kitchen table math, the sequel: 5/27/12 - 6/3/12

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Help Desk: retaking the SATs?

800 - critical reading; 750 - math; 590 - writing

These are the scores obtained by the son of a friend of mine when he took the SATs for the first time this year as a high school junior. I should mention that he's no longer a high school junior: a few weeks ago he decided to drop out of school because he found it too boring. (The school in question is one of the very top public high schools in Philadelphia). He hasn't taken the PSATs, or done any test prep whatsoever. Nor, as of yet, has he taken any SAT IIs.

So here's the question: given this boy's current scores, would it be a good idea for him to retake the SATs?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

5% a year

what happens if we increase taxes 5% a year every year? 

I must say, the Wu Wei Wordpress theme is fabulous.

It's pretty in black, too.

union negotiations in another small town

Steve H writes:
Our issue is that the union contract is negotiated separately from the annual budget crisis. When the budget battle begins, this leaves only other smaller areas for cuts. The town council gives the school committee and the school a dollar figure for the cuts, and they come up with cuts that push the most hot buttons for parents. They fire up their automated phone system and email list to rile up the parents and get them to the meetings. We get automated phone messages not just from the school, but from the chair of the school committee about the budget. The town council threatens to take control over the selection of the line items. However, the town council pays little attention when the school committee negotiates the terms of the union contract. Many towns desperately need professional help when those contracts are negotiated.
We have nothing this complicated.

In the spring, one or two members of the Board of Education announce that Next year we won't have layoffs. Then the next year we have layoffs.

This spring the same guy who announced that we wouldn't have layoffs said we will break the tax cap in 2013. ("The folks in the press can quote me.")

So maybe that means we won't break the tax cap.

Thank God this guy isn't on the Federal Reserve.

come to Ed's talk!

Ed Berenson at the 92nd Street Y

Ed's new book!

Take it out on the students

My son is finishing up a multi-subject portfolio for his sophomore US Lit honors class. Exemplars from each subject must be collected and put into a notebook. Students are required to list a specific CCSS standard and then explain how each piece of work relates to that standard. One that my son used was: "F-TF.1. Understand radian measure of an angle as the length of the arc on the unit circle subtended by the angle." He then had to explain how the work fit this standard. This project came, of course, after the teacher complained about how he was required to do this for all of his lessons. My son has to do this for all of the subjects in the portfolio, even those (like music) that don't have a specific standard defined. This is a teacher who doesn't hand back homework with any explanations. You have to make an appointment to meet with him after school to find out why he graded the way he did. And, if you somehow fail to get to this appointment, he will create a new grade of zero for you in his gradebook. This is a teacher who prides himself on grading 10 points lower than all other teachers. Got to toughen up those soft little honors kids. Also, this portfolio has to include your resume to be accepted into the junior class. You are interviewed and have to orally convince the teacher (or some volunteer parent) that you should be accepted. You also have to create a resume for an imaginary job sometime in your future, listing all of your degrees and experience. It has to include imaginary letters of recommendation. I told him that he is learning creative resume enhancing skills. Of course, he has a PhD from Harvard. It reminds me of how some teachers ask students what grade they would give to themselves. I told my son to always say 'A'.