by Kirby Urner
Oregon Curriculum Network
December 3, 2006
Note: orignally posted to math-teach
@ Math Forum, which accounts for some of the local idioms, references
to proper name players. Here's a link
to the original thread.
Does anyone else see a contradiction here?
The anti-fuzzies have successfully whipped up parental passions, gotten
them ridiculing the majority's mediocre fare, which I agree, ain't hard
to mock. The angry mob pitch forkers now chant "choice choice choice"
on cue. But then, when the anti-fuzzies win, parents'll find it's a perfectly
straight line through the State Office of Wayne Bishop and his ilk --
or die. Some choice, huh?
Isn't this something of an internal contradiction, to be clamoring for
more choice while exerting top down pressure through the politico-state
Haim is right to worry that some on his team might be into dictating.
I, on the other hand, am much closer to implementing his vouchers idea,
by making it very easy for an Intel, HP, or OMSI to public-charter a single
class or sequence, not necessarily an entire school, what with all that
overhead (though with shared open source code...).
But to charter a public offering, you need to play by the public rules,
i.e. keep in close contact with one of our many monitoring towers plus
really show 'em the ropes, so they'll still want to be president someday,
or at least free to elect one, not as slaves, not as minions.
No indoctrinating of children in anti-democracy views. Not on the public
dime. Or we'll shut you down in a heartbeat.
But not without due process -- schools should be able to defend themselves,
e.g. sometimes it's satire, sometimes it's viewing propaganda films from
some dark ages past, saved as exhibits on YouTube or wherever -- there's
a lot of racist literature future historians will need to be aware of,
so we can't blame 'em for studying it.
Main liner rank and file math teachers hear the stomp stomp stomp of
black booted politicos, trying to set a "one size fits all"
homeland security math standard, one state at a time, and I don't blame
'em for feeling worried. What is this great darkness, this vast
"invisible majority" that'd politically control our math curriculum
from on high, make us all study Saxon or Singapore or I forget which others
-- state mandated, state approved, or forget that promising career through
the far door of a State Standards Office, aka "the culling room"
(Orwellian-sounding ain't it?).
These people seek "compliance", want teachers to "toe
the line" (or else). In contrast, I want faculties to form voluntary
alliances and with more than one federal bureau or agency, including the
DoD (for a Quaker, that maybe sounds concessionary so maybe I'll get buggy-whipped
by my stern-bearded elders -- but I just don't see a way around that our
nation needs defending, psychologically most of all, and Pentagon Math
is helping, I can't deny it (hey, DoD isn't just about man-beasties
Anyway, is it really the good math professors who are turning these wheels
at the state and national levels, trying to have their way with we the
people? Many math profs acted surprised to see their sigs in the Washington
Post that time, not realizing they'd signed something so overtly
I don't see a conspiracy of math departments here, like Lou is no math
nazi. So where's the source?
How does the anti-fuzzy math movement tie in with the Christian far right
again? Some private Catholic schools have adopted fuzzy-seeming practices,
which is confusing, plus they aren't all marching to any one christo-fascist
The picture is confusing at best, how religion is supposed to play into
Homeschooling families are often secular in outlook, or watch Buffy slay
vampires, so what's the demographic? Saxon was forced to censor his dwarves
and elves remember. Will that practice be spreading?
And what's the relationship with the Calculus Mountain tribe? Is ETS
of AP Calc fame in some alliance with elve haters? Is ETS really Mordor
in disguise? Hard to say.
It's all very murky, with journalists shedding precious little light
on the matter.
Somehow it's all "about Calculators" but how? Don't
we want kids to know what all those little buttons do? Do we
want 'em to look up SIN, TAN and LOG in lookup tables in the back of some
And why no computers? Does anybody really know why Johnny can't code?
There's gotta be a story there somewhere. Salon took a stab.
Let's look into it some more, shall we?
Even today, some lucky math profs get to work directly with the public
schools, to the point of promoting cross-enrollment in the higher grades,
with a tapering bell curve of exceptions down to that whiz kid in 7th
or whatever, a special case. This is how one of our newest public charters
works, having incubated in higher learning centers to begin with (Portland
State chief among them, also Stanford).
Defenders of state standards make this illogical leap: high standards
are good, therefore the fifty States should provide them. Always this
leap of faith to "the States". Why? What am I missing?
Why don't the good math professors set up web sites at any or every UC-whatever,
SUNY whatever, showing off what their illustrious, insider faculties,
both practicing and emeritus, think'd be a most appropriate contemporary
training for today's brainiac wannabees? Such websites'd be good recruiting
tools as well.
MIT already does this, somewhat brilliantly, by open sourcing a ton if
its best stuff, with more waiting in the wings I'm sure. Isn't that approach
more likely to inspire emulators, vs. dry PDFs listing key topics, each
with a state imprimatur, all boringly similar, with the King of Boring
some dot gov functionary in Washington, DC? Whatever happened to local
I'm not for hampering Wayne Bishop's freedoms of speech, nor those of
his allies. YouTube is waiting. Go ahead and strut your stuff guys, teach
us about fractions the way it should be done, lay it out there
about derivatives and so on. Do it your way. Stand and deliver.
But don't think you'll get a stranglehold on my State of Oregon using
backdoor politics, no way. We've got a Silicon Forest to protect. We need
our kids to be numerate, and that means ASCII and Unicode, a clear view
of the stack, its open and closed source layers, tcp/ip near the bottom,
various OSes, and these myriad math notations, self executing, Ruby and
such, with Amazon.com nearer the top, part of our culture's infrastructure.
Gotta know about databases, as in SQL meets Venn.
What? You say California math teachers are living in the dark ages and
don't know what I'm talking about (or do, but such math is strictly verbotten,
not taught)? Well, that's my point. Don't let these backward "Cal
people" push their antediluvian math on our great State of Oregon.
Close the border if necessary or, better yet, shut off their Bonneville
But really, none of that'll be necessary. "This ain't another ENRON"
(bumper sticker). We love California, and we're not under seige
-- plus have Canada watching our back just in case, or maybe we'll slaughter
'em at Northgate should Canada fall.
No, California is our gentle hippie good neighbor to the south, very
into geodomes and geospheres. Just look at Long Beach, where the Spruce
Goose used to live (now we share that in common as well -- go Howard!).
Plus Hollywood is chomping at the bit to keep California ahead of the
bell curve, when it comes to emulating future lifestyles. Oregonians will
help with the props and talent. Synergy R Us.
This flirting with totalitarian style government is fizzling fast, was
a flash in the pan. We'll be getting back to good sense again soon, with
students set free to explore in the great cosmic vastness that is their
birthright, undictated to by any one inbreeding "father knows best"
type (or mother either), and with teachers in all walkx of life, in many
traditions, standing by to provide valuable guidance within our new order
of the ages.
Related post to comp.lang.python,
Dec 10, 2006
Oregon Curriculum Network