Archive for the ‘math ed’ Category

[‘nother one from the “old drafts” archive. It was inspired by a post on Bridging Differences, but it’s on a topic I feel strongly about, so here it is even though no longer relevant to anything being discussed there.]

For years (centuries, actually) education has done a pendulum swing from one end of a spectrum to the other. On the one hand, thinking, process, ideas, concepts, creativity. On the other, basic skills, content, memorization, automaticity, discipline. Below, I shall refer to these as “reform” and “traditional” respectively. (The pendulum seems to be stuck to the latter side these days, but that’s a post for another day.) What we need is to think “both/and” instead of “exclusive or”. (The problem with that is time–but I’ll leave that alone for the sake of getting this finished and posted.) I’ll speak with math as my background subject, with the developments of the past century or so in mind. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Recently the California State Board of Education, egged on by the Governator and business bigwigs, decided to require that, starting in three years, all CA 8th graders shall take Algebra I, regardless of their state of prior mathematical knowledge, understanding, or ability. The move was in response to a NCLB-related demand from the US Dept. of Ed to align CA’s 8th testing practices with their curriculum standards. More info can be found here. In this post, I discuss rationales given in favor of the policy, arguments made against it, and my own reasons why I think it is both morally wrong and likely to prove to be a big fat mistake extremely misguided. (more…)

Read Full Post »