kitchen table math, the sequel: "Sit and get"

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"Sit and get"

I actually hadn't heard that one. (Well, I think I had, but I'd forgotten....)

So we've got:

Sit and get
Drill and kill
Talk and chalk
Guide on the side

Did traditional teachers have slogans about the badness of student-centered classrooms?

I don't think they did.

72 comments:

C T said...

No, traditional teachers just spanked, expelled from the room, stuck a kid in a corner, or publicly embarrassed him when the kid wouldn't pay attention.
Mostly lacking any real penalties for misbehavior in recent years (there might be disparate treatment!), we needed new ways to get children to actually pay attention. Just talking at the chalkboard wasn't enough. Hence the drive to get kids "actively" learning.
But the project-based learning, as has been often discussed here, is quite inefficient and can often lead to mis-teaching. The bright students, of whatever race and economic level, who pay attention deserve classrooms where they are taught correctly and efficiently and free from disruptive influences. I'll back any reform that allows for such classrooms.

Michael Goldenberg said...

Further, how would teachers who never heard of or considered any other sort of classroom develop slogans about such classrooms? Only those of us who experienced the traditional approach and saw that it was wanting would have motivation for summarizing in a few words what it was, with the implication of what was wrong with it implicit in those words. I guess you can call those "slogans," but I think that's being overly polite.

On the other hand, no one awake in the 1990s who was interested in mathematics education is likely to have missed all the demeaning and dismissive slogans that groups like Mathematically Correct and NYC-HOLD came up with in regards to "reform" math education. Indeed, the old 2+2=4 website of Mathematically Correct had an entire page of such epithets, as I believe you know perfectly well.

SteveH said...

"experienced the traditional approach and saw that it was wanting "

... and came to the completely wrong conclusion.

" no one awake in the 1990s who was interested in mathematics education is likely to have missed all the demeaning and dismissive slogans that groups like Mathematically Correct and NYC-HOLD came up with in regards to "reform" math education."

But they were entirely correct considering curricula like MathLand, which was so bad that it disappeared with nobody claiming responsibility for it only to be replaced by curricula like Everyday Math that tells teachers to "trust the spiral" and allows kids to get to fifth grade without knowing the times table. And now we have CCSS implementations like PARCC which officially declare that K-6 is a NO-STEM zone and their top level ("distinguished") only means that students are likely to pass a college algebra course - all the while talking about "problem solving" and "understanding" as if they've figured out some royal road to math. All of this just means that only affluent or educated parents have a chance to prepare their kids for a STEM career. Is that "polite?" My "math brain" son had to have a lot of help at home from his parents to survive math in K-6 math and now his schools claim that he is an exemplar of Everyday math. Nobody asked his parents. They are not interested in the truth.

The problem is that parents and students have no choice in the matter. It's not like future teachers in ed school all "discover" this sort of educational philosophy. No. They are directly taught the pedagogy by rote. It now defines their turf, which isn't about mastery of anything close to STEM-level content and skills in K-6 math.

All of this would be a non-issue if people had choice. Is it "polite" to force all students to accept one approach to math?" It wasn't very polite many of the comments made to my wife and I about education. They were specifically designed to get us to go away. They were personally demeaning.

Your attempt to position modern reform math as unappreciated and repressed by others is a complete failure. This has never been just a war of slogans. There have been very many specific arguments against the math curricula in schools, but they have been ignored. Schools can do whatever they want. Is that "polite?"

Michael Goldenberg said...

Steve, I'm not going to play your silly games. You either acknowledge that your side has played dirty pool in the Math Wars since day 1 or you can lie. And you can rationalize the dirty tricks by claiming to be on the side of the angels, but it's bilge. Lots of very creative arguments against progressive mathematics education, but very little in the way of reason. Reasonable people don't take the position that an entire profession is insane and stupid and incompetent. And if they do, they don't pretend that the folks on the other end of the debate are just being recalcitrant in not rolling over and giving up. There are far too many young mathematics teachers out there who aren't going to ignore the ideas of the last 25 years just because you want it to be that way, have issues with a curriculum that I've never seen nor advocated for, that most of those young teachers have never heard of, and which has been a whipping boy for some California-based opponents of reform math, rightly or not, and then somehow supposed to be identical to every single other textbook or idea about math teaching in K-12 throughout the globe.

I'm sure that thoroughly flies with your like-minded friends here. And I'm sure that internationally, most people interested in these issues will shake their heads and wonder what gives some Americans the bizarre idea that mathematics education <=> math textbooks. Keep fighting 20th century Math Wars against out of print textbooks. Here in the 21st century, many mathematics teachers recognize the limitations of textbooks as sole or even primary tools for teaching and learning math, particularly in K-12.

You really do seem obsessed with a host of wrongs done to you by people I don't know and can't possibly speak with to get their side. I could, of course, cite many stories of how folks from your side of the Math Wars have tried to intentionally bring personal and professional harm to me and people I know and respect. The thing is, I don't allow those wrongs to impact my work. They're in the past and I have continued to move forward with what I do. If you need to invest more time whining about how abused you were, that's your prerogative, but it really isn't relevant to me or the work I do today. I don't put up with teachers or administrators abusing parents. But I don't put up with parents abusing teachers and other professionals, either. Respect is a two-way street, and from what I saw for many years from Mathematically Correct and NYC-HOLD, there was a fundamental self-righteousness and viciousness that almost entirely negated any chance that I could empathize with them. And that was what I was getting at in mentioning the web page filled with demeaning, distorting, and outright nasty epithets some of those people posted publicly in an attempt to degrade many fine teachers and professors. I believe your side started the dirty tricks and character assassination. And you're still doing it today. Acting shocked that someone might come up with a few terms or phrases to fight back is disingenuousness to the nth power.

SteveH said...

First you talk about slogans and now "tricks."

Which side has the power to play "tricks" on everyone?

"Lots of very creative arguments against progressive mathematics education, but very little in the way of reason."

My goal over the years has never been to get you to change your views. It has been to let parents know that they are not crazy when schools tell them they are wrong - when K-6 schools institutionalize low, non-STEM expectations that get covered up with silly talk of problem solving and understanding. THAT is "dirty pool." Do you think it's OK that kids from affluent homes get a better chance for a STEM career? K-6 is now a non-STEM territory by definition.

"There are far too many young mathematics teachers out there who aren't going to ignore the ideas of the last 25 years just because you want it to be that way,.."

Anybody can have their own opinion, but I expect choice or something other than non-working differentiated instruction in K-6. People who complain about reform math are not playing the "tricks" of forcing their views on others. Modern educators claim that they care about mastery of skills, but it doesn't happen. They are told to "trust the spiral." That is specifically part of the Everyday Math curriculum.


"Here in the 21st century, many mathematics teachers recognize the limitations of textbooks as sole or even primary tools for teaching and learning math, particularly in K-12."

Why doesn't that apply to the high school math classes that actually teach real math and properly prepare students for STEM careers? My son's high school years were filled with those textbooks. Actually, they started in 7th grade with a proper Glencoe textbook called simply "Pre-Algebra." It replaced the silly and low expectation CMP series that only covered pseudo-algebra and did not prepare anyone for the advanced math classes in high school. Common sense returned when parents pushed and our state required those teachers to be certified in math.

"Respect is a two-way street..."

You can't speak for your profession, but you paint all opponents with the same broad brush. Again, who has the power and control here? You whine about slogans that reflect the slogans dumped on us parents but then complain about whining and claim (wrongly) that others were first.


"The thing is, I don't allow those wrongs to impact my work. They're in the past and I have continued to move forward with what I do."

Which is to continue to ensure that students and parents have no choice.

Richard I said...

"And I'm sure that internationally, most people interested in these issues will shake their heads and wonder what gives some Americans the bizarre idea that mathematics education <=> math textbooks."

Internationally, it's not an issue. Speaking as a Brit who now works in Canada, I'm amazed at the abysmally low Math(s) knowledge of my fellow teachers. From the stats I've seen, it seems to be even worse below the 49th parallel. That seems to be a uniquely North American problem.

As is the system of paying people more for advanced degrees. Bearing in mind that these are the same people who didn't want to get a Math degree but are queuing up to get a Masters in "Mathematics Education".

Internationally, "Mathematics Education" is regarded as a joke. A field of study whose paradigm seems to oscillate wildly every 5 years takes no foothold in any teaching profession where parroting today's buzzwords doesn't earn any remuneration in the form of a paycheque.

There's your reason why Boaler had to move to the States to gain a sizable audience. That audience is primarily full of people with little experience of Mathematics and a whole slew of Education courses hoping that they'll make up for it. It doesn't.

Michael Goldenberg said...

Well, Richard, aren't you just a little ball of smug, hate, and disdain. I'm sure when you're not attacking an entire profession, your specific slanders keep you warm at night. Must just rock to be you.

SteveH said...

MPG has a long history when it comes to arguing without fairness and reason. I've been the target of that a number of times in the last 10+ years. Blog exchanges used to devolve into calling me a right wing conservative when all of his other arguments failed. Of course, that was guesswork and in reality, completely wrong. He also forgets who is in charge here, as in KTM's subheading: "They do what they do." How polite is it to have a teacher complain when you say that you are giving your son math worksheets to do at home? (He loved them.) How polite is it when a K-6 teacher claims that your son just has "superficial knowledge" right to your face? Later in the year he had to show the student teacher where Kuwait was. How polite was it when we parents had to sit in little chairs and be lectured by a first grade teacher about the wonders of MathLand, a curriculum so bad it was wiped off the face of the internet.

The fundamental problem in K-12 math starts in K-6 with low (non-STEM)expectations and a wrong idea of what skills need to be ensured. They assume that an engagement-directed, student-centered, top-down, "trust the spiral" approach will get the job done. This is the only way they can get full inclusion to work without holding kids back a year. Then they talk about problem solving and understanding to claim some sort of higher ground even though they really don't know what that means mathematically. It's not as if they claim that they are lowering expectations and level just to get better understanding. Anyone should be able to do that. They want to claim something more pedagogically because that is their only turf. Besides, curricula like MathLand and Everyday Math have been around for at least two decades and where are the results?

They put the onus of ensuring basic mastery on the students and parents. We parents have received notes from our school asking us to practice "math facts" with our kids. Nothing like creating an academic gap. However, I still had to do that with my "math brain" son, and schools do not ask the parents of their best students what goes on at home. They don't want to know because that will directly affect full inclusion. Educators are left only with the hope that their process will get the job done - that their top-down approach using engagement will cause students to achieve their potential. This has caused a very nasty effect in some people - one that then assumes that IQ is the reason that kids can't learn algebra. Some claim that only 50% can be successful in algebra in spite of the low grade-level mastery of skills in K-6. They don't want to know what the parents of their best students had to do at home or with tutors. That would ruin their assumptions about full inclusion and differentiated instruction. Their only educational turf will be destroyed.

Amazingly, math classes change dramatically for many when teachers are finally expected to have content skills and knowledge in math and when high schools have to face the reality of AP classes and college (and real world) requirements. My son (and I) loved his high school math teachers and their use of traditional textbooks. For other students, however, math in high school becomes a continual struggle to overcome the damage done in K-6. Some educators, however, use those high school students to push their fuzzy, top-down, engagement ideas of learning rather than fix K-6 math to give them better students to start with. They talk about hands-on engagement instead of focusing on the basic skills that are more meaningful for their future, such as doing well on the Accuplacer test when they start at a vocational school. Unfortunately, many teachers see the problems of education ONLY as what walks into their classroom rather than the whole K-12 system of math and continuity (or lack thereof) of quality teachers. One bad teacher can create long term problems for a whole class of students in a subject like math.

Michael Goldenberg said...

Yes, without fairness or reason, unlike Richard's ad hominem attack on mathematics educators in general and Jo Boaler in particular. That was fair and reasonable, wasn't it, Steve?

The problem with trying to have a polite, reasonable, productive conversation with self-appointed Math Warriors of the Mathematically Correct/HOLD variety is that they aren't polite or reasonable, and they have no interest in conversation. All they want to do is bash anything that doesn't look exactly like math class when they were successful students (assuming that they were), and pat one another on the back for coming up with new insults for everyone who doesn't see things exactly as they do. That goes quadruple for those of us who work to improve the quality of mathematics teaching and learning for all children, particularly those who come from backgrounds different from our own.

I won't waste time trying to revisit all the issues or arguments, as I'm sure perusing this blog will give anyone a sense of what it is you despise and how evil you believe I am (and people like me are). Or some reasonable person who stumbles in here without a rigid mindset might try reading any of dozens of blogs by real teachers doing interesting things.

SteveH said...

"That was fair and reasonable, wasn't it, Steve?"

It's just like your style, or have you changed? You don't expect to defend your side, so why do you expect the same from others?

You've never discussed things reasonably in the past, but now this argument seems to be your new approach - painting everyone with the same broad brush and claiming that we are all part of one mean team.

I will continue to raise specific issues (like explaining how "real teachers doing interesting things" may not be effective at all) and you will do what seems to be your new approach - cherry pick those blog comments that make it seem like all others are being mean and how schools really aren't forcing their pedagogical opinion down the throats of parents while telling them that they don't understand and "just want what they had when they were growing up." Who has the control here and how much say do parents have?


"That goes quadruple for those of us who work to improve the quality of mathematics teaching and learning for all children, particularly those who come from backgrounds different from our own."

Is that really what you think you are doing? Non-STEM math in K-6 does that? You should read about "El Sistema" and try to figure out how and why it works - content knowledge, skills, high expectations, and opportunities for individuals starting at an early age. Why is it that many urban parents in the US are desperate to have choice while many educators fight tooth and nail against them?

Richard I said...

"stumbles in here without a rigid mindset might try reading"

BINGO !!! You have parroted today's buzzword. You win a prize.

To help with the whole "comprehension" thing, Michael, I'm not attacking an entire profession; I'm attacking an entire field of study. Your assumption that "mathematics education" = "mathematics teachers" is a false one. Mathematics teachers need more mathematics, not more mathematics education. Once again, in case you missed it, this is, as far as I am aware, a uniquely North American problem.



SteveH said...

I saw a compete change in what my son's math teachers did between K-6 and high school. It all changed when his teachers had to have content knowledge and skills. Seventh and eighth grade started to change for the better when our state finally decided to require that those teachers had to be certified in their subject areas. Those teachers did not, however, want to single out the curricula or teacher math knowledge in K-6 (first MathLand and then Everyday Math), so they talked as if the reason some students did badly was their own fault, pointing to kids like my son as justification that everything was OK. Of course, they didn't ask us parents what we had to do at home.

When my son was in preschool, I decided that I wanted more in math for my son than the traditional math I received when I was growing up. I wanted more math understanding. Then I found out that our school used MathLand. They got it completely wrong. Now with Everyday Math, they still have it wrong. When I was in school long ago, I was able to get to calculus in high school without any help at home or with a tutor. That is almost impossible now. I had to help my son with basic skills and he is far more math brained than I am. What do they expect when they use full inclusion and increase the range of ability in the same classrooms in K-6. Teachers see a widening range of abilities walk into their classrooms and love to hear that there is a process that will get the job done. "Trust the spiral", which means blame the kids or anything else. The solution is not to have some sort of better way to deal with a larger range of abilities, the goal is to fix the systemic problem. One K-6 charter school in our area uses full inclusion, but separates students by ability in the core academic areas. I don't like their curricula, but at least they are trying to solve the underlying problem and push a little bit - not just rely on some sort of natural process while some parents are ensuring mastery (hidden tracking) at home.

In El Sistema, the youngest students have both mixed ability, student-helped orchestra time at school, but any student can also have individual private lessons where the teacher (with content knowledge and skills) ensures knowledge and skills like "the circle of fifths" and mastery of scales. They all have the chance to try out for regional orchestras and all have the equal chance to eventually perform at Carnegie Hall or the BBC Proms. These are first generation kids from the barrios and nobody is just happy to see them as the first in their families to get to community college.

Michael Goldenberg said...

Maybe we should let parents choose whether to teach science or intelligent design in science classes, Steve. Or whether to teach that vaccines cause autism. Or whether to read HUCKLEBERRY FINN because it's "racist"? Where do you draw the line about "choice"? Or is "choice" only okay when it fits your personal agenda? Sorry, but that's not how public education works. Fifty years ago, parents did whine every time something in the school curriculum didn't fit their personal agenda. Now, everyone is an "expert" on how to teach math, how to construct "fair" science curricular content, whether it's 'okay' to have kids read certain books or explore certain ideas in history. How would you design a school in which every parent dictates what choices have to be available? Lots of luck, unless you're prepared to commit the money needed for individualized instruction. Oh, wait: that's what differentiated instruction is intended to accomplish as much as possible given the limited resources available. And you don't like that at all. Why am I not surprised?

Anonymous said...

^^^Reason we homeschool number 473.

SteveH said...

"Maybe we should let parents choose whether to teach science or intelligent design in science classes,"

Nice try. It's not about letting individual parents decide what goes on in any one school. It's giving parents school choice. I don't like unschooling techniques, but some parents do. Many urban parents want to send their kids to schools that set higher standards. Educators work very hard to prevent that. Affluent parents can do that.

Are you, or are you not, in favor of school choice?


"Oh, wait: that's what differentiated instruction is intended to accomplish as much as possible given the limited resources available."

Differentiated instruction is used for a social goal, but is an absolute academic failure. It does not work. Many teachers will tell you that. It's not a matter of limited resources. Besides, differentiated instruction (our schools call it differentiated learning to put the onus on the students) does NOT mean that teachers accept any sort of individual parental input into the process or level of expectations. All of the explanations I've heard about differentiated instruction were complete dream-world nonsense. It forces all of the tracking to be done at home so that educators never have to deal with the issue. They just claim that "trust the spiral" works. In the process they create a larger academic gap.

No. This is all about educational turf and control over pedagogy. Educators decide based on their own opinions and parents have no input or choice. I'm not talking about unusual parental agendas. K-6 is still a no-STEM zone in math and only affluent parents can fix that. Is that how you help all of those urban kids you seem to care so much about?

Michael Goldenberg said...

School choice may be the biggest pile of nonsense in the entire debate. Does an inner city child have real school choice? Don't answer if you haven't really investigate the enormous scams that are known as "charter schools." Every week, more scandals about misappropriation of funds, forcing out low performing students or finding ways to hide their low test scores, and dozens of other scams that make the entire enterprise a sick joke (unless of course you're an owner of one). Does a kid in the middle of rural North Dakota have real school choice? Don't tell me about St. Sensible, the local Catholic school: that's not a viable choice for a non-Catholic or a non-religious Catholic, let alone an agnostic, atheist, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu, etc.

Can vouchers provide "school choice"? Not to the vast majority of kids for whom nice private schools are too far away, unaffordable even with vouchers, and not likely to offer them acceptance.

But please, Steve: ask me again about "school choice."

I understand that many people who frequent lists like this one are educational conservatives. That many are also political and social conservatives isn't a secret either.

But many of those same folks want it both ways: they want a system set up to serve their narrow interest, that rigs the game to advantage the already advantaged, and that costs them nothing (or pays for what they want on the backs of the poor, to the disadvantage of the have-less and have-not. It's so pretty to imagine that the country can afford to continue to cater to your needs. But the world has turned and it's not going to continue to serve things up on a silver platter for you anymore. So sad.

You want to pick your curriculum? FInd a school that suits you. Homeschool. Or else you'd best figure out a way to live with a public education system that can never dance to the tune of a thousand contradictory pipers. One where teachers don't do what their professional judgment and experience tells them is best for kids, but where they take a poll of parents and then go with some sort of bastardized "majority rules" notion.

And don't try to pretend that the issues of "choice" don't entail the things I mentioned previously. We see how they do, repeatedly, in many parts of the country. The 12th century is never far from the school doors in Kansas and places like that. Teachers are one of the last bastions of sanity standing up to armies of the superstitious and ignorant. Of course parents have input and choice. You just want the process to be layed out at your feet to perfectly suit YOUR biases. Democracy doesn't work like that, Steve. You have neighbors, not all of whom are likeminded. And those teachers you seem to not trust are part of the community, either locally or regionally. Maybe you should work out a system of medical care where you bring polls into your oncologist to tell her how best to proceed.

Anonymous said...

"Maybe you should work out a system of medical care where you bring polls into your oncologist to tell her how best to proceed."

It is not unheard of for patients to choose their doctors. My wife switched doctors when she didn't like the one she had. So did my father. They didn't try to convince the doctors they had to change, they just found doctors who were a better fit for them.

The school choice people would like the same option for their schools.

Obviously, in more sparsely populated parts of the country there will be a *LOT* less choice in doctors and for the same reason there will be a lot less choice in schools there, too.

But lots of people live in fairly populous cities. The non-poor there tend to have a fair amount of choice for doctors. Why not for schools as well?

-Mark Roulo

Michael Goldenberg said...

Mark, explain to me how the non-poor DON'T have choices for schools. I'm a bit dense. It may be from 25 years of debating with people who like to make out that this is about equity when it's really about having their cake and eating it, too. And that's the most polite thing I can say about most people who try to argue that their obsession with "school choice" is about equity, fairness, or anything but self-centeredness and other matters far from democratic core values.

SteveH said...

"Does an inner city child have real school choice?"

You don't trust the judgment of urban parents who should know whether school 'A' is better than school 'B'?

So, your answer is no, you think that people like you should get to decide for everyone else. The affluent get to choose, but you think that urban parents can't properly make that decision. Your only answer is to claim that ALL choice is bad. Good luck with that.


"I understand that many people who frequent lists like this one are educational conservatives. That many are also political and social conservatives isn't a secret either."

BwaHaHa! Once again I get you play the conservative card. Do you really care about urban parents and kids? Non-STEM is OK in K-6?


"You want to pick your curriculum? Find a school that suits you. Homeschool."

Do you expect urban parents to pay for choice? Do you mean that some choice is good, but urban parents are stupid?


"Or else you'd best figure out a way to live with a public education system that can never dance to the tune of a thousand contradictory pipers."

You just don't want to see a whole army of urban parents choosing other schools that reject your pedagogy. That IS hard to do considering most teachers have been directly(!) taught the same thing in schools of education. At least some of those choice schools set higher expectations.


"One where teachers don't do what their professional judgment and experience tells them is best for kids, .."

Their professional indoctrination - one that apparently trumps my professional content education, judgment and experience in engineering, computer science, and math - including teaching. Also, many teachers "experience" the complete failure of differentiated instruction. Teachers can "choose" to work at schools that match their beliefs.


"Teachers are one of the last bastions of sanity standing up to armies of the superstitious and ignorant."

Wow! No-STEM math in K-6 for all is "sanity." This is an incredibly unsupported position. You can't cherry pick worst case scenarios and claim that they are the general case. Choice is a process to weed out what works from what doesn't work unless you think the customer is stupid.


"Of course parents have input and choice."

Not urban parents and parents who cannot afford expensive private schools. There is no parental input and "choice" in K-6 public schools. If other kids disrupt class, tough luck. If you want a STEM math path, tough luck. If you care about "mere" facts and mastery of skills - tough luck.


"Maybe you should work out a system of medical care where you bring polls into your oncologist to tell her how best to proceed."

This already exists. It's called choice. Choice is never a guarantee, but it is a good process. I trust the judgment and choice of urban parents - the customers. You do not. You care more about educators than urban parents.

Where are the results of 20+ years of MathLand and Everyday Math? How long can educators keep blaming direct instruction and rote learning? When will they take responsibility for their own ideas of education and not blame kids, parents, IQ, peers, and society? They even claim that school choice can never work. Educational K-6 pedagogy is devoid of any feedback loop. Everyone just has to accept that "Teachers are one of the last bastions of sanity ..." You have to better than that.

Michael Goldenberg said...

https://shadowproof.com/2009/09/27/the-fraud-of-gop-tax-and-school-choice-policy-shown-in-arizona/

SteveH said...

"...their obsession with "school choice" is about equity, fairness, or anything but self-centeredness and other matters far from democratic core values."

Yes, you are "dense."

Democratic core values include individual choice of government representatives and individual initiative, not socialist five-year plans dictated by "educators" who claim superiority of their judgment and caring. It celebrates individual (and parental) initiative and effort, not a socialist one where nobody gets out unless everyone gets out.

Michael Goldenberg said...

And you are a self-centered right-wing racist trying to pretend to care even vaguely about the poor, minorities, and anyone who isn't you or enough like you to "count."

I think we're done here, don't you, Steve?

SteveH said...

If someone showed "proof" of voter fraud, it that a justification for eliminating voting?

SteveH said...

"I think we're done here, don't you, Steve?"

Yes, you've proven me correct - once again.

SteveH said...

You really need to study El Sistema to see why you are wrong.

Anonymous said...

"Mark, explain to me how the non-poor DON'T have choices for schools. I'm a bit dense."

I was under the impression that you were arguing that school choice was bad, not that it didn't exist. I thought this because you wrote things like:

   "Every week, more scandals about misappropriation of funds, forcing out low performing students or finding ways to hide their low test scores, and dozens of other scams that make the entire enterprise a sick joke."

   "Can vouchers provide "school choice"? Not to the vast majority of kids..."

   "You want to pick your curriculum? FInd a school that suits you. Homeschool. Or else you'd best figure out a way to live with a public education system that can never dance to the tune of a thousand contradictory pipers."

And then you suggest that school choice would be as bad as people telling their doctor how to practice medicine: "Maybe you should work out a system of medical care where you bring polls into your oncologist to tell her how best to proceed."

*MY* point was that:
    a) We currently don't have a system where folks tell their doctors how to practice medicine, but we *do* have a system where many folks get to choose their own doctor. And,
    b) School choice seems quite similar to this to me. You don't get to tell the teachers how/what to teach, but you would get to select a school that matches what you wanted (for your own kids). And,
    c) I didn't see why the model of "pick you own doctor" was a bad one for schools. Yes, there are limitations to both, but we don't have some large organization assign you a doctor and tell you to live with it, so why not do the same for public schools when feasible?

[This is a positive argument, not a normative one.]

-Mark Roulo

Michael Goldenberg said...

I've tried to address the absurdity of expecting schools or teachers to change with the wind depending on the whims of each group of parents. There is no law that tells anyone in the US what community in which to live. (We'll have to admit, however, that there are in fact realities that prevent SOME people from being able to select SOME communities as their residence of choice). But no one but a very well-to-do person (or one working where movement is frequent, paid for by the employer, including military careers) is going to pick up and relocate frequently if the local school doesn't consistently fit his/her whims. That's just reality and no "school choice" baloney is going to change that.

There are also many communities with public schools that are in fact "schools of choice." I'm working with one now. I live in one. They are not rare in my state. That means that students from other communities can take their state education dollars and have them apply to a different community's schools. I think we'd call that school choice, and no charter schools or vouchers are needed for such a system to exist or work.

The problem is and always will be that public schools often operate similarly based on agreements with county professional development, curriculum specialists, etc. In my state, these are called Intermediate School Districts. They will recommend a particular set of textbooks, and many, most, or all districts will take that recommendation. I guess if that's a set of books you don't like, you'll have to go to another county. Or maybe another state. Or even another country.

I guess I'm supposed to be deeply concerned about these horrible limitations on pure democracy. But somehow, I'm not. Because I continue to see the fight over what textbooks are used in mathematics classrooms as one of the most ridiculous red herrings in modern American history. The Math Warriors of this country and elsewhere know better, I realize, having dueled with many of them for going on a quarter century. But I just don't find their point of view and many of their claims compelling or believable.

Finally, advocates for "school choice" have a funny habit of not being so interested in "choice" in other arenas. That makes it additionally difficult for me to take their concerns about this issue completely seriously.

SteveH said...

MPG finally admits - sort of - to the viability of school choice.

"That means that students from other communities can take their state education dollars and have them apply to a different community's schools."

I know all about Michigan's options, availability (or lack thereof), and limitations. Apparently choice schools are only bad if they are not part of the standard educational monopoly and control? That's what this is about isn't it - pedagogical educator control, not real parental choice.


"They will recommend a particular set of textbooks, and many, most, or all districts will take that recommendation. I guess if that's a set of books you don't like, you'll have to go to another county. Or maybe another state. Or even another country."

So it really isn't choice, and if you don't like it, tough luck. Move. Go away. Do you say that to urban parents?


"I guess I'm supposed to be deeply concerned about these horrible limitations on pure democracy. But somehow, I'm not."

First you push the ideals of democratic core values and then you trash them because they are too "pure" whatever that means.


"Because I continue to see the fight over what textbooks are used in mathematics classrooms as one of the most ridiculous red herrings in modern American history."

Of course you do, but it's more than just which textbooks. It's the level of expectations or the different paths in math. K-6 is a no STEM zone, but you think it's OK if affluent parents provide that help at home.

"But I just don't find their point of view and many of their claims compelling or believable."

You can't just say that without justification, but that's nothing new. You once again call me a "... self-centered right-wing racist trying to pretend to care even vaguely about the poor, minorities,..." And now you are trying to come across as fair and reasonable?


"Finally, advocates for "school choice" have a funny habit of not being so interested in "choice" in other arenas. That makes it additionally difficult for me to take their concerns about this issue completely seriously."

But you just came out in favor of choice, and you don't explain what this really means. It's just one more attempt to justify your position with vague innuendo - in addition to name calling.

ChemProf said...

It is left wing nonsense, SteveH, like shooting right to calling you racist, which is supposed to make you slink away ashamed. Saying they aren't interested in "choice" here is just saying that some school choice advocates (but not all by any means) are not sufficiently pro-abortion, and so are bad people.

And then he's shocked that some of us opt not to hand over our kids, and think that other parents should be able to do the same.

SteveH said...

MPG has a long history of using vague arguments and name-calling. I could do a better job of arguing against choice. Actually, choice is good, but schools could change so that many fewer would opt for those paths, especially in K-6. It would become a non-issue. Local schools have the home court advantage. I didn't want to send my son far away to another school and town with friends and activities.

A big problem is K-6 and the solution is not to offer all parents whatever they want in one school. However, educators can't live in a full academic inclusion classroom world. They can't dramatically increase the range of ability and willingness in each classroom and pretend that it all can work with differentiated instruction. Many teachers know that. Differentiated instruction is an academic dream world fantasy. They don't do that in high schools and there is nothing academically special that makes it work in K-6. It's a social goal, but one that can be achieved using a full inclusion environment model.

Schools can't use full inclusion and offer no math-STEM academic paths. I can understand that educators don't like tracking in K-6, and some parents will make sure that their kids are on those paths by working with them at home. However, this help is not at any sort of pejorative "helicopter" parent level. To stay on a STEM level in math in K-6 ONLY requires simple and direct work on mastery of basic knowledge and skills - something that for some unknown reason the ed schools preparing K-6 teachers totally reject. They don't reject knowledge and skills. The schools just assume that they can be achieved in a natural, "trust the spiral", top-down, student group led process. It hasn't worked in the last 20+ years with MathLand, TERC, and Everyday Math, but we still hear the same traditional math and rote learning excuses. With CCSS, K-6 math is now officially a NO-STEM zone.


El Sistema, a music education system started in Venezuela, is known for its social justice theme. However, it's run by music content experts and specifically offers private individual lessons that focus on musicality and skills like scales and tone quality. These are directly taught to students starting at the earliest ages. It also includes local mixed-ability student orchestras and audition-based regional orchestras that can become pathways to the highest levels of music performance and opportunities. These are first generation kids from the barrios. Nobody is telling them that it will take more than one generation to "get out." It works because they start at a very early age and they all get the same help that affluent parents give their kids at home - high expectations and direct instruction in knowledge and skills. My son has played with some of these kids. It does work.

However, it may not "work" for all as a path out of poverty. There are no guarantees, but everyone involved learns the value of hard work and mastery of skills and knowledge. They are proud to be part of "The System" and proud to see some of their neighbors who grew up in shacks playing at Carnegie Hall and the BBC Proms.

There is nothing different or special about music. The same techniques can work with traditional academic subjects.

Anonymous said...

I love a good pie fight.

I think constructivist math, full inclusion, and school choice play out differently in practice than they do in theory. I appreciate that theoretically kids need to be the drivers of their own education, not just recipients; that every child has a right to a free and appropriate education; and that giving families a choice among local schools could help drive a market of educational practice. What I've seen in practice is something different.

I've seen that teachers who might have done a perfectly fine job with a traditional textbook like Singapore flounder and flutter with TERC. The assumptions don't change at all - it's still 'teacher says you must do _this_ now.' What changes is that instead of teacher saying you must learn times tables, teacher says you must write sentences explaining why you chose to make up a math non-fact. For many kids - notably those kids who are more oriented towards mathematics - this is harder than just learning math. One difference is that the self-evident logic of mathematics builds on itself and helps a student succeed and learn, whereas all the weird and recondite stupid constructivist tricks don't really go anywhere.

It is not hard to teach a kid math. I have taught my son since we took him out of school in first grade. We're a couple of very lazy homeschoolers, and we never spent more than two hours a week getting through all Singapore and up to Algebra by fifth grade. If we'd had to do it with TERC instead of Singapore it would have been impossible, and his ISEE scores wouldn't all be top stanine. If a kid is curious about math, they need to engage with math, not a bunch of diversions, tangents, and wool-gathering.

I've seen full inclusion too, and it inevitably goes to to Pareto: with full inclusion, those 80 percent of the problems have nothing to do with anybody else's education. We should ask whether repeatedly stopping class because some giant angry dimwit is having a tantrum again is an appropriate education for the rest of the kids. We should ask whether a typical child doesn't also have the right to an appropriate education that could prepare him for a scientific career. The pursuit of full inclusion is increasing the inequity of our overall school system, as public classrooms are flooded with needy, learning disabled kids and parents with choices increasingly choose to leave that system.

(1/2)

Anonymous said...

(2/2)

School choice is my favorite failure. Here in Boston, "choice" is the remnant of court-imposed desegregation busing. It takes more buses than ever, but we don't call it busing anymore. Every few years the district rolls out the latest formula for "choice," shuffling kids around in a new way, seeking equity in an increasingly inequitable system. On a block with fourteen kids, fourteen buses might take them to fourteen different schools. Except for the private and parochial schools (which also get their buses), the schools don't have much difference among them besides the average SES of the parents.

Choice plays out like this: middle-class parents all try to have their kids lottery into the higher SES schools, and if they don't succeed remove them from the district by either moving or going private. Low SES kids go to whichever school they get assigned to. High mobility of high-SES families plus low mobility of low-SES families create a system with a handful of mixed schools and a lot of 97-99% low-SES schools. Busing, now choice, has led directly to more segregation in Boston schools.

Our public education is suffused with the anxiety of low test scores. Kindergarten has stopped being the place where kids play dress-up, sing songs, and take naps, and has become the place where kids fail at worksheets over and over again for the first time. Teachers keep their heads down, go through the motions, and send their class on to the next year, one year closer to retirement. If they get fed up and quit because they can't educate as they see fit, they get snatched up by a local private school.

The elementary years are a battle of declining returns. In Boston, more than a quarter of kids don't use the public school system, and this doesn't count how many people leave the city entirely. By fifth grade, most of the middle-class students have been skimmed off, and if middle-class kids don't test into to the exam schools in seventh grade, they typically leave the city.

Another thing "choice" means is that if your (non-disabled) kid has a problem, it's your problem and not the school's, and they will tell you you should exercise your choice and send him somewhere else. School choice means a lack of school responsibility: parents don't have a right to have their kids' needs be met, or to have their kids be physically safe, at their particular school, just somewhere - surely there must be somewhere - in the system.

Anyway, kudos for still bothering with this, SteveH, you right wing racist el Sistema supporting tool.

SteveH said...

"School choice is my favorite failure."

Compared to what, school monopolies?

Choice is not a failure for many individual students. It helps them right now, not statistically sometime in the future. School choice as a concept is not a failure. Choice is not a failure. However, a particular implementation of school choice might not offer many good choices. (Neither do monopolies.) I didn't like any of the school choices in our area, but I don't call school choice a failure. However, I didn't want the choice of sending my son to a school in another town. That's a fundamental flaw of choice. But what is the alternative? Choice allows individual parents to make the best choice for their kids. No choice means no choice or possibility. So what is the mechanism of school monopolies to fix fundamental flaws, like NO-STEM in K-6? Too late. It's been institutionalized by CCSS. Parents will make the "choice" to track at home, educators will remain clueless, and it will increase the academic gap.

As I have mentioned, school monopolies could minimize school choice defections by making some changes, but they are educationally and pedagogically incapable of doing so. They should not be concerned about full choice unless they are worried about their educational assumptions and pedagogy.

Michael Goldenberg said...

It took you a long time to come up with that query. I could refer you to countless articles that analyze the economics of "school choice" and demonstrate how it's another conservative, establishment sleight-of-hand designed explicitly to benefit the rich and the (rapidly-shrinking) middle class at the expense of the traditionally under-served - you know - minorities and the working poor, people you have little or nothing to do with but with whom I live and work with daily.

But I won't bother because you can lead an entrenched conservative to facts, but you can't make them think. The anti-public school, "pro-choice" movement is fraught with ironies, not the least of which is how the same folks who promote it via their billions (the ones who put "choice" and pro-charter and pro-voucher initiatives on state ballots) are often the same people who find the idea of giving women the right to choose regarding their own sexual health, whether or not to bring fetuses to term, etc., anathema. Apparently, choice only matters when it benefits the relative few, the already-empowered, the ruling classes.

And of course, middle class folks, particularly whites, are readily seduced by the siren song of "choice"; it's a wonderful way to eschew contact with "THEM." But run the analysis of how vouchers and "choice" actually impact people living in real poverty. Take a look at the scandals surrounding charter school chain after charter school chain. I've worked for a couple of them and can say unhesitatingly that they are bloodsucking leaches fattening themselves off public money, then hiding their finances behind being "private" corporations. They care little or nothing about kids, teachers, or parents, and everyone who works at the schools themselves is simply a disposable resource or income point.

That doesn't mean all charter schools are bad. But they are anything but the answer for most kids in poverty. As for private schools + vouchers, you tell me which high-end private schools will accept inner-city minority kids who aren't future basketball stars or who already have test scores far above those of the typical white, rich kids who get admitted, or who are located in places where poor kids can actually get to by public transportation, or who are in fact AFFORDABLE to abjectly poor kids even WITH vouchers. Until then, I'm going to insist that vouchers as "tools for equity" are a sham, designed to simply help the already-wealthy avoid having to pay the full price-tag for their kids' exclusive prep school.

Naturally, you won't accept any of the above, nor need you, not being in a position to suffer at the hands of the same system that exploits the poor. You might not be rich, but by comparison to the families of the kids I work with, you're a billionaire.

Instead of seeing to it that the charters aren't bleeding the public schools of the funds left to them and taking only those kids who test relatively well, people who actually give a damn are fighting to make public schools better. You should try it some time, but you almost certainly won't. And you'll whine about "gummint" schools and monopolies. Which makes you dumber than dirt and the perfect tool of the Koch Brothers, et al.

SteveH said...

Wow. I didn't even have to do anything to get you to jump to your usual last resort. Is that what you tell all of the urban parents desperate to get their kids into choice schools? Do you think they are stupid? Do you think they cannot tell the difference between school 'A' and school 'B'?


"That doesn't mean all charter schools are bad. But they are anything but the answer for most kids in poverty."

"Most?" You get to decide and not the parents? Are you really their friend?


"As for private schools + vouchers..."

Strawman.



"Instead of seeing to it that the charters aren't bleeding the public schools of the funds left to them and taking only those kids who test relatively well, ..."


"Bleeding?"

Prove it.


"taking only "

It's a lottery, and if choice schools can't set expectations and have to operate exactly like regular public schools, then there is no choice. The goal of choice is to find better solutions for some kids. That's why they have a charter. You won't allow urban parents to get something for their kids that regular public schools can't or won't give them. High expectations. Did you read about El Sistema as I suggested? Reality and results aren't defined by what happens to filter past your assumptions. Imagine a social justice program that actually works. Read it to find out why. They offer high expectations and focus on mastery of knowledge and skills. Kids get out of the barrios in one generation and reach their potential - not just make educators happy by being the first in their families to get to the local community college.


"... not being in a position to suffer at the hands of the same system that exploits the poor."

Actually, my son did suffer the same low expectations and silly educational pedagogy in K-6 along with full inclusion and kids who threw chairs around the room and cut up their work when they had mixed ability group projects. However, you want to deny choice to all urban parents.

If regular public schools suffer a loss of kids with parents who expect more, why doesn't that tell them something? What's stopping them from offering something more than NON-STEM math and low expectations? Is it OK to allow affluent parents to provide that hidden tracking at home? Is that increase in academic gap OK, or do you just ignore it and blame so many other things? Do you think it takes more than one generation for urban kids to reach their potential? Why?

"... people who actually give a damn are fighting to make public schools better."

What, exactly, are you doing for individual students and not just "public schools"? I'm fighting for higher expectations in math and other subjects. You are not and denying urban parents from having that choice. Why?

You are NOT their friend and many know that.

Michael Goldenberg said...

Apparently my last comment here was rejected. Well, here are links to a series of articles out of Chicago just for Steve H. and his like-minded friends.

http://www.blackcommentator.com/629/629_tfr_cartel_surrogates_1.html
http://www.blackcommentator.com/630/630_tfr_connecting_dots_2.html
http://www.blackcommentator.com/630/630_tfr_connecting_dots_3.html
http://www.blackcommentator.com/630/630_tfr_connecting_dots_4.html

I won't waste my time reposting or recrafting my retort to Steve. He's so sure he knows my work: how could he possibly be wrong, since he spends far more time than I do in high-needs schools and communities?

Happy solipsism!

SteveH said...

From link number 1 - Part I

"The Cartel pro-privatization of public education corporations, Wall Street financial institutions, and conservative wealthy individuals--led by the Koch Bros. and the Broad, Gates, Walton, Bradley, Arnold and other Foundations--has created an inter-locking syndicate of surrogates to advance its agenda."

Who can argue with that?

The rest of the links are the other parts: II, III, & IV of the same article.

The assumption is that privatization of public schools is fundamentally wrong or flawed - that choice is a racist and right wing plot that has even duped "surrogate" Democrats.

Are parents too stupid to make a good decision between school 'A' and school 'B'? The affluent get choice, but not the poor. Why should we have choice in any sector of life? What's so special about education? Why should we accept what the Education Cartel pushes? I buy (or not) lots of products from private companies that want to make a profit. So everyone is now part of a "Cartel" (with a capital 'C') and that makes it easier to paint everyone with the same broad brush. All members of the Cartel are responsible for all actions.

MPG, like others, feel that just because they "care", they do not have to defend their educational and pedagogical positions. They just claim that everyone else is racist, right wing, money grubbing, or stupid Democratic dupes. It's an arguing position that allows them to avoid real issues.

Read all of the parts. It's a fascinating approach to defending a position, NOT by saying how good it is, but by painting all opposition as a broad-brush conspiracy.


From Part III:

"Like the Cartel’s Broad-trained and influenced superintendents, there are no more effective proxies for its privatization agenda than the Obama Administration, the grassroots operatives for Cartel policies, and its primary spokesperson of color."

Even President Obama is a duped member of the Cartel."

Also:

"No other U.S. president had provided a corporate initiative [RTTT]such positive national and international publicity since Woodrow Wilson hosted a showing of Birth of a Nation, the racist film which praised the Ku Klux Klan on March 21, 1915."

And:
"... the White House was used to promote racial discrimination and/or profits for the elite."


Thanks MPG. You've now made your position perfectly clear for everyone to make their own evaluation of your judgment.

Michael Goldenberg said...

No, Steve, I've posted links to a series of articles for people to read and make judgments about how some members of the black community that you think you understand actually see what charter schools are doing. I know it's deeply painful for you to read anything that doesn't completely jibe with your comfortable fantasies. But as someone who has taught at several charters in Detroit and Pontiac, I can assure you that this isn't some outlier viewpoint, though obviously it is a more complex analysis than you'd likely get from a parent or teacher whose experience is more local.

Of course, there are many, many people debunking the "charter miracle." Here's a current one: http://dianeravitch.net/2015/12/11/ohio-charters-are-a-parasitic-industry/

Enjoy. Some day you'll wake up to the fact that this isn't about me. It's about people who have to live with the consequences of the privatization movement and the anti-public schools movement (which are essentially the same thing, funded by the same folks, as those articles I linked to attempt to explain).

Does anyone claim that all charter schools are bad or evil? No. That all teachers at charters are bad? No. But you should try teaching for one: any of the countless ones run by for-profit management companies will do. You'd wake up. Nearly every teacher who works for one does. But with the destruction of public schools in places like Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, etc., there are fewer and fewer real teaching jobs in K-12: just charter factories with revolving door faculty.

Is my antipathy to charters an endorsement of public K-12 schools? No, it isn't. If you ever bothered to read my pieces criticizing the many and long-standing faults of typical US public schools. The problem is not ubiquitous, but close enough for jazz, and stems from the factory-model of education glommed from Prussian military training at the turn of the previous century: a perfect model for training drones for factory work or other mindless, non-thinking drudgery, but not suited for the 21st century. Not even close: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxyKNMrhEvY&feature=youtu.be

But by all means, Steve, keep telling yourself that I'm the problem.

Michael Goldenberg said...

p.s.: Steve, you do note who wrote those articles you're dismissing. And no, he doesn't dismiss all opposition with a broad brush. He just connects the dots among the people with the money and power who are cleaning up in the name of "equity" and "choice," who couldn't care less about either, at least not for poor people or ethnic minorities. Their interest is, for the most part, no different than the apolitical interests of Big Publishing and Big Testing: P-R-O-F-I-T. You think they are out there operating out of altruism or some genuine concern for anyone but shareholders, executives, and members of boards of directors? Pull the other leg: it's shorter.

Michael Goldenberg said...

http://www.10thperiod.com/2015/12/charters-fixing-youngstown-data-say-not.html

Don't worry, Steve: it's all lies from communists and liberals and educationists, oh, my!

Michael Goldenberg said...

More commie/pinko/unionist propaganda, no doubt: https://inschoolmatters.wordpress.com/2015/12/04/scholarships-a-sweet-deal-at-taxpayer-expense/

SteveH said...

" ... make judgments about how some members of the black community that you think you understand actually see what charter schools are doing."

Strawman and wrong.

I never said anything about understanding a "black community." They are individuals allowed to have their own ideas and are not owned by others to push their agenda. It's racist to think that they should all agree on what's best for their community. They have the right to choice even if you don't like that choice and think you own them because you care and know what's best for them because, well, you are not in it for the money. You could just be plain wrong - AND you don't want anyone to have the choice to do anything else. What makes you or anyone else think they speak or know what's best for individuals of any community? You don't own them. That's racist.

I want individual choice. I don't expect others to believe what I believe. MPG does not.


"...this isn't some outlier viewpoint, ..."

Really?

"... the White House was used to promote racial discrimination and/or profits for the elite."


"... and stems from the factory-model of education glommed from Prussian military training at the turn of the previous century: a perfect model for training drones for factory work or other mindless, non-thinking drudgery, but not suited for the 21st century."

Monopoly and no choice are 21st century?

This is so rote and classic. How many out there want people like MPG deciding what's best for them in the 21st century with no choice to do anything else? The affluent are allowed to have choice, but not others because they're stupid, deluded, or some such thing.

Michael Goldenberg said...

The affluent have choices because they have money and power. Offering false "choice" to the poor doesn't make it choice, no matter how many time you mouth the words, it remains no choice at all for the poor. Why not try to fix things so that they get real choices, not shadows of choice whose only aim is to put money into the pockets of the same people who run everything already?

Why do you insist that vulture capitalism as practiced in inner cities by charter management companies is anything but what it is: a clear-cut scam designed to turn public education into another profit center for Wall Street and those who run nearly everything already? We already HAVE a monopoly and no choice in this country for the poor, and charters or vouchers don't change that once you stop swallowing the b.s. As I keep repeating, Steve: climb out of the 'burbs and get out where those folks you feign caring about live. You might get your eyes opened.

http://bit.ly/1NLn53k

http://dianeravitch.net/2014/09/24/breaking-news-in-michigan-shocking-expose-of-governor-snyders-eaa/

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/12/10/charter-schools-are-a-gravy-train-say-researchers.html

"Gravy train" is right.

http://educationopportunitynetwork.org/new-report-shines-a-light-into-the-charter-school-black-box/

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/4/2/mass_closures_of_detroit_schools_promotion

Well, "democracy" really doesn't matter, does it, Steve? Profit über alles. But remember, kiddies: you have "choice"!

http://www.thenation.com/article/black-lives-matter-school-too/

https://ourfuture.org/20150723/get-ready-for-the-next-wave-of-education-reform

http://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/the-eaa-exposed-an-investigative-report/Content?oid=2249513

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/06/24/major-probe-of-michigan-charter-schools-finds-wasteful-spending-little-accountability/

http://charterschoolscandals.blogspot.com/p/single-schools.html

http://www.epi.org/publication/educational-inequality-racial-segregation-significance/

Ooops!

I could go on, but I'm sure reality is starting to impinge upon your delusions, Steve. . . oh, wait! Come on now! Sticking your head in the sand doesn't make the real world meet your fantasies. Be a man, Steve. Wake up and smell the scandal-drenched charter school sewer.

SteveH said...

"Offering false "choice" to the poor doesn't make it choice,"

Poor people are stupid according to MPG. They can't tell the difference between school 'A' and school 'B'. It's a "false" choice, apparently, and people need to trust those like MPG because they care and don't have ulterior motives and agendas like pedagogy and turf ($)control. It can't be that urban parents are rejecting their educational approach and low expectations. They must be stupid.


By all means, read all of those links and make your own decision, but keep in mind that your decision doesn't matter if you disagree with the MPG Cartel and are poor. That's the key problem. Your opinion doesn't matter. You have to trust MPG (etal) because they care and know what's best for all. They can't be wrong for your individual child.

And please watch this video he gave above:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxyKNMrhEvY&feature=youtu.be

It sells the general concept, but gives no details. The speaker is not offering his approach for a new charter school where you can opt in. Under the vague guise of caring and natural and nice, he really wants to change the pedagogy and give you no choice.

In fact, that's the way it is now with education schools pumping out rote pedagogues who don't come by their knowledge using discovery techniques. It's quite ironic and amazing to see the change in views from low content K-6 full inclusion and differentiated instruction pedagogues to content rich high school teachers who set high expectations - many of whom really know what the "real world" is like. If your kids survive NO-STEM math in K-6, with help outside of school using hidden tracking that lets educators believe that everything is OK, then they might have a chance at a STEM career. The poor get low expectations, BS about differentiated instruction, "trust the spiral", "trust the engagement", an unwillingness or inability to separate out the disrupters from the more willing and able students, and no choice. Yippee if they get to the community college level! You are not an individual with your own opinion and choice, but a statistic claimed and used by others - because they care and, trust them, they don't have an agenda.

So MPG is left only with the argument that choice is all fundamentally bad unless it's controlled by the public school monopoly (which has such a poor track record) and that anyone who disagrees is stupid or racist. He can't understand why anyone could disagree with the video above. This is all about educational turf and control, not caring or trying to help the poor. It does the opposite. That video describes an educational process that will only work if the kids are well-supported at home.

Michael Goldenberg said...

You can lead Steve to a 16 minute video, but you can't make him think about why it isn't a description of a charter school.

Maybe because 1) it's not about schools the way we were schooled, and 2) it's not about charters versus non-charters.

Incredibly, not everyone is viewing reality through your unbelievably narrow lens.

As for the nonsense you try to put in my mouth, it's just that: nonsense you're trying to put into my mouth. But then, actually reading those articles I linked to and having to think about them would be too hard for you, Steve. You'd have to suspend your obsession with "monopolies" which of course are about the gummint not the people who actually run education.

Go have all the charters and vouchers you want, Steve. I'm sure you'll solve the ills of 400 years of slavery and racism, enforced poverty, and countless other social problems that you don't even recognize as important. As long as some damned liberal isn't having any input. Keep ignoring input from people who live and work in the inner cities, ghettos, areas of rural poverty, etc., and get your ideas from the billionaires who own the media and want to own everything else as well. They already own you and they've helped you become the non-thinking, knee-jerk Teabilly you are.

But if you're all about choice, then you can't object to my being hired to influence mathematics education in any district. I'm in the same free marketplace you worship. Oh, wait: you didn't mean THAT kind of choice, did you? Only YOUR kind. :) I love a good hypocrite, really I do.

SteveH said...

"You can lead Steve to a 16 minute video, but you can't make him think about why it isn't a description of a charter school."

An ad hominem attack once again right from the start.

It sounds like some charters I know. The video is vague and general and provides no details about how it actually works so I can't really tell. As I said, it might work for some students, but only those with huge support from their parents. Is that possible with the poor you want to help? Is that what they want? Who are the people in the video?

Go ahead and turn it into a choice school. I'm all for that. However, you want to force everyone else to have your opinion. That's the big difference here.


"Incredibly, not everyone is viewing reality through your unbelievably narrow lens."

This has been your MO for ages and I'm happy to have you clearly demonstrate it to everyone once again. I'm not showing a video and telling everyone else that I'm working to establish that as the main educational pedagogy with no choice.

It's also NOT how most good high schools work with AP and IB classes. It's not even what Exeter does with it's Harkness Table approach. It's NOT what many teachers believe. It's not how most colleges work. You can't claim hegemony over them. Some love Hampshire College, but most do not. Go ahead and "Disrupt the status quo" at Hampshire ... or not. That's not a choice you want to give parents in K-12.


"You'd have to suspend your obsession with "monopolies" which of course are about the gummint not the people who actually run education."

It's the government that's pushing the pedagogy you point to in the video? The government selected MathLand, Everyday Math, full inclusion, and differentiated instruction against the wills of educators? Educators want choice and no monopoly, but darn it, the nasty government is preventing them. The "duped" Obama government is trying to reduce the monopoly to give parents more choices, but you complain that they are the source of the monopoly. The education monopoly is a 19th century artifact that does not belong in the 21st century controlled by educational pedagogues. Stand up and accept the vote of urban parents - those you claim to value.


"Go have all the charters and vouchers you want, Steve. I'm sure you'll solve the ills of 400 years of slavery and racism, enforced poverty, and countless other social problems that you don't even recognize as important."

This is a classic MPG argument. Throughout this whole thread, I've countered arguments with many specific points and this is his best defense.


"But if you're all about choice, then you can't object to my being hired to influence mathematics education in any district. I'm in the same free marketplace you worship."

Just as long as you give ALL parents the choice to say no to your opinion. What are you afraid of?

Michael Goldenberg said...

"What are you afraid of?"

I don't know, Steve: which one of us posts under his real name? That should tell us who is afraid of something.

As for parents having choice on my opinions: I work with teachers. You figure parents should be vetting my every move, word, suggestion, etc.? In what universe could you have any sort of organization that worked like that? Why not have a parent poll for every lesson, every textbook, reading selection, sequence of gym exercises, item on the lunch menu, game on the football schedule, assembly speaker, etc.?

You only want to ensure that you can censor "bad" ideas. Like anything more progressive than your great-grandfather experienced in school. What a ridiculous notion. I'd be all for having all the folks who actually are part of a school vote on big decisions, however. Democratic free schools are a fantastic idea. You'd not like them: they tend to be filled with liberals and other communists: http://www.educationrevolution.org/store/findaschool/democraticschools/

SteveH said...


" ...which one of us posts under his real name?"

BwaHaHa! I was waiting for that. You used that on me years ago. Nice try. Actually, I'm afraid of trolls like you. You can't defend your position with logic, so you slander people.


"You figure parents should be vetting my every move, word, suggestion, etc.?"

Strawman. Parents can't question every move of any school, but they can go to another. You want to prevent even that.


"You only want to ensure that you can censor "bad" ideas."

You have this completely backwards. I like choice. I don't mind if you start your own unschooling charter school. You are the one working on forcing your pedagogical ideas down the throats of others.


"Like anything more progressive than your great-grandfather experienced in school."

This is getting really tiresome. How about using computers in K-6 to allow students to accelerate at their own speed? What is 21st century about full inclusion in academic classes? Why isn't technology used to allow STEM-level math in K-6 for the willing and able? Why not use computer technology to ensure mastery of skills rather than sending home notes telling us parents to do the job and thereby creating a bigger academic gap over the poor you seem to care about? I love El Sistema and we all know how much of a right-wing racist program that is. Keep building a bigger moat about your brain.

Michael Goldenberg said...

I've worked in a charter that used computer technology to solve the problems of "the gap." It was a sick joke. The management company that ran it was probably the single most egregious offender of any in the midwest I've encountered thus far. I don't know that it could compete with Evil Moskowitz for pure cynicism, but then colocation and sweetheart deals with big city mayors hasn't shown up around here. Yet.

Every genius idea you show up with has major flaws. But then, I don't oppose using all sorts of things to help kids learn. I just don't quite swallow the ridiculous idea that you can close gaps by putting kids at computers. Unless you mean gaps in the owners wallets. That it does, in spades.

I don't quite know how you determine what I oppose, particularly all the things you rant against I don't support and the ones you rave in favor of that I see as in some form or other having promise and which I support. You're so full of bile, b.s., and bloviation that you haven't a clue what's going on in the real world. Moat around MY brain? My brain is informed by actual work in real schools in real communities of high-poverty and lots of kids who don't get forced out because of low test scores. Your charter friends won't keep them 5 seconds after they collect their state money. You poor, blind, scared little man.

Michael Goldenberg said...

http://dianeravitch.net/2015/12/13/denver-teacher-ehen-schools-choose-their-students/#comments

“As a teacher for Denver Public Schools, I’m keenly aware of the flip-side of so called school choice… schools choosing their students. School Choice is an outright lie.



“Some schools remain segregated by property values, unavailable to the vast majority of DPS students. The district actively deceives parents into believing a lottery system places students when demand exceeds available space. In fact an indeterminable number of schools are allowed to use what DPS calls SchoolChoiceTool or some garbage name for what really amounts to administrators sitting behind closed doors accepting and rejecting students based on grades, behavior records, attendance data, and standardized test scores.
“The result. DPS is more segregated for Latino students today than when the school board was intentionally segregating African-American students in the years past. DPS school choice segregates the already segregated. Income-achievement gaps are greater than in any other “reform” oriented city studied.
“As they expand and lose their ability to cherry pick the boot camp style charters foisted on Denver’s low-income communities are tanking. Principle and teacher turnover is abysmal. School Choice = inequity = buyer beware gimmick schools = chaos”

Michael Goldenberg said...

Catherine Johnson: you want to see what your allies in the Math Wars are like? This is from the mid-1990s, before any epithets were being hurled towards your side. It's "beautiful":

http://www.mathematicallycorrect.com/glossary.htm

I'd think twice about stones and glass houses.

SteveH said...

Yeah, Catherine. It's all your fault. MPG was nice and kind until THAT happened. Look at what your "Cartel" did to him.

Is anyone bothering to read this thread anymore? Still, MPG will continue to work towards giving parents no choice and slandering you if you disagree.

Michael Goldenberg said...

And you'll continue to spout off behind a screen name, knowing nothing, experiencing nothing in the world of the people you're so deeply concerned about, and your tiny little echo chamber here will think you a hero. What a sad fool. Love to see you talking to folks in the places I work.

Also, note that I said nothing about Ms. Johnson: just addressed her original complaint. You really ought to learn to read, Steve, or at least to keep your brilliant retorts vaguely grounded in what is written by your antagonist. It would be so refreshing for all concerned.

SteveH said...

Thanks for showing off your bullying, control, and slander methods, MarkovChaney. I accomplished my goal.

Michael Goldenberg said...

Steve, are you serious? Your silliness beggars the imagination.

ofpossibleworlds said...

Parents are at a loss. As a teacher, I feel Steve's frustration. Curric and pedagogy are so heavily influenced by a "progressive" ethos that there's little someone like me can do. I've pretty much made myself a pariah with colleagues and basically shot down any chance of advancement, not that I'm looking to get out of the classroom, with my evidence-informed views.

My district has implemented an inquiry/project-based/student-centred focus and there's no escape. I wish I had choice as a teacher, but there's nowhere to go where the snake oil hasn't been sold or the Kool-Aid hasn't been drunk. MPG brings up some big issues, most of which aren't for schools to solve. But my main deal is that we should be allowed to offer students/parents the option of a traditional, knowledge-centred, rigorous program - and we're not. In my district, each school is a carbon copy of every other school - full-blown 21st century, inquiry-based crap.

Michael Goldenberg said...

At the risk of wishing I'd let sleeping dogs snooze, what is inherently 'crap' about inquiry-based learning?

And where can I see some?

Nik Stouffer said...

I don't know what abusive school you went to but those things never happened in the traditional classroom that I was in 30 years ago

Nik Stouffer said...

I don't know what abusive school you went to but those things never happened in the traditional classroom that I was in 30 years ago

lgm said...

My great grandfather attended a one room schoolhouse on the prairie. No one wasted his time by forcing him to spend years reviewing material he had already learned. He was placed by instructional need and allowed to work at his own pace. He was expected to help other students, but not give up his own learning. He didnt have to worry about other students attacking him with weapons. That is what parents want....instruction in the zpd, and appropriate pacing, in an atmosphere of learning. Forcing everyone to work at the slow pace and shallow depth appropriate for generational poverty, children with high absenteeism, or brain damaged students is not the solution, but its what is being shoved down our throats with full inclusion and no textbooks. People will continie to walk away until their child's academic needs are met, and the school is free of violence.

Michael Goldenberg said...

I bet your great-grandfather had to walk to school 10 miles in chest deep snow uphill all the way in BOTH directions.

Michael Goldenberg said...

http://dianeravitch.net/2015/12/16/ohio-where-theft-of-public-money-is-ok/

Michael Goldenberg said...

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/education/article49565370.html


Nothing to see here, charter supporters. Because there are limitless supplies of money and if charters are sucking up millions, folding, and leaving neighborhood public schools to educate students whose money is in the pockets of the charter owners, NO PROBLEM. Because CHOICE, über alles!

Keep telling yourself that the charter school industry (and it is an industry) and those investing in it aren't scamming the neediest Americans, stealing money from the least well-served students and families in America. But CHOICE! No one "forced" those people to trust scandal-ridden charters, fly-by-night operators of charters, ad nauseam. Those people had a CHOICE! And that's what matters. Not educational outcomes. Not undermining the Commons (a concept that is foreign to "patriotic" Americans who subscribe to the lie of charters, vouchers, and "choice"). Not loyalty to neighborhoods and communities. No! Of course not! "Real" Americans support privatizers who come in, drain the community of every last penny they can squeeze out of it, and then leave for points unknown.

Does that mean that local, real public schools are free of scandal and corruption? Of course not. But is it easier to keep track of one school organization in a community or dozens of them? And when there's a financial scandal in a local district, does someone generally walk away with ALL the money, leaving the district absolutely gutted and forced to close? Not generally, because there is local and state accountability, the books are open, no one can hide behind saying that the finances are NOT public as is routinely done by charter management companies.

There's no perfect system, but I'd sooner see every community invested in itself, having interest in the success of all the schools in the community, having a vote in the school board, etc. than to see the money going to so many organizations that have been designed to make literal theft of education dollars so trivially easy and with so little oversight or accountability.

Your mileage may differ. Steve's always differs, though getting him to tell the truth about his motives is not attainable without a court order. He has so much to fear from people like me who are going to get on the next plane, once we learn his identity, and bring harm to him. Not. Steve tends to confuse progressives with the people he allies himself with in groups like Mathematically Correct, filled with people who actively seek to get teachers and administrators who hold progressive views on math education fired from their jobs or denied jobs in the first place. And while he can't cite a case of a progressive "going after" someone like him, he'll keep using that as an excuse for remaining anonymous. Lovely, lovely stuff.

Anonymous said...

You know, it is possible to have public school choice without charter schools. Districts just have to be willing to think outside of their rigid little boxes.

Michael Goldenberg said...

It's undoubtedly true that many districts get caught up in narrow institutional thinking. The same basic model of schools that we borrowed from the Prussian military in the late 19th century is still the blueprint for what "schools" and "schooling" look like to school administrators, teachers, politicians, parents, and students.

I'm all for figuring out how to get out of that mold. I've made it a point to escape it to some small extent (part of my college education) when possible. But fundamentally, opportunities to do so are few and far between, and they are inevitably expensive. If you haven't noticed, the trend since 1980 and the coronation of St. Ronald has been towards less and less money for "needless" public institutions like schools, psychiatric hospitals, and agencies that support the poor, sick, unemployed, etc.

I went on a state of Michigan website last night to find out about the latest official requirements the state is imposing on 9th-grade mathematics for public schools. There was a link to something that looked promising. When I clicked, I was taken to a page that said, "This site is no longer available due to state budget cuts." Spoke volumes.

Now, I certainly agree in the abstract that "public school choice" without charter schools is a grand idea. I even know that many districts in my area (SE Michigan) have become "Schools of Choice," meaning that anyone from the state can opt into the schools there and carry his/her money with him. That's school choice, isn't it? Or am I not understanding the meaning of "school" + "choice"?

Now, is that what you had in mind, Mr. or Ms. Anonymous? I don't think it's what our mutual semi-anonymous friend Steven H has in mind. I know it's not what well-known voice for choice (and staunch opponent of "fuzzy math"), Professor Wayne Bishop of Cal State-LA means by choice: he means that rich and upper-middle-class kids get their school money to help reduce the cost of the elite private school they attend, while everyone else can attend the local "St. Sensible," as he calls Catholic Schools. Never mind if you're not Catholic - I'm sure every Jewish, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist child is itching to get a good dose of catechism with his/her trigonometry (or should be!).

So let me reiterate: I'm all for REAL choices. But they should be choices that are really open to everyone. They should dovetail with core democratic values - the commonweal, the "Commons," as they are sometimes called, and not be designed to advantage further the already-privileged and offer a simulacrum of "choice" to the poor and already-disadvantaged. I'm afraid that's what's mostly behind charter schools as currently built for the poor; it's what's behind vouchers; it's behind much that is touted as choice. And only the willfully blind will miss the fact that charter schools and vouchers have increased de facto segregation along racial/ethnic lines. That's very much how they are used in the deep south. I suspect that such use is not restricted to southern states, however. But no one here would be advocating for vouchers or charters to help ensure that their kids don't have to go to school with blacks or Latinos. That would NEVER happen on a democratic, equity-oriented site like this one. [for the hard-of-reading: equity and equality are not synonyms.]

lgm said...

Yet you are not advocating for those choices. You are advocating for a curriculum dumbdown to the level of the neediest included child in the system, which ignores the education of the children you dont favor. Everyone who can has voted with their feet and moved to where they can get an appropriate education without being jumped. Those that cant move are afterschooling like crazy. They will come back when violence is gone, and their children too get to learn in the classroom.

I agree that the choices arent real. Commissioner King of NY is on record stating his belief that all students should have access to AP Courses, but he wasnt able to fund his virtual courses to the extent that all could access them. School districts still have to pay for them, which wont happen in my district because all the money goes to remedial, while nonremedial have 2 to 5 study halls.

Fair is recognizing that each compelled child gets to learn in their zpd, and funding districts to do so. Right now, compelled nonremedial, nonclassified students are getting multiple study halls instead of classes. And when they do have classes, they arent in the zpd and they are disrupted by the violent and uninterested.

Charters here are not for wealthy. They are operating as alternative schools for unclassified remedial students, drawing from multiple districts. Completely different scenario than what you are describing. The wealthy have no need for charter, they can afford private.

Michael Goldenberg said...

lgm: sorry, but you're putting a lot of words in my mouth. Where have I ever advocated for a "curriculum dumb-down," please? That is, where have *I* done that, rather than having my friend Steve H claim that that is my goal? I speak for myself far better than Steve can speak for me. Same with you: I won't argue with you about what I've never said.

Since I don't know you or where you live, I can't comment on what you claim. I am describing charters I've worked in and investigated in SE Michigan, including in NYC, Flint, Pontiac, and Detroit. If you don't live in those places, feel free to ignore everything I say. Perhaps you can offer some specific examples or at least give a general description of the area/community you're describing. I hear that there are charter schools in greater Minneapolis/St. Paul that are fabulous. That might even be true. But then, I don't have any direct knowledge of them one way or another.

Oh and WHERE did I suggest that charters are "for the wealthy"? It's vouchers that are for the wealthy. Of course they're for "everyone," but they benefit the wealthy precisely because they subsidize tuition at the private schools that their kids can get into, actually get to, and afford in the first place. But if you have a choice of paying full price or having your kids' tuition subsidized by the state even though you can afford it, well, heck, that's another mortgage payment on the 4th house!

Michael Goldenberg said...

http://dianeravitch.net/2015/12/17/horace-meister-the-myth-of-charter-school-success-hillary-was-right/

Well, I'm not sure what HRC really thinks about charter schools (depends on what day and time it is and where she's speaking), but the comments about Eva Moskowitz's long-protected fiefdom, Success Academies, jibe with lots of other remarks on her schools.

Michael Goldenberg said...

Nothing to see here either, Steve, et al: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mollyhensleyclancy/investors-rebel-against-controversial-online-school-operator#.vme9vMZvW

Michael Goldenberg said...

http://www.timesreporter.com/article/20151217/NEWS/151219406/1994/NEWS?fb_ref=Default&fb_source=message

If Pontiac, MI had done this 15 years ago, their schools might not be in the hands of the governor's appointed "financial manager."

Michael Goldenberg said...

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2016/1/2/1459447/-Taking-the-public-out-of-public-education?detail=email

We're public when the money is being handed out. But when someone wants to see our books, we're private.

Almost as good of a scam as organized religions.

Michael Goldenberg said...

http://edushyster.com/are-charter-schools-the-new-subprime-mortgages/

But of course, the scams upon scams don't matter as long as we have "choice," right? The fact that many of those in low-income districts with large numbers of ethnic minorities will be left holding the bag is no problem for those whose own agenda is satisfied by the destruction of public education via charters and/or vouchers. After all, we're not a nation, but rather a huge land mass that contains millions of individuals hustling to get a few more crumbs from the oligarchs' table. If everyone else gets screwed, well, that's their hard luck.