kitchen table math, the sequel: 10/3/10 - 10/10/10

Saturday, October 9, 2010

party on

"University administrators are the equivalent of subprime mortgage brokers," he says, "selling you a story that you should go into debt massively, that it's not a consumption decision, it's an investment decision. Actually, no, it's a bad consumption decision. Most colleges are four-year parties."

Technology = Salvation

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

slippery slope

…[I]f once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing; and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination. Once begin upon this downward path, you never know where you are to stop. Many a man has dated his ruin from some murder or other that perhaps he thought little of at the time.

Thomas De Quincey, "Second Paper on Murder"
via Fallacy Files

let's not and say we did

In Michigan’s Wayne County, prosecutor Kym Worthy plans to meet this month with the Detroit City Council to discuss an ordinance she’s proposing to require parents to attend conferences. The most severe penalty would be three days in jail. It troubles her when she hears of Detroit schools that have 300 students, and just two parents will show up for conferences. A lack of parental involvement often leads to truancy, which leads to crime, says Ms. Worthy. She knows her proposal may be challenged by civil libertarians, “but at least we’ll get the conversation started.”

How Would You Grade Parent-Teacher Conferences
by Jeffrey Zaslow
Wall Street Journal
October 6, 2010, 9:40 AM ET
That's going to be one short conversation.

Number one: yes, indeed, civil libertarians are going to object. Strenuously.

Number two: do they teach logic in law school?

Number three: perhaps prosecutor Kym Worthy should ask teachers whether they want parents showing up for parent-teacher meetings on pain of arrest and incarceration.

And that pretty much covers it.


let's not and say we did
let's not and say we did, part 2
let's not and say we did, part 3

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Now that my son is in high school and getting real grades (not vague 1-5 and 6-10 rubric scores), I'm much happier. On top of that, I get to check all of his grades online at iParent. The high school apparently laid down the law and told teachers to get the grades uploaded as soon as possible. In fact, there were a couple of times when I knew his test scores before he did. This is quite different from middle school where I never saw a lot of work, let alone the grades. The weightings are all there and the current grade is given.

I expected grading in high school would be better defined and defendable, what with the importance of GPAs. At the open house last week, almost all of the teachers talked about grading and how grading in the different classes are coordinated. In math, they decided to reduce the weighting of math homework to just 5% because they felt that too many were using homework to pull out a passing grade. There is a sense that they really spend time on the issue. I never felt that way in K-8. It now seems like many more parents and kids are paying attention.

are we having fun yet?

Two memories of this math controversy in SCASD never fail to make me chuckle when I think back on them.  The first was a comment posted on the CDT site after the Ed Mahon wrote his first article on the subject, entitled “The Great Math Debate”.  The commenter wrote, “If you say ‘math debate’ over and over again, it sounds kind of funny.”

The second one happened at a math information session for parents last spring.  The district curriculum staff were telling the parents how much fun Investigations was for their children, and a parent raised his hand and said, “You know, it’s okay if my kids don’t have so much fun if they learn some more math.  They have plenty of fun at home.”

Parents for Quality Math Education