projections, with the > student a multi-dimensional object, you want to find optimal orientations > for a kind of global growth. Like finding eigenvectors. > > Being "good at math" is a planar projection, a slice, and depends as > much on the measuring tools as performance. > > School A and School B have different curricula and different tests. A > "national test", if too important (say financially, to the school), skews > the curricula to optimize relative to the national slice / plane / test, > but perhaps at a cost to the kind of globally optimized growth we were > seeking. > > > Damned straight. In California, it wasn't until a reasonable test was > mandated statewide that the worst of the curriculums could be rooted out > and removed. >
You went through some kind of Math War and now feel relieved that the Mathlands of the world have been beaten back. Your son was falling behind. New New Math was the enemy more than New Math, which had already gone down.
Hey, I can empathize. My late wife went to Florida State and although enjoying calculus in Satellite Beach (next to NASA) was told women don't do well at math and was discouraged from that major, reminds me of my current housemate, also a Florida refugee. Population genetics was her next greatest love.
My wife was alarmed by the walking-distance school's lackadaisical math teaching; the all-subjects elementary teacher seemed afraid of it, a contagious attitude.
Portland, with its "magnet schools" system had its Hogwarts for Geeks, also public, and we moved our daughter there. A decade later, she's a physics major, has looked ahead at diffy-Q and doesn't think it'll present a problem, although carrying German and some other stuff was a big load this semester.
She'll pull back a bit, knowing her limits, plus pick up RA duties.
As for myself, I escaped the USA orbit almost entirely in my youth. My Overseas School of Rome was full of avant garde refugees, mostly teaching counter to what they saw as uber-stultifying back home. Before that, I went to a full blown school for Brits-in-training, wore a blazer/tie and everything. I finished high school in Manila, taught mostly by Asians, and thinking in an Asian way (which doesn't make me Asian according to those going by eye shape (part of the baggage we don't inherit is all that crap about races, not my idea and never a good one).
> > Their "custom standardized test" generally reported the kids to be above > average, but the cold hearted SAT9 had half the kids in my son's class in > the bottom quartile. All English speaking, Euro-American kids. By then, my > son had been safely ensconced for a couple years in the St.Sensible down > the street who, we had found, had used the SAT9 for years, giving it to all > at the beginning of every school year so the teachers had an idea what > their challenges were, as opposed to the public schools who, when forced, > gave it at the end of the year to get the maximum good news. > > So is it true that SAT9's parent ETS was sold to the UK-based Pearson? Just catching up.
> > > Biodiversity (differences among schools / curricula) is what many > "national standards" people feel threatened by; people with significantly > different schooling from themselves, running for office. > > More scouting actually may be worth a drop on some national tests, > especially if our alternative tests have a higher STEM IQ than the national > tests. We have more figurate and polyhedral numbers, computer programming, > tool use in general, along with disciplines of lightning talk, cooking for > groups, budgeting. > > > Not OK, Kirby, you're apparently still trying to make it fit your > preconceived "shop as an inferior track" meme. Beginning electric shop > doesn't require o'scopes, and beginning shops of all are more focused on > woodworking, metalcrafting and circuit wiring, It isn't an issue of pushing > "that hard", it's that they weren't trying to teach math, they were trying > to teach woodworking, metalcrafting and electrical circuit understanding, > along with the safe and sane use of the related tools. > > I thought I was doing the opposite: showing how "scouting" could fill out the "shop" side (so-called vocational) to where we covered all standard math topics and then some. 3D printers make Polyhedra. V + F == E + 2. Spherical trig part of everyday testing. Might do some slide rule, along with abacus. None of this is "math class" though, as School B has decided STEM is sufficiently subdividing (we slice it differently, don't use your labels). As long as we connect all the dots School A does (A for Average), we'll be Better ("we" might be AFSC **).
> > And what percentage of the above would actually prepare a student to > thrive at any STEM subject at, say, MIT, as an incoming freshman? >
Unknown. I think background in rocketry and motor repair is already what goes on applications for admission to such places i.e. a well rounded skill set is considered a good hand. Say your rocket group got a projectile all the way to 50% less atmosphere and was able to aim and gain exposures of tiny astronomical objects while in flight. That's what the big boy and girl astronomers do today with their modified 747. I think an HR person checking a resume would necessarily draw a frowny face.
Some schools such as Haverford emphasize community service and values, such that it's not considered OK to use your liberal arts advantages to make the world an uglier place. If we make seeing the night sky without light pollution, for all able-eyed, a requirement for graduation, then we've shifted the culture.
Portland already has this. It's called Outdoor School, it's publicly funded, and you need to do it in sixth grade. We have giant camps around the city and lots of rotation. For some other cities in North America, it'd be a radical change in everything to mandate such an operation, but here they've yet to take it away. Nor have we let them fluoridate our water (makes 'em stupid in Peoria).
I would fully approve of a math class that covered the basics of chess with an eye towards using XY grids to display object motions, skills feeding later programming with physics engines. Card games are also taught, along with Tower of Hanoi and fun with Pascal's Triangle. The four operations (Algorithms of Al Khwarizmi) get taught as games as well, rule-following symbol-using.
We read excerpts from Godel Escher Bach and encourage each student cultivating a set of favorite authors and book reporting on their merits, text books and video series included.
Stand in front of the class and tell us what you liked and didn't like about 'Who is Fourier?' (also on our syllabus).
Another thing about Portland as we don't have much Boston envy. I know there's this East Coast mystique about Massachusetts, and in Oregon we're supposed to feel inferior. That's partly because higher ed (academia) likes to distinguish itself from industry, but if you factor in both together, our Silicon Forest is as much a STEM capital as any Atlantic-facing capital or capital-wannabe.
** long ago portfolio document: http://www.grunch.net/synergetics/makeover1.html (I currently work with AFSC e.g. on the Door Project, which involves community service credit for some public school goers in Portland -- 120 hours of community service required).