Monday, April 20, 2009

ODDS and EVENS Week of 4-20-09

  • Don't miss the latest Math Teachers at Play #5. Denise somehow is pulling this together and producing a delectable and high-quality carnival of K-12 Math every two weeks and this one is no exception. I particularly enjoyed reading her intriguing quotes. One of my favorites came from Paul Halmos who quoted a cynic on student learning. Here's an excerpt...
    "...since, he said, students on the average remember only about 40% of what you tell them, the thing to do is to cram into each course 250% of what you hope will stick"
  • I've already received several requests from teachers for the registration form for MathNotation's 2nd FREE Online Contest. One request has made me re-think my rule about one team per school. So here is the latest revision:
    Schools may field up to TWO teams.

    A couple of other points about the contest...
    (1) Even if you're not sure you will be able to field a team, don't hesitate to email me (dmarain at gmail dot com) to request a registration form - no obligation here!
    (2) I want to reiterate that this contest is designed for the student who has completed Algebra 2 and knows some trigonometry.
    (3) Please include the phrase 2nd MathNotations Contest in the subject line of your email to me. Just copy and paste that to make it easier for me to organize all of my emails and not miss any.
  • Walter Isaacson, former managing editor of TIME magazine has written a definitive piece on the National Standards movement and the need for improved quality of standards in this week's edition of TIME. It's entitled How to Raise The Standard In America's Schools and I strongly urge all my readers to read the online version at

Click Read more for further comments on the TIME article...

This one article justifies purchasing the print version of the magazine in my opinion. Mr. Isaacson documents the history of the Standards movement but more importantly makes two compelling points which my readers will surely recognize from the dozens of essays I've written on the subject:
(1) The existing standards are not working (most are of poor quality and there is considerable inconsistency of expectations from state to state).
(2) There is, not surprisingly, a significant gap between the proficiency levels being reported by many states (based on their own assessments) and the NAEP results which set a higher and more uniform standard.

How do I feel about my passionate beliefs and advocacy for uniform standards beginning to come to fruition two decades after I ranted on every forum for these changes? Relief, not self-satisfaction. It's long overdue and we better move quickly now. Right, Mr. Duncan?


Sean Henderson said...

Hey! Just looking around at some math contest info and noticed a date discrepancy. On the original post for the 2nd contest you say that registrations should be sent back by Friday 5-13-09, but Friday is the 15th. Is it Friday, or the 13th that they're due?

Dave Marain said...

It should be Wed 5-13! Guess I'm obsessed with Friday the 13th!