Date: Feb 18, 2012 6:22 PM
Author: Robert Hansen
Subject: Re: Finland

I agree, that was a neat article. And warning us about "creativity" is way way late. But I think a central issue is the following...

"Perhaps they deliberately intended to reduce the mathematical content traditionally taught in 1- 9 in order to slow down the ?gaps in achievement? that study of mathematics as a discipline typically leads to. Whether or not it was their intention, an emphasis on equality of outcome was bound to lead to the ?mathematics of daily life? for all rather than to the ?structure of mathematics? for those with interest and aptitude for mathematics, as mathematicians have characterized the differences."

While I was reveling in the idea of having high school math classes with a higher percentage of students that wanted to be there, I did realize that we are only talking about the last 3 years of school. I took Algebra 2 in 8th grade, the Dolciani version, with its quasi formality. I signed up for it because the (low income) school I was in prior to that was forever stuck at long division. A dark period that I block from my consciousness. So, for me, waiting another 2 years would not only have sucked it might have been a missed opportunity forever.

It seems that this is solvable not by standards but by periods and class scheduling. I propose that this starts in 7th grade only because schools are already structured for this in 7th grade. And let's say you do open that door to students taking authentic advanced topics starting in 7th grade. How do you stop the pestering and delusional parents that want their kids in those classes even thought they are clearly not ready?

I am not looking for political answers here. I am looking for the mechanics of how you begin to offer authentically rigorous paths in these subjects starting at 7th grade in public schools yet keep them from degrading into fraud. Is any country capable of this anymore?

Bob Hansen

> > Sandy Stotsky on the subject.
> Excellent article. Thanks for the pointer.
> Stotsky ends with,

> >Some education policies in this country have already
> >begun to aim our schools and teachers on the yellow
> >brick road to "creativity," a goal that can't be
> >measured or evaluated objectively, in addition to
> >reducing time on academic learning. They need to
> >ask "who does it really benefit?"

> Stotsky is whistling past the graveyard, and she
> probably knows it. So long as the Education Mafia
> are running our schools, there will be exactly one
> and only one test for educational legitimacy: THE
> If we want to change that, we must hire new people,
> e, not like the old people, to run our schools.
> Haim
> Shovel ready? What shovel ready?