On Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 4:04 AM, Robert Hansen <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > On Jun 10, 2013, at 3:44 AM, GS Chandy <email@example.com> wrote: > > OK - so what? The point was that even students who feared/loathed math > could come to understand it. Some instances were provided in the article). > Doubtless some of those who come to understand the math they need may even > come to like it. Without understanding as a preliminary, there is no > chance of 'liking'. The key ingredient is that it is entirely possible to > overcome the fear/loathing most students feel for math - which is possible > if they can begin to understand the math they need to know. > > > That was my point. They weren't trying to teach algebra and calculus to > construction workers. That used to be the norm here. >
You mean high school students were already doing construction? Or do you mean they were already tracked into construction such that their choice to pursue so-called "blue collar" jobs was already made (perhaps for them).
I do think the whole "white collar" versus "blue collar" labeling scheme is ridiculously silly and blame low level economist-journalists, of the type who write for WSJ and NYT, for keeping such dumb taxonomies alive, mostly by copying from archival artwork (graphs, data visualizations).
In that way big newspapers are like big textbook companies: they take advantage of their size by mostly rewriting / editing what's already in stock ("nothing new under the sun" "one cliche after another").
> Then they decided that everyone must be college ready and that college > ready meant algebra and calculus. Also, that school is described as an > alternative school, like for misfits. It shouldn't be like that. You > shouldn't have to drop out of school to be a mechanic or work in > construction. >
On the contrary, today's machines tend to run self-diagnostics and include many "chips".
Today's mechanic needs what was called "computer science" in the 1900s (on into the 2000s in some circles -- STEM had such a messy typology back then). That means binhex numbers, not just decimals. If you school only seems to know about decimals, remember to write to your governor. You deserve better infrastructure.
People are working hard at their jobs, not for sprawling empire but for higher competence at home.
> Another pet peeve is the disappearance of business math in high school. It > seemed to have disappeared just when it became universally required at > work. They don't even teach arithmetic like it should be taught anymore > because they think it should be taught in a way that supports algebra and > calculus. WTF. >
I think this had a lot to do with Microsoft Access, the paradigm "do everything" cubicle software that people needed to get good at, and maybe use as a stepping stone to SQL Server, as MSFT hoped it would.
The problem with Access from a biz math point of view is it rested on databases made of tables and glued together with SQL. This was a "computer science" topic and the business math people were not "computer scientists" so the whole topic of cubicle software and cubicle skills fell by the wayside.
Biz math ended up along with typewriters on the ash heap of history.
Now there's as huge a need for Spreadsheet / Stats / SQL / Accounting as ever, getting huger once you factor in the GIS extensions, such that queries may now be polygon-shaped against a sphere (picture hexapent tiling, per 'Divided Spheres'). Postgres is good at this. They use in regional government a lot (e.g. Metro).
You can retrieve a zip code area to screen as your polygon and then scan all connected (or connectable) database sources. Overlay sewers, run off channels, reservoirs, water tanks... all database queries in the background.
GIS + SQL is at the core of STEM record keeping yet in 2013 we probably only have 0.4% competence among the STEM teaching rank and file (I'm sweeping the net for better statistics).
They don't use material like I did at Winterhaven, a feeder magnet. They don't use Digital Mathematics (DM). They use the old "analog math" (AM) inherited through a politicized process that continues to feed them gruel of the weakest kind.
Malnutrition is the biggest problem in schooling, both physically and metaphysically (i.e. curriculum-wise).
> > > I was discussing what defines humans with a friend > last week. I guess our children are at that age in > school where the teachers start making those > distinctions. I came up with... > > 1. They are good with tools and fine motor skills. > 2. They are good with language. > 3. They are emotional. > > That's it. > > Mind you, I am trying to define the species in > general, not just 15 or 25% of the species. > > Bob Hansen > > OK. So what? This does not counter any of the points raised in the > article - or any of the points I had raised in the post to which you are > 'responding'. > > > The point - algebra and calculus aren't in the list. > > Bob Hansen > > More like scouting. I was at an Eagle Scout honoring ceremony yesterday, put on by BSA Troop 24 in Oregon. Check out this list of "electives":
Plus there's a Code of Conduct (or something close, Code of Honor maybe it's called) and a lot of pledging of loyalties. Boys are encouraged to think beyond themselves to a bigger planet and picture. Impressive.
I'm thinking scouting, for boys and for girls, continues to offer some positive competition for the Wimpy Schools i.e. the ones where gruel is served.
The question is, how to charter scouting institutions to get as much time per year as a public school? Could those dreaded vouchers be for scouting *instead* maybe?
Or shall we just make scouting a form of free-for-all, for-credit service?
Or shall our schools themselves become more like scouting institutions?
These are the big questions facing a our virtual presidents today.
As part of their honoring, both Eagle Scouts received 'A Peoples History' by Howard Zinn, presented by a Veteran for Peace, and a US flag flown from the US Capitol Building, courtesy of the nearby Elks Lodge.
A lot of Eagle Scouts end up joining the FBI and looking at X-Files. As one of the Eagle's dads put it, "all very Illuminati" (i.e. enlightening).
There've only been like 2 million Eagle scouts since 1911 in the whole US lineage (that's counting lots of dead people, both Eagle and non-Eagle -- it's possible to become an Eagle posthumously). About 58K were added to the roles in 2012.
Scouting uses the compass, GIS / GPS, and is focused on the outdoors. I think my material on polyhedrons, including the Martian Math component is a good fit. We use polyhedrons to divide the into "a global matrix" (per Glenn Stockton). We spin these polyhedra to generate geodesic grids (per Edward Popko in our primer). Geometry + Geography, that's what it's all about (Geography is the physical and includes nebulae and subatomic particles whereas Geometry is metaphysical meaning 'frequency independent').
Digital Mathematics, Heuristics for Teachers (at Wikieducator) might just as well be named Digital Mathematics, Heuristics for Scout Masters.
One of the Eagles made a garden for Food Not Bombs as his Eagle project. That happened to be my SE PDX FNB chapter **, where I work with other adults on the physics-logistics of mitigating food waste in a lush valley's biggest urban area -- a STEM challenge for sure.
** We don't use any motorized vehicles for our core activities -- not a global FNB practice, just one of our local wrinkles. Our chapter was a source of leadership (and food) for the OPDX prototype Campus & Meeting ("general assembly"), the campus I've written about often in this archive, nowadays nominally headquartered at Washington High School (where our Linus Pauling studied STEM).