kitchen table math, the sequel: 6th Grade Math, Arts and Crafts Edition

## Thursday, October 8, 2009

### 6th Grade Math, Arts and Crafts Edition

Course 2 Math Project – Trimester 1
due Nov. 5

You will design and draw a simple blueprint for the house.

• House contains 5 rooms (kitchen, living room, bathroom, 2 bedrooms)
• Each room is labeled with its use
• On a separate sheet of paper, each room is listed with its correct area and perimeter (including feet or sq. feet)
• Room dimensions are appropriate for the given use
• Project is completed on quarter inch grid paper (1 sheet provided by teacher)
• A scale of ¼ inch = 1 foot is used
• Project is neat
• Project is turned in on time

• All requirements for a C are present, and
• Extras, such as color, furniture and appliances, fabric or paint swatches, additional rooms, etc. are included
-------------------------------------

Pre Algebra Course 3 Math Project – Trimester 1 due Nov. 5

Create a math dictionary that contains the following sections and terms:

Section 1: Number Systems
• Real numbers
• Irrational numbers
• Rational numbers
• Integers
• Whole numbers
• Natural (Counting) numbers

In this section include the term, its definition, and 3-5 examples.

Section 2: Rational Number Interpretations
• Part-Whole
• Division
• Measure
• Scalar
• Ratio

In this section include the term, its definition, and a word problem that represents the interpretation.

• All required terms, definitions, examples or word problems are present and correct
• Project is neat
• Project is turned in on time

• Everything required for a grade of C
• Extras, such as cover, color, illustrations that enhance text, etc.
--------------------

Redkudu said...

Students at my school did this same project last year - in the 10th grade.

CassyT said...

My advanced 3rd grade students did a floorplan project as an extension activity. First we created a basic floorplan of the classroom. When they'd completed that activity, they designed their dream bedroom. I modified a Math-Kitecture lesson - We didn't do the CAD part.

Cranberry said...

• Extras, such as color, furniture and appliances, fabric or paint swatches, additional rooms, etc. are included
• Extras, such as cover, color, illustrations that enhance text, etc."

I wonder if it ever strikes anyone that these grading criteria discriminate against boys? I know many girls who do such things as a matter of course. I also know many boys for whom it would be like pulling teeth. And, WHAT THE ---- DO THOSE EXTRAS HAVE TO DO WITH MATH?

Niels Henrik Abel said...

What Cranberry said.

That assignment is a pathetic waste of time - if your goal is to get the kids to learn math.

SteveH said...

Yup. Low expectations.

They just love house designs! Numbers, measurements, spatial relationships. Ooooooh, math. If they want real life, why don't they show them some zoning and building codes. Maybe they could discuss the variance process. That would make a great skit.

Add this to the projects of Popsicle stick design of truss bridges. That will surely motivate them to learn the calculus required to calculate shear and bending moment diagrams.

Math dictionary - ROTE LEARNING ALERT!!!!!

My son thought it was the funniest thing that I didn't know what natural numbers were.

Underlying all of this is an educational disconnect. It's the feeling I got back when my son was in first grade and we went to an open house for math. We parents sat in little chairs and were lectured by the first grade teacher about the glories of MathLand and the value of having kids explain why 2 + 2 = 4. You think she would feel ill-at-ease talking to some very well-trained people, but no.

Educational disconnect.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that the teacher at math night probably hates the curriculum and having to sell it to the community.

Fear of reprisal from administation is an excellent way to make otherwise intelligent adults stand in front of a room of other highly educated adults touting the glories of an expensive curriculum that was most likely purchased to further some assisstant sup't's merit pay goals.

-J

Cranberry said...

You're right, Anonymous, and I think most of the commenters here are aware of the pressures placed on teachers.

How can we change that, however? From the parent's viewpoint, the teacher is the person who assigns the projects, and then grades them. Good luck, as a parent, getting anything changed in public school. The only thing which seems to elicit change is when there's a fear of being sued, or a change might improve NCLB test scores. That's it.

Bill C said...

This is nothing new. My wife student taught 11th grade English at a large suburban HS near Minneapolis in 1993. They had a semester long project worth 150 points. 10 of those 150 points were awarded if the student used colored pencils, crayons or markers to decorate the outside of their manila folder, instead of pencil or blue/black pen. Their weekly essays in the folder had to be minimum 3 sentences long.

Lsquared said...

I have only two solutions to suggest: one is to take deep breaths, eat chocolate, and repeat to yourself the mantra: middle school grades affect nothing. (This is true in our district, I hope it is also true in yours)

The other is to homeschool for a few years and hope high school is better.

Molly said...

Middle school grades affect high school placement. And beyond the grades, the lack of actual teaching and learning in middle school handicaps kids and shuts them out of college majors and careers that require actual math skills and knowledge.

SteveH said...

"the teacher at math night probably hates the curriculum"

No. The teacher loved it. She was also qualified to teach math in the upper grades. She is now the principal of my son's school. We get along nicely and she knows of my concerns about ensuring mastery of the basics in the lower grades. In fact, she tells me that she has trouble making sure that some of the lower grade teachers do this. Now she loves Everyday Math, which says "trust the spiral". Go figure.

She's a very nice person. Things don't always fit into simple categories.

Everyone at KTM knows that many teachers are in difficult positions, but don't assume that I would want what teachers want only if I understood what is going on.

Now I know why I hated high school.

Katharine Beals said...

Middle school grades affect high school placement.
Absolutely. Here in the 5th largest city in the U.S., there are far too few public magnet high schools for the number of applicants, and most of the neighborhood alternatives are abysmal. Because of projects like these--which prevail throughout the best of our elementary and middle schools--the magnet high school school slots go disproportionately to those who are willing and able to fulfill (or who have parents who are willing, and able to help/make them fulfill) arts & crafts rubrics such as these.

CassyT said...

FYI- I didn't bother with swatches or color when I did the activity, just figuring area & perimeter, measuring, polygons, all 3rd grade skills. It was the only project I ever did in math.

Based on comments, it sounds like I should cut that out of any future teaching plans :)

Lisa said...

I so despise these assignments. Bad mom alert here, 13yo ds does all Sudoku extra credit assignments, 11yo dd does all 'artsy' projects. I demand they both actually learn how to do the actual math.

Doug Sundseth said...

"Keep in mind that the teacher at math night probably hates the curriculum and having to sell it to the community."

I'm sure that's true of some teachers. (Likewise, I'm sure that some telemarketers hate making cold calls.) Not my problem, though.

My problem is that the teacher is pushing an actively harmful product to a captive audience. The teacher has choices here; so do I. We will each make our choices, even if neither of us much likes the selection.

Ari said...

I can't believe you get a C because you didn't use fabric swatches. I have an idea: let's bring back home economics and leave the math alone.

ari-freedom

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, those middle school grades affect high school placement. The only thing that could change that fact might be the state test results.

I think the state test results kept my son pulled for gifted LA all through middle school. My guess is that if they didn't have the evidence in front of them, he would have been left back in the regular classroom.

At least in the gifted classroom the assignments were more interesting. Plus, the teacher felt an obligation to get them ready for honors English.

Unfortunately, a number of kids in the regular classroom were put into honors English and, according to my son, look like deer caught in the headlights with the introduction of grammar lessons from the writing text. Almost daily, his teacher has said something about how many of the kids appear to be seriously deficient in grammar, and that they need to get help, pronto.

Of course, if someone had taught them basic grammar in some sort of coherent way over the last few years, this part would be a no-brainer. I can't imagine what the non honors class looks like.

It was clear this week that the teacher had to abandon the textbook somewhat because he came home with an 8 parts of speech sheet the other day. The high school honors English teacher has to take time out to teach grade school and middle school grammar.

SusanS

This comment has been removed by the author.

Well, nearly every kid above the age of five is excellent at grammar. What I think you meant is that a lot of kids appear to be seriously deficient in grammar analysis. (Which also hurts proofreading.)

(Good grammar tends to be unconscious, by nature of the biological machinery involved.)

I wonder what happens if that part of English was just delegated to a high school linguistics class, while the rest of the English class could concentrate on writing arguments and analysing rhetoric and literature, etc.

Anonymous said...

"My problem is that the teacher is pushing an actively harmful product to a captive audience. The teacher has choices here; so do I. We will each make our choices, even if neither of us much likes the selection."

Doug-
I couldn't disagree more with your sentiment. As a representative of a hierarchical institution, the teacher is mandated to support the views of the administration. Anything less could be considered insubordination, which is one of the few easy ways(when compared to proving that a teacher isn't teaching) to remove a tenured teacher from his position.

Are you suggesting that teachers who don't agree with administrative mandates should quit in protest or create a hostile environment to reveal the inadequacies of the system?

Unfortunately economic realities do not allow these options. Unless the teacher is independently wealthy and has health insurance from an outside source, the job trumps philosophy.

On the other hand, choice exists when interacting as consumers of tax payer funded resources. A person can join a private pool if the town pool is crowded and dirty, hire a body guard if the police cannot provide enough attention, and purchase bottled water if the municipal supply is not up to standards. I'm sure you see where I'm going.

Many people complain about the high dollar and time costs of tutoring, afters chooling, and homeschooling. It shocks me that your economic concerns do not extend to classroom teachers.

Some teachers actively buy into the propaganda witnessed at this open house. The majority of my colleagues have opinions about the state of American education that parallel or exceed the points expressed at KTM.

I apologize if I misread your post, but couldn't figure out any choice to which you might have been referring.

-J

ChemProf said...

OK, J, but as a parent where does that leave us? Even if the teacher agrees with you, it isn't realistic to look to them for alliances on curriculum matters, since as you say they can't go up against the administration. Further, parents can't effectively take on the administration, since as we've discussed many times, administrators know they can wait out parents. What do you suggest parents do?

Honestly, the more time I spend at ktm, the more sure I am I will be homeschooling my daughter when the time comes!

Doug Sundseth said...

"Are you suggesting that teachers who don't agree with administrative mandates should quit in protest or create a hostile environment to reveal the inadequacies of the system?"

Those are certainly available choices for the teachers. They are not the only choices (less obvious subversion is another), but they are the obvious ones.

The fact that those choices are painful does not make that pain my problem, though. Lead, follow, or get out of the way. When you are doing harm, "I was just following orders" is not especially convincing.

PhysicistDave said...

J wrote:
> Are you suggesting that teachers who don't agree with administrative mandates should quit in protest or create a hostile environment to reveal the inadequacies of the system?
> Unfortunately economic realities do not allow these options. Unless the teacher is independently wealthy and has health insurance from an outside source, the job trumps philosophy.

J, teachers are college-educated people who are qualified to hold many white-collar jobs

A number of the best teachers at my own high school (almost forty years ago, so it was better than most current schools) quit within a few years after I graduated, for various reasons, and went on to other careers: one as a realtor, one as co-owner of an art gallery, one into the early computer industry, etc.

I realize that it might be impractical to give notice immediately when a teacher realizes what a mess the school is, but it is not unreasonable to start planning for an exit, and then make a well-planned transition.

I myself left the academic world for industry because of corruption in academic physics.

On one occasion, working in the defense industry, I was ordered to produce a fraudulent document justifying some shoddy work one of our sub-contractors had done.

So, I quit, rather than engage in fraud.

Yes, people do have a moral obligation not to be a part of gross corruption, and it is not that hard for college-educated people to find a new white-collar job.

Dave

SteveH said...

"The majority of my colleagues have opinions about the state of American education that parallel or exceed the points expressed at KTM."

"Majority"? "Exceed"? That's not what I see. I'm not sure how graduates of ed schools magically get to that point. Perhaps it comes with experience, but I've seen it both ways, and it's not a majority by any means.

I've never quite understood this. Some teachers seemed bound and determined to get people on their side against horrible administrations. I'm sure there are lots of good examples, but these administrators come from the same source; ed schools. So, do only certain educators go into administration work - not the "majority"?

Is this really more about control rather than content? Teachers seem to think that they should be given much more freedom in the classroom, perhaps based on really horrible examples of what administrations do. But, is the problem content and methodology, or just the fact that they are told what to do?

At our schools, the principal is getting a lot of push-back from lower grade teachers about ensuring mastery of the basics in math. They love full inclusion (so does the school) but these teachers have very low expectations. The job doesn't get done for many able kids.

Everyone at KTM knows that many teachers are in very difficult positions, but the problems of education are not defined by individual teacher problems. It may be horrible what some administrations do, but is the solution to somehow get rid of administrations and turn control over to teachers. If so, then explain what a proper solution or model of this would be. Don't expect a lot of support for a teacher-centered or non-hierarchical aproach.

If you are just fishing for sympathy, you have mine, but now what? You seem to be implying a lot more.

Anonymous said...

Not sympathy as much as a different tone on the attack.

Personally I think the easiest fixes for American education are structural.
I would love to see:

1) a return to leveled classes. The homogeneous classroom does a disservice to all students by targeting instruction to the middle. Weak kids gets socially promoted and advanced kids are bored out of their minds.

2) Get rid of senior year and freshman year at the university level. Those two years should be spent at community college. The community college would teach the general ed requirements and could work with the high schools to create a curriculum that meets the needs of all students.

3) After community college the students who choose to get bachelors degrees move on to university and those who have intention of furthering their schooling will attend trade schools or get apprenticeships. I think the one destination fits all goal has done more to hurt our education system than any curricular or pedagogical movement.

4) Blow up the education schools (mostly kidding). Get rid of education as a major. Require teachers to major in a content and offer psychology, management, assessment, etc. as a practical minor field of study.

5) Make graduate work rigorous and content specific. I got my second masters to increase my income. Guess what I learned? Nothing more than I learned getting my first graduate degree (which was minimal at best). I hate to sound elitist, but if we weed out the people who teach because they love kids or because their mothers were teachers the field would be that much stronger.

At present, the easiest fix is to carefully choose mandates and curricular changes and run them for a few years. In my experience I've seen 4-5 incredible shifts in what and how I am expected to teach over the last eleven years. Nothing gets done because everything is always changing.

My other idea is to make the school board president an actual municipal job. The president would still be elected and serve a term, but the job would be require more over site of the district. This would also eliminate the need for 4-5 assistant superintendents (which is more than overkill in small suburban districts).

I think it takes the average teacher about 4-7 years to realize the smoke and mirrors at play in a school. The first three years are spent getting tenure. The next year is spent figuring out how many of your current practices are solely about brown nosing and party line flag waving. Somewhere in the next two years, usually after you've seen two or three swings in administration and curriculum, the moment hits when the you realize the actual education of students seems to be a secondary goal.

Lastly- The teachers who go into administration typically make this decision earlier in their careers. Some never figure out the flaws of the system because they left the classroom too early, some abuse their authority and micromanage to make up for whatever shortcomings they think they have to hide, and some are just plain stupid.

Competent, thoughtful, and fair administrators are more valuable than a dozen award winning teachers. Inept, short sighted, and petty administrators can spoil an entire school of good teachers.

Sorry that this long and somewhat meandering. I wanted to respond to some of SteveH's questions before I left for the afternoon.

Enjoy the three weekend. I know I will :)

-J

PhysicistDave said...

J,

I certainly agree with most of your recommendations. I particularly like your point:
>3) After community college the students who choose to get bachelors degrees move on to university and those who have intention of furthering their schooling will attend trade schools or get apprenticeships. I think the one destination fits all goal has done more to hurt our education system than any curricular or pedagogical movement.

I actually think, in an ideal world, that most kids could benefit from a true liberal education at t a true university. But, most kids today are not prepared for that, and most of them do not want it.

And, ktm’s emphasis on K-12 sometimes causes us to forget that US universities also have some very serious problems: extraordinarily poor teaching, lack of curricular structure, unmotivated students, etc. (not to mention absolutely insane costs!).

Of course, a bright, highly motivated kid going to Harvard, Stanford, etc. can learn a *huge* amount, but I have known some bright, not-terribly-motivated kids who went to Harvard and Stanford and did not learn all that much. (Wasn’t it in “Good Will Hunting” where it was pointed out that a bright, motivated kid could acquire an excellent education with access to a good public library and time to study what the library had?)

Without rejecting your reforms, I’d suggest there are two more fundamental problems with US education:

1. The economic incentive structure stinks. The money needs to be controlled by the parents so as to cause serious competition in the education industry.

2. The larger culture does not value learning. Thankfully, some kids really do want to learn, but they are very lucky if their parents share that value; and the schools, the pop culture, the politicians, etc. simply find the idea of learning as a value in and of itself to be utterly alien.

I have no magic cure to solve those problems: I’m skeptical, for example, that vouchers will solve problem number 1.

Having married in to a Chinese immigrant family, I can testify that problem number 2 is not a universal human trait: the current culture of antipathy to learning in the USA is not inevitable among human beings.

Dave

I always felt it depended on what kind of Chinese family. My current perception of many PRC exchange students tend to be that of soulless apathetic, intellectually-dispassionate students only out to get a good career. (Thank the post-Tiananmen education system for this.) On the other hand, members of the Chinese diaspora (in my experience) tend to highly value intellectual liberty, freedom, etc. and also make better conversation (I'm not talking about English skills.)

Also, what about kids with tons of AP credit? I came in with 43 advanced standing credits (dual enrollment + AP) and I would have utterly hated to spend my first year in community college. And my precious last year?! What about research? Do community colleges have NMR spectroscopy machines or atomic force microscopes?

PhysicistDave said...

> I always felt it depended on what kind of Chinese family. My current perception of many PRC exchange students tend to be that of soulless apathetic, intellectually-dispassionate students only out to get a good career. (Thank the post-Tiananmen education system for this.) On the other hand, members of the Chinese diaspora (in my experience) tend to highly value intellectual liberty, freedom, etc. and also make better conversation (I'm not talking about English skills.)

My experience with my wife’s family tends to be with people who came to the States well over ten years ago (both Taiwan and PRC), so the situation in the PRC may indeed be different today. At any rate, that strengthens my point that cultural opposition to true education is not inevitable: these things ebb and flow over time.

lrg also wrote:
>Also, what about kids with tons of AP credit? I came in with 43 advanced standing credits (dual enrollment + AP) and I would have utterly hated to spend my first year in community college. And my precious last year?! What about research? Do community colleges have NMR spectroscopy machines or atomic force microscopes?

Yeah. I think the central point, which “J” did allude to, is that any one-size-fits-all system is not good; even a two-or-three-sizes-fit-all system is not good.

People are just different from each other – they’re individuals. Wal-Mart, Sears, etc. are pretty good at recognizing that: if you have short arms but huge feet, you can buy small shirts and large shoes.

Our education system is very bad at recognizing that. That’s why we ourselves are homeschooling and why we will be looking for a university that is flexible about letting our kids “quiz out” where appropriate, etc.

My wife and I went to Caltech, and, while it has its problems (generally poor teaching, lack of support structure for students, very strange student life), it was *very* good at letting you quiz out of a course if you could legitimately prove you had already mastered the material. There was also an expectation of undergrads working on research projects up to whatever their ability level was.

So, it is possible to have a system which deals well with variations among students: unfortunately, this violates the rather strange form of egalitarianism that so many Americans adhere to (I hear the French are “egalitarian,” but not in this way).

By the way, where did you go for college? You seem to imply that your school was flexible in the desired way.

Dave

Doug Sundseth said...

J, my problem is not a general disagreement with you; I broadly agree with your recommendations and with the additional recommendations of PhysicistDave.

Rather, I have no time for "Poor, pitiful me" and "It's not really my fault" from teachers. Teachers claim to be professionals*; no other profession that I can think of would accept this sort of behavior:

> If a civil engineer is told by his boss that he needs to build a bridge with too small a safety margin for load, it is his responsibility to refuse, even if that results in his termination.

> If a scientist is told by his boss that he must fake experiment results to make his university look better, it is his responsibility to refuse.

> If a Doctor is told that he cannot recommend some procedure for cost reasons, it is is responsibility to refuse.

If a teacher is a professional, it is his responsibility to refuse to commit professional malpractice.

* An old issue here, of course.

Anonymous said...

>>If a teacher is a professional, it is his responsibility to refuse to commit professional malpractice.

Unless, of course, you want to keep your job and your paycheck.

Or, find another career...

Former Public School Teacher and Evil Math Teacher

It's funny, cuz there are many ways to dissent without losing your position

SteveH said...

"Not sympathy as much as a different tone on the attack."

Tell me exactly what caveat I should include with all of my comments. Surely it won't be that the majority teachers have opinions about the state of American education that parallel or exceed the points expressed at KTM. That just isn't true. Those teachers as few and far between, and apparently, there is nothing they can or will do about the situation. My tone could easily take a much harder line.

In fact, my original comment was about how very few K-8 teachers I've met had any knowledge or interest in the type of education discussed at KTM. There is an educational disconnect. That's exactly what I wanted to say.

This is NOT just an administration or hierarchical organization problem. It has more to do with your number 4); "Get rid of education as a major." This is where the educational disconnect comes from, especially for K-6 teachers. They don't know or value content and skills. They don't have the education to understand. This is very clear to see in math.

When a teacher gets up in front of the room at an open house, I don't look at him/her as an independent teacher, but as "the school". Whenever I go to school-parent meetings, both teachers and administrators try very hard to hide all of the the dirty laundry that goes on behind the wall. At times on KTM, however, I'm twitted about not making some sort of distinction between teachers and administrators. The implication is usually that it's a problem with the administration and not teachers. I don't believe that.

With experience, teachers might figure out lots of things about how to play the game, but I don't see many figure out the things we talk about at KTM. My goal is not necessarily to make life easier for teachers. It's to try and fix the system, or better yet, let kids and parents find a better system.

ChemProf said...

"2) Get rid of senior year and freshman year at the university level. Those two years should be spent at community college. The community college would teach the general ed requirements and could work with the high schools to create a curriculum that meets the needs of all students."

I'm going to assume here you mean sophomore and freshman year. For big state schools, there is an argument for this since most first year courses are taught by under-trained grad students, and I say this as a former under-trained grad student who was handed 25 students to teach my first semester at grad school. However, for many other schools, especially engineering schools and liberal arts colleges, this wouldn't work well. Of course, they could just opt out of your system, but that becomes difficult if community college is the normal path.

I've worked with a lot of transfer students over the years -- for a small private college, we have a large transfer population -- and there are three issues here that are not so simple.

First, just as high schools vary a lot in what they call an AP course, community colleges vary a lot in their basic courses. One class labeled "General Chemistry" or "Calculus I" may be much more basic than another, but we have to give college credit regardless. A lot of our transfers really struggle in upper division work, since they never really did lower division work.

Second, for the advanced student with lots of AP, this approach is a waste of time (as lrg and Dave note) -- they should be getting into some upper division work in their first or second semester of college. This may be a small number of students, but they shouldn't be shortchanged. At a minimum, they should be allowed to take honors versions of the basic courses, and community colleges aren't set up to offer such classes.

Third, this suggestion also assumes that there is good advising in the community colleges. I can't tell you how many students I've worked with who finished Gen Ed, but had no basic science coursework and wanted to finish a science degree in two years, starting with General Chemistry. They get very frustrated when they find out that the degree they want is out of reach unless they can afford a third year. This is mostly an issue for technical, hierarchical fields, but since many of us at KTM are interested in students who choose those fields, it isn't a small problem.

Anonymous said...

"Get rid of senior year and freshman year at the university level."

Maybe I misunderstood, but I had interpreted this to mean getting rid of the senior year of high school and the freshman year of university.

Sort of akin to some students leaving school after the equivalent of the UK "O-level", and some students going on to do "A-level" work.

Doug Sundseth said...

>>If a teacher is a professional, it is his responsibility to refuse to commit professional malpractice.

>Unless, of course, you want to keep your job and your paycheck.

>Or, find another career...

No. It is still his responsibility to refuse to commit professional malpractice, just as it is the responsibility of a doctor or lawyer to avoid malpractice, regardless of consequences.

The fact that the teacher refuses to accept that responsibility does not mean it does not exist or that the teacher is culpable for the malpractice. Cowardice is no excuse.

No. It is still his responsibility to refuse to commit professional malpractice, just as it is the responsibility of a doctor or lawyer to avoid malpractice, regardless of consequences.

Oh come now. Are you seriously maintaining that elementary teaching is a profession like law or medicine? That beggars belief.

I addressed that issue (with some supporting essays from respected people) in the comment section here

Teachers certainly have some ethical constraints, but they are not in a position to commit "professional malpractice," because the non-"profession" does not have agreed-upon standards of content knowledge, practical skills, responsibilities for outcomes, and on and on.

Hainish said...

these administrators come from the same source; ed schools. So, do only certain educators go into administration work - not the "majority"?

Yes, I think so. I think they have a different personality profile and set of competencies, and operate under a different set of incentives.

Doug Sundseth said...

I agree that teachers are not professionals, hence my note in my first comment in this thread and similar comments hear over the last several years. But teachers make such claims regularly (often in conjunction with claims that, as professionals they are underpaid). Given that they wish to claim the perquisites of professionals, they are equitably estopped from claiming that they are not subject to the responsibilities of professionals.

PhysicistDave said...

>Teachers certainly have some ethical constraints, but they are not in a position to commit "professional malpractice," because the non-"profession" does not have agreed-upon standards of content knowledge, practical skills, responsibilities for outcomes, and on and on.

I think that is a distinction without a difference.

Even garbage collectors have an obligation not to lie to their customers, commit fraud or participate in fraudulent activity, etc.

I mentioned above an occasion where I quit an engineering job rather than commit fraud as my superiors ordered me to.

Engineering is not a “profession” in the sense that medicine or law is: you’re not licensed; there is no equivalent to the medical malpractice board; etc. And my own Ph.D. is not in engineering but in physics.

Nonetheless, it was clear to me that I had a “professional” (and moral and legal) obligation not to commit fraud when my superiors ordered me to.

Surely, the same rationale applies to teachers.

Dave

PhysicistDave said...

I should probably add that there is indeed (or was back then) such a thing as a “licensed professional engineer,” but neither I nor any of my co-workers were licensed. At least in the field of electronic engineering, almost no one is, and there is no legal requirement to be licensed in order to “practice” electronic engineering.

Dave

SteveH said...

"I think they have a different personality profile and set of competencies, and operate under a different set of incentives."

This is true for those who go into management in any industry, but what is so different in the education world? What are the implications?

Dilbert is great in showing this difference, but the regular employees don't come off looking so good in their own way. Your implication here is that management is bad, but workers are good. However, I don't want to see teachers doing what they want. I also don't want to see some sort of teacher collaborative that determines curricula and teaching methodology. Actually, teachers at our school provide a lot of input, but we still have full inclusion classes, low expectations, Everyday Math, and coloring.

Who gets to decide in education might be an interesting discussion, but if it is based on the idea that management is incapable of doing the job correctly or that they have the wrong incentives, then that argument needs much more justification. And don't forget the input of parents. It's well past the stage where you can get away with asking parents just to trust the teachers.

SteveH said...