Calculator ban proposed for Virginia tests | Mobile Washington Examiner

http://washingtonexaminer.com/calculator-ban-proposed-for-va.-tests/article/2514800#.UMLSmM9QCZW

Ugh. I, like many 9th grade math teachers, had students who still hadn't mastered their facts. Generally, I didn't worry - for many, it was just a matter of weeks until the summer rust shook off and I saw improvement. A teacher in Virginia has seen this same problem and concluded (a) students don't know their facts because they're allowed to use calculators and (b) the state should fix this by banning calculator use on state tests, which would force middle school teachers to take kids' calculators away and focus on fact mastery. Maybe to help kids learn to spell we should take away spell-checkers, and to keep them fit we could take away their chairs and make them jog in place instead.

My visit to KIPP | Gary Rubinstein's Blog

http://garyrubinstein.teachforus.org/2012/11/14/my-visit-to-kipp/

Gary Rubinstein visits a KIPP charter school and finds that while it wasn't quite the stereotype he thought it would be, there were noticeable differences in the student population from what he'd expect at a public school.

Gene V Glass: Education in Two Worlds: “Judge us by our results”

http://ed2worlds.blogspot.com/2012/12/judge-us-by-our-results.html

Gene Glass takes a look at an Arizona charter school that is producing some fine graduates, but seemingly at the expense of shedding many of its students along the way -- especially those with any kind of disability or need to learn English.

Voices: The rocky rollout of SB191 in Dougco | EdNewsColorado

http://www.ednewscolorado.org/2012/12/04/53265-voices-the-rocky-rollout-of-sb191-in-dougco

This article from a teacher in Douglas County describes some of the chaos when accountability reforms are rushed into place before the system of accountability measures is ready. When the stakes for teachers are this high, "trust me" is not very reassuring.

Carnegie, the Founder of the Credit-Hour, Seeks Its Makeover - Curriculum - The Chronicle of Higher Education

http://chronicle.com/article/article-content/136137/

While there are certainly reforms that I question, I do agree that the inertia of some outdated ideas in education are a serious drag on progress. The Carnegie Unit is one of those ideas. Unfortunately, so much is built around credit hours - school day schedules, credit hours, transcripts, graduation requirements, etc., that it's not a trivial thing to discard.

Catcher in the Rye dropped from US school curriculum - Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/9729383/Catcher-in-the-Rye-dropped-from-US-school-curriculum.html

This kind of (horrible) reporting and rhetoric feels like a translation of the math wars for English language arts. I'm not very knowledgeable about the Common Core State Standards for ELA, but I know there is an increased emphasis on reading informational texts in history, social studies, science, and technical subjects. (Which sounds great to me, as I'm not a fan of reading fiction.) A quick glance at corestandards.org shows that the standards themselves don't specify many specific readings beyond things like "at least one work of Shakespeare" and using Federalist No. 10 as an example of a historical text.

How this is being reported, of course, is that students will no longer read fiction (and, of course, they specifically mention a great work like Catcher in the Rye) because they instead are forced to read instructional manuals like Recommended Levels of Insulation by the U.S. Environmental Protection agency. This is every bit as exaggerated as the "Traditional math is endless drill of facts!" versus "Reform teaches nothing but calculator use!" accusations of the math wars.

I imagine the authors of the article used the "exemplar" texts mentioned in Appendix B for the ELA standards and conveniently ignored these other great options for high school students under the "Informational Texts: Science, Mathematics, and Technical Subjects" category:

  • Keith Devlin's Life by the Numbers
  • Joy Hakim's The Story of Science: Newton at the Center
  • John Allen Paulos's Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
  • Malcom Gladwell's The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson's Gravity in Reverse: The Tale of Albert Einstein's 'Greatest Blunder'
  • Calishain and Dornfest's Google Hacks: Tips & Tools for Smarter Searching, 2nd Edition
  • Ray Kurzweil's The Coming Merger of Mind and Machine

And while I didn't see Salinger in the list, I imagine he'd fit right in with many of the authors that are on the exemplar list: Homer, Kafka, Steinbeck, Bradbury, Harper Lee, Chaucer, Austen, Poe, Hawthorne, Dostoevsky, Melville, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Hemingway Toni Morrison, Wilde, and Wilder. Yes, To Kill a Mockingbird is on the list, even though the Telegraph specifically says it will be replaced. Horrible journalism, indeed.

(For the record, I've never read Catcher in the Rye and, given the choice, I might prefer to read about building insulation. I'm weird, I know.)

New Test Shows Severe Shortcomings in Nation's Press Corps | Mother Jones

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/12/new-test-shows-severe-shortcomings-nations-press-corps

Vocabulary scores from the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) were released today, a prime time to see which news outlets bother to understand what the scores mean and interpret them correctly. Sorry, Wall Street Journal, it looks like you'll be needing some remediation.

Hidden Curriculum - DOING MATHEMATICS

http://www.doingmathematics.com/2/post/2012/09/hidden-curriculum.html

Unfortunately, Bryan Meyer's action research shows that his students have developed beliefs that aren't uncommon in school mathematics: that mathematics is something that comes from their text or teacher and it's their job to "absorb" it. As these feelings are closer to beliefs than knowledge, they can be more resistant to change, even when they seem to conflict with other beliefs.

evangelizing the (digital) natives: What Alton Brown Taught Me About Education Technology

http://mrcbaker.blogspot.com/2012/10/what-alton-brown-taught-me-about.html

As someone with an interest in education technology and as a fan of Alton Brown, I like this message, particularly the bit about "unitasking." In fact, if Microsoft is smart about the marketing of Windows 8 and the Surface line of tablets (or similar devices from partners), they'll argue that one Surface does tablet and notebook functions well enough that you don't have to have separate devices (i.e., a MacBook and an iPad) that end up costing hundreds more and together are bulkier to carry. This also reflects my concern for Chromebooks - despite being capable of a lot of things, it's hard to imagine me making it through the day with a Chromebook without needing to use a standard notebook or desktop for the few things it can't do (or do well). That might not make a Chromebook a uni-tasker, but it still makes it an "extra" device with functionality I can find in a more powerful tool.

Boulder Valley schools gear up for math standards changes - Boulder Daily Camera

http://www.dailycamera.com/boulder-county-schools/ci_21761883/boulder-valley-schools-gear-up-math-standards-changes

Perhaps the greatest challenge in adopting the Common Core State Standards for math that few are talking about is a need to equip teachers and curriculum coordinators with the knowledge and power to strip away old content that the new standards don't address. Teachers and students will never have the time to go deeper into topics without sacrificing some of the content they've grown accustomed to teaching.

15 must-read books about K-12 education in the US - 'Saving the School: The True Story of a Principal, a Teacher, a Coach, a Bunch of Kids and a Year in the Crosshairs of Education Reform,' by Michael... - CSMonitor.com

http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/2012/1003/15-must-read-books-about-K-12-education-in-the-US/Saving-the-School-The-True-Story-of-a-Principal-a-Teacher-a-Coach-a-Bunch-of-Kids-and-a-Year-in-the-Crosshairs-of-Education-Reform-by-Michael-Brick

Although I try to stay current on educational issues, I've only read one of the books on this list (Ravitch's "Death and Life"). I've had Mike Rose's "Why School" on my wishlist for awhile and would like to read several others, too. Some of these might make excellent final project/presentation opportunities for students in our School and Society course.

Textbook Publisher Pearson Takes Down 1.5 Million Teacher And Student Blogs With A Single DMCA Notice | Techdirt

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20121013/18332220701/textbook-publisher-pearson-takes-down-15-million-teacher-student-blogs-with-single-dmca-notice.shtml

How does a 2007 post of a 38-year questionnaire result in 1.5 million teachers losing their blogs? Simple: Pearson issues a DMCA notice and a hosting provider overreacts.

Okay, maybe not that simple, but there's a lesson to be learned. Teachers, if you're interested in sharing copyrighted content to students or colleagues over the web (and therefore a worldwide audience, beyond the assumed reach of academic fair use), then look out for copyright holders to issue takedown notices that may or may not result in unintended consequences. If you want to share freely and without worry, then seek out appropriately licensed material to begin with.

By the way, the author of the copyrighted work in question, Aaron T. Beck, is still around at the age of 91. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_T._Beck) I'd love to hear how he feels about Pearson shutting down the sharing of the work that made him famous!

The Pedagogical Agenda of Common Core Math Standards | Education News

http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/the-pedagogical-agenda-of-common-core-math-standards/

Barry Garelick is a provocative fellow. I can appreciate that. I can appreciate that he's willing to take a careful look at how we teach math and arrange our standards. I can appreciate how he seeks out weaknesses that we should all be aware of. But what I have a much harder time appreciating is his willingness to make very bold claims with few citations and little evidence. For example, Garelick says, "Common Core ... redefines algebra as 'functional algebra', which does not prepare students for STEM careers." Is there some study supporting this? Perhaps a qualitative analysis of workers in STEM careers that indicates we don't need to be stressing functions in algebra? Or a pseudo-experiment comparing graduates of "functional algebra" programs versus other algebra programs, and tracking their paths to and success in STEM careers? I try to make decisions based on evidence, and I'm pretty good at recognizing when knowledge is being tangled up with beliefs. Like so much in the math wars -- often from both sides of the debate -- the latter gets stuck in the way of the former.

International Year of Statistics

http://www.statistics2013.org/

I'm sure there's a lot of effort involved, but it can't be all that difficult to get a whole bunch of statisticians to declare next year the "International Year of Statistics."

Despite slim savings, more Colorado districts opt for 4-day week - The Denver Post

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_21669058/despite-slim-savings-more-colorado-districts-opt-4

As someone who taught for three years in a 4-day week school, here are the major adaptations I remember: getting used to long days and short nights (especially when you coached after school), extra-curriculuar events had to be scheduled on weekends so school nights weren't interfered with, and I became super-conscious about giving up instructional time for assessment time. Whenever possible, I tried to work in small assessments during a regular instructional day. I'm not surprised that 4-day weeks don't save all that much money, or that their academic performance isn't much different than regular schools. But at some point content coverage can be important, and you just can't cover as much as you can when you have more days -- not easily in math, anyway.

State Board gets authority to pare back 8th grade math standards | EdSource Today

http://www.edsource.org/today/2012/state-board-gets-authority-to-pare-back-8th-grade-math-standards/20533#.UGdvBFXA-Ib

For me, it seems a lot of the "8th grade algebra" argument is distorted by putting too much trust in course titles and not fully understanding the scope (and hopefully, depth) of the standards at 8th and 9th grade. Add to that various egos and the political advantages for "pushing for higher standards" and I fear we ignore that our goal needs to focus on performing well on quality standards, and not just simply having high standards.

Math professor entertains crowd at UNI's family weekend

http://wcfcourier.com/news/local/math-professor-entertains-crowd-at-uni-s-family-weekend/article_dc116719-6280-561a-b512-8505fea704f6.html

Just when I thought Allen Knutson was the center of the math juggling universe, my alma mater represented itself last weekend. I never had class with Dean Franzen, but the UNI math department has always been a source of hidden talents. Dr. John Longnecker, for example, was known to bring his guitar to the last day of classes and sing songs like "500 Miles" except with their metric equivalents.

Accountable Talk: Inspired by True Events

http://www.accountabletalk.com/2012/10/inspired-by-true-events.html

Just as I've seen Waiting for Superman three times because I felt it was my responsibility as an educator who cares about knowing the issues of policy and reform, I'll (probably) see Won't Back Down. Thanks to all the bad reviews, I think I'll know what to expect. Perhaps the best (yet short) review I've seen so far is this one at Accountable Talk, which compares the film to both nuclear bombings in Japan as well as blood sucking monsters.

Meet self-made millionaire ... teacher?

http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_c3#/video/bestoftv/2012/09/28/exp-erin-million-dollar-teacher-idea-savidge.cnn

CNN features a Georgia elementary teacher who has made over a million dollars on Teachers Pay Teachers, an online marketplace where teachers can put up their creations for sale. TPT has caused a stir lately amongst math teachers on Twitter, as those who've enjoyed the free sharing of ideas are resisting the more entrepreneurial perspectives shared by TPT users. Not surprisingly, I tend to side with the "free sharing" camp, but I think there's a larger story playing out: if researchers and curriculum experts want to keep their high-quality curriculum materials in teachers' classrooms, they'll need to rethink and adapt their marketing strategies.

YouTube Blog: Finding the next generation of talented video educators with YouTube Next EDU Guru

http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/2012/09/finding-next-generation-of-talented.html

YouTube is teaming up with Khan Academy to foster the growth of educational videos. While I like that this may draw some expertise into this space, the contest rules essentially guarantee that the videos you create have to be monitized -- meaning that you'll have to let YouTube put ads on your content. Thanks but no thanks.

Schools Matter: In Search of An Accountable Education Editor at the New York Times

http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2012/09/in-search-of-accountable-education.html

While I find NYT's education reporting to be worth reading, a few of their editorials have left me puzzled. Jim Horn at Schools Matter puts a bunch of those puzzle pieces together and claims that Brent Staples, the education editorialist at the times, is far too willing to ignore the facts and push for unsound educational reforms.

Stale Ph.D.'s Need Not Apply - Graduate Students - The Chronicle of Higher Education

http://chronicle.com/article/article-content/134516/

A few years ago I talked to a person with a Ph.D. in math education who, despite working at a university teaching methods courses to preservice math teachers, assumed that after 3-4 years of being away from research he was no longer marketable for a tenure-track position at a research university. That's troubling. People like that might be a little behind on the cutting edge of the research, but that kind of catching up might be easy compared to the value gained from teaching several years of methods courses or having other relevant experiences.

Segregation Prominent in Schools, Study Finds - NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/20/education/segregation-prominent-in-schools-study-finds.html

I think most Americans would be shocked to learn that the segregation found in some of our schools, particularly in our northern cities, is worse than it was before the Brown v. Board ruling in 1954. Jonathan Kozol was probably write to use "The Shame of the Nation" as a title for a book about this, and unfortunately, due to factors including more recent Supreme Court rulings, political climate, high urban poverty rates, etc., I don't see the problem getting better any time soon.

KOLD Curriculum: Killing the Darlings in Math « A Best-Case Scenario

http://bestcase.wordpress.com/2012/09/17/kold-curriculum-killing-the-darlings-in-math/

I wish I were in more conversations with teachers about adapting to the Common Core, because so far I feel like the focus on what's been added to each grade level, and not enough focus has been on what's being removed. If the CCSSM is going to bring focus to the curriculum, we're need to empower teachers to let go of some topics.

The Coursera Gift Horse? » Educational Insanity

http://edinsanity.com/2012/09/25/the-coursera-gift-horse/

I like the pragmatic view in this post and share many of these sentiments. I don't care for the overselling of MOOCs ("Hey kid, turn down that scholarship and tear up that college application. Just take MOOCs for free!"), but I think we'll see them help individuals in interesting ways before we see a lot of systemic impacts. For example, how much value to a GED could be added with a few MOOC completion certificates? It might mean a second chance at college acceptance instead of settling for a "Good Enough Diploma." Even if MOOCs don't replace degrees anytime soon, might they start nibbling at the edges of college certificate programs? Or continuing education?

In Colleges' Rush to Try MOOC's, Faculty Are Not Always in the Conversation - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education

http://chronicle.com/article/article-content/134692/

Last weekend on This Week in Tech (at TWiT.tv) the panel talked about more universities joining in the effort to create MOOCs, and their enthusiasm was, I felt, carelessly unbounded. People who seem to have concluded that MOOCs can already substitute for a more traditional college education might not be seeing things through. For an individual looking to learn a particular topic, MOOCs can be great. As a system, however, they have a way to go. Completion rates for many MOOCs are around 10% and it's unclear to me if that completion certificate carries the same kind of weight as a course on a college transcript. It's going to take a few years to see how MOOCs evolve, and I think the dose of skepticism from faculty such as those in this article will help balance out the enthusiasm. I don't want to see the MOOC concept go away, but I certainly welcome its steady evolution.

Teacher licensing emerging as key issue | EdNewsColorado

http://www.ednewscolorado.org/2012/09/25/48077-teacher-licensing-emerging-as-key-issue

People like Bob Schaffer are right to ask, "Why do we have to have licensure in the first place?" but I'm almost 100% sure we'd come up with different answers. Even if I tried to share most of his free market ideals, I'd recognize that even in a free market parents choose schools, not teachers. In fact, once a student is in a school, the teachers they have should be assigned more or less at random if there's any hope for a value-added/growth model to work, and such models are usually key in the free market education strategy.

Stuyvesant Students Describe Rationale for Cheating - NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/26/education/stuyvesant-high-school-students-describe-rationale-for-cheating.html

As cheating becomes more widespread, more blame for the cheating has to be shared by systemic and cultural factors. That doesn't excuse the cheating, but it does mean if you want to fix it you have to look beyond simply punishing or controlling the cheaters. How do you reform a system so cheating serves little purpose and has little value? Is it a matter of replacing competition with collaboration? If you were able to make that replacement, would Steuyvesant and schools like it still attract the same students and produce students with similar outcomes, or would all that change?

Thousands of Virginia students aren’t required to get an education - The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/thousands-of-virginia-students-arent-required-to-get-an-education/2012/09/10/144fb9f0-fb54-11e1-b153-218509a954e1_story.html

Heeeeyyyy, Kids! Do you hate school? Well, have I got a deal for you: Move to Virginia and get used to saying the phrase, "religious freedom" like you mean it!

Batting Averages Puzzler » A Recursive Process

Authentic Inquiry Maths: Show me 31/100

http://authenticinquirymaths.blogspot.com/2012/09/show-me-31100.html

I like that Bruce Ferrington gives students some freedom to develop their own models. Not only is this good for students, but it reminds us teachers that the way we model mathematics might not be a natural starting point for students. We need to approach our curriculum recognizing that students need help moving from less formal, less organized ways of using to models towards more organized models and eventually formal mathematics. (In RME-speak, "progressive formalization.")

What Is Your Financial IQ? - WSJ.com

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444812704577605232303164416.html

I know there's a pile of things we want students to learn, but I often wonder why financial literacy isn't closer to the top of that pile. The WSJ says a survey revealed that only about half of Americans know mutual funds usually provide a safer return than a single stock, while 40% said they didn't know which was safer. Stories like this make me miss teaching business math, a class I didn't think I'd enjoy until I tried it.

“Sample” curriculum raises a few hackles | EdNewsColorado

http://www.ednewscolorado.org/2012/09/12/46957-sample-curriculum-project-draws-praise

It's telling when the title of an article says, "curriculum raises a few hackles" while the URL says "curriculum project draws praise." Both are true. Colorado school districts -- particularly rural ones -- are facing the overwhelming task of revamping their curriculum in light of the Common Core State Standards. Districts who want to work together are looking to the state to coordinate the effort, which sounds like a good idea to some (usually democrats) but smacks of "loss of local control" to others (usually republicans). Even if CDE wants to help it's unclear where they'll find the resources, and if they don't help it might be equally unclear where qualified and affordable "budding curriculum entrepreneurs" (to use Bob Schaffer's words) can be found.

The Chicago Strike and the History of American Teachers' Unions - Dana Goldstein

http://www.danagoldstein.net/dana_goldstein/2012/09/the-chicago-strike-and-the-history-of-american-teachers-unions.html

Some people say that public sector unions have outlived their purpose. As Dana Goldstein points out in this post (which she will expand on in an upcoming book), the modern teachers' union movement started in Chicago in 1897 as a response to inequity and unfairness. How does an institution outlive its purpose when its purpose is equity and fairness? Or have ideological forces changed the public's view of fairness? If that's the case, how important are the traditions of the labor movement, and what does that mean for society?

Teacher accountability and the Chicago teachers strike | Economic Policy Institute

http://www.epi.org/blog/teacher-accountability-chicago-teachers/

Richard Rothstein, as he often does, makes important point after important point in this article. I was fortunate to be part of a large discussion in the School of Education earlier this week, and Lorrie Shepard said some smart things (she tends to do that a lot) about "weighing" versus "weighting." We know traditional forms of teacher evaluation haven't always identified underperforming teachers, and we have to own up to the fact that's a big reason we're seeing policy battles like we see in Chicago. But instead of "weighting" information from student test scores -- meaning make them some percentage of a formula that spits out teacher quality scores -- Shepard says we shouldn't give up "weighing," meaning to accept a variety of evidence that shapes an overall picture of teacher quality that can be judged by trained and qualified administrators.

Colorado School of Mines has big numbers, big brains - The Denver Post

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_21559282/colorado-school-mines-has-big-numbers-big-brains

I'm sure there are many things the Colorado School of Mines has to worry about, but when students come in with average ACT scores of 30 and SAT scores of 1300, creating an honors program probably isn't one of them.

Career and Technical Education, a Key to Good Jobs, Needs Help, Report Says - Students - The Chronicle of Higher Education

http://chronicle.com/article/article-content/134504/

Our greatest untapped reservoir of student potential might best be accessed when we recognize and appreciate the diverse and forward-looking possibilities in career and technical education. We're way past the days of wood shop and typing classes, and many technical skills schools can offer will be needed by the college-bound, not just those looking to jump from school to work.

The importance of basic academic skills … and much, much more | Dangerously Irrelevant

http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2012/09/the-importance-of-basic-academic-skills-and-much-much-more.html

Scott McLeod shares interesting survey results showing the diverse set of goals Americans expect from their public schools. Above all else, my vision for public schools is that of supporting a democracy, and the subplots of that mission tend to address various citizenship, social, and economic purposes. Basic skills are part of that, but I wouldn't have ranked them most important.

Chicago Teachers’ Union Votes to End Strike - NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/us/vote-scheduled-on-chicago-teachers-contract.html

Officially the strike has been suspended, not ended, because negotiations are ongoing and a contract has yet to be ratified. I supported Chicago teachers' in this action, but it reminds me that two of the major issues affecting teachers -- professional trust and student poverty -- are often too big to be encompassed within the confines of a contract negotiation.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal

http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2735

It's easy to find this comic funny when, like me, you're annoyed by unlabeled axes and you have a predilection for writing unusual comments on student work.

Possible Breakthrough in Math’s ABC Conjecture - NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/18/science/possible-breakthrough-in-maths-abc-conjecture.html

If there's one big idea that I'd like math teachers to take away from this article, it's the reminder that our language of mathematics -- all those symbols and structures -- have been socially constructed. As such, they aren't perfect and sometimes they don't convey ideas and relationships as well as we'd like them to. When pushed to the extreme, as in Dr. Mochizuki's effort to prove the abc conjecture, sometimes new mathematical languages get invented, and they are just as puzzling to experts in the field as the language we take for granted is to students when they encounter it for the first time.

The Schoolmaster - Dana Goldstein - The Atlantic

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/10/the-schoolmaster/309091/

Dana Goldstein's long-read on David Coleman provides a lot of insight behind the Common Core State Standards and the traditional, liberal arts-for-all philosophies that drive them.

Voices: Social justice in teacher evals crosses line | EdNewsColorado

http://www.ednewscolorado.org/2012/09/20/47688-voices-social-justice-in-teacher-evals-crosses-line

This Denver teacher says "social justice" is a loaded term with political implications that "go beyond a teacher's role."

Crowdsourcing Classrooms: Should Teachers Sell Their Lesson Plans? | TIME Ideas | TIME.com

http://ideas.time.com/2012/09/20/should-teachers-be-allowed-to-sell-their-lesson-plans/

I spend a lot of my time thinking about new ways to increase teacher collaboration and how to facilitate the sharing of resources. It's great that technology is helping this happen, and I like to poke around on blogs and lesson-sharing sites to see what's there. But with all apologies to their creators, a lot of what I see doesn't strike me as very good, and I worry that there are so few quality controls in place or feedback cycles that help creators revise their materials. For all we know from research about quality tasks and curriculum, we seem to know relatively little about how, on a large scale, to give teachers the knowledge and resources they need to select and create first-rate materials for their classrooms.

If We Actually Taught Math… | ThinkThankThunk

http://shawncornally.com/wordpress/?p=2849

Shawn Cornally is frustrated that much of the math we teach has no clear end goal other than to prepare students for the math they might study at a higher level of education. I love TJ Hitchman's question in the comments, essentially saying, "I'm higher ed and I'm open to students learning other math. How do I change the signal we send?"

danah boyd | apophenia » open-access is the future: boycott locked-down academic journals

http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2008/02/06/openaccess_is_t.html

I think I've heard all the arguments danah boyd makes in this post, but it's powerful to see them come together from a scholar who knows the game, has something to lose, but more to win.

Here's the deal on the deal (updated)

http://www.nctq.org/p/tqb/viewStory.jsp?id=32759

Here's NCTQ's take on the deal that ended (or suspended, to use the union's term) the strike in Chicago. Today I happened to be sitting next to Gene Glass and mentioned the longer school year. Apparently that was something he researched some time ago and really did not find much if any association between lengthening the school year and increased learning, although we both agreed it would be nice if things were indeed that simple.

AERA President's Corner

http://www.aera.net/AboutAERA/WhoWeAre/AERALeadership/PresidentsCorner/tabid/10173/Default.aspx

I've viewed AERA with skepticism primarly because (selfishly) I'd never heard of them in my 6 years of teaching. How does the nation's largest organization dedicated to understanding and improving education become unknown to teachers? There's no single reason, but publishing practices are part of the answer. I like that the current AERA president, Bill Tierney, seems to understand this. Maybe he doesn't have a lot of plans or answers, but he knows that AERA must adapt its publishing practices or perhaps face the same kinds of problems facing the newspaper industry. Here are the six challenges Tierney outlines:

What does this mean for AERA? I see six key challenges ahead of us:

1) We need to rethink our publishing outlets and communications schemes.
2) We need to reimagine the Annual Meeting to provide the highest quality presentations in the most advanced communicative formats.
3) We need to make membership attractive to more individuals and groups who can contribute their inspiration and insight. Non-tenure-track faculty are a primary example.
4) We need to broaden our financial base and become less dependent on membership dues and conference registration.
5) We need to consider offering MOOCs (massive online open courses), online training modules, digital badges, and other options for professional development and research training that will appeal to our membership and to education audiences worldwide.
6) We need to broaden and improve our outreach to multiple constituencies.

I don't get the sense that AERA can transform their practices quickly, but hopefully this gets people thinking about taking some decisive steps.

Thousands Gather in Support of Chicago Teachers - NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/education/thousands-gather-in-support-of-chicago-teachers.html

I hope both sides in Chicago do come to an agreement today. I've read in numerous places that what the teachers really wanted is to be treated as first-class professionals. I don't know if any contractual detail can accomplish that, but the support they were given in yesterday's rally surely helps.

Training Teachers to Embrace Reform - WSJ.com

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444023704577649903550165184.html

I appreciate that this post recognizes that frustrations with teachers unions doesn't simply have to require the dismantling of unions. Instead, it (briefly) looks at how unions are working in successful systems and suggests ways we might transform our own system.

Assessment vs. task | Learning is life.

http://russgoerend.com/2012/09/assessment_vs_task.html

Russ Goerend's "Assessment vs. Task" post fit so well with my co-facilitation of my assessment class last week that I had students read the post and then we invited Russ in via hangout. I think Russ hit on the same thing we were finding as a weakness with the "assessment triangle" from "Knowing What Students Know": every assessment should be approached with an explicit question of "What will this do to help the learning of the student?"

Math Techniques and Strategies: EdStartUp Idea 2.0

http://new-to-teaching.blogspot.com/2012/09/edstartup-idea-20.html

Trever Reeh is on the right track, but so are a lot of other people and not enough of those tracks are merging. I'm still thinking about starting a wiki for housing research briefs, but I hesitate to do so until I feel like I've really worked out a model that encourages collaboration and sustains participation.

NCTM brief: Local Educator adopts clever method which allows kids to do math without understanding | mathlovergrowsup

http://mathlovergrowsup.teachforus.org/2012/09/15/nctm-breif-local-educator-adopts-clever-method-which-allows-kids-to-do-math-without-understanding/

Maybe I just don't like having fun, but I'm always skeptical of classroom songs and games. Most seem to just be "cute" ways of memorizing bits and pieces of content, not engaging contexts to be mathematized.

f(t): Online Population Projection

http://function-of-time.blogspot.com/2012/09/online-population-projection.html

John Golden links to a cool post by Kate Nowak. Now, if only Facebook would release enough data for us to compare the growth of fake accounts versus real accounts...

The school that swapped its laptops for iPads… and wants to switch back | PC Pro blog

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/blogs/2012/09/11/the-school-that-swapped-its-laptops-for-ipads-and-wants-to-switch-back/

I'd guess a lot of schools are in this situation. They bought iPads because they wanted to be part of the next revolution, then later realized that it broke some of their workflows, particularly with office documents and file management. Some of that is just part of the learning process, but some of it is just amounts to having the wrong tool for the job.

Immersion - YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6Y0HAjLKYI

I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but I spent almost the entirety of my 6 years teaching math in low-income, rural Colorado school districts without having students who didn't speak English fluently. (I've come to wonder if there wasn't something Latino immigrants found unwelcoming about the communities I lived in that I never recognized.) This great 12-minute film is way to imagine the difficulty of being an English language learner in an English immersion classroom and leaves me wondering what I'd do if I were Moises's teacher.

What Its Really About « X Y Pi

http://xypi.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/what-its-really-about/

A post from a math teacher on strike in Chicago, driving home the point that it's not about money or other specific contractual details. It's about having teaching treated like a first-class profession.

Highlands Ranch Herald: News

http://www.ourcoloradonews.com/highlandsranch/news/douglas-county-school-board-racks-up-closed-door-time/article_5c4140de-fbaa-11e1-bfd9-001a4bcf887a.html

As the unrest in Douglas County schools has increased, so has the time the DCSD school board has spent behind closed doors -- five times as much so far in 2012 as compared to all of 2008.

Secrets of the Schools That Create Math Geniuses | TIME Ideas | TIME.com

http://ideas.time.com/2012/09/06/what-distinguishes-a-superschool-from-the-rest/

I haven't read the paper, but using data from the American Mathematics Competition is, if nothing else, an interesting choice of a data set on which to judge schools. The number of students in each school who take the AMC might be relatively small, but also relatively important when judging certain aspects of the culture of the school.

Physics Buzz: Can iPads Make a Difference in Physics Education?

http://physicsbuzz.physicscentral.com/2012/09/can-ipads-make-difference-in-physics.html

It's great to see my colleague +Ben Van Dusen make progress with his research, partially because it means more opportunities for me to chide him for turning Apple fanboyism into a PhD. Of course my teasing and criticism is only in jest, except not really. Or not. Seriously, if you're considering tech for your school, don't just fall for the marketing and make sure whatever tech you buy is accompanied by a plan for using it and resources to help teachers make the most of it. (And if using it requires having an iTunes account, then think about buying something else.)

What's At Stake for Chicago Public Educators? - Gapers Block Mechanics | Chicago

http://gapersblock.com/mechanics/2012/09/07/whats-at-stake-for-chicago-public-educators/

Chicago's teachers are on strike. Having been a teacher who's talked to other teachers about taking this kind of action, I know it's not a decision that's reached lightly. On the one hand, it's a very powerful way to defend yourself and your profession, but it comes with great risk, especially in these times when public support for teacher unions seems so low. This post describes the feeling from a Chicago teacher's point of view.

State Board now can wade back into eighth grade math debate | EdSource Today

http://www.edsource.org/today/2012/state-board-now-can-wade-back-into-eighth-grade-math-debate/19710

California looks to be backing away from it's 8th grade algebra-for-all and let some 8th graders take prealgebra. However, if they fully embrace the Common Core at 8th grade, I think those students will still see a lot of content people are used to seeing in Algebra 1. Regardless, I doubt many policymakers really understand the differences in which content gets taught when.

Motivated History of Mathematics - Circles and Tangents

http://theronhitchman.calepin.co/motivated-history-of-mathematics.html

Theron Hitchman shares his thoughts about teaching a course about the history of mathematics. I took that course (the "to the calculus" version, not the "from the calculus" one) as a UNI undergrad and remember the experience well. (Although I've surely forgotten most of the proofs.) In my comment, I discuss the possibility of designing a history of math class to specifically support Freudenthal's principle of "guided reinvention."

NY teachers unions on Labor Day 2012—Editorial - NYPOST.com

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/editorials/labor_day_U7JR0kdhMoLxNm5NkOHYeL

An ugly Labor Day editorial from the NY Post that seems to argue (even now in the era of Citizens United) that teacher unions should not be able to donate to campaigns, and spreads the false beliefs that teachers enjoy "ironclad job protections" even when they're found to be sexually abusing children.

Ask a Researcher: Advice for New PhD Students - EdTech Researcher - Education Week

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/edtechresearcher/2012/07/ask_a_researcher_advice_for_new_phd_students.html

Although I thought it was depressing when I first read it, this is probably good advice for those who want a job in academia: "You need to decide early on if you want to keep an academic option open. If you do, you need to devote yourself more or less entirely to academic publishing." Let me add this: If you're dissatisfied with the state of academic publishing, getting into academia might be a key step in helping change it.

26 Amazing Facts About Finland's Unorthodox Education System - Business Insider

http://www.businessinsider.com/finland-education-school-2011-12

I'm pretty sure some of these facts have been oversimplified or perhaps even misrepresented, but the point that Finland's education system operates on a different set of values than our own is pretty clear.

Students of Harvard Cheating Scandal Say Group Work Was Accepted - NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/01/education/students-of-harvard-cheating-scandal-say-group-work-was-accepted.html

This accusation of widespread cheating at Harvard is a bit of a mess and is sounding more like an understanding than a blatant abuse of the rules. Yes, students might have gone beyond mere collaboration and cut some corners. But it also sounds like they got mixed messages from the professor and teaching fellows. At the end I hope leaders at Harvard focus on what is probably most important: Did each one of those students learn the material?

No, algebra isn’t necessary — and yes, STEM is overrated - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/no-algebra-isnt-necessary--and-yes-stem-is-overrated/2012/08/26/edc47552-ed2d-11e1-b09d-07d971dee30a_blog.html

This response to the NYT "Is Algebra Necessary" piece focuses on the discredited belief that somehow algebra skills will transfer to other areas of life. I've read a little of the research about knowledge transfer, and my takeaway of it was that transfer doesn't really exist -- at least not in a way that fits neatly with our other theories of learning.

The Biggest Story Problem | Why America's Students are Failing at Math

https://www.thebiggeststoryproblem.com/welcome

I'm guessing there will be a lot of talk around this movie after the makers find ways to distribute it. There's a fairly lengthy article about the film at http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/54674340-78/math-laidlaw-students-documentary.html.csp

The IBL Blog: Response to "Is Algebra Necessary?"

http://theiblblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/response-to-is-algebra-necessary.html

Here's another great response to Andrew Hacker's "Is Algebra Necessary" article in the NYT. This one really asks, "How did we get here?" and looks at reasons such a question might get asked in the first place.

Aspen schools play hardball with residency | AspenTimes.com

http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20120827/NEWS/120829876/1077

Aspen is having trouble with out-of-district students (or their parents, most likely) falsifying residency records in order to attend Aspen schools. I'm guessing these are mostly the children of people who work in Aspen but don't (and can't afford to) live there.

{Musing Mathematically}: Gummy Bear Revisited

http://musingmathematically.blogspot.ca/2012/08/gummy-bear-revisited.html

It's good to see this task continue to be refined. It has a nice mix of proportional reasoning, data collection/evaluation, and how ratios of volumes vary differently than ratios of lengths or areas.

An Apology | Taking Note

http://takingnote.learningmatters.tv/?p=5876

Thank you, John Merrow, for being a stand-up guy and admitting a mistake. If only all journalism was this honest.

Please can I have tables for my students? « crazedmummy

http://crazedmummy.wordpress.com/2012/08/13/please-can-i-have-tables-for-my-students/

Good point: If your school claims to value collaboration but gives you desks instead of tables, something's wrong.

Tuttle SVC: Should Teachers Consider TED a Reliable Source? Why, Exactly?

http://www.tuttlesvc.org/2012/08/should-teachers-consider-ted-reliable.html

Good question. Some TED Talks are pretty awesome, but the whole TED phenomenon rubs me the wrong way. I think I realized that once I heard somebody describe CU-Boulder's Conference on World Affairs as "The democratic version of TED." Also, +1 to this article for the wordsmithing of "TED is an insatiable kingpin of international meme laundering."

The Pai Intersect: Understanding Fraction Division #1

http://intersectpai.blogspot.com/2012/08/understanding-fractions-division-1.html

All of us who teach mathematics are, at some point in our career, amazed at what we can learn about something we thought we already knew. High on that list of topics has to be fraction division, and I was happy to see that this blogger seems to know partitive (post #1) and quotative division (post #2).

Trust Me - I'm a Math Teacher: For the Interns and the First-Years

http://brennemath.blogspot.com/2012/08/for-interns-and-first-years.html

Earlier today I subscribed to a "New Math Blogger Bundle" (http://www.google.com/reader/bundle/user%2F02447871409166379760%2Fbundle%2FNew%20Math%20Blogger%20Project) and I've been finding some good stuff in the 500+ posts it dumped into Google Reader. This post by +Jeff Brenneman is full of good advice for 1st-year teachers who want ways to manage the grind of teaching.

Authentic Inquiry Maths: 5 Ways With Multiplication

http://authenticinquirymaths.blogspot.com/2012/07/5-ways-with-multiplication.html

I once knew a 7th grade math teacher who hated/didn't understand the lattice multiplication that many of her students liked to use. She hated it so much, in fact, that before she let the students move on to any other math, they all had to learn to multiply "her way." Ugh. This post shows five different ways to multiply. Not all are equally efficient, but each has a way of building good number sense for multiplication.

f(t): Moon Safari

http://function-of-time.blogspot.com/2012/08/moon-safari.html

Kate Nowak just posted an interesting idea for a lesson: given a month's worth of data about the fraction of the moon that is illuminated, could students model it with a function? How accurate are predictions made with that function?

If You Have to Cram, You Might as Well Not Study - Education - GOOD

http://www.good.is/post/if-you-have-to-cram-you-might-as-well-not-study/

This was certainly my belief as an undergrad. I hated not getting sleep before a test, and figured by that point I knew what I deserved to know.

Ask A Freshman English Class Going Around The Room And Saying A Little Bit About Themselves | The Onion - America's Finest News Source

http://www.theonion.com/articles/ask-a-freshman-english-class-going-around-the-room,29257/

I love the start of the school year, but I would happily do without (a) "How was your summer?" (repeated 100 times) and (b) the kind of introductions this Onion article makes fun of.

Organizing your personal research library and compiling bibliographies: I was an EndNote refusenik, but now I’m a Mendeley convert | Impact of Social Sciences

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2012/08/20/organisation-research-library-mendeley-convert/

This is a great Mendeley testimonial from what sounds like a typical professor with an assortment of disorganized PDFs on their hard drive.

Instead of Stopping Teacher Layoffs, Congress Gave CEOs Tax Breaks - Education - GOOD

http://www.good.is/post/instead-of-stopping-teacher-layoffs-congress-gave-ceos-tax-breaks/

An alarming statistic: "The cumulative tax breaks for [26 CEOs that made more than their companies paid in taxes] could have paid the salaries of an estimated 211,732 elementary-school teachers."

More states requiring third-grade retention | EdNewsColorado

http://www.ednewscolorado.org/2012/08/20/42979-more-states-requiring-third-grade-retention

Colorado is moving ahead with its plans to retain 3rd graders who fall below a standard on a reading test, despite mixed evidence that retention will do those students much good.

The Khan Academy: Distinguishing the App Store From the Apps - Rick Hess Straight Up - Education Week

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/rick_hess_straight_up/2012/08/the_khan_academy_distinguishing_the_app_store_from_the_apps.html

Rick Hess says just because the idea of Khan Academy is good, we can't ignore important details, like the quality of the lessons themselves. He calls for more involvement from curriculum experts and teachers. I doubt I'll ever read anything by Rick Hess that I agree with more.

Education's digital divide more about bandwidth than computer hardware - The Denver Post

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_21351636/educations-digital-divide-more-about-bandwidth-than-computer

I think the maximum download speed I ever got at my last school was somewhere around 0.5 Mb/sec with packet loss around 5-10%. Rural schools are desperate for better bandwidth, but sadly few really know what they're missing because their home connections are no better than at school.

Standards-Based Grading: Every Thursday, A Love Note | ThinkThankThunk

http://shawncornally.com/wordpress/?p=2765

A nice review of the basics of standard-based grading by Shawn Cornally.

Poll: Americans’ views on public education - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/poll-americans-views-on-public-education/2012/08/22/37203c5a-ebcf-11e1-aca7-272630dfd152_blog.html

I didn't see too many surprises in this poll, but instead of the first question being "Do you believe common core standards would improve education," I'd like to see a question like, "Did you notice an improvement in education the last time your state or district changed their educational standards?"

Why do we need academic journals in the first place? — Tech News and Analysis

http://gigaom.com/2012/02/22/why-do-we-need-academic-journals-in-the-first-place/

Just because the system of alternatives isn't clear, that doesn't mean we shouldn't be asking this question.

Teachers on the Defensive - NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/opinion/sunday/bruni-teachers-on-the-defensive.html

Frank Bruni's article highlights the tenuous positions teacher unions now hold publicly and politically.

Truth about Policymakers? | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

http://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/truth-about-policymakers/

Larry Cuban takes a look at some comments made by Rick Hess addressing the perspective and goals of policymakers.

A breakdown of Google’s top advertisers | Techi.com

http://www.techi.com/2012/03/a-breakdown-of-googles-top-advertisers/

A little shocking to see how much the University of Phoenix spent on Google ads in 2011 -- $46.9 million, more than eBay, and more than Microsoft and Apple combined.

Stephen Colbert Skewers Texas GOP's Attack on Critical Thinking - Education - GOOD

http://www.good.is/post/stephen-colbert-skewers-texas-gop-s-attack-on-critical-thinking/

This is a month old, but Texas shouldn't be let off the hook so easily for trying to push out "critical thinking" as a liberal plot design to change kids' fixed beliefs.

Are Lazy Students the Real Problem in Public Education? - Education - GOOD

http://www.good.is/post/are-lazy-students-the-real-problem-in-public-education/

Are some students lazy? Sure. I think a lot of them in one way or another have an idea of what their future will be like and they're willing to coast there. But I don't really think that's the "real problem" in public education, if only because that presupposes one problem.

Harsh Patel - Blog - Why Don't Students Want to Watch Khan Videos?

http://blog.harshpatel.net/education/2012/1/8/why-dont-students-want-to-watch-khan-videos.html

This comes as no surprise -- some students might like watching Khan Academy videos, but many will prefer to learn some other way or find ways to collaborate with other students.

Using Video to Teach Washington Teachers - NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/16/education/using-video-to-teach-washington-teachers.html

Washington D.C. (with the help of Gates Foundation money) is building a library of videos documenting examples of excellent teaching (rated according to their Impact evaluation system). Somehow I doubt anyone would want a video of me -- I'm pretty sure my best teaching often looked like students working in small groups and me quietly moving group-to-group to provide just the right amount of feedback and guidance. I don't know what kind of recording setup they have in D.C., but a camera and microphone in the corner wouldn't be very helpful on a good day in my classroom.

NSF Promotes Climate-Change Ed. With $19 Million in Grants - Curriculum Matters - Education Week

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2012/08/nsf_promotes_climate-change_ed.html

I think this is a good thing, but I hope this doesn't become a huge target for Republicans or climate change deniers as arguments over this could taint other funding from NSF or the NSF itself.

College Textbooks | Read Free Online | Flat World Knowledge

http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/

Flat World Knowledge provides OER (open educational resources) textbooks.

Do the math: Too much calculus? - Class Struggle - The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/class-struggle/post/do-the-math-too-much-calculus/2012/08/16/9a35034e-e4fd-11e1-8f62-58260e3940a0_blog.html

This is probably not news to any high school math teacher: We're probably rushing too many students into AP Calculus without really knowing if they're ready or if that's really what they need.

Has Teach for America betrayed its mission? - TODAY News - TODAY.com

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/48688907/ns/us_news-life/#.UC3IyKKPUbU

NBC (with a Reuters story) takes a critical look at Teach for America.

Animation Teacher Faces Termination For Refusing To Sell His Students Unnecessary Books | Cartoon Brew

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/ideas-commentary/animation-teacher-faces-termination-for-refusing-to-sell-his-students-unnecessary-books.html

When for-profit schools meet for-profit publishers: "Make students buy this textbook or you're fired."

Mike Rose's Blog: Writing About Education

http://mikerosebooks.blogspot.com/2012/08/writing-about-education.html

Mike Rose is known for his education writing, and it's good to know how he's helping other academics learn to write better for all audiences.

GOP lawmakers question standards for teaching evolution in Kentucky | Politics and Government | Kentucky.com

http://www.kentucky.com/2012/08/14/2298914/gop-lawmakers-question-standards.html

Articles like this cause me to cross off Kentucky from the "Will I ever live there?" list. Kentucky lawmakers want to compete against other states by using national standards, but not if it means including something "Darwin made up" like evolution.

Voices: Do unions benefit education? | EdNewsColorado

http://www.ednewscolorado.org/2012/08/16/41329-voices-do-unions-benefit-education

This article by teacher Mark Sass takes the right step in the debate about teacher's unions, looking for ways to improve them instead of bashing and blaming them.

for the love of learning: Thank God for standardized test scores

http://www.joebower.org/2012/08/thank-god-for-standardized-test-scores.html

Joe Bower has found the worst school in Edmonton. At least that's what you'd think if all you saw was their test scores.

Dougco lifts ban against ejected journalist | EdNewsColorado

http://www.ednewscolorado.org/2012/08/15/42724-dougco-lifts-ban-against-ejected-journalist

The Douglas County school board has come to their senses, after a little help from the ACLU. The parent who was escorted out of a board meeting by four police officers for trying to film the meeting will be allowed back onto district property.

The Grandfather of Hip-Hop Is Teaching at Cornell - Education - GOOD

http://www.good.is/post/the-grandfather-of-hip-hop-is-teaching-at-cornell/

Sign me up! Believe it or not, one of my first CDs was from Afrika Bambaataa. I wonder if students who complete his course get to be honorary members of the Zulu Nation?

Ed schools vs. education - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/jack-kelly/ed-schools-vs-education-648613/

This article makes me mean. It's upsetting that the writer makes such broad generalizations on such little evidence. Not all education degrees are created equal and I've never seen any studies that show having an education degree makes you an inferior teacher. At CU-Boulder, you can't major in education. This writer would say that's a good thing, but what ends up happening is that most of our elementary education candidates major in something like psychology and leave college with probably one math course and one math methods course. As a math educator, I wish they had more. At the University of Northern Iowa (my alma mater), however, you can major in elementary education. That degree program requires three math and math methods courses along with a minor in a subject area, one of which is mathematics. As a math educator, I have no reason to think UNI elementary teachers are less prepared to teach math than CU-Boulder elementary teachers. In fact, they should be more prepared, but that's what I'd expect from a school whose legacy is a teacher's college.

Before Dropping Algebra, Fix Math Education – SchoolBook

http://www.nytimes.com/schoolbook/2012/08/14/before-dropping-algebra-fix-math-education/

This response to the NYT "Is Algebra Necessary" article reminds me that too often education reform debates come down to "keep/discard" and too rarely are about making steady improvement. There's a lot we can improve about math education without thinking it simply isn't necessary.

dy/dan » Blog Archive » Khan Academy’s Introduction to Programming Modules Are Really Something Special

http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=14804

Because Khan Academy's new programming modules make students do as they listen, they're much better than the sit-and-listen videos associated with math, says Dan Meyer.

Filmmaker tossed from Douglas County school board meeting - The Denver Post

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_21278496/filmmaker-tossed-from-douglas-county-school-board-meeting

A local filmmaker had been filming Douglas County school board meetings. However, at the last meeting, the school board changed the rules about filming and when the filmmaker protested, they had him escorted out by four police officers.

My public school beat-down - Salon.com

http://www.salon.com/2012/08/10/my_public_school_beat_down/

Another story of reform gone wrong, driving a teacher out of the classroom for what appears to be all the wrong reasons.

Voices: A call for transparency in Dougco | EdNewsColorado

http://www.ednewscolorado.org/2012/08/10/42373-voices-a-call-for-transparency-in-dougco

Some of the figures in this article are startling. The Douglas County school board is moving more and more of their work into executive session where decisions can be discussed without public scrutiny. There are some particular reasons why any board might need some secrecy, but it's hard to imagine that DougCo's board needs as much as its using.

Common-Core Writers Issue Math 'Publishers' Criteria' - Curriculum Matters - Education Week

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2012/07/lead_writers_of_math_common_co.html

Some have suggested that we've done this in the wrong order. We should have had standards first, then curricula, then assessments. For many the last two items got switched, and now the authors of the Common Core State Standards are pushing publishers to follow a set of guidelines for authoring new curricula. Unfortunately, many publishers have already just taken their old texts, swapped a chapter or two, and labeled them CCSS-ready.

What is algebra? « profkeithdevlin

http://profkeithdevlin.org/2011/11/20/what-is-algebra/

Keith Devlin tries to define algebra that goes well beyond simply "arithmetic with numbers."

The Khan Academy Finally Gets What it Desperately Needs: Criticism | Motherboard

http://motherboard.vice.com/2012/8/13/the-khan-academy-finally-gets-what-it-desperately-needs-criticism

This article gets it. Without going into a lot of details, their article-ending punchline makes its point: "But if millions of kids are going to be learning their lessons online, let's embark on an ongoing effort to make sure as hell that those lessons are as good as they can be."

shankerblog.org

http://shankerblog.org/?p=6487

We usually think of reading as a skill we learn in elementary school, but this article points out the need for literacy in high school-level career and technical education.

Thanks, Textbooks.

http://thankstextbooks.tumblr.com/

A blog devoted to all the weird and nonsensical things that make it past the editors and into our textbooks.

Algebra-for-All Policy Harmed High-Achievers, Study Finds - Curriculum Matters - Education Week

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2012/08/the_push_for_algebra-for-all_p.html

In some ways this article is about detracking and the concerns that high-achieving students might suffer when placed in classes with lower-achieving students. (I believe the research on this is mixed.) More importantly, this article stresses that teachers didn't receive any special training to teach algebra any differently to reflect the diversity of skill in their classrooms, and that may be the cause of the problems.

A not so modest proposal: My new fully research based school! « School Finance 101

http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/a-not-so-modest-proposal-my-new-fully-research-based-school/

A tongue-in-check post by Bruce Baker exposing some of the absurdity that can happen when you cherry-pick which research you use for informing a policy or decision.

For popular Khan Academy, a critical voice amid the adulation - ContraCostaTimes.com

http://www.contracostatimes.com/california/ci_21287389/popular-khan-academy-draws-criticism-first-time

The #mtt2k contest continues to spawn some media attention and the realization that Khan Academy might not be the panacea some have made it out to be.

Deja Vu for This Miracle Charter School « Diane Ravitch's blog

http://dianeravitch.net/2012/08/13/deja-vu-for-this-miracle-charter-school/

Diane Ravitch shares some rather disturbing news about an Oakland charter school that apparently misrepresented its student demographics, funneled money to its founder to cover non-school expenses, and uses some extreme discipline measures (like shaving a kid's hair at an assembly as punishment for theft). However, because their test scores are okay, the school's charter has been renewed and it continues to operate.

More than 300 teachers leave Douglas County schools - The Denver Post

http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_21298361/over-300-teachers-leave-dougco-schools

Politically, Douglas County schools are a mess, and it's driving some teachers away.

www.washingtonpost.com

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/eight-problems-with-common-core-standards/2012/08/12/821b300a-e4e7-11e1-8f62-58260e3940a0_blog.html

My view of the Common Core State Standards isn't quite as harsh as this, but most of these points reflect genuine concerns.

Whither Science Publishing? | The Scientist

http://the-scientist.com/2012/08/01/whither-science-publishing/

This is a great article about the state of scholarly publishing, with a Q&A with numerous stakeholders in the publishing industry or academia.

Predatory Publishing | The Scientist

http://the-scientist.com/2012/08/01/predatory-publishing/

This article by Jeffrey Beall from UC-Denver takes a very critical look at open access publishing. He goes so far to call open access publishers "predatory" and claims they "threaten to erase the line that divides science from nonscience."

The Register editorial: Parents a key piece in school reform | The Des Moines Register | DesMoinesRegister.com

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20120808/OPINION03/308090044/The-Register-editorial-Parents-key-piece-school-reform

The Register asks a great question: If Governor Branstad wants Iowans to take responsibility for their health and make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation, why doesn't he talk about education the same way. When it's health, it's never about the doctors. When it's education, it's all about the teachers.

State casts its lot with testing group | EdNewsColorado

http://www.ednewscolorado.org/2012/08/09/42244-state-casts-its-lot-with-testing-group

Colorado had three choices for its standardized assessment future: PARCC, Smarter Balanced, or keep making their own. While some state leaders wished to keep the tests in-state to avoid any possible national conspiracy to have a federal takeover of education, it looks like we've finally settled on PARCC.

Two quotes on 'value-added' measures of teacher quality | Dangerously Irrelevant

http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2012/08/two-quotes-on-value-added-measures-of-teacher-quality.html

Scott McLeod fishes out two pretty good quotes collected by Diane Ravitch in her blog regarding value added modeling for teacher evaluation.

Approaching Infinity: DIY Standards-Based Report Cards

http://approachinfinity.blogspot.com/2012/07/diy-standards-based-report-cards.html

Since most electronic grade books have a limited amount of flexibility, finding ways to tabulate standards-based grades and report them to students and parents might take some spreadsheet mastery, such as described here.

14 Wacky "Facts" Kids Will Learn in Louisiana's Voucher Schools | Mother Jones

http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2012/07/photos-evangelical-curricula-louisiana-tax-dollars

Yes, there are some dots to connect here between voucher-passing and curriculum-choosing, but this kind of religiously-based curriculum becomes possible with Louisiana's voucher program.

The teacher quality conundrum: If they are the problem, why are kids gaining in math?  - NY Daily News

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/teacher-quality-conundrum-problem-kids-gaining-math-article-1.986066

If we believe that teacher quality is poor (or at least not any better than, say, 20 years ago), then what explains the long-term NAEP gains in math? Maybe our curriculum is better, suggests Dan Willingham.

Black at Stuyvesant High — One Girl’s Experience - NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/26/education/black-at-stuyvesant-high-one-girls-experience.html

Stuyvesant High, one of NYC's top public high schools, has seen a dramatic increase in the enrollment of Asian students and corresponding decreases in the enrollment of Black and Latino students.

Khan Academy ponders what it can teach the higher education establishment | Inside Higher Ed

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/12/07/khan-academy-ponders-what-it-can-teach-higher-education-establishment

This article about Khan Academy focuses little on the videos and mostly on the data-collection system that tracks all the problems students attempt. It could very well be a treasure-trove of data, although it's yet to be seen if improving this technology really drives the improvement of education.

Racial Lens Used to Cull Curriculum in Arizona - NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/19/education/racial-lens-used-to-cull-curriculum-in-arizona.html

Supporters of Arizona's ban on ethnic studies claim they're promoting racial harmony and unity, but when you start banning books that's typically not the case.

Rhode Island City Enraged Over School Prayer Lawsuit - NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/27/us/rhode-island-city-enraged-over-school-prayer-lawsuit.html

A teenage girl in Rhode Island defends her atheism and wins a lawsuit forcing the school to remove a prayer from the gymnasium wall. In return, she is harassed and threatened by her mostly-religious community.

One-Room Montana School Is Also a One-Student School - NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/30/education/one-room-montana-school-is-also-a-one-student-school.html

I love small rural schools, but a school of one would present a ton of challenges for both teacher and student.

Study on Teacher Value Uses Data From Before Teach-to-Test Era - NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/16/education/study-on-teacher-value-uses-data-from-before-teach-to-test-era.html

This article cautions reading too much into the Chetty study, partially because some of the data relies on a pre-NCLB use of standardized testing, when accountability measures didn't put so much pressure on teachers and students.

Big Study Links Good Teachers to Lasting Gain - NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/06/education/big-study-links-good-teachers-to-lasting-gain.html

The "Chetty" study used some really large data sets to try to calculate the long-term benefits of having good teachers. Yes, having good teachers is a good thing, but it wouldn't be wise to get hung up on the specific gains this study estimates.

From Finland, an Intriguing School-Reform Model - NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/13/education/from-finland-an-intriguing-school-reform-model.html

Finland is a very different place with different expectations and working conditions for teachers, but parts of their system are worth emulating.

U.S. Education Department Finds Salary Gap in Poor Schools - NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/01/education/us-education-department-finds-salary-gap-in-poor-schools.html

There's a lot of evidence that we need a system that rewards teachers for taking jobs in poorer, hard-to-serve areas. Unfortunately, that's not the system we have, where the wealthiest districts pay teachers the most.

Shanker Blog » What Value-Added Research Does And Does Not Show

http://shankerblog.org/?p=4358

Growth models aren't really the problem -- it's how we're trying to use them.

Dr. Tae 닥터태 » Blog Archive » Am I A World-Class Pool Player Or What? (#mtt2k)

http://drtae.org/am-i-a-world-class-pool-player-or-what/

This #mtt2k critique of Khan Academy targets the perception by some that Sal Khan is an "expert" at whatever he demonstrates in his videos, and that kind of popular opinion has to be right...right?

What if Khan Academy was made in Japan? - YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHoXRvGTtAQ

I like this video because it offers some good advice for how Khan Academy could be made better, using guidance from TIMSS videos form successful countries like Japan.

Michael Serra at CMC-North Ignite - YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G57qemxBVoM

If we follow Michael Serra's advice, I think math anxiety will be safe for years to come.

Texas Studies Suggest Test Design Flaw in TAKS - NYTimes.com

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/29/education/texas-studies-suggest-test-design-flaw-in-taks.html

This is probably a case where research didn't get translated well for those of us who have a familiarity with the subject. A measurement researcher, Walter Stroup, says the TAKS test in Texas is flawed because the IRT model it employs "is more sensitive to how it ranks students than to measuring what they have learned." Okay, but that's nothing new -- we've known that about IRT for a long time. So what details are hiding between the lines of this article that support Stroup's research?

F1000 Research

http://f1000research.com/

I love seeing a journal designed for open peer review, but this one is targeted at biology and medicine. Can we get one of these for education, please?

Bedtime Math | A new math problem every night.

http://bedtimemathproblem.org/

A simple idea and a simple site: Each day the blogger posts a new math problem with suggestions for questions for "wee ones," "little kids," and "big kids."

Critiquing Khan #MTT2K (with images, tweets) · audreywatters · Storify

http://storify.com/audreywatters/critiquing-khan-mtt2k

Audrey Watters's Storify of the #mtt2k Khan Academy critiques.

Drew's Day: Invitation to the Khan Academy

http://blog.drewsday.com/2012/07/invitation-to-khan-academy.html

I feel like I've found these a bit late, but Andrew Morrison has a set of two blog posts (the other at http://blog.drewsday.com/2012/07/break-cycle-of-khan-academy-criticisms.html) that I find to be level- (and cool-) headed, well reasoned, and a needed view of Khan Academy and its criticisms.

The end of algebra - ComPost - The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/post/the-end-of-algebra/2012/07/30/gJQAyXZ8KX_blog.html

Alexandra Petri takes a satirical stab at the NYT "Is Algebra Necessary?" opinion piece.

Delta Scape: MTT2K

http://deltascape.blogspot.com/search/label/MTT2K

Mystery Teacher Theater 2000 (#mtt2k)-related posts (critiquing Khan Academy) from David Coffey and John Golden.

Khan Academy: Readers weigh in - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/khan-academy-readers-weigh-in/2012/08/02/gJQALiNgQX_blog.html

A host of readers of The Answer Sheet weighed in about teaching slope and the Khan Academy. At the top is the response Fred Peck and I wrote and posted to MathEd.net.

A Math Teacher and Dad Comments on Khan Academy (Jerry Brodkey) | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

http://larrycuban.wordpress.com/2012/08/02/a-math-teacher-and-dad-comments-on-khan-academy-jerry-brodkey/

Jerry Brodkey adds to the debate over Khan Academy and asks some important questions: "There are bigger questions. Under what circumstances, and with which students, can the KA be most effective? What are its limitations? Is it most effective for the transmission of new material, or is it best suited for review? What skills must a teacher have to use it effectively? Will this approach work for those students who are not traditional learners and who struggle with this type of approach?"

Cut Sal Khan and the Khan Academy Some Slack | Teach For America Blog

https://www.teachforamerica.org/m/blog/cut-sal-khan-and-khan-academy-some-slack

A Teach for America blogger says we should cut the Khan Academy some slack.

What’s Really Wrong with Teacher Quality and Teacher Education? | National Education Policy Center

http://nepc.colorado.edu/blog/what%E2%80%99s-really-wrong-teacher-quality-and-teacher-education

I think this is a great post by Paul Thomas about some of the many ways our efforts towards improving teacher quality are misdirected. It's not as simple as being anti-union and putting teachers on a scoreboard. According to Thomas, we need more focus on the *real* problems with teacher quality: we have an inequitable distribution of teacher quality and we need to invest more in training teachers to work with the least advantaged children.

Why Should Techies Care About Education Theory?

http://www.hackeducation.com/2012/08/02/education-theorists/

I'm glad that Audrey Watters chose to write this, although I wish the comments focused more on why we should care about theory, not just, "Hey, you forgot this famous theorist!"

Five principles of the evil teaching guru « Maxwell's Demon

http://maxwelldemon.com/2012/08/02/five-principals-of-the-evil-teaching-guru/

It's good to have a teaching philosophy, and I wouldn't shy away from this one. Philosophies are better when you understand the person's character and personality.

David H. Bailey: Algebra Is Essential in a 21st Century Economy

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/david-h-bailey/algebra-is-essential-in-a_b_1724338.html

I think these authors make a strong case for algebra, but they got sloppy in the last paragraph when they seem to blame Realistic Mathematics Education for some sort of Dutch "pedagogical disaster," then link to a paper in support of RME.

CU-Boulder report: 42,012 pounds of reusable items collected at student move-out - Boulder Daily Camera

http://www.dailycamera.com/cu-news/ci_21159285/cu-boulder-report-42-012-pounds-reusable-items

I'm sure I threw out some things when I moved out each summer, but 21 tons of stuff sure seems like a lot. Silver lining? Throwing stuff away might be a sign the economy is improving.

TMC – People Just Like Me! | I Speak Math

http://ispeakmath.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/tmc-people-just-like-me/

I've read several summaries of Twitter Math Camp (#tmc12) and I think Julie's is one of the best, even if her extroversion is pretty frightening to my introversion.

Task force to brainstorm ways CU can leverage technology - Boulder Daily Camera

http://www.dailycamera.com/cu-news/ci_21181856/task-force-brainstorm-ways-cu-can-leverage-technology

Yes, higher education needs continual improvement, and technological advances can help us get there. Still, there are many devils in the details, and if our current instruction is good, then expect it to be difficult to replicate it with flipped classrooms or open courseware.

Segregated Charter Schools Evoke Separate But Equal Era in U.S. - Bloomberg

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-22/segregated-charter-schools-evoke-separate-but-equal-era-in-u-s-education.html

Designing a charter school to serve a particular underserved population sounds like a noble venture, but we're seeing in more and more places how it's just exacerbating racial and economic segregation in our schools. Some say it's not segregation because it's not legally-mandated segregation, while others say that doesn't matter because the results aren't much different.

UNI: Price Lab to come down in future

http://wcfcourier.com/news/local/uni-price-lab-to-come-down-in-future/article_8d1daacd-024e-5acc-b180-2f25e0998215.html

While I'm still saddened at UNI's decision to close Price Lab (something I should blog about, but haven't yet), my sadness isn't really about seeing the building go away. Like with so many of our public schools, the struggle to stay up-to-date technologically while keeping the building properly maintained on a limited budget ends up being a losing battle.

Math Mistakes «

http://mathmistakes.org/

I'm not sure who is behind this site, but I really like the idea. Teachers can submit student work that has mistakes so other teachers can collaborate about why the mistake was made. Also, the mistakes are categorized by CCSS standards.

More Reasons to Learn Algebra « Wild Math

http://wildmath.org/2012/07/30/more-reasons-to-learn-algebra/

This is an excellent summary of responses by +Damon Hedman (@wildmath) to the NYT "Is Algebra Necessary?" piece.

Khan Academy Statistics videos are not good | Learn and Teach Statistics and Operations Research

http://learnandteachstatistics.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/khan-not-good/

This gives me a head start on something I've been meaning to do: watch Khan Academy statistics videos and review them for quality. (Hint: Quality was apparently hard to find.)

welcome to the mathtwitterblogosphere - Home

http://mathtwitterblogosphere.weebly.com/

This is a great site created by @samjshaw encouraging math teachers to take control of their own professional development by collaborating with other teachers online using social media and blogs.

Don't Use Khan Academy without Watching All This First - EdTech Researcher - Education Week

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/edtechresearcher/2012/07/dont_use_khan_academy_with_watching_all_this_first.html

A now-somewhat-dated post discussing #mtt2k and critiques of Khan Academy.

How well does Khan Academy teach? - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/how-well-does-khan-academy-teach/2012/07/25/gJQA9bWEAX_blog.html

This tough critique of Khan Academy by Christopher Danielson and Michael Paul Goldenberg gets at something near to my heart: the resistance to building a curriculum upon established research. They quote Khan: "I think frankly, the best way to do it is you put stuff out there and you see how people react to it; and we have exercises on our site too, so we see whether they’re able to see how they react to it anecdotally."

teaching / math / culture - My Response to the NYT Editorial on Algebra

http://ilanahorn.tumblr.com/post/28332879926/my-response-to-the-nyt-editorial-on-algebra

Ilana Horn's critique of the NYT "Is Algebra Necessary?" includes this reasoning about inequity should algebra not be required: "Hacker’s proposal for Citizen Statistics, another attempt to make a curricular ghetto (remember Consumer Math anyone?), shows his naivete about our schools. He insists that he is not trying to make a vocational track yet such a class would inevitably be remedial. Hacker imagines this class as demographically balanced, democratically filled with children based on interest and ability, representing students from across racial and socioeconomic spectra. In truth, parents who have the resources and time to pursue academic and professional aspirations for their children would continue to make sure they were placed in a 'true' college preparatory curriculum, leading to even greater inequities in our system."

Is Khan Academy a real ‘education solution’? - The Answer Sheet - The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/is-khan-academy-a-real-education-solution/2012/07/12/gJQAtApceW_blog.html

I like Marion Brady's three ways of thinking about learning: (1) first-hand, autonomous, and curiosity-driven; (2) shared experiences and the dialogue it creates; and (3) delivered information. Much of our education system has relied on (3), and Khan Academy is no exception. As Brady says, "Yes, Khan is good. In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."

Sweeney Math: The Best Professional Experience of my Life

http://sweeneymath.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-best-professional-experience-of-my.html

I've enjoyed reading the reflections on Twitter Math Camp (#tmc12) and I hope soon this kind of self-organized professional development opportunities are too numerous to count. Different attendees took away different things from the camp/conference, but I like Sean Sweeney's single sentence summary: "I've never been more excited to teach in my life."

Tell the Truth about American Education (Math) « Diane Ravitch's blog

http://dianeravitch.net/2012/07/25/tell-the-truth-about-u-s-education-math/

Some people speak as though American education has fallen from grace and does nothing but get worse. As Diane Ravitch points out, our most reliable measure of performance over time says the opposite, and we've never been better.