kitchen table math, the sequel: a rose by any other name

Monday, February 23, 2009

a rose by any other name

renaming NCLB at eduwonk

I'm particularly keen on Amy:

How about the Hire Teachers Who Know A Goddamned Thing Or Two Besides Pedagogy and Hoopjumping Act (HTWKAGTOTWPHA)? No?

OK, how about the Cry As China Leaves Us In the Dust Act? (CACLUDS?)

Maybe the Remedial Bachelor’s Degree Act.

Or the Never Come Near My Child With A Calculator Again Act.

As the parent of a kindergartner, I’m more & more in favor of the Hand Over the Per-Cap Money to the Parents So We Can Educate Them Act. Yes, i know NCLB gets there eventually, but it takes too goddamned long.


Amy doesn't seem to have had much of a honeymoon period with the public schools, now, does she? It took me 7 years to reach the Hand Over the Per-Cap Money frame of mind.

Crimson Avenger has a good one, too.


SteveH said...

This is "Race Week" at my son's middle school (actually just for 7th and 8th grades). All classes will thematically deal with the Volvo Ocean Race and, in particular, Open 70 class sailboats. This is day one. My son told me that in math class, they had to convert the lengths of the race legs in nautical miles to statute miles (multiply by 1.15). In Language Arts, they have to pick a crew-person and make a baseball card-like representation. My son picked the navigator on "Puma". They are going to collect all of these things and put them into a portfolio (scrapbook) in art class.

The argument isn't about direct instruction versus discovery learning, it's about good education versus bad education. It's about high expectations versus low expectations. Discussing pedagogy or how the brain works only lends credibility where none is warranted.

The math teacher could have, at the very least, talked about dimensional analysis and had them convert knots to furlongs per fortnight. Or, the teacher could have emphasized that to get an egineering degree as a naval architect, you need to take many math courses beyond calculus.

No math, no degree.

Thematic and discovery learning are just excuses for low expectations.

Oh yes. They might get a field trip to see the boats when they finish the leg to Boston.

Catherine Johnson said...

Our high school is about to be reformed, now that K-5 is finished & the middle school model is underway.

Preview of coming attractions:

[W]e have put a concerted effort into making DI a more systemic, integrated part of every teacher’s instructional approach by several means:


Establishing teacher connections with teacher/learner facilitator J.D., who is our “resident guru” in DI. [E]arlier this fall she worked with one English teacher on a lesson involving stations chosen by students; as part of an introduction to a play, they could either write a scene, construct a collage, write a mock interview of the playwright, or do a character analysis.

Catherine Johnson said...

Here's my question: suppose your child decides he has a visual learning style.

And suppose the teacher agrees, which I'm pretty sure she will.

Do you, the parent-slash-taxpayer-slash-hirer-of-SAT-tutors, have a veto?

Can you, the parent-slash-taxpayer-slash-hirer-of-SAT-tutors, inform your child, his teacher, and his building principal that a collage is out of the question?

SteveH said...

I found it.

They call it "Race Around the World - Learning at the Extreme".

One of the things my son can do for Language Arts is to create a "Sailor Coat of Arms" or a cartoon strip.

Incredibly enough, one of the sponsors is a local private K-8 school with a fancy reputation.

If this is learning at the extreme, then I don't want them anywhere near my son. Unfortunately, these people are in all types of schools.

Molly said...

Can you, the parent-slash-taxpayer-slash-hirer-of-SAT-tutors, inform your child, his teacher, and his building principal that a collage is out of the question?

I certainly have. I've lost count of the number of assignments my children have been given in which they had the option of creating a diorama or poster or word search puzzle to demonstrate their knowledge. I have always informed them that while other children may have those options, they will be writing a report or essay. No doubt their teachers believe they lack all creativity, but they can organize their thoughts, present a coherent argument and use grammatically correct standard written English.