kitchen table math, the sequel: 5/20/12 - 5/27/12

Saturday, May 26, 2012

4 is not 2

Needless to say, my district has been embroiled in budget misery and strife for lo these past four years: ever since the crash of 2008.

(Horrifying that I feel compelled to write "crash of 2008." As if it's in the past, which it ... isn't.)

Anyway, the budget.

Every year since the crash, come January, when budget season begins, the district blows up. Without fail. For the next four months we stagger through a war of all against all until May, when we vote on the budget, and the budget passes. Then we do the same thing again the next year, and it doesn't get better; it gets worse. This year's vote was May 15, and I'm still recovering.

After the vote, calm returns and the summer comes, then the fall, then Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas -- and then bam! January is here again, and Oh no! Cuts! Layoffs! Oh no! 

Of course everyone is expecting (and dreading) the news, but then, too, everyone is surprised and aghast, and the town convulses.

Why do we have to keep doing this?

I mean, I know why we have to keep doing this (because 4 is not 2), but why do we have to keep being surprised and bushwhacked each January when we find out which beloved young new teacher/guidance counselor will be saying goodbye this year?

Why can't we at least develop a clear picture of what the problem is, show it to everyone, let the truth sink in, and then go from there? With a shared understanding of reality (that being: 4 is not 2) if not a shared agreement on the solution.

Seeing as how nothing so informational seems likely to emerge from the administration or school board, I've decided to take matters into my own hands.

Get the party started.

free GOTV for parents

gasstation reminded me of an issue we've just discovered in my town: free GOTV for parents, but not for anyone else.

Must fill you in on the Workshop for superintendents and BOE members on how to pass the budget.

Needless to say, it involved free GOTV for parents.

charts and graphs

I have mastered Excel!

Sort of.

Friday, May 25, 2012

New winner in worst math program ever

I try not to post judgments that sound hyperbolic. It makes me sound less measured, less reasonable, less reliable. But in this case, I'm making an exception.

ST Math is a math software/curriculum company that has a demo showing their unique "spatial temporal" approach to teaching algebra readiness. It looks like it is trying to build off the old PLATO programs from the 60s and the 70s--a tool like LOGO to help students play games that teach them concepts, they say.

It is the worst program I have ever seen.

Their opening slideshow explains that they will

"introduce math concepts without the use of language, numbers or symbols"

Here's the demo. see for yourself.

The examples are utterly counter intuitive and horribly ambiguous. They've failed to understand how their pictures could be interpreted in ways they did not foresee. Their examples teach students that algebra is a rigged game, where teachers tell you the right answers based on arbitrary hidden rules.

I only mention this because I already know a school that has adopted this program for next year.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

still here

I have to stop doing school board elections.


Back tomorrow!