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"The 'standards' were never implemented"

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Showing 1-25 of 26 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 9, 2012, 6:36:53 PM PDT
In June 1989, I attended a conference at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. The conference was dedicated to the release of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics 'standards,' and one of the organizers was Tim Craine--who has been a leading promoter of the 'standards.'

On 9 June 2012 at the meeting of the Northeastern Section of the Mathematical Association of America, the same Tim Craine was a co-speaker at a one-hour session concerning the adoption of the Common Core State Standards. This was similar to the dozens of nauseating sessions--ballyhooing the NCTM 'standards'--that I have had to endure over the years. At the end of the session, when someone alluded to the failure of the 'standards' and asked Craine what his next promotion would be, Craine answered: "The 'standards' were never implemented."

I pointed out that at every school open house that I attended between 1992 and 2002, every math book was presented as 'meeting the standards.' It is truly pathetic that the promoters of the 'standards' cannot accept the fact that their promotions have been abject failures.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2012, 9:08:40 PM PDT
Customer says:
I wonder if this happens in subjects of science as well.

I sympathize that creating a text for young minds is very different from writing a paper for educated adults, but this is so important that it shouldn't be left to companies with the profit motive as their first priority.

It's likely that we will get what we deserve from the coming generations. How do other countries do it?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012, 2:37:55 AM PDT
Sounds pretty much like the Annan plan for Cyprus and the Annan plan for Syria. Hardly a record of success to be Kopied.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012, 7:53:07 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012, 7:53:59 AM PDT
In my opinion, the size of our bloated doorstops is the biggest obstacle in teaching math and science in the U.S. A brief description of a series of middle school textbooks is at:

One of the 12 co-authors was Jack Price, a former president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The corresponding Glencoe science books were even more abominable, and one of the co-authors was the then president of the science teachers organization.

The contrast with the textbooks published in other countries is particularly stark. In 1998, I examined the following translations edited by Kodaira:

Mathematics 1: Japanese Grade 10; 1996; 247 pp.

Mathematics 2: Japanese Grade 11; 1996; 262 pp.

Algebra and Geometry: Japanese Grade 11; 1996; 174 pp.

Basic Analysis: Japanese Grade 11; 1996; 184 pp.

The translations of the Japanese textbooks for grades 7-9 are also available. These were reviewed by Richard Askey in The College Mathematics Journal, Nov. 1992, pp.445-448. It is really amazing to see how much material these books cover in less than 200 pages.

Posted on Jun 10, 2012, 12:24:44 PM PDT
Can you provide a link to the discussion on science textbooks, particularly the Glencoe textbooks?
The link to the math textbooks has little info in it. I worked on some of the Glencoe books in the 80s and 90s and could see what was coming.
Incidentally, I tend to agree with you about the quality of textbooks.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012, 3:03:45 PM PDT
Bubba says:
The problem with lists of co-authors on text books, is that in many cases, some of the "co-authors" loaned their name to the book, they had nothing to do with it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012, 4:14:05 PM PDT
In some cases ALL the authors loaned their names while the book was created by outside production companies. Publishers don't want to actually hire and pay REAL editors to work on K-12 textbooks. I left corporate publishing when I saw that coming. They don't even want managers who give a damn about the quality of textbooks. The whole schlocky business has come to be run by marketing pinheads and assorted fair-haired boys who can flex their personalities in front of executives. Am I bitter? You're damn right.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012, 5:44:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 10, 2012, 5:47:21 PM PDT
I do not have a link to the grades 6,7,8 Glencoe science books. When I questioned my daughter's science teacher about the quality of these bloated doorstops, I was told that the teachers had little input in the selection. The series was selected by a "textbook selection committee," which included the "curriculum director" and the "director of instruction." The selection was made based on the sales pitches of assorted sales reps, and based on the recommendation of an outside consultant hired by the Board of Education. This junk series of math and science books deserved to be thrown directly in the dumpster.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012, 9:32:26 PM PDT
If you live in a state-adoption state (e.g. TX, FL, CA and several others) their choices are already limited by what the state chose to buy. Individual districts can choose other books, but will not get state money to fund the purchase. Also, as you know, public ed. is often dominated by pompous azzez with meaningless "degrees" in useless subjects.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 10, 2012, 10:21:26 PM PDT
Doctor Who says:
Well one nice thing is that the state is at least smart enough to know that "Of Panda's and People" is not an acceptable text whereas a local school board might not. At least they would figure that out when the lawyers demand that lawsuits are expensive and inevitable in that case.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012, 5:44:28 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 11, 2012, 5:52:40 AM PDT
In CT, education--including the selection of textbooks--is controlled by each local Board of Education. Based on my experiences, many of these Board members do not know what they are doing. Many of their decisions are based on the recommendations of outside consultants--many of whom have financial interests in their promotions--and on assorted meaningless "research/studies" that support the latest educational fads. The State imposes various requirements, including what needs to be taught for the fraudulent "mastery tests" administered by the State.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012, 7:50:17 AM PDT
Customer says:
I would think that it would be less expensive for everyone, and much better for the students, merely to purchase these Japanese books.

Did I just have a BRILLIANT idea? lol

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012, 9:25:13 AM PDT
It would also "be less expensive for everyone, and much better for the students" to purchase Singapore textbooks, which are always published in English.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2012, 12:16:54 PM PDT
Don't be so surprised at occasional flashes of genius, w. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2012, 12:18:37 PM PDT
My experience with Singapore school textbooks, although superficial, suggests to me that a translation of the Japanese ones would be a superior choice.

Posted on Jun 13, 2012, 12:03:12 PM PDT
"Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States ... adheres to their enemies, giving them aid ...within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason" 18 USC § 2381

Glencoe science texts are so bad as to be destructive to the science education of American youth. Degrading our nation's ability to preserve its superiority in sciences aids the enemies of the United States. McGraw Hill owns Glencoe and is a US company.

(Just asking the question)

Posted on Jun 13, 2012, 2:23:30 PM PDT
Do you have a source for a critical discussion of Glencoe science texts? I worked on their textbooks in the 80s (The texts were the Merrill imprint then.) and the early 90s. The HS books weren't so bad then, but the middle school books had started downhill toward cuteness, "friendliness," ultra-political correctness, greatly reduced rigor, and general mediocrity, as in "This sounds all warm and fuzzy. Who cares if it's right." I remember a managing editor who actually said, "It's only middle school. Anybody could do it."
The Textbook League used to keep an eye on Glencoe's antics, but they seem to have faded away since the early 2000s.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2012, 2:56:21 PM PDT
My older brother was an independent reviewer of Glencoe science books, and he was my source. I'll have to see who is watching these clowns now. What outraged him was bad science and bad science history, that made science *less* interesting. My addition to his concerns; the page layout is so busy and confusing that even if there was value to be had, the kids reading it are having seizures from information overload.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2012, 3:27:36 PM PDT
"the page layout is so busy and confusing"
That's what they think is all peachy-keen. Cant have pages with boring old explanations, equations, scientific facts, and, most of all, connections between ideas.
But then, I'm uncomfortable blaming all this on publishers. After all, who's buying this trash? Why aren't they more demanding? I guarantee that McGraw-Hill would come up with quality products if they perceived a demand.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2012, 3:36:23 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 13, 2012, 3:48:22 PM PDT
<<After all, who's buying this trash?>>

In a given instance, it's almost certainly not scientists, and not even science teachers or people otherwise scientifically educated or inclined. School boards and district administrators should (but don't) delegate this kind of decision to a committee drawn heavily from technical professionals in the community (physicians, engineers, welders, programmers, etc.) as well as teachers in the relevant fields. These two groups of people know what works, because the latter sees instructional material in action and the former represents success stories in technical education. Administrators have neither kind of essential knowledge to contribute.

That being said, there are sometimes bad outcomes from having community professionals select textbooks. The story of the Texan dentist who got creationism back into the educational agenda in his area comes to mind.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2012, 6:34:05 PM PDT
Customer says:
In reply to your post on Jun 12, 2012 12:16:54 PM PDT
Philip Duerdoth says:
Don't be so surprised at occasional flashes of genius, w. :-)

heh heh, Philip, actually I was being facetious, because the textbook industry is a large machine bent upon survival just like most such organizations. Do they come into to work every morning raring to develop the best materials? Not likely. What could change human nature and the nature of large profit-centered machines? I mean, is there anything we're willing to institute?

Posted on Jun 13, 2012, 8:55:18 PM PDT
"Do _they_ come into to work every morning raring to develop the best materials?"

I have worked in this industry for almost 30 years, and I can tell you that there are a lot of different "theys" in textbook publishing. Some want to do a good job and help turn out a quality product. Unfortunately, these people are scarce in-house at publishers because they have mostly left and become freelancers.

Posted on Jun 13, 2012, 9:38:36 PM PDT
I think the underlying problem is a public education system based on people with education majors rather than degrees in the subject they teach with a minor/certificate in education.

You end up wioth teacher that know everything about teaching, except the content.
Yes, there are exceptions, but when a teaching job is based on a teaching degree, it gets really hard to find *science* teachers, or even *history* teachers, rather than teachers hold books on science and history.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2012, 6:44:31 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 14, 2012, 6:45:10 AM PDT
<<a public education system based on people with education majors>>

Which is especially odd, when you reflect that simply by virtue of having sat in school all the way through college, one has acquired many years of experience in "education" -- even if one gets a degree in computer science or geology or whatever. It is my experience that, by the time they have completed 17+ years of school (i.e. a bachelor's), most people claim to have a basic sense of what a successful learning environment looks like! ...Especially if excellent teaching has ever been modeled for them, i.e. especially if they've ever had really good teachers themselves.

Posted on Jun 14, 2012, 6:30:15 PM PDT
Education departments of colleges generally do not enjoy the respect of the rest of the faculty.

At one school in the Deep South, the assumption was that a girl majoring in education had no desire to teach, only a desire to find a husband. I worked at that school, and am reluctant to name it, as it borders on a regional cult rather than a regionally accredited institution of learning. I teach at the University of Hawaii at Manoa now, and like the attitudes of the students and faculty far better. And no, you cannot major in surfing.
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Discussion in:  Science forum
Participants:  9
Total posts:  26
Initial post:  Jun 9, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 15, 2012

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