Date: Sep 30, 2012 10:38 AM
Author: Haim
Subject: Re: The Prime Directive
Robert Hansen Posted: Sep 29, 2012 6:54 PM

>Looking at this school's math and physics curriculum...

>http://www.ossm.edu/academics/course-descriptions/#javelin_faq177_9

>

>Would it be that difficult a task to find have just ONE

>knowledgable teacher in most schools that could offer a

>similar curriculum to the advanced 11th and 12th

>graders? Even if the class size is only 5 or 10 students.

If you are going to be persuaded by the facts, the answer is clearly "yes". The precise nature of that difficulty is open to discussion.

Because a rigorous academic curriculum (especially a scientific one) is so rare, that is the reason for the existence of

CTY

http://cty.jhu.edu/

and

EPGY

http://epgy.stanford.edu/

both of which have been heavy into distance learning for many years.

One hint into the nature of the difficulty you mention is the fact that CTY, at least, has historically been eager to cooperate with local schools. In NYC, for example, School District 22 implemented CTY's Optimal Match program in at least one middle school (the name of the school escapes me just now). This program was very successful for several years, until a new principal took charge, who was biased against TAG (talented and gifted) programs. Bye-bye Optimal Match.

Even this is more complicated than it looks. JHU's Optimal Match does not have to be used only for TAG students. "Optimal Match" means, well, optimal match, as in: you meet the student where he is (academically), whether that student is ahead of the curve or behind the curve, then enable him to progress at his natural rate.

Enabling students to progress at their natural rates seems like a lovely (not to say, natural) idea, but of course you can immediately see the problem. If you allow students to progress at their natural rates, some students will progress faster than their peers, and some students will progress---how can I put this?---slower. In other words, Optimal Match GUARANTEES a Gap. As will any academically rigorous curriculum.

Bob, what were you thinking?

Haim

No representation without taxation.