Date: May 9, 2013 8:38 PM
Author: kirby urner
Subject: Re: When math makes sense - w/ cooking, consruction

> Kirby, everyone's kids were falling behind, everyone at the district was
> in denial before the SAT9 was forced on them, and the New New Math is still
> here. For example, Phil Daro, one of the architects of California's whole
> math debacle is a prime mover of the Common Core disaster apparently in the
> making.

We're not necessarily on opposite sides here. I am happy to agree that New
New Math was a disaster.

> New Math was great stuff, just inappropriate for most math teachers. One
> can still buy the New Math inspired Dolciani Structure and Method series,
> and they were a godsend when even the St.Sensible fell short of my son's
> needs.

Yeah, I had New Math before moving to Italy and doing Junior English, OSR,
then Florida for first semester high school (the worst school in the
train), then International School in Manila. Then Princeton. Then School
of Life. :-)

Nowadays, I think of Saturday Academy as giving Portland many shots in the
arm, hoping to help it awaken from the long dull dream that has been
Industrial Era education in our Gotham. So dreary, so bland.

> BTW, I'll cut the flogging of the dead horse to a minimum. I chose MIT as
> the real STEM baccalaureate institution to refer to because the two real
> STEM colleges that are ahead of MIT for the percentage of alums with PhD's
> are both in Los Angeles County and I didn't want to trigger any
> Ore-gone-ian Californiaphobia.

I only feel sorry for California, most days. Could be such a glorious
state, but trampled upon. I have family there.

> Most STEM cheerleaders are essentially just cargo cultists erecting poor
> imitations of science, math, and engineering hoping that good STEM stuff
> will drop in.

Well, I'm distinctly elitist and look down on most PhDs as over-specialized
larvae when it comes to their abilities as polymaths. Most still need to
hatch. But that's just me. A lot of my colleagues are more starry-eyed
when it comes to degrees and academic credentials. I'm happy where I'm at
for the moment, working for an on-line school based, yes, in CA.

Sometimes I call what I teach "Gnu Math", a pun on "New Math" and an
accurate reflection of what we owe the GNU project, in liberating us from
the high costs of intellectual property owners who planned to squeeze it
out of us until the cows came home. Now we have power tools galore, and
have started work on tractors: