Date: Jan 25, 2013 2:30 PM
Author: Clyde Greeno @ MALEI
Subject: Re: Rotten to the Core: War on Academic Standards

A  strawman war!

Rosa has his own "reasons", but ...
Will the CCSS be "another abject failure"?
Is the automobile an "abject failure" because it cannot fly?

Have our universities sunk to the level where their math-representatives
ignore the meanings of words ... or do not recognize the difference between
"necessary conditions" and "sufficient conditions?"

The CCSS speak of conditions deemed *necessary* for all American schools to
meet ... NOT of conditions which are *sufficient* ... even for America's
"average" schools to meet. The widespread confusion between those two
interpretations for the CCSS is a striking illustration of the nation's
needs for reforming curricular education in mathematics. It long has been
training students for obedience, rather than educating them to think ... and
those non-thinking graduates sometimes become university mathematics
faculty. Stanford is not alone.

Assessments of "another"-ness [which implies the (unsubstantiated)
existence of at least one other "abject failure"] ...
... and of "abject"-ness [from Dictionary.com:
ab┬Ěject ... adjective:
1. utterly hopeless, miserable, humiliating, or wretched: abject poverty.
2. contemptible; despicable; base-spirited: an abject coward.
3. shamelessly servile; slavish. ]

... make no sense unless the term, "failure" is correctly used.

There can be no "failure" other than within the context of pursuing a
particular goal ... and no "failure" until pursuits of that goal actually
cease. It is pure nonsense to speak of an effort's (or of its products')
"failure" to accomplish something OTHER than that goal. [Is the automobile a
"failure" because it cannot fly?]

Best to start with whatever the CCSS initiative was *intended* to accomplish
... and then ask whether or not the standards might accomplish *that* goal
... NOT whether or not they produce some *other* desirable effect.

The CCSS *do* identify a family of minimum standards ... which essentially
are already being more than met by the nation's better schools. By default,
the CCSS already "work" in at least those schools, but those schools were
not the target of the CCSS. [Venn diagrams might help.]

Rather, the CCSS were intended to stimulate other schools [who had earlier
been using lesser standards] to reach the CCSS minimum. Is that not already
happening with some such schools ... and is it unlikely that some other such
schools also will progress toward achieving that "minimum?" For that
purpose, the CCSS initiative already is being progressively successful ...
for *their own* purposes, though NOT for some of the purposes for which they
are being misinterpreted and/or misused.

It is not at all the case that the CCSS are failing, or will fail, to do
*their own* job. [Automobiles still do what they were created to do ... and
more.] But it is ignorant to complain that the CCSS does not, and cannot, do
something *else.* [Some critics already have identified at least some of the
differences.]

Instead, the fault lies with those whose mathematical logic cannot
comprehend the difference between *minimum* standards ... and *par*
standards ... and *optimal* ... and *hyper* standards. One theme of math-ed
"reforms" is to better build students' problem-solving skills ... skills
that commonly are not being applied to the CCSS. For sure, a major problem
results from CCSS being only *minimum* standards: there is a dire need for
concurrent systems of *par* and *hyper" standards. But complaining that the
CCSS are neither par nor hyper standards does not even begin to solve the
problem of the absence of additional nationwide standards for higher levels
of productivity.

Perhaps a "reformed" mathematics curriculum will someday teach students that
complaining that something is only a partial, inadequate solution does not
suffice for solving the broader problem. [Case in point: non-solver,
complaining, traditionally educated, columnist mothers who think that
programming children to mindlessly perform as directed is genuine
"education" ... in genuine "mathematics."]

Cordially,
Clyde



- --------------------------------------------------
From: "Domenico Rosa" <DRosa@post.edu>
Sent: Friday, January 25, 2013 9:32 AM
To: <math-teach@mathforum.org>
Subject: Re: Rotten to the Core: War on Academic Standards

>> Malkin's greater flaw is a false assertion that the
>> CCSS are depriving the states of authority.

>
> I have every reason to believe that the CCSS will be another abject
> failure, as I pointed out at:
>
> http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?forumID=206&threadID=2391920&messageID=7854568#7854568