kitchen table math, the sequel: what one person can do

Saturday, January 20, 2007

what one person can do

I mentioned in the Comments thread to Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth that parent and meterologist M.J. McDermott apparently made the video entirely on her own. Which prompted this reaction from Instructivist:

It's inspiring what a determined individual can accomplish. Great technology like the internet now magnifies such efforts thousand-fold and even million-fold if this video goes "viral."
We can all fervently hope that "Inconvenient Truth" will go viral, the sooner the better.

parent uprising (not)

How much political change one person can bring about, if any?

Good question.

I routinely get emails from parents telling me to hang it up. Routinely!

Your basic parent feels, reasonably, that absent a parent uprising Nothing Will Change.

I don't really have an argument for that.

Actually, it's worse than that; as far as I can tell even a parent uprising isn't a sure thing.

After all, 300 parents signed a petition rejecting the adoption of Math TRAILBLAZERS and what did they get for their efforts?

They were thanked for showing up at the Board meeting and participating in a positive discussion of the issue!

And then of course we had the parent uprising back in the winter of '05 concerning Ms. K and the 6th grade Phase 4 class, led by the then-president of the PTSA and a board member of the IEF.

These two women weren't your everyday ticked-off parents.


These were macher parents. Macher enough to organize and lead a parent uprising.

Which led directly to.....the subsequent tenuring of Ms. K and the decision to have last year's 6th graders taught by her two years in a row instead of just the one.

So.....parent uprisings.

Easily quelled here in Irvington, it seems.

Thank you for your ongoing cooperation and support!

wrong model

It suddenly struck me, writing this post, that parent uprisings might be the exact wrong way to effect political change inside a small school district.

A parent uprising is the exact wrong way because the administration holds all the power.

Parents hold none of the power.

So why would a parent uprising have any chance of succeeding?

All the administration has to do to put down a parent uprising is agree to a meeting, attend the meeting, thank everyone for the input he or she has provided at the meeting, and then go off and do whatever it was they were planning to do in the first place.


I've just stopped feeling guilty for not trying to organize a parent uprising.


Awhile back I emailed Barry asking whether he knew any good books on how to change your school district.

He didn't.

I figured that was a ludicrous request, but otoh being a writer I naturally think there's a good book on every subject, so there must be a good book on how to change your school district, too. Or at least a good book on how to change something like your school district.

Well, guess what.

There is a book on how to change something like your school district; there are a bunch of books.

John Hoven (pdf file) has a listmania!

He's got a wish list, too.

I've already bought some of the books.

While I'm at it I'm thinking I should probably read the new Counterinsurgency manual.

Maybe the Small Wars Manual, too.


Tex said...

We need to bring in the Marines!

Surge, anyone?

Tex said...

“I routinely get emails from parents telling me to hang it up. Routinely!”

Does this have the effect of strengthening your resolve?

The school has your diagnosis: Oppositional Defiant Disorder
“ . . . if your child's oppositional behaviors are persistent, have lasted at least six months and are clearly disruptive to the family and home or school environment, the issue may be oppositional defiant disorder.”

I’m starting to experience the same symptoms.

Catherine Johnson said...

Does this have the effect of strengthening your resolve?

It kinda eggs me on, yeah.

Catherine Johnson said...

This is where it pays being married to a historian.

I've been debriefing Ed on how insurgencies are fought.

It's actually incredibly interesting.

And relevant.