The world is filled with wonderous things. And some such as K-12 Education in the United States that...

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Transcript of The world is filled with wonderous things. And some such as K-12 Education in the United States that...

  • The world is filled with wonderous things

  • And some such as K-12 Education in the United Statesthat are not.

  • The focus of public education in the United States

  • The focus of public education in the United StatesThe U.S. education schools focus on social justice almost to the exclusion of subject knowledge.

  • The focus of public education in the United StatesThe U.S. education schools focus on social justice almost to the exclusion of subject knowledge.In practice this means the public schools focus on the outcomes for the lowest 20% and are considered successful only if this groups achievements match those of the remaining students.

  • The focus of public education in the United StatesOf course there is a huge issue with how the lowest 20% is determined.But in the U.S. public schools this is almost universally done only using students ethnic or racial groups.

  • The focus of public education in the United States7 years ago, we started working with an inner city elementary school in San Jose, where 93% of the students came from Spanish speaking families,and the principal told us that there are no gifted or talented students at Lowell Elementary. In saying this she had the full approval of the Superintendents office!

  • The focus of public education in the United StatesConsistent with this perspective, the principal insisted that the school must be strictly bilingual, and students did not move into English speaking classes as they advanced to higher grades.

  • The focus of public education in the United StatesConsistent with this perspective, the principal insisted that the school must be strictly bilingual, and students did not move into English speaking classes as they advanced to higher grades.The school was on the states watch list and was in real danger of being taken over by the California Department of Education

  • The focus of public education in the United StatesWith these limitations we could only arrange for the students to take an experimental on-line math program from EPGY at Stanford,Initially the program was strictly after school, But after the first year for any students whose teacher would let them.

  • In 2008 the school received a special award from the CA Superintendent of EducationFor its dramatic improvement

  • The public reason given for the improvement was teacher collaboration, facilitated by a piece of our grant.

  • But heres the real data.

  • And for grades four, five

  • In 2009, the improvement was even more dramatic

  • California AYI Scores

  • And, as weve just seen, almost entirely due to improvements in their math outcomes.

  • But perhaps the most important thing is that by 2009 and 2010, the percentage of students at Lowell who scored at the gifted and talented level was slightly over 20%, exactly what we would expect from a high demographic school.

  • But perhaps the most important thing is that by 2009 and 2010, the percentage of students at Lowell who scored at the gifted and talented level was slightly over 20%, exactly what we would expect from a high demographic school!

  • U.S. Public School SystemSince the measure of success is strictly how well the lowest 20% do when compared with the remaining students, it follows that there is tremendous pressure to dumb down the curriculum to the point where even the weakest student, however defined, will be seen to succeed.

  • U.S. Public School SystemThis has become more and more the norm in the U.S., and I imagine there are serious pressures to do the same thing in Canada.

  • Speaking of lowest 20%The students entering the education schools in the U.S., especially in elementary education, are usually in the lowest quartile of their college classes.There is strong evidence that the education schools actually encourage this.

  • It appears that the education schools discourage brighter students80 years ago, both my parents entered university intending to become high school math teachers.They each lasted 1 semester in the education schools of that timeThe reason they gave was because the courses were so bad

  • It appears that the education schools discourage brighter studentsUnfortunately, there are strong indications that the situation has not changedThe only consistent explanation I can give is that this is deliberate on the part of the education schools in the United States.

  • Next we have to look at teacher training.The content knowledge that the education schools focus on for elementary teachers is almost exclusively in teaching reading.

  • Next we have to look at teacher training.Math is an afterthought and many, if not most of the faculty that teach math methods courses assert that math is innate, So teachers do not need to learn math. It is believed that they will understand what they need when they need it.As bad as the preparation is in math it is even worse in science.

  • Next we have to look at teacher training.One consequence is that math is treated as a sub-topic in reading in our elementary schools.The focus there is for students to be able to "read numbers written in base 10 place-value shorthand notation.So, for example, when they see 1211 they are expected to respond "twelve hundred, eleven,"

  • Next we have to look at teacher training.Tests show that even when numbers are written out in the form 3 ones and 7 tens, almost half of first through third grade students will respond that the number represented is 37, since this is the order in which the digits occur in the question.

  • Grade 1As one can see, the percent correct is not always a good measure of what is going on. But the distracters tell us quite a bit.

    Percent choosing each answerPercent CorrectA %B %C %D %404016440

  • Moreover, the critical topic of place value is completely mishandled.It is not only bollixed up, these incorrect methods of handling the subject are required in the U.S. textbooks.The following lesson has to be present in U.S. texts or the books will be deemed too weak.

  • Typical U.SLesson on Place ValueNote Focus onManipulativesLinear modelFor 10s, area for100s, volume for1000s. This isIllogical and confusingWhat represents 10,000?

  • I guess that would be the tesseract!Undoubtedly something every third grader would understand instantly

  • Lets compare with the way place value is handled in high achieving countries

  • Second Grade: RussianText. Note consistencyOf models for higherPlaces and tight focus

  • EEven 1000s areConsistentConsistent models makeComparison easier.Note attention toComparisons

  • Compare the two approachesWe could guess that U.S. Students have great difficulties understanding the magnitudes of numbers when written in the standard base 10 shorthand notation.

  • Compare the two approachesWe could guess that U.S. Students have great difficulties understanding the magnitudes of numbers when written in the standard base 10 shorthand notation.In fact, this turns out to be exactly the case

  • Next we have to look at teacher training.Students entering the teacher training programs in the U.S. are subjected to severe pressures to conform.

  • Next we have to look at teacher training.Michele Kerr is a hard-working educator and Web surfer.As a (second career) student in the Ed School at Stanford, the faculty decided her views and her blogging were inappropriate for a student in their program. They claimed that her anti-progressive views were disrupting their classes, alienating other students and proving that she and Stanford were a bad fit. Kerr says they tried to stifle both her opinions and her blog, and threatened to withhold the Masters in Education she was working toward, based on their expressed fear that she was unsuited for the practice of teaching.

  • Next we have to look at teacher training.Stanfords education school retains the right to decide if a student is suited to teaching,They can deny even a smart and dedicated student, such as Kerr, a chance to work in the public schools.They can force a teacher candidate to stop blogging. In Kerrs case, they were also careful to share their concerns with Kerrs potential employers.

  • Next we have to look at teacher training.In spite of everything Ms. Kerr managed to find a teaching job, but it was certainly not her first choice and quite distant from Palo Alto.I got curious about her and checked her web-site. Her work was precise and well researched, a dramatic contrast to typical papers from the schools of education.

  • Another severe problem with the education schools is their research and research standards.The published research is of very low quality and even the ed school faculty tend to ignore and not even read itThey simply assume that it says what they believe to be true. However, it is also used to support programs being pushed by them.

  • Another severe problem with the education schools is their research and research standards.The phrase research shows is one of the most frequent we hear from ed school facultyAnd from school administratorsIt is very effective at silencing objecting parents.

  • A recent example.A member of the Stanford Ed School faculty recently published a paper claiming that her favorite teaching methods resulted in students at a very low demographics high school outperforming students at two higher demographic schools. Very impressive if true.

  • And the paper has become very well known and influentialThe only problem is that the methodology is so poor that (1) the subjects at the two higher d