On Mon, Dec 30, 2013 at 6:58 AM, Robert Hansen <email@example.com> wrote:
>> I didn't claim those failing algebra made up today's cast of SQL slingers >> (me one of them -- did fine in Al Jabr). >> >> I'm saying basic record keeping is the province of all to learn about in a >> democracy, and to hold back so severely when to comes to teaching anything >> about key technologies is fascist / royalist. If school is about making >> people more helpless and clueless than ever, then it's doing a good job by >> making "math class" so bereft of current content. If I were a Black >> Panther in the 60s (which I'm not, duh), I'd be teaching SQL in the >> basements of Chicago to ghetto kids for the AFSC. The FBI would be >> watching me. "Those skills are too dangerous in the hands of the >> underclass" said the memo from Hoover (played by DiCaprio in a recent film).
> > But these kids are failing algebra. Saying ?Teach them SQL instead.? is > like saying ?Let them eat cake.? I think you would first have to get to the > bottom of why they fail algebra first. > >
Which kids again? The ones attracted to Devlin's new class?
The idea here in Oregon when I met with teachers from around the state that time, was to carve out a new 3rd year math that would be a grab bag of these "computational thinking" memes, the stuff some say is "CS" but is really its own thing just like high school math in general is its own thing, and elementary school too. These aren't just mirror images of something in college.
So you'd take like algebra + geometry in 9th and 10th grade say, and then, as a junior, you might opt for this discrete math stuff. It'd be elective in the sense that trig and stats are elective (in some schools) but still count towards the *mandatory* three years of math for that high school degree. The elective CS courses never did that (didn't give any math credit, perversely).
Nothing here about "failing algebra". You might get all As in algebra and geometry and then opt for a course that, like my pilots for Saturday Academy, involve rendering polyhedrons in POV-Ray (free ray tracing software), reading their data from relational tables (SQL), using matrix algebra to rotate them -- shades of IB (International Baccalaureate -- which does more with vectors than plain vanilla pre-calc).
This was not a "TAG course" (for "talented and gifted") especially, just another path through the STEM side of high school, an option, an opportunity.
I think we could easily develop four years worth of such alternative material. For example, we want to explore the Document Object Model (DOM) a lot more too.
So we probably need to overhaul language / grammar / communications courses just as much. It's like a whole parallel curriculum in Smarter America [tm].
Really it's time to start over from scratch in a lot of ways, meaning we need much more local experimentation and much less top-down regimentation.
The more we move towards one size fit all, the more we all go over the same cliffs.
Fortunately, it's not all about "the USA" and what happens there. Breakthroughs can and do happen locally anywhere.
There's nothing "at the national level" that needs to happen. I have no need to dash off to Washington, DC in some fevered dream that it's my job to "reform the nation" -- that'd seem pathological.
>> So if CS and Math go together like PB&J then why no SQL in high school >> hardly? > > > Why no SQL? Because there isn?t any math. >
Oh come come, you know better than that. You've got union and intersection, boolean filtering, unique keys. It's a lot of that same set stuff they trucked out in the 60s as New Math.
With the new PostGIS extensions, your SELECT statements are perhaps within polygons i.e. you may select all street intersections (vertexes, nodes) within a zip code.
In Portland, we might freely copy Tri-Met's open source version of the trip routing software and study that.
You say there's no math in plotting an optimum mixed mode (bus and bike) trip across town? The bike trip planner has the option to plan for least gradient i.e. longer distance but no steep hills. Any math there?
HTML5 has SQL built right in doesn't it? The basic grammar of our day, what makes any web page a reality, is HTML.
The picture you describe, of the state of public education, sounds rather post-apocalyptic. The situation may be hopeless if you're right.
I favor more exchange programs, more mixing it up, as an antidote to getting too stuck in these ruts.
I hear in Japanese schools the kids rotate helping with food prep and bring the lunches to the classrooms, learning service as well. None of this going to the cafeteria nonsense or, more likely, the fast food joint across the street.
Some schools build in gardening as a part of the curriculum. Public schools. Here in Portland.
More experimentation, not less, is what's needed.
That means loosening the grip of the top-down authoritarians.
At some level my ideology makes me an ally of others NOT getting their marching orders from Washington, DC.
But "not federal" doesn't mean "not public". Rather, it means "public, but under local control" and importing influences selectively, including from Asia and New Zealand (given our geographic location: Cascadia).