kitchen table math, the sequel: A model school's selling points: everything but the math

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A model school's selling points: everything but the math

(Cross-posted at Out In Left Field)

A year of activities: Spelling Bee | Talent Shoe | Musical | Science Fair | Fall Festival | 100 Days | Opera Company | Reading Buddies | Spring Concert | Valentine's Dance

So goes the text along the margin of the glossy school newsletter that came home yesterday on the last day of school--along with color photographs of smiling students and staff, and articles about the school and the community.

You'd never know that one of the school's activities was the Continental Math League club, run by yours truly and another parent volunteer, and attended 1 1/2 hours a week from October to March by 20 eager 2nd and 3rd graders.

Especially since, despite the principal's earlier assurances, the information sheet about next year's Continental Math League club (and ways to practice for it over the summer) somehow didn't accompany the above newsletter into students' backpacks.

Concerned that this might happen, I had sent said principal an email reminder the day before the last day. Then, when I bumped into her on the morning of the last day, I'd asked her about the email.

"I deleted it," she said, a big grin on her face.

I guess she's happy it's summer vacation.


For those who are interested in ways to polish up their math skills for Continental Math League, or for any other reason, here's what I spent several hours compiling for students at our school. Perhaps other schools and other principals will find this more worthwhile than ours did:



Steve said...

I don't know what I'll do when my kids get older and have summer vacations. There a lot of good and interesting DVDs out there on science and mathematics.

I remember the old PBS shows when I was I kid - I loved to watch those during summer vacation... also a lot of junk TV :|

Anonymous said...

I've commented before that folks in the burbs need to really get out more. It's the cities that drive politicians. I'm not talking about your local school board. I'm talking about the ones at the state level, the panderers who exchange snake oil for votes.

These are the guys and gals who appoint the prophets who devise state standards, golf with publishers, nix school choice, administer recovery programs for failing schools, and generally drive education for all.

Everyday math, CMP, Investigations,etc. are all attempts to contextualize, soften, and make accessible, programs for the most highly challenged kids. They were designed by and for the bleeding heart.

If you're in the burbs and your town takes money from the state, then you are dancing with the devil and he is not your advocate or friend. He is a creature of the lowest common denominator. He is not worried about AP programs, prodigies, or the top quintile.

He is worried about the lowest quintile because he too has a master, the federal education establishment, and they too see the value in panderfest '09.

Anonymous said...

Yikes! The previous post was meant for "Not as Good As You Think".

Accept my apologies please. Can it be moved?

I guess this proves I'm not as good as I think. Or maybe it's time to quit before I do something even dumber.

Catherine Johnson said...

Paul - I'll get it moved.

Actually, you could do that, too - I think.

You'd just cut and paste into the right window, then delete this comment.

Catherine Johnson said...

"I deleted it"?


Catherine Johnson said...

Yes, this principal has the power to roll over parents, students, and math.

But rolling over parents, students, and math isn't a smart thing to do. What goes around comes around.

Anonymous said...

Was there ever an explanation as to why it was left out?

I noticed our school really played down the academic successes like Science Olympiad, chess competitions, and for the last two years--Mathcounts.

I mentioned it several times, along with other parents, and it looks like now they are making a bigger deal out of it.

But, why would they play it down to begin with? The school plays, chorus, and athletics don't get played down.


Anonymous said...

They play it down because the schools are full of adults, both teachers and administrators, who are more interested in the proper attitudes and methods than they are in serious academics. Teaching academics means that teachers must have real content knowledge and the outcomes will also vary according to the ability and application of the students. It is therefore much harder to pretend that all are equally able and dedicated.