Sunday, August 27, 2006

Public School Teachers

Dennis from From the Trenches of Public Ed. has come up with a solution to solve the American education system. He wants to kick out the "apathetic" from the nations classrooms. Of course we all know course we know which sort of students he means when he says that. No wonder there is an achievement gap with teachers like this. Pathetic.

Note: Read his reply to KDeRosa in the comments for the details. - Study Shows Teacher's Gender Affects Students' Performance - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News

Once again it takes a scientific study scientific study to show what 90% of parents could of told you. Give me a choice and I would choose a male teacher for my son and a female teacher for my daughters. Im sure this is going to set off a round of debates and denials between the "experts". Note Marcia Greenberger from the National Womens Law Center says "The data, as he presents them, are far from convincing". Don't you wonder if any amount of data would convince her... I doubt it. Is it about education or politics?

New Math vs. Old Math

My oldest daughter struggled in 5th grade math. Her biggest problem... her multiplications skills. When I was a child, the multiplication tables were drilled into me... commited to memory. Her 3rd grade teacher taught the multiplication facts by teaching children to skip count, to use some finger trick with the 9's, and all kinds of other tricks, everything except to just memorize them. Unfortunately, learning long division and factoring requires that you know the tables by heart. Luckily were able to take advantage of NCLB provisions and get her extra tutoring in math where her multiplication tables were redrilled into her. We take part of the blame for not realizing how the schools were shortchanging her, but we learned our lesson. Both of our 3rd graders already know their multiplication facts through to the 12's because we took an hour each day during 2nd grade to drill them into their heads. Now in 3rd grade they are both well ahead of their peers, but it took time and effort on my and their moms part. My recommendation... don't trust your kids teachers to teach the basics.

Sample size and more than meets the eye...

Erin Dillon over at the The Quick and the Ed points out how Walt Whitman High School, an otherwise strong school, had an atrocious pass rate for African Americans in Algebra on the Maryland High School Assessment exam. Only 33% of Walt Whitman's Walt Whitman's African Americans passed in 2006, down from 38.5% in 2005 and 55.6% in 2004. Of course what Erin fails to mention, is that there are only 15 African American students at Walt Whitman High School. In fact, since 2002 exactly 5 African Americans have passed the Algebra test. The only difference is that the number of African Americans taking the test has varied from 9 to 17. If we look at data from 2003, it now appears as if Walt Whitman has increased its African American pass rate from by 4%. How did I find out this information... hours and hours of exhaustive research... no... I just hit the detail button on the chart that Erin linked to. Now I'm not expert at statistics, but it seems to me that this is a tiny sample size to make an informed judgment on. I am a firm believer in making education decisions based on numbers and research, but even a layman like me can see that you need a large enough sample of students to make these decisions. Perhaps Walt Whitman is neglecting its African American students but then again, perhaps Walt Whitman is just a victim of a statistical blip.

Married couples going Childless at Newsweek

Talk about the "me" generation. Let them enjoy their vacations now. We will see who is laughing in 40 years when they are realize while sitting in a nursing home that they are lonely, will leave no mark in the world and be remembered by no one. Better yet, lets have true social security reform... since the retired of tomorrow will be supported by the children of today, lets base social security on how many children you have.