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10 April 2019

Comments

Gregory

George, first the obligatory pointing out that in K-12, STEM is useful only as a dilution of any focus on science and mathematics. Engineering and technology makes an appearance as robotic gizmos that allow oohs and aaahs from parents that little Johnny and Joanna have their hands on the right stuff, oblivious that the math and science they didn't get in K-12 will keep them from learning Technology and Engineering at the collegiate levels.

While the Common Core is an abomination, curriculum and pedagogy have been inching into oblivion for fifty years, if not longer. Constructivist notions of instruction are the rule in collegiate education departments and they crank out young teacher wannabees who know nothing else. Common Core math is the same NCTM tripe that I first saw 25 years ago with Mathland and CPM that was poured into Grass Valley and Nevada City schools... in fact, CPM is still used and with minor additions, meets the Common Core "standards". It's also used at Ghidotti. But there's no getting away from it as long as the state testing is aligned with CC methods, as is the SAT.

English "language arts" aren't faring much better, with Whole Language methods dominating the Common Core materials.

In short, the Education biz is separate from and unequal to the departments of mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering, English literature and other classic paths to numeracy and literacy.

There are professors of real subjects who are watching what's been going on and have been trying to influence the ship of K-12 for years. Unfortunately, rust never sleeps. The inmates are running the asylums, they've been well paid and they're cheering each other on.

Ozz

Gotta love the think tanks that predict future employment trends. In grade school we were being told that training to be an astronaut was a sure-fire path to a solid gold career.

Russell Steele

The Problem:

It’s no secret that existing schools are under-performing. We keep putting more money and resources into them, but we keep getting poorly educated students out of them. In 1983 – 30 years ago – the report A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Preform was published by President Reagan’s National Commission on Excellence in Education and famously observed, “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.” Since then, things have, if anything, gotten worse. But in the essentials, not much has changed.

Reynolds, Glenn Harlan. The K-12 Implosion (Encounter Broadside) (Kindle Locations 85-90). Encounter Books. Kindle Edition.

George Rebane

We pay around $11.5K/student/year; I believe that's the highest in the world. And we get crap for education (dysfunctional teaching and ideological indoctrination) out of that because the lion's share of the money goes for school administrative overhead and school employee pensions (which are all underfunded).

Bill Tozer

I used to follow the NCAAP membership surveys. The number one issue weighing on the membership then was not racism, not crime, not incarceration rates, not economic opportunity, but school choice. Quality education for their children. It was the number one issue for 3-4 years straight as the leadership decried charter schools and school choices. Oh my.

“His (NCAAP President Johnson) comments stemmed from the NAACP's passage of a resolution in 2016 at its national convention that called for a moratorium on the expansion of charter schools until there was more accountability and transparency in their operations. The vote showcased the divide among Democrats and the civil rights community over whether the schools are a viable alternative to traditional public schools.

“The move was also surprising, in part, because charter schools are popular among many African-American families — more than 800,000 black students attended charter schools in the 2016-2017 school year.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/12/naacp-president-charter-schools-derrick-johnson-676432

The political pushback against school choice has thwarted many a parent and Presidential candidate, not to mention state legislators. Be that as it may, the client is the parent and their children. Accountability is the key.


“Baltimore city-school spokesperson Anne Fullerton rebutted, “We believe the Court’s ruling … will have a chilling effect on investigations. … We are currently reviewing the ruling to determine possible next steps.”

“Next steps” is legal speak for how to further obfuscate evidence of corruption and fraud. But indeed, this ruling will have a “chilling effect” — there are school administrators in other corrupt urban centers who are feeling that chill. Perhaps Baltimore will now become a model for something good — how Sinclair’s investigative journalists can expel corruption from other government-school bureaucracies across the country. I nominate Detroit as their next target.“

https://patriotpost.us/articles/62330-expelling-corruption-from-government-schools?fbclid=IwAR1vJyuDpxW2LqwvhAZN2L7YB90YcYjCIPLQ_oDFB8IUae4TPYPkYAXqkK0


Bill Tozer

I used to follow the NCAAP membership surveys. The number one issue weighing on the membership then was not racism, not crime, not incarceration rates, not economic opportunity, but school choice. Quality education for their children. It was the number one issue for 3-4 years straight as the leadership decried charter schools and school choices. Oh my.

“His (NCAAP President Johnson) comments stemmed from the NAACP's passage of a resolution in 2016 at its national convention that called for a moratorium on the expansion of charter schools until there was more accountability and transparency in their operations. The vote showcased the divide among Democrats and the civil rights community over whether the schools are a viable alternative to traditional public schools.

“The move was also surprising, in part, because charter schools are popular among many African-American families — more than 800,000 black students attended charter schools in the 2016-2017 school year.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/12/naacp-president-charter-schools-derrick-johnson-676432

The political pushback against school choice has thwarted many a parent and Presidential candidate, not to mention state legislators. Be that as it may, the client is the parent and their children. Accountability is the key.


“Baltimore city-school spokesperson Anne Fullerton rebutted, “We believe the Court’s ruling … will have a chilling effect on investigations. … We are currently reviewing the ruling to determine possible next steps.”

“Next steps” is legal speak for how to further obfuscate evidence of corruption and fraud. But indeed, this ruling will have a “chilling effect” — there are school administrators in other corrupt urban centers who are feeling that chill. Perhaps Baltimore will now become a model for something good — how Sinclair’s investigative journalists can expel corruption from other government-school bureaucracies across the country. I nominate Detroit as their next target.“

https://patriotpost.us/articles/62330-expelling-corruption-from-government-schools?fbclid=IwAR1vJyuDpxW2LqwvhAZN2L7YB90YcYjCIPLQ_oDFB8IUae4TPYPkYAXqkK0


Michael Anderson

George wrote: "We pay around $11.5K/student/year; I believe that's the highest in the world. And we get crap for education (dysfunctional teaching and ideological indoctrination) out of that because the lion's share of the money goes for school administrative overhead and school employee pensions (which are all underfunded)."

What's your plan to transition to a different system? I checked under your CATEGORIES heading and didn't see anything about education policy.

George Rebane

MichaelA 845pm - I side with those who promote minimally regulated local control of schools with maximum choice given to parents with vouchers and charter schools thrown into the mix. The last thing we need is dysfunctional curricula imposed by distant bureaucrats and implemented by bottom of the barrel union controlled teachers working under unbearably heavy administrative staffs.

Gregory

I didn't see a call from George to change to a different system, mandersonation 845pm.

I'd say it just needs a major change of leadership... new people at the state levels, new people at the district level and getting rid of the people at the Federal level.

Abolish the wretched Common Core. Replace it state by state... the California Math standards of '97 and the Massachusetts language standards of about the same time were arguably the best of the best, and unlike the CCSS, they didn't mandate how to teach, just what the students are expected to learn.

Then there needs to be a steady increase in the academic standards of teachers, probably best done gradually. Get rid of the bottom 1/8th every year. Hire not so much by GPA but by SAT/GRE scores, as GPA of CalState Communications majors is likely higher than the GPA of chemists from CalTech or CAL. Let the local principals be responsible for hiring but require every school to publish the average SAT/GRE of their teachers corps for all to see.

Then vouchers for all who want them. Parents choose the schools their children attend. I don't care if they're secular or religious... but content testing will be required with minimum standards for continued support with voucher money.

In short, off the top of my head, that's how I'd proceed. Not a different system. An improved one.

scenes

One of the little voices in my head tells me to ignore handwaving about different methods of education and that it would be enough to simply institute a merely adequate system. It seems to me that the biggest argument/push for charter schools/interest in inner-city 'academies'/etc. simply revolves around a logical need to segregate bad kids from good kids.

The opponents to those plans want to put everyone in the same classroom in the hope that the bad are civilized by the good.

It's my own uninformed model and I'm stickin' to it.

Gregory

Scenes 744am

No, there are real differences in outcomes from the olde fashioned direct instruction model (the teacher as an expert) that has a teacher leading a class of from one to forty or even more through that which is to be known, and the newish (it's been clawing its way towards acceptance for over a century) discovery methods with the "teacher" no longer a "sage on the stage but rather, a guide on the side".

Discovery methods, aka constructivism, is the Socratic Method stripped of a Socrates guiding the pupils. It's the blind leading the blind, it's standing not on the shoulders of giants but on the similarly ignorant trying to rediscover the math that has been understood for centuries.

Yes, the world is changing rapidly, but if you don't have a firm understanding of 9th century Persian algebra, maybe even 17th century calculus, using 20th century notation, you don't have the tools to understand the demands of the 21st century.

A problem remains that many of the teachers in public employ don't. I remember talking to one, a fellow who owned a ramp-rat airplane who dreamed of being a pilot, who taught pre-algebra at a public school down the hill. I asked him how he taught the kiddies how to rationalize (make into a ratio) a repeating decimal.

There is a way to do it that works every time, whether the repeating pattern is .44444... or .3333... or .12121212... or even .123412341234... . I remember vividly the aha! moment when I understood that you could subtract one equation from another... from a lecture, which all modern constructivists claim is inauthentic, that authentic knowledge can only result from individual discovery, a perversion of Piaget, the patron saint of Constructivist pedagogy.

This "teacher" didn't know how, a method I learned in the fifth or sixth grade. His method... was to show that 1/3 was the same as .3333... but not how to reverse the direction.

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