The Inaccurate Census before Us Has Wide and Harmful Ramifications

Ɱ / CC BY-SAAugust 3, 2020; Politico Voices from both the political and the nonprofit arenas are challenging the US Census Bureau’s recent decision to end its data gathering four weeks early. With almost 40 percent of the count yet to go, hurrying forward could produce an inaccurate count and harm vulnerable populations. The stakes…

The Inaccurate Census before Us Has Wide and Harmful Ramifications — Non Profit News | Nonprofit Quarterly

I Bought HEPA Air Filtration for My Classroom


As part of my effort to control what I can in the face of so much COVID-19 unknown, today I purchased two HEPA (“high efficiency particulate air”) filtration machines for my classroom (I chose Okaysou AirMax8L for its reasonable price and for the square footage a single machine is able to filter multiple times per hour.)

Given the squre footage of my room (roughly 600 sq ft), the two units should be able to filter the entire room four to five times per hour.

My classroom has windows, but they do not open. Besides, the Louisiana climate does not often lend itself to comfortable, non-AC living. (I attended high school in Louisiana without AC, and we often had to move to an abbreviated, 7 a.m. – 1 p.m. school day because of the sweltering afternoon heat and humidity.) Too, even though my classroom has a back door that I…

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Articles I never finished reading, Dept.

traditional math

In an Education Week compilation devoted to “Start the Year With a ‘Primary Focus’ on Relationship-Building” there are several articles, none of which I could finish reading. Here are excerpts from two of them: The first is by Melanie Gonzales, an elementary math curriculum, advanced academics, and early-childhood coordinator in Texas.

“Based on the work of Carol Dweck and Jo Boaler, teachers will encourage students to build a growth mindset. Additionally, time will be spent reminding students that mathematicians notice things, are curious, are organized self-starters, and effective communicators and problem solvers. Finally, they will use their math skills to count out a specific number of snack items and celebrate being mathematicians already!”

The second is by Emily Burrell, a mathematics teacher and co-lead mentor teacher at South Lakes High School in Fairfax County, Va.:

“I teach high school mathematics students who have been marginalized by the public education system…

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More of the Same, Dept.

traditional math

A recent article in “Smart Brief” argues that if you change parents’ attitudes about math, you will change the childrens’. This makes sense, but the devil is in the details as they say. The study the author describes (and which she conducted) to substantiate this, views the changing of parents’ attitudes as educating them in the alternative strategies that students are forced to learn in lieu of the standard math algorithms, that are now delayed until 4th, 5th and 6th grades per the prevailing interpretation of Common Core–and the textbooks that put this interpretation into practice.

The starting thesis for the article is as follows:

“Many parents’ beliefs about effective mathematics instruction are inconsistent with current research.”

Depends what “current research” you’re looking at I guess. I wouldn’t know reading this article, because the author doesn’t cite any. She refers to parents’ attitudes toward the Common Core math standards as…

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New Boss Old Boss, Dept. (Covid 19 edition)

traditional math

In light of the rapidly approaching school year, there have been a host of articles about how teaching must change. And so I was not terribly surprised to see that National Council of Mathematics Teachers (NCTM) and the National Council of Mathematics Supervisors (NCSM),have jumped on this bandwagon and announced that math teaching must change in their latest report.

An article summarizing NCTM’s report states: “According to the NCTM and NCSM, during the pandemic, the urgency to change the way mathematics is taught has become apparent. According to both agencies, math instruction needs to be more equitable, so it is essential to plan what math classes will look like before returning to school in the coming months.”

Reading through the article, as well as the NCTM/NCSM document itself, other than the fact that online teaching by its nature is different than in-class teaching, it is not apparent how mathematics…

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“Problem solve” Dept

traditional math

A recent article announced that the National Science Foundation funded a grant for West Virginia University College of Education and Human Services The grant is to help educate math teachers on a new way of teaching math to teachers. For those of you new to all this, NSF spent billions of dollars in grant money in the early 90’s to fund (in my opinion and the opinion of many others) ineffective and damaging math programs including Investigations in Number, Data and Space; Everyday Math; Connected Math Program; Core Plus; and Interactive Math Program.

Of particular interest to me was this sentence: “The hope was for math teachers to find ways to teach students how to problem-solve.”

It used to be that students solved problems. But now in today’s era of math reform, they “problem-solve”. Popular use of this rather irritating verb form harkens back to NCTM’s 1989 standards which downplayed…

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Cheerleaders for Common Core, Dept.

traditional math

Because of school closings due to Covid 19, there has been a flurry of articles about distance learning, and the difficulties that parents face when having to explain “Common Core” math. The articles take the opportunity to show that parents are just not “with it” and that the new way is actually better because it confers “deeper understanding” rather than rote memorization.

This article is typical as is the following quote from it:

“Amberlee Honsaker remembers learning only one way to add or subtract in elementary school. It was the standard algorithm: stack numbers vertically, add the digits in columns, and carry the ones where necessary. For her daughter, Raegan, math instruction extends far beyond that. In first grade, Raegan is using number bonds, making place-value charts, drawing out 10s and ones — illustrating multiple methods for solving simple addition problems.”

Actually, in my elementary school as well as for…

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[GUEST BLOG] Generic Skills: A Dangerous Myth — 3-Star learning experiences

This blog was originally posted in Dutch on Didactiefonline by Fred Janssen Translated by Mirjam Neelen & Paul A. Kirschner Almost every curriculum document emphasises that learners must learn to solve problems, do research, reflect, self-regulate, acquire information, think creatively, and think critically. Often, it’s incorrectly assumed that we’re dealing with broad, generic skills here, […]

[GUEST BLOG] Generic Skills: A Dangerous Myth — 3-Star learning experiences

Good grief! Dept.

traditional math

Conrad Wolfram is a brilliant mathematician. He has written a book which argues that math education should not focus on how to compute various things, but on the thinking behind the computation. This article describes in breathless wonder Wolfram’s equally breathless idea to change how math is taught in order to keep up with the real world.

Wolfram makes the case that computation thinking is required in all fields and in everyday living—and that no one does calculations by hand. We’re living in what Wolfram calls a “computational knowledge economy” where the education question is, “How to prepare young people for a hybrid human-machine world?” In this new age, it’s not what you know, “it’s what you can compute from knowledge,” argues Wolfram.

It is a brave new world that Wolfram envisions, getting away from what he views as rote memorization and to the actual solving of real-world problems.


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