[fwd] Job security for the rest of our lives...

Mark Q. Maxham (max@research.apple.com)
Wed, 04 Sep 1996 09:42:07 -0700

Oh, the horror.

I just got these two emails from a friend of my friend Brandyn:

-- [fwd] --

my mom teaches sixth grade. she showed me the teacher's manual for the new
math curriculum this year.

get this: elementary school kids in a lot of California no longer have
math textbooks.

the teacher's manual has almost no equations. hardly any numbers. lots of
activities and discussion/evaluation questions for the kids. it's a
beautiful example of incorrect epistemology: both in the construction by
the writers, and in their analysis of how kids learn.

my mom and two other teachers, out of the roughly twenty at her school, are
the only ones who are actively complaining at her school, to the extent
they can. She, and those two, are the older, more experienced teachers who
have a good idea of how kids learn. All the new teachers are brainwashed
and think this stuff is wonderful. she's been told, as usual, she _must_
use the curriculum or her job is in danger. of course, that means that
this entire sixth grade class of hers will not learn math this year, and
worse, it will undo what math these kids perhaps already know. so, as
usual, she'll be trying to teach them the "old-fashioned way" without the
principal, etc., finding out. she points out that, of course, that means
the curriculum will then look like it's working. can't win.

here's the best part: there was a principal in her school district that
was known to be opposed to the curriculum. well, he didn't find out about
the meeting where the district administration and principals voted... until
after the meeting was over.

-- [fwd2] --

oh yeah...

my mom's friend Mary is one of the aforementioned "good" teachers. Mary
went to one of these required seminars where the authors talk about the
program. Mary's getting frustrated and fidgety. The speaker finishes
working the "problem" the way the class is supposed to. Mary calls out --
"The answer is wrong." Speaker says, "oh, that's ok, we just want the kids
to understand the procedure." Mary storms out muttering.

tell me, is it really that difficult to see that if you get the wrong
answer, the procedure is wrong? it's a step beyond the people that mutter
"theory doesn't work in practice" -- now theory, unvalidated or not, is
more important than practice!

kids entering the workforce now aren't in great mental shape... just wait
until six to ten years from now when the new-new-math kids (trained on
Whole Language too) are our new labor force.