Most Read
Image 01 Image 02 Image 03

Over 500 STEM Professionals Sign Open Letter Challenging the Gutting of US K-12 Math Education

Over 500 STEM Professionals Sign Open Letter Challenging the Gutting of US K-12 Math Education

Many signers are left-supporting professors, who are now beginning taste the toxicity of the fruits of the Woke Tree.

In the first half of 2021, we reported that the California Board of Education proposed eliminating calculus and revising its mathematics curriculum to make it more…equitable.

Subsequently, there was a backlash tsunami from the state’s parents, whose children will eventually have to compete for colleges and jobs in the real world. The board then paused its implementation.

Most Americans understand that a strong foundation in mathematics is essential for success in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).  Our society needs competent and qualified professionals in all these fields to be a prosperous nation and the ability to keep our infrastructure up and our defense capabilities strong.

Furthermore, a population with a good understanding of statistics and analysis techniques is less likely to be bamboozled by bureaucrats who manipulate facts to create crises that only their organizations can solve (of course, with more funding and power).  As I noted in a conversation during the recent San Diego Legal Insurrection meet-up, we are not well served when journalists and members of the media are ignorant of basic math and science, as they are apt to parrot whatever any “expert” says and fail to distinguish between “misinformation” and accurate data that contradicts the preferred political narrative.

With all of this in mind, it is understandable that many STEM professionals are very concerned about recent educational trends that are focused more on social justice than hard science or even basic math skills. Theoretical computer scientists Boaz Barak of Harvard and Edith Cohen of Google, and other leading quantitative scientists, have prepared an open letter sounding the alarm over the gutting of US math education in K-12.

The group explicitly cites the California Mathematics Framework (CMF) and boasts over 500 signatories.

…We are deeply concerned about the unintended consequences of recent well-intentioned approaches to reform mathematics education, particularly the California Mathematics Framework (CMF). Such frameworks aim to reduce achievement gaps by limiting the availability of advanced mathematical courses to middle schoolers and beginning high schoolers. While such reforms superficially seem “successful” at reducing disparities at the high school level, they are merely “kicking the can” to college. While it is possible to succeed in STEM at college without taking advanced courses in high school, it is more challenging. College students who need to spend their early years taking introductory math courses may require more time to graduate. They may need to give up other opportunities and are more likely to struggle academically. Such a reform would disadvantage K-12 public school students in the United States compared with their international and private-school peers. It may lead to a de facto privatization of advanced mathematics K-12 education and disproportionately harm students with fewer resources.

Another deeply worrisome trend is devaluing essential mathematical tools such as calculus and algebra in favor of seemingly more modern “data science.” As STEM professionals and educators we should be sympathetic to this approach, and yet, we reject it wholeheartedly. The ability to gather and analyze massive amounts of data is indeed transforming our society. But “data science” – computer science, statistics, and artificial intelligence- is built on the foundations of algebra, calculus, and logical thinking. While these mathematical fields are centuries old and sometimes more, they are arguably even more critical for today’s grand challenges than in the Sputnik era.

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board also featured the letter. At that time, there were already over 500 signatories. The board highlighted that the CMF quest for “equity” hurt minority groups.

The board also noted many signers are left-supporting professors who are now beginning to taste the toxicity of the fruits of the Woke Tree.

The scientists delicately describe the politicized erosion of standards as “well-intentioned approaches to reform mathematics education.” They zero in on the California Department of Education’s proposed new math framework, which encourages math teachers to take a “justice-oriented perspective.” The signatories say the course roadmap will reduce the “availability of advanced mathematical courses to middle schoolers and beginning high schoolers” and discourage students from taking calculus.

This is supposed to advance “equity.” But in addition to damaging America’s global competitiveness, the letter says, the decline of rigorous math in public schools “may lead to a de facto privatization” of top-tier instruction and “harm students with fewer resources.”

The growing list of 471 signatories includes four winners of the Fields Medal in math; two winners of the Turing Award in computing; a Nobel laureate in physics and another in chemistry; 25 members of the National Academy of Sciences; and faculty at Stanford, Berkeley, CalTech, MIT and every top U.S. university for hard science.

No doubt many if not most in this group are politically left of center. But they warn against the elevation of “trendy but shallow courses over foundational skills” like algebra and calculus. Those disciplines “are centuries old and sometimes more,” the letter says, but “arguably even more critical for today’s grand challenges than in the Sputnik era.”

Perhaps in addition to signing this letter, these professors might begin helping make campus climates a little friendlier to conservatives who have been warning about this trend for quite some time.

DONATE

Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.

Tags:

Comments

I don’t understand how smart people can be so stupid. Anyone with a decent ability to predict and critically evaluate ideas could have seen these consequences coming a mile away.

    They’re not stupid.

    WE are stupid: this is by design: destroy and then take over.

    What the 500+ probably don’t get is that this is by malignant design, not because of some benevolent new theory of teaching.

    Moronic, crazy teachers are put in place for a reason: same as crazy Soros district attorneys who magically get elected via use of voting machines.

    Joe-dallas in reply to healthguyfsu. | December 6, 2021 at 5:38 pm

    Healthy guy – “I don’t understand how smart people can be so stupid .”

    Smart people arent that stupid

    Smart people arent progressives

    It’s not an issue of intelligence. It’s an issue of wisdom. I suspect that the two become negatively correlated beyond a certain level of intelligence. And I am certain that many people of low intelligence have significant levels of wisdom.

      artichoke in reply to gibbie. | December 7, 2021 at 8:19 am

      That argument was implicitly used by Sonia Sotomayor in her SCOTUS confirmation hearings, arguing that she brought the “wisdom of her experiences”. I never saw that wisdom reflected in her SCOTUS opinions, just a predictable ideology and an amateur-level understanding of the law — which seems to have improved in more recent writings.

    daniel_ream in reply to healthguyfsu. | December 6, 2021 at 6:31 pm

    Dunning-Kruger Effect. Smart people are only smart within their own domain, and become accustomed to always being right within that domain, and then fall prey to the notion that they’re always right in any other domain they take a passing interest in.

    I have degrees in chemical engineering and mathematics/computer science, and I can trivially reduce many of my former classmates and colleagues to sputtering incoherence when they bring up topics like climate change or epidemiological models – topics that are well within their realm of professional competence – because they simply do not know how to think, and don’t bother to examine any of the things they parrot.

    Being smart does not in any way magically inoculate one from the sins of hubris and sloth.

      artichoke in reply to daniel_ream. | December 7, 2021 at 8:24 am

      I’d argue you are proving the opposite. Someone with AP calculus is prepared to take a STEM-oriented class in statistics. Someone with AP stats is not, because the “stats” they’ve learned is pablum (albeit tedious pablum, replete with the hypothesis-testing rigmarole that should arouse suspicion whenever it’s used) and they don’t have the essential tool of calculus.

      So your generalized knowledge trumps their premature specialization. The first and best to disarm and debunk the climate alarmists have been theoretical physicists, because they think very clearly.

        Dathurtz in reply to artichoke. | December 7, 2021 at 12:05 pm

        I agree with you. Specialized education has to happen after general education. I do think it is a good idea to learn a specific case, generalize that case as is appropriate to understand the ideas, and then translate that knowledge/skill to other specialized cases.

        I think of knowledge and skills like a big net. The more specialized the knowledge, the smaller the holes in the net are. If you don’t have the big picture, then it is really hard to put anything into its proper context.

    Arminius in reply to healthguyfsu. | December 7, 2021 at 6:04 pm

    “Capitalism doesn’t love Black people.

    — Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) December 2, 2021”

    The goal of public “education” is to indoctrinate children to hate this country. If you’re going to indoctrinate children that “Capitalism = Racism” then the last thing you want kids to learn is the truth. Instead of actual history, instead pound the 1619 project narrative and other Marxist lies. And for the sake of the cause, never teach them anything that will actually provide them job skills.

    Grading a “BIPOC” child’s writing for proper English grammar and spelling is racist. That’s teaching them to act White, doncha know.

    As for math? Are you kidding me?

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/math-professor-claims-equation-2-2-4-reeks-of-white-supremacist-patriarchy

    “‘The idea that math (or data) is culturally neutral or in any way objective is a MYTH. i’m ready to move on with that understanding. who’s coming with me?’ Brooklyn College professor of math education Laurie Rubel tweeted last week to her roughly 1,200 followers…

    ‘Along with the ‘of course math is neutral because 2+2=4’ trope are the related (and creepy) ‘math is pure’ and ‘protect math.’ reeks of white supremacist patriarchy. i’d rather think on nurturing people & protecting the planet (with math in service of them goals),’ she continued…”

    The goal of the edukayshun system is an end product that knows America is rayciss, possibly heads out and looks for a job when it spits him/her out, and when they can’t get the job they rioted and burned down Ferguson MO (and other places) because their Marxist teachers told them that’s how it’s supposed to work but in fact they’re unemployable because they can’t read, write, calculate a work order or in short can’t do anything except be rude to the customers because that again is how their Marxist teachers told them it’s supposed to work then they’ll conclude their teachers were right. The ONLY possible reason no will hire them is that they’re Black. Or brown.

    Another public ejukayshun success story recently reported.

    https://www.foxnews.com/us/baltimore-student-fails-classes-top-half

    “…A Baltimore high school student failed all but three classes over four years and almost graduated near the top half of his class with a 0.13 GPA, according to a local report.

    Tiffany France, the mother of the failing student, thought her son would be receiving his diploma from Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts in June. However, she was surprised to discover that he is being sent back to the ninth grade to start over.

    …’The school failed at their job. They failed. They failed, that’s the problem here. They failed. They failed. He didn’t deserve that,’ she said…”

    No, honey. They didn’t fail. They did exactly what they set out to do.

    “…France pulled her son out of the school, and he is currently enrolled in an accelerated program that could allow him to graduate in 2023.”

    Tiffany France’s kid may actually be able to get a job one day. But what about all those other kids who had even lower GPAs and were ranked lower than him? And if you can be basically in the middle of the pack with a 0.13GPA you know the 61 students ahead of him aren’t exactly Rhodes Scholars.

    I loved this quote from the middle of the article.

    “‘I get angry. There’s nothing but frustration. We see on the news the crime that occurs, the murders, the shootings, we know that there are high levels of poverty in Baltimore,’ the administrator said. ‘Things like this are adding to that. His transcript is not unusual to me. I’ve seen many transcripts, many report cards, like this particular student.'”

    I bet she’s angry. A parent finally got angry and had her failure (from a “White supremacist” perspective, not from her Marxist perspective) broadcast to the world. She sees this all the time on the job and doesn’t get angry. I’m sure it puts a smile on her face.

    She’s angry she got caught and has to talk to a news crew.

    https://www.city-journal.org/html/ed-schools%E2%80%99-latest%E2%80%94and-worst%E2%80%94humbug-12948.html

    “The Ed Schools’ Latest—and Worst—Humbug
    Teaching for “social justice” is a cruel hoax on disadvantaged kids.

    “…But that was just half the wonder of it. Ayers would soon go on to disprove thoroughly F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous though mistaken aphorism that “there are no second acts in American lives.” Ayers’s spectacular second act began when he enrolled at Columbia University’s Teachers College in 1984. Then 40, he planned to stay just to get a teaching credential. (He had taught in a “Freedom School” during his pre-underground student radical days.) But he experienced an epiphany in a course taught by Maxine Greene, a leading light of the “critical pedagogy” movement. As Ayers wrote later, he took fire from Greene’s lectures on how the “oppressive hegemony” of the capitalist social order “reproduces” itself through the traditional practice of public schooling—critical pedagogy’s fancy way of saying that the evil corporations exercise thought control through the schools.

    It hadn’t occurred to Ayers that an ed-school professor could speak or write as an authentic American radical.

    …Ayers keeps hoping for a revolutionary upheaval that will finally bring down American capitalism and imperialism. But now, instead of planting bombs in bathrooms, he has been planting the seeds of resistance and rebellion in America’s future teachers, who will then pass on the lessons to the students in their classrooms…”

    Any questions about the actual point of Kali’s math curriculum?

    Oh, and that Ayers is none of other than Bill Ayers. Obama’s political mentor and benefactor.

    Again, any questions? Any at all?

The ruling class has ways to keep their children competitive. They must, however, hide the pea about the poor performance of groups with high victim status by watering down public school curricula for all in the interest of “equity.”

    Yes, see my comment on “no prior knowledge necessary” below. Now the ‘ruling class’, which these days means politically connected, can get by on their connected credentials instead of being bright or hard-working.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to cwillia1. | December 6, 2021 at 4:07 pm

    I think that their intention are more insidious, in that stopping our best and brightest from learning as much as the could will have a life long negative impact on their ultimate achievements.

    Maybe we should be discussing separate schools for anyone with an IQ lower than 90. Save their feelings and protect our future.

      Dathurtz in reply to JohnSmith100. | December 6, 2021 at 5:01 pm

      Hell, just kick out the kids that don’t want to be there. Everybody gets what they want.

        JohnSmith100 in reply to Dathurtz. | December 6, 2021 at 6:23 pm

        Then they will all be trash, with no future, and likely criminals. Of course, I suspect that most inner city school are producing mostly criminals.

          Dathurtz in reply to JohnSmith100. | December 6, 2021 at 7:04 pm

          A lot of them will be. A lot of them will get a job.

          henrybowman in reply to JohnSmith100. | December 6, 2021 at 9:38 pm

          There are a lot of reasons why child labor laws should be repealed. This is one of them. Hiring children is not “exploiting them.”

          artichoke in reply to JohnSmith100. | December 7, 2021 at 9:17 pm

          As someone else says, the sooner they stop pretending to be getting an education, the sooner they can start working and acquiring working skills, and building a little bank account if they are still living at home. The last thing these poor people with marginal ability need is to waste their time and effort.

    No different than any corrupt old kingdom or the Soviet Union.

I covered Constructivism and how it is not actually about a different way of teaching math and science in Chapter 3 of my book Credentialed to Destroy: How and Why Education Became a Weapon. Using that base, it is easy to continue to follow these so-called STEM ‘reforms’ and what Concept-based, non-algorithmic math really means.

Helpfully, in November, the journal Computers and Education published an article entitled “Conceptualizing AI literacy: An exploratory review.” It laid out repeatedly that these STEM standards (which is where AI Literacy is found) rely on “fundamental concepts, skills, knowledge and attitudes” that will be accessible to ALL students, whatever their backgrounds because they “require no prior knowledge”.

No need for a knowledge base of facts or practiced algorithms. Treat the provided concept as a theory and show us how you would apply it in everyday life, preferably as a rationale for transforming the broader social systems in which each student is embedded.

Voila! Practice at being a Change Agent until the concepts become Habits of Mind to be applied to interpret any new situation.

Math, history, any science class, literature–all become vehicles to practice using the conceptual lenses being assigned in class. Use of these Concepts then must be assessed annually via federal law for virtually all students because these Conceptual Understandings are also known as Higher Order Thinking Skills or HOTS.

HOTS assessment by name is explicitly in the Every Student Succeeds Act legislation enacted in 2015.

    Dathurtz in reply to Robin. | December 6, 2021 at 5:05 pm

    What? Learn skills by doing actual things? Insanity! Don’t you know that, while that has real and meaningful positive impact on students, it doesn’t translate into higher standardized test scores?

    It is a little crazy how learning to do actual measurements on simple reactions builds real math skills.

    henrybowman in reply to Robin. | December 7, 2021 at 12:21 am

    A little hard to follow, but sounds like the bottom line is: you don’t have to be able to understand something, or derive it from first principles, just take what we tell you as given and believe it’s true. Then call it “higher order thinking skills,” which is exactly the opposite of what it is. Classical leftism.

      Instead of the purpose as the historic transmission of knowledge, we have a shift in the purpose of education to targeting each student’s internalized ‘sense-making’–as in the neural net of concepts, core ideas, enduring understandings and several other terms for supplying the abstract lens or frame. With a no prior knowledge requirement, there’s nothing to prevent use of what you or I would recognize to be an Inapt Analogy for a given situation or context.

      It is what HOTS is also a shorthand for. It’s what CRT is really all about, especially in its version of the other use of the same acronym–Culturally Responsible Teaching.

      It is also what is at issue in this current controversy from Down Under. https://whyevolutionistrue.com/2021/12/03/ways-of-knowing-new-zealand-pushes-to-have-indigenous-knowledge-mythology-taught-on-parity-with-modern-science-in-science-class/

      What are still subjects to us are now simply Ways of Knowing. If education can hijack that, especially by attaching it to emotions as Habits of Mind in interpreting daily experiences, there’s no need for censorship. You have targeted the receiver/transducer part of the human brain invisibly and control what gets noticed via perception and what gets ignored.

      None of this is accidental. I used to intuit by function until I discovered the function was known and its purpose was intentional. If you think I invented the term neural net, look up Gordon Pask.

      The paper I referenced above also talked about having students engage in “higher order thinking activities” to reenforce the desired Conceptual Understandings that then can be used as “applications in daily life”. It is planned that students will then learn to “apply [the] underlying concepts in different contexts”.

      Hope that is clearer. Have spent years researching all this and following the paper trail and recently listening to webinars training teachers, supers, and education researchers in academia.

        henrybowman in reply to Robin. | December 7, 2021 at 8:10 am

        Decades ago, I thought the education establishment was insane for abandoning phonics for the see-and-say model. It’s all gradations of the same thing.

          Dathurtz in reply to henrybowman. | December 7, 2021 at 12:06 pm

          If you are old enough, you may not realize that actually learning mathematics has been replaced with an abomination called “guess and check”.

          I covered the reasons for the reading wars and how ‘Whole Language’ and see and say are Constructivism in Chapter 2 of my book. We are now seeing the Science of Reading being hyped and phonetic instruction and people like Marie Clay and Lucy Calkins being criticized ONLY because the Conceptual Map is tied to the Fed Ed backed CEDS–Common Education Data Standards.

          Having circumscribed via CEDS what it will now mean to know, the Educrats absolutely want ALL children to know and be using those prescribed Conceptual Understandings, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Cross-Cutting Concepts. They essentially now need to read phonetically to pick up those desired Concepts.

          This emphasis on Concepts first actually had a name in the USSR. It was called Ascending from the Abstract to the Concrete and was considered an important aspect of Dialectical Materialism. If students could be led to see the world differently, they would reflexively begin to act differently and believe differently.

          Evald Ilyenkov was the creator of this new “DiaMat” political theory and what we are seeing now via HOTS is absolutely tied to the previous rationale, except in the West. As the Soviets used to say, we see what the child not yet is and try to change what they become. With the practices comes the rationale, even if the practitioners are unfamiliar with those rationales.

          artichoke in reply to henrybowman. | December 8, 2021 at 10:13 am

          Our school district is having an ongoing rebellion against “blended literacy” or whole language, pushing phonics. Maybe we’ll succeed this time. But it would be a shame if that’s just because the brainwashing materials have now been perfected.

          I used to say homeschool elementary and make sure they learn to read and do arithmetic, then send to middle and definitely high school; they really will get some content in HS in some subjects that very few parents would have the breadth to teach.

          Now maybe the reverse? Send them to school for a couple years to get phonics-based reading if they can’t already read by 5 or 6, then yank them out?

“and revising its mathematics curriculum to make it more…equitable”

Because certain parts of the population refuse to do the hard work of learning difficult material. It’s not that they’re incapable of learning, it’s that they refuse, offering the excuse of “being white.”

    Dathurtz in reply to pfg. | December 6, 2021 at 5:07 pm

    Hell, a significant proportion of white kids won’t either. I can’t even blame them. When people teach me stuff that won’t help me I don’t pay a lot of attention, either.

      JohnSmith100 in reply to Dathurtz. | December 6, 2021 at 7:15 pm

      Most people who have not learned things they thought would not help them go through life never understanding how much they missed. Almost all knowledge is valuable, much of it we appreciate much later.

        henrybowman in reply to JohnSmith100. | December 6, 2021 at 10:43 pm

        Learning is good. Learning mandates are not necessarily good.

        Dathurtz in reply to JohnSmith100. | December 7, 2021 at 7:17 am

        I like it too, but a lot of people don’t.

        Also, high school ain’t what it used to be. I spend a lot of time on technical minutiae that, while neato, aren’t of value to most people who aren’t going to college as a science major.

      artichoke in reply to Dathurtz. | December 8, 2021 at 10:17 am

      Some earlier working experience would help a lot of kids, then they would come back more mature and motivated to school. Let kids bank their K-12 entitlement and let them work as teens if they want.

      Linus Pauling didn’t have exactly the same problem because he was brilliant, but he dropped out of high school because it was tedious for him. Worked in a machine shop for a few years. Then went to college w/0 his HS diploma, grad school, professorship, first Nobel Prize. Then his HS decided he’d at least done equivalency and awarded his diplmoa.

Funny. For the past 10 years all we have heard is “girls in stem…”
Now that those young ladies (very very minimal number) worked hard and achieve the impossible, we don’t need rigorous standards because of minorities.

    artichoke in reply to EdSeventen. | December 8, 2021 at 10:20 am

    Lots of extremely selective engineering schools aim to admit 50% girls to their freshman classes. If you think that makes for equal standards between girls and boys, well I don’t. The standards are already weakened, this is just cutting through an eroded support.

Dumbing down education is the stupidest idea possible in this highly competitive world. We should be doing the exact opposite.

It is interesting to me that these STEM professionals referred to the “Sputnik era” rather than to the “Apollo” era or the space era.

    Amiable Dorsai in reply to kelly_3406. | December 6, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    Sputnik came as an enormous, almost existential shock. If the USSR could put a satellite into orbit, they could put an atom bomb into Peoria. The result was an urgent call to cram as much math and science as we could into our schoolkids in hopes that with enough book larnin’ they could beat back the Soviet menace.

    It meant a tremendous increase in funding for what are now called STEM classes. I suspect that that urgency is what the 500 are hoping to evoke.

    henrybowman in reply to kelly_3406. | December 6, 2021 at 10:50 pm

    But appropriate. The Sputnik era is when American kids learned the stuff that was needed. The Apollo era was when they applied that stuff successfully.

    There’s that word again. When was the last time America actually experienced a collective success? It might very well have been the Apollo/Shuttle eras. The falling of the Berlin Wall… we didn’t win that contest so much as the other guys gave up. Maybe dot-com, which was a real fundamental giant step forward, despite the accompanying bubble.

STEM professors probably don’t get a lot of history education in their staff meetings, but I bet a lot of them could benefit from a short documentary explaining how Pol Pot marked people with eyeglasses or uncalloused hands for extermination.

This is the next step in “improving” test scores by making tests easier.

At the beginning of my senior year in 1968, my high school eliminated “tracking” because our new principal joined the club that insisted it was racist. With the demise of honor classes so went senior advanced math. Those of us primed to take it were left with no math classes beyond what we had already done to take. Five of us had already been accepted at colleges that required four years of math. When confronted by our guidance counselor, the principal said we should sign up for “senior review math” and become “valuable tutors”. Our guidance counselor was livid and went behind his back to get us enrolled as half-time students at the local state college. High school in the morning and college in the afternoon. The school was too excited about the idea for the principal to be able to block it. I have always suspected our guidance counselor paid our tuition. I know my parents never saw a bill. When I entered engineering school the next year, I was very grateful.

My point is the battle between “those who math” and those who don’t is not new, nor is sacrifing our brightest students to close the achievement gap. It’s much easier to lower standards to a point where most kids can meet them than to increase the number of students who can reach the bar.

    I wonder how much of this is about arguments between squishy and dim-witted admin and professionals/professors? The number of admin at colleges and universities is increasing at an alarming rate and at alarming cost, paid for not by endowments but by tuition hikes.

    This dumbing down of maths may not be new, but this latest formulation is disastrous. What are engineers, medical professionals, and a host of others on whom we depend to build viable bridges and to be able to figure out how much of a dose goes in that shiny, pointy needle thingy going to be like in twenty years? We are looking at massive structural failures, enormous premature death spikes, and countless other horrors if an entire generation of “engineers” and “doctors” think that math is racist and two plus two can equal whatever sex/mood/random thought flits through my head? We cannot allow this decimation of basic academic standards happen.

    It’s suicide for us as a nation. That may be the point, but that doesn’t mean we don’t put an immediate stop to this crazy.

      A larger percentage of my “physical science” class is devoted to learning proper algebra. Really simple stuff. But learning how to do it so it always works and you’re always right. For a lot of kids, the simple mathematics in their science classes is the very first time math is ever applied to anything and is therefore the very first time they actually understand what it means.

      After everybody went to the newer teaching methods associated with the common core standards, basic math skills have severely decreased. It is common for me to get students who earned a Mastery or Advanced on the algebra state test be unable to do a calculation involving the ideal gas law (or similar). That is really bad news.

        artichoke in reply to Dathurtz. | December 8, 2021 at 10:30 am

        Perhaps the problem is that they cannot express a physical description in terms of the relevant physical principles they have learned. They cannot reduce the words or the situation to equations. If you can do that, you’re most of the way to success in freshman engineering mechanics, let alone high school science. Whereas math class is about doing the manipulations. And interpreting the answer is pretty easy for most people. The hard part, the part we can’t program computers to do for us, is writing down the right equations.

          Dathurtz in reply to artichoke. | December 8, 2021 at 1:23 pm

          Yep. That’s my big challenge. It is really hard to know what each tool does and then be able to use it properly at the appropriate time. It comes with experience, but kids don’t really have long enough to build that through just experience. It is even harder when the “tool” and the problem are abstract.

          I’m rather proud that I have a lot of students go on to become engineers at a local school that is known for good engineering. When I began teaching I went to the local universities and talked to the professors about what they wanted from their incoming students and built my (non-standardized test) classes based on that. At the very least it lets me delude my self that I am doing good.

This is bewildering. I had the benefit of an accelerated STEM public education.. Back then we didn’t call it that.. advanced classes, tracking, it was all so normal. Those classes opened doors and financing for college that a kid from a very poor, single parent household, could never, ever have afforded. Kids are not the same, equity is a broad brush that covers up talent. These people are painting a million futures a dreary grey. I am so glad to see some push back. TY Leslie.

    henrybowman in reply to amwick. | December 7, 2021 at 8:13 am

    Tracking was abandoned because it made some kids “feel bad.” Then it was social promotions, participation trophies, and now we are turning out full-blown snowflake princesses.

      artichoke in reply to henrybowman. | December 8, 2021 at 10:36 am

      That was the excuse, but I think it was always about equity i.e. bringing others down to their level so everyone gets the same amount.

Well, what needs to happen is all these woke school officials get a free flight on a commercial jet designed by woke graduates of the diversity program at the woke school of aerospace engineering who never figured out how to do math. Let’s see how that goes..

    artichoke in reply to Rand. | December 8, 2021 at 10:38 am

    Or the foreign engineers and management who have taken over our companies (they can compete with our new woke selves; they couldn’t have competed with what we used to be) and don’t give a damn. Take a ride on a 737-MAX thru some turbulence with pilots who haven’t been told their rear flaps are automatically moving to extreme positions without their knowing it or knowing how to cancel that.

So basically the California Board of Education are asserting that “minorities” are too thick to do maths that white people have no trouble with.
Isn’t that racist?

Font Resize
Contrast Mode