You may not think that math and sex don’t mix, but I show here that they really do:
(From about a year ago – somehow this never made it into the blogosphere)
I just read that much of Bill Gates’ international health initiative has been about as much of a high-tech boondoggle and waste of effort as his education initiatives here in the US.
For example, in trying to solve the problem of human waste disposal (ie human poop and pee) in poor nations where people make $1-$5 per day, his researchers came up with high-tech commodes costing thousands of dollars and probably requiring lots of maintenance. Excuse me for stating the obvious, but nobody is going to pay five to twenty years’ annual income for an outhouse or toilet!
I’m not making this up. See http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/11/19/opinion/bill-gates-cant-build-a-toilet.html?_r=1
By the way, my humorous profile picture is of a composting toilet I built up at the Hopewell observatory out of two plastic cat-litter containers (free), a toilet seat ($10?), a piece of wood and a few screws. You put in some wood chips or dead leaves after you are done. When it gets full, you dump it in a designated place. It doesn’t stink. I personally wouldn’t use the resulting compost to grow food, but there are parts of the world where such “night soul” is highly valued. (My solution is not original: here is one writeup http://weblife.org/humanure/chapter8_2.html )
Gates recently held a meeting in Seattle where he admitted most of his high tech initiatives on third world health had failed.
One of the initiatives involved cholera. Were they completely unaware that for at least 20 years a very cheap and simple way to rehydrate cholera victims and restore their electrolytes has been in use in many third world countries?
“Mr. Fitz” is perhaps my favorite comic strip, even though he teaches English rather than math (as I did).
He discusses here (and draws strips about) the intense amount of stress that has come about for teachers since NCLB and RTTT pressures became way more than overwhelming.
Makoto Rich of the New York Times, Peter Greene of Curmudgacation, and Diane Ravitch all discuss the way that Pearson is running the scoring of the Common Core tests, employing temporary employees who have never taught, at $12-14 per hour, with of course no benefits.
If you’ve worked in a mass-chain fast-food joint, then you know what Pearson wants: mindless uniformity. Isn’t that what parents and kids really, really want from our public schools?
This is a list of the blogs maintained at the present time by some fellow-activist teachers and others.
- charter schools
- Educational DEforms
- public schools
- social policy
- Standardized Testing
Tags: achievement, achievement gap, Arne Duncan, bill gates, billionaires, charter schools, cheating, Chicago, Common Core, correlation, CTBS, data, DC-CAS, Diane Ravitch, fraud
Marie Corfield has written new words to the classic song “The 12 days of Christmas” and ported it to our new era of educational deforms.
I’m not making this up. See here.
By the way, my humorous profile picture is of a composting toilet I built up at the Hopewell observatory out of two plastic cat-litter containers (free), a toilet seat ($10?), a piece of wood and a few screws. You put in some wood chips or dead leaves after you are done with your #1 and/or #2. When the bucket gets full, you take it out and dump it in a designated place. It doesn’t stink. I personally wouldn’t use the resulting compost to grow food, but there are parts of the world where such “night soul” is highly valued for fertilizer. (My solution is not original: here is one writeup )Gates recently held a meeting in Seattle where he admitted most of his high tech initiatives on third world health had failed.
One of the initiatives involved cholera. Were they completely unaware that for at least 20 years a very cheap and simple way to rehydrate cholera victims and restore their electrolytes has been in use in many third world countries? It’s reduced cholera fatalities to well under ONE PERCENT!
John Oliver is one of the funniest, and most serious, people on TV. In my opinion, he is a better comedian and anchor than Jon Stewart of the Daily Show where he more or less got his start, tho Stewart (and Steven Colbert) are both quite good.
You can watch his shows on YouTube at this link. I don’t agree with everything John Oliver says or with his approach*, but he’s both funny and serious at the same time, as I said before.
* For example, with the bit on gambling, it wouldn’t hurt to show that in blackjack, the average payoff is negative 3% but for the lottery it’s negative 37%, which is a lot worse. In other words, if you are playing blackjack in a casino, on every bet of $100, on the average, you get back $97, losing $3. With a state lottery, if you bet $100, then on the average, you get back about $63, losing $37. It is very difficult to find any game of chance with worse odds than the lottery. In fact, we math teachers have a little saying: The Lottery is a tax on those who don’t learn anything about probability. And there’s this.
This is insanely brilliant. Brady explains quite clearly how people like Bill Gates have really perverted everything about education in America by turning the entire motivation schemata upside down — and he also explains how to fix it in a very humane manner. Here is an excerpt:
Read the whole thing. and don’t let the title convince you it’s just a rant, because it’s not.
A part of this essay that I would like to highlight is how Brady thinks we educators (and other citizens) should be approaching the entire question of school:
There’s a now-familiar ancient Chinese proverb which, loosely translated, says, “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I’ll remember. Involve me and I’ll understand.”
When I made that radical switch, I began a search that continues, a search for experience-creating activities
(a) so interesting, the teacher can leave the room and nobody notices,
(b) so useful, the activity’s relevance is self-evident,
(c) so complex, the smartest kid in the class is intellectually challenged,
(d) so real-world, perceptions of who’s smartest constantly shift,
(e) so theoretically sound, the systemically integrated nature of all knowledge is obvious,
(f) so wide-ranging, the activities cover the core curriculum (and much more),
(g) so varied, every critical thinking skill is exercised,
(h) so scalable, concepts developed on a micro level adequately model macro phenomena
, (j) so effective, when the activities themselves are forgotten, their benefits are fixed permanently in memory.
The raw material for creating a near-infinite number of activities that meet those nine criteria isn’t hard to find. It lies within the property boundaries of every school or randomly chosen slice of real life. Finding it is mostly a matter of looking at the too-familiar and the taken-for-granted until it becomes “strange enough” to see.
Entire URL: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/08/01/what-do-standardized-tests-actually-test/
which means this was published in the column of Valerie Strauss, at the Washington Post, who continues to be a great resource for all the rest of teachers and parents (not corporate executives). The only greater publicist for our cause that I know of is Diane Ravitch. I am glad that Valerie continues to be gainfully employed at WaPo even as her editorial writers consistently had a set of policies that were either at cross-purposes or diametrically opposed. I don’t know how she does it.
Unfortunately, Answer Sheet very seldom actually reaches the printed edition. It’s almost strictly online.
Then again, maybe that matters less, given publishing trends.
While obviously nothing is perfect I think that all of us members of the public who are concerned about schools* owe Valerie, whom’s I’ve never met in person, and the Washington Post itself, a debt for VS being able to continue being such a resource for so long!
One of my favorite Tom the Dancing Bug cartoons: