[Numeracy 329] Re: Controversial News Articles

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Jacqueline Kiefer jkiefer at dacc.nmsu.edu
Mon Apr 26 18:07:21 EDT 2010


You hit the nail right on the head when you said maybe we expect too little. I came to Anthony, NM (a state that also is at the bottom of the educational barrel) 4 years ago. I was told, by the GED Coordinator, not to use TIME magazine in the classroom because the students wouldn't understand. I told her of course they won't understand, unless we use it to teach them.
Jackie

From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Christine Miller
Sent: Saturday, April 24, 2010 6:06 AM
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List
Subject: [Numeracy 324] Re: Controversial News Articles

Michael,

There is a Chinese woman in one of my classes who immigrated here as an adult and now has children in American public schools. She was embarrassed by her brother the last time they visited and her looked at her teenaged daughter's high school math textbook. In the United States, part of what informs our math curricula is the idea of cognitive readiness for some math concepts. How do you explain China and India where they introduce some concepts much sooner? Perhaps it is how we introduce concepts. Another student said that in India, students are encouraged to not only count on their fingers, but to use the knuckles so they can go to higher numbers. Why not look at other cultures and emulate what works well? In our last class, we talked about motivation and the discussion turned to urban schools. Numerous external reasons were given to explain why many students don't do well. The Chinese lady basically thought that was poppycock and said that many students are hungry and poor at school in China yet they do well because it is expected. Maybe in our culture, we expect too little and the students live down to our low expectations.

As for special needs, I would be completely surprised to find out that India and China reach out to the the level that the United States does. I think that this is one of our most admirable qualities as Americans. You bring up a good point -- our noble intentions versus the reality of our limited resources.

Chris Miller
________________________________
From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] on behalf of Michael Gyori [tesolmichael at yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, April 23, 2010 1:10 PM
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List
Subject: [Numeracy 322] Re: Controversial News Articles
Christine,

You are so right, a high school diploma, one would imagine, should signify college readiness. The fact is that it doesn't, and there are huge differences among colleges, to boot. The three children of my gastroenterologist who is also a friend of mine all attended Yale. I just spoke with his wife yesterday, who shared that the students attending Yale especially from Korea, China, and India were considerably better prepared academically than their U.S.-born peers (in spite of language barriers).

I also help non-native English speakers who attend to college. The differences between entry college-level English (reading and composition) classes across locations and even across instructors at the same school can be enormous. Theoretically, students should be at 13.0 or higher GLE to attend. Let's get real...

We must have discussions, but all participants at the table must be given equal footing. Let's work on building some manner of consensus derived from understanding. National standards today will accomplish little more at this time than demoralize learners and educators even more.

As for the notion of equality in education, that's one enormous beast we need to face. It means different things to different people. For starters, without taking a position and just as an example: should a profoundly deaf child be eligible for a personal deaf educator, educational assistant, and also a contracted ASL interpreter who is paid $100 per hour (keeping in mind that public education is funded with taxpayers' monies)?

Michael


Michael A. Gyori

Maui International Language School

www.mauilanguage.com<http://www.mauilanguage.com/>


________________________________
From: Christine Miller <cmiller53 at student.gsu.edu>
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List <numeracy at nifl.gov>
Sent: Fri, April 23, 2010 6:32:35 AM
Subject: [Numeracy 321] Re: Controversial News Articles
I don't think that having national standards leads to a pot of money. The federal government legally compels equality in education for all -- not just minorities but special needs as well. Many states seem to try and get away with doing the least amount possible. Setting standards is not supposed to be just an exercise in multiplication. They should be the result of thoughtful discussions with the understanding that standards change as society changes. To say that you have a college track high school diploma should mean that you are ready for college algebra (or better) and that you are literate.
________________________________
From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] on behalf of shirley burns [threedog at cyberport.net]
Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 6:52 PM
To: 'The Math and Numeracy Discussion List'
Subject: [Numeracy 318] Re: Controversial News Articles
I'm just getting in this, but are you sure it is the standards that make the education. It doesn't sound to me like the problem in the south is standards. I can't believe that we can honestly believe that the FED government would do a better job of the states in setting standards. Most standards are copies from one another. It sound like you don't have as much faith in national standards as you think that having them will give some pot of money from the Federal gov't. There is no pot of money. It comes with a high price tag.

From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] On Behalf Of Christine Miller
Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 2:33 PM
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List
Subject: [Numeracy 316] Re: Controversial News Articles

Should't we at least consider having a national discussion about what knowledge we value? Coming from the South and knowing about the history of public education in the South in comparison to say, the Mid-Atlantic states, I am cynical about depending on state politicians to improve and/or maintain education. Georgia arm wrestles every year with Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina for the bottom four ranking order. I believe that a lot of our struggles originate from our shared history. Southern states were the last to offer public education and we have a checkered past when it comes to inclusion and realistic funding. The federal government interventions have sometimes offered the only relief from injustice. Hopefully, talk about national standards will include a broader discussion of how the outdated way we pay for education, i.e. through property taxes, means that those who need the most will always get the least.

Chris
________________________________
From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov [numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov] on behalf of Michael Gyori [tesolmichael at yahoo.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2010 1:37 PM
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List
Subject: [Numeracy 314] Re: Controversial News Articles
The problem with national standards is that they become the primary means of evaluating performance by means of multiple-choice assessments. Linda herself is one of the leading opponents of such assessments, as evidenced by her espousal of assessment practices elsewhere that shed light on the reasoning processes our students undergo. They take a lot more time to "score" and don't lend themselves to digitalized scoring.

The federal government already has too huge of an impact on what and how teachers should teach. The backlash to that impact is itself, IMO, a major cause of educational failures.

Michael


Michael A. Gyori

Maui International Language School

www.mauilanguage.com<http://www.mauilanguage.com/>


________________________________
From: Christine Miller <cmiller53 at student.gsu.edu>
To: The Math and Numeracy Discussion List <numeracy at nifl.gov>
Sent: Tue, April 20, 2010 4:37:36 AM
Subject: [Numeracy 312] Re: Controversial News Articles

In reading the article about the closing of the charter school that Stanford and Linda Darling-Hammond ran, it seems like a good illustration of the challenges facing educators everywhere -- systemic poverty, diversity, limited resources, english language learning, assessments. The fact that Linda Darling-Hammond has the President's ear and hopefully Secretary Duncan's as well could be a really positive thing. The article said that the schools had shown improvments, just not the dramatic leaps which observers demand. Maybe this is a valuable "teachable" moment demonstrating that education is a lengthy process of many steps.

I am trying to understand why the idea of national standards or a curriculum is objectionable. I am from Georgia and I see how bogged down our state and local governments get in the politics of curricula. We also linger towards the bottom in national tests like the SAT. What would be so bad about having a set standard of math objectives for each grade so that to say you graduated from a U.S. high school means that your math education included whatever is in the national definition? Another bonus would be that if students have to move during their k12 career, they are ready for their new school.

Christine Miller

________________________________________
From: numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov<mailto:numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov> [numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov<mailto:numeracy-bounces at nifl.gov>] on behalf of tsticht at znet.com<mailto:tsticht at znet.com> [tsticht at znet.com<mailto:tsticht at znet.com>]
Sent: Saturday, April 17, 2010 3:58 PM
To: numeracy at nifl.gov<mailto:numeracy at nifl.gov>
Subject: [Numeracy 311] Controversial News Articles

Colleagues: Here are extracts from two news stories that may be of interest.
They seem to challenge some of the more innovative actions (e.g., authentic
assessments; professional development in math) that many educational
researchers recommend to improve the nation's K-12 educational system. No
doubt these reports will be considered quite controversial! You can find
full stores on www.educationnews.org<http://www.educationnews.org/>
Tom Sticht

Posted on 4/17/2010 at www.educationnews.org

#1 Middle School Mathematics Professional Development Impact Study: Findings
After the First Year of Implementation

Results after one year of providing teachers math professional development
(PD) indicate no improvement on their students' math achievement when
compared to teachers who did not receive the study-provided PD.




#2 Obama's Linda Darling-Hammond and Her Failed School"

by Donna Garner



Early in Obama's presidency, it looked as if he was going to appoint Linda
Darling-Hammond as his Secretary of Education. Instead, Obama decided to
empower Darling-Hammond to complete the federal takeover of the public
schools by authorizing her to help develop the national tests (i.e.,
assessments). These assessments are the centerpiece in Obama's plan to put
the federal government in charge of what gets taught each day to public
school students.



By having national standards, national curriculum, national assessments, and
a national database tying students' scores directly to teachers' pay and
longevity, teachers will be forced to teach their students whatever is in
the national standards and on the national assessments.



Today we see that Linda Darling-Hammond's approach to education has failed.
The school she founded in California is to be closed because of low test
scores and lack of significant improvement.

A similar charter school (Aspire) in the same district focused on academics;
Darling-Hammond's school focused on project-based learning, subjective
assessments, portfolios, and "students' emotional and social lives."


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