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Problem Solved!

Haim-5
The problem, of course, is the Achievement Gap.  The first item in "Strategies for Closing The Achievement Gap" is,

http://www.nea.org/home/13550.htm
Enhanced Cultural Competence

In case you still did not get the message, they ask, "Why Cultural Competence?"  And the answer is,

http://www.nea.org/home/39783.htm
To Help Educators Close Achievement Gaps
- ----------------------------------

>Get Out of the Classroom
>Irvine believes the first step toward cultural
>competency is heading out into students’
>neighborhoods. "Go to their homes, go to the African-
>American churches, go to the Hispanic community
>centers." But proceed respectfully.

http://www.nea.org/home/16711.htm
Sounds Great, But How Do I Do It?

Reading about culturally responsive teaching is one thing, trying it in the classroom is quite another. Here’s what the experts—and the teachers and ESPs just like you who have tried the approach—think you should know. Some of this may sound familiar, but consider how intensely you’re delving into these methods.
Question Everything You Know
Start by asking yourself a few questions: Do I know the cultural background of each of my students? Do I integrate literature and resources from their cultures into my lessons? Do I consistently begin my lessons with what students already know from home, community, and school? Do I understand the differences between academic language and my students’ social language, and do I find ways to bridge the two?

Contemplate the home life of the student who is sleepy-eyed or apathetic on a particular morning. Perhaps one of his family responsibilities is caring for a younger sibling or an after-school job. The student with the incomplete homework might be hobbled by her parents’ inability to speak English. A student who doesn’t turn in an assignment describing her house might be reluctant to admit in front of classmates that she lives in a homeless shelter.

“You can’t fix most of these things,” says researcher Jacqueline Jordan Irvine, “but knowing about them can help you make adjustments and provide support.”

Consider cultural cues as well. In some cultures, making eye contact with authority figures or speaking loudly to them is considered disrespectful. “Students’ frames of reference can clash with classroom norms,” says American Indian education specialist Denny Hurtado. “Some Native Americans want to silently try to work on things before speaking,” he says. “But teachers fear that they just don’t want to participate.”

Says Meany Middle School teacher Wendy Miller, “Examine your frame of reference.” Or, as Irvine puts it, “Be curious.”

Don’t Just Guess or Fall Back on Old Assumptions
Instead, let students talk about elements of their culture, both positive and negative, removing the burden from you to speculate or ask questions that you fear might be too probing. You can start with an assignment that asks students to discuss their life outside of school. For instance, in NEA’s educator guide Culture, Abilities, Resilience, Effort: Strategies for Closing the Achievement Gaps, teachers are urged to have students describe what they enjoy doing outside of school, with whom they spend most of their time, and whom they admire. Having children elaborate on their culture provides a shortcut to learn more about them, while they practice writing skills.

In one activity, students write about their culture’s celebrations, greeting styles, beliefs about hospitality, the role of family, and attitudes about personal space and privacy. Another has them pen short descriptions of the languages they speak, the music they listen to, the foods they eat at home, what is considered polite and rude in their family, what manners they have been taught, what they wear on special occasions, and what role extended family plays in their life. Imagine how much of an icebreaker such an activity could be.

Get Out of the Classroom
Irvine believes the first step toward cultural competency is heading out into students’ neighborhoods. “Go to their homes, go to the African-American churches, go to the Hispanic community centers.” But proceed respectfully. “You have to have cultural ambassadors,” Irvine says, pointing to fellow staff members, community leaders, or a parent with whom the teacher already has a connection as potential liaisons. “You have to be invited in. Don’t just show up to an African-American church like it’s a field trip.” Each semester, Irvine, who is Black, brings her teaching students to such gathering places in Atlanta. “Once teachers made the effort, the respect for them rose,” she says. Stepping into new environments is rarely easy, but can pay significant dividends. “We have to step outside of our comfort zones and push ourselves,” says NEA’s Denise Alston. “It will make a difference to the child.”

Parent-teacher meetings are valuable tools, but the culturally responsive teacher moves beyond the traditional framework for such get-togethers, considering, for example, the schedule of parents working more than one job. Find out if your district has translators or cultural interpreters available and invite them to attend. Or consider meeting with parents at a location in their community.

In Seattle, grant money—including a $250,000 grant from the NEA Foundation—helps pay for teachers to spend days out in the community, familiarizing themselves with the culture of the students it sends to school.

Teach Them Using What They Already Know
Consider your minority and low-income students’ experiences as valuable tools, not deficits, says Alston. It’s called an “assets-based model,” and it means taking what others might discount as problems for the child—poverty, English as a second language—and viewing them as building blocks for perseverance and resilience.

Using your newly widened frame of reference (remember the first point?), try recalibrating your lessons to match their experiences. For instance, when giving a geography lesson, use the names and patterns of students’ neighborhood streets. In social studies, do a substantial unit on South America, Africa, or Asia, inviting students to talk about what they know about the lands from which their families hail. Have your math students write a rap song to describe a principle, such as how to reduce fractions. If your elementary school students use public transportation, have them bring in bus or subway schedules and use them as the focal point for a lesson on time or map reading. “It says to a child, ‘You bring something,’” says Alston, “and it lets you build on that.”

East Haven, Connecticut, teacher Joseph Marangell’s ninth-grade history students spend the first five minutes of the period writing in journals “about issues relevant to both their own lives and the history curriculum,” he says. The East Haven High students then share their writing, “providing a springboard for each day’s lesson.”

Use the Work of Those Ahead of You
Don’t try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to selecting appropriate books or lesson plans. Hurtado recalls the day he decided to talk about American Indian canoes in conjunction with a reading lesson and opened a book on the topic. The pictures misidentified American Indian tribes—something he, as a member of the Skokomish Tribe, quickly spotted, but someone else might not have realized.

With that in mind, he and partner Magda Costantino did the heavy lifting, designing their American Indian reading curriculum on a DVD that contains reading passages, photos, and video clips, including interviews with tribal elders. This fall, the pair is adapting the program for the U.S. Department of Education to use nationwide. A similar effort is in full swing in Wisconsin, where members of the state’s 11 tribes have partnered with the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC) in developing a culturally responsive education package. Supported with NEA and WEAC grants, the package includes a teacher’s guide, DVDs, posters, and magazines. (Head to www. nea.org/crt for more culturally responsive teaching tools.)

Reach out to those who have come before you, too. Within the Black community, retired teachers can be tapped as a resource to share their strategies for reaching ethnic minorities. “There are people out there who know how to do it,” says Irvine. “We need to find them.

Know That You’re Supported
For NEA, promoting culturally responsive teaching is not subject to the fickle winds of education reform. It’s part of the Association’s resolutions, which state clearly that ethnic-minority teachers must be involved in selecting educational materials and those resources should contain points of view that realistically portray ethnic minorities’ lives. NEA plans to allocate $200,000 over the next two years to promote adoption of cultural competence standards for educators in five policy arenas affecting educator preparation, induction, and professional development.

Tap into Lesson Plans
Culturally responsive lessons available in books and online can often be adapted to address different cultures and different grades. “Make it personal for your students,” says Hurtado, and “work with your local communities so it’s authentic.”

For example, the book Teaching About Asian Pacific Americans offers an adaptable business and marketing lesson. Students select a magazine and compare the number of ads featuring Asian-American models with the total number of ads, and describe the product and company that these models promote. Students then discuss or write about how the ad maintains or breaks stereotypes. Does it have derogatory images or language? Students are asked how they might recreate the ad.

Visit www.nea.org/crt for additional examples of lessons geared toward American Indians, Blacks, and Hispanics.
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Re: Problem Solved!

Kirby Urner-5
Yes, this is rather familiar literature; you'll find
the same thing going on in PDX, not that different from
the "community policing" movement we used to read about
more (it's still a literature, but more vintage, like
Elvis).

Regarding your "Education Mafia", you're obviously not
worried about offending Italians, many of whom are somewhat
defensive of Mia Familia, kind of like many Irish about
the IRA, who then decry any "Islamic brotherhood" in true
Catholic fashion, despite the great similarity in the
"us against them" mentality.

My question is why is your resistance movement so
ineffectual?  We've been hearing about this criminal
syndicate, pouring money down the drain, for some time,
yet it only seems to get worse, no matter which so-called
administration as at the so-called helm.

My guess is it's the narrowness of your special interest,
i.e. you don't like to discuss profligate waste and
inefficiencies in other sectors, even for contrast, so we
don't get a complete picture.  When it comes to education
in STEM topics, you still can't beat the military for
having a big budget, even if you're Princeton.  Our
marching band was actually banned from Navy events as I
recall, for indecorous behavior (in the Ivy League
tradition (i.e. "bad at sports" as some guides will tell
you on your Orange Key tour of the campus)).

You've got a rather hard-to-understand language I think
is the problem.  "Mutli-culturalism" is an unmitigatedly
bad thing, and yet "melting pot" is just fine.  One reads
above of a $250K grant getting teachers to spend time on
their beat, actually being in the community they're
serving (vs. "commuting to work"), and one wonders:  is
this what a melting pot looks like?  I think you'd shout
"no!" but then where are you coming from with that?  What
*should* teachers be doing, if not learning about the
real lives of the people they professionally serve?
Seattle has lots of Asian and NavAm (pre colonialist)
communities, not to mention half-breed Swedes like me.

Kirby
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Re: Problem Solved!

Anna Roys
Responding to post On Sun, Feb 20, 2011 at 3:21 PM, Kirby Urner <[hidden email]> wrote:
 What should* teachers* be doing, if not learning about the real lives of the people they professionally serve?

Kirby

Kirby,

In my opinion, you hit the nail on the hammer, yes, I truly believe that teachers can be more effective if they connect themselves with the "real lives" of their students, culturally and otherwise,  -  and carefully work to develop a safe, welcoming environment in which their students may learn.  These are the great teachers!

While other elitist-minded individuals such as Robert, seem to think that if students are not college-math-ready by the time they reach Lou's or any other math professors classroom, that there is something wrong with the student and their teachers  and curricula  -   that students could not "get it" through traditional means like he did. Personally, it seems like it is a way for Robert to "toot" his own horn and feel proud.  I am often saddened by those who feel they must keep stomping on others' toes in order to feel important themselves.  Robert, where is it that the line is drawn between feeling proud of one's accomplishments and just plain boasting?

I, myself, think there are many -  not  just one reason why we keep turning out unprepared students; and it is a sad reality.  Among the many reasons, I would suggest; social promotions, social-economic reasons, teachers not skilled in their content areas to begin with, and worn out teachers (who should retire) that are just going through the motions without a passion for student learning. (Being a baby-boomer teacher myself, I am not suggesting that older teachers should retire, I am suggesting that those in it  only for the paycheck, who have lost or maybe never had the passion for their content area,  are not giving our American students what they need to succeed and they should step down.)

Anna

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Re: Problem Solved!

Haim-5
In reply to this post by Haim-5
Kirby Urner Posted: Feb 20, 2011 7:21 PM

>Regarding your "Education Mafia", you're obviously not
>worried about offending Italians,

   Correct.

> many of whom are somewhat defensive of Mia Familia,

   Never heard of "Mia Familia".  As for the "Cosa Nostra", Italians for the most part fear and loath it.  Italy has special courts to fight it.  Nobody in his right mind could be sympathetic to those psychopaths.

   By the way, there must be here a few fans of the excellent but now defunct HBO series, "The Sopranos", about the NJ branch of the Italian Mob.  You would have heard Tony Soprano many times referring to his business as "this thing of ours", which is the precise translation of "Cosa Nostra".  One of myriad details that made the series so good.

> kind of like many Irish about the IRA,

   The one big difference is that the IRA can at least claim, however plausibly, that they are a national liberation movement.  Who or what are the Mafia liberating?

   On the other hand, I attended a lecture some years ago by John Keegan ("Mask of Command", "The Face of Battle", etc.), himself an Irishman transplanted to England.  Keegan had interviewed some IRA leaders some years before that.  Keegan described them as really bad guys.

>who then decry any "Islamic brotherhood" in true
>Catholic fashion, despite the great similarity in
>the "us against them" mentality.

   As the father of a daughter, how do you feel about sharia?

>My question is why is your resistance movement so
>ineffectual? We've been hearing about this criminal
>syndicate, pouring money down the drain, for some time,
>yet it only seems to get worse, no matter which so-called
>administration as at the so-called helm.

   Such things are tallied in generations, not years.  Although I mark the beginning of the modern phase of American education at 1957 (Sputnik), the Education Mafia did not start to get really massive and really destructive until about 1980, with the advent of the US Dept of Education, which was Jimmy Carter's payoff to the Education Mafia that supported him.

   Until fairly recently, most people just did not need that much education, and they certainly did not get it.  These days we have, on the one hand, more people needing more education and, on the other hand, the Education Mafia doing a lot of damage to public education.  Both their destructive practices and their insane expense (now approaching 50% of state budgets) are plainly unsustainable.  Something will give.

   I believe we are coming to the end of an evolutionary road.  The disgruntlement we see in NJ with their excellent governor Christie resisting the Ed Mafia, and the remarkable events now transpiring in Wisconsin are, I believe, only the beginning of a social tsunami that will wash away a lot of the rot.

>You've got a rather hard-to-understand language I think
>is the problem. "Mutli-culturalism" is an unmitigatedly
>bad thing, and yet "melting pot" is just fine.

   You are funny guy.

Haim
We're buying shrimp, guys.
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Re: Problem Solved!

GS Chandy
In reply to this post by Haim-5
Haim posted Feb 20, 2011 7:23 PM (http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?threadID=2238663&tstart=0):

> The problem, of course, is the Achievement Gap.  The
> first item in "Strategies for Closing The Achievement
> Gap" is,
>
> http://www.nea.org/home/13550.htm
> Enhanced Cultural Competence
>
> In case you still did not get the message, they ask,
> "Why Cultural Competence?"  And the answer is,
>
> http://www.nea.org/home/39783.htm
> To Help Educators Close Achievement Gaps
> - ----------------------------------
>
<SNIP>

Kirby Urner has usefully commented at http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=7389253&tstart=0 (except that I believe he needs to review his ideas of what 'multi-culturalism' actually means (as I have understood it; and as we in India have been practically using it in our real life, with some small - i.e., inadequate - success).

Anyhow, with a view better to understand the issue(s) involved , I read through, quite carefully, a couple of the documents available at the links to which Haim had pointed.  The first, "Strategies for Closing The Achievement Gap", contains the following suggestions (enclosed within "SSSSSSSSSS") - and my comments follow:

SSSSSSSSSSSSS
Enhanced Cultural Competence

    * Consider students' diversity to be an asset
    * Increase faculty's cultural competence
    * Be sensitive to students' home cultures
    * Understand and capitalize on students' culture,
        abilities, resilience, and effort

Comprehensive Support for Students

    * Screen children early for medical/social services
    * Work with medical, social services, and community
       agencies
    * Identify students who need additional instructional
       support
    * Support students via mentors, tutoring, peer
       support networks, and role models

Outreach to Students' Families

    * Make sure the main office is family friendly
    * Engage/reach out to students' families
    * Establish family centers at schools and other
       community locations
    * Hire staff from the community who speak families'
       home languages
    * Provide transportation to and from school events
    * Conduct adult education and parenting courses at
       local schools

Extended Learning Opportunities

    * Institute full day kindergarten and pre-kindergarten
    * Extend learning to before- and after-school
       programs as well as summer programs

Classrooms that Support Learning

    * Use varied, effective strategies to instruct
      diverse learners
    * Use test and other information on students'
       performance in instructional planning
    * Target literacy and math instruction, if needed
    * Safeguard instructional time
    * Use research and data to improve practice

Supportive Schools

    * Make closing gaps a schoolwide responsibility
    * Set high expectations and provide rigorous, deep
       curricula
    * Focus on academics
    * Provide safe, orderly learning environments for
       students and educators
    * Use test data and other research on students'
       performance to inform instruction
    * Identify strategies and programs to increase
       achievement
    * Develop effective schoolwide leadership teams
    * Provide ongoing professional development for
       school-based leaders on effective strategies for
        closing the achievement gaps

Strong District Support

    * Make closing achievement gaps a district priority
    * Develop an effective leadership team
    * Provide additional resources and support for
       students experiencing achievement gaps
    * Engage teachers in strengthening curriculum and
      student assessments
    * Decrease class sizes
    * Provide schools with timely test and other
       assessment information
    * Involve teachers in the design of ongoing
       professional development
    * Disseminate the latest research on effective
       strategies to schools

Access to Qualified Staff

    * Improve teacher education programs
    * Recruit, develop, and retain qualified teachers and
       paraeducators
    * Attract high quality staff to work with students
        with the greatest needs
    * Compensate teachers who take on extra
      responsibilities
    * Provide time for faculty to meet and plan
    * Provide continuous, data-driven professional
       development
    * Prepare teacher leaders to be knowledgeable and
       effective on school reform
    * Help teachers work effectively with families and
      communities

Adequate Resources and Funding

    * Seek adequate and equitable funding
    * Target resources on closing the gaps
    * Expand school capacity via additional resources
    * Engage businesses, universities, foundations in
      schools' work
    * Seek federal, state, or private funding in
      collaboration with partners to leverage NEA programs
    * Schools that close achievement gaps focus on
      improving learning for all students, maintain a "no
       excuses" attitude, use research and data to
       improve practice, involve everyone in improvement
        processes, persist through difficulties and
        setbacks, and celebrate accomplishments.
SSSSSSSSSSSSS

I guess, from my readings of Haim's previous exegeses on such issues, that these suggestions above form (at least part of) what Haim has been castigating here in the past as works of that shaitan (Satan) - that infamous  'Education Mafia' of his.

In the terminology of the "prose + structural graphics" (p+sg) 'language' that I recommend for arriving at practical means of tackling such complex issues), most of these suggestions could be treated as 'elements' (and practically all of them could be very useful, and entirely workable [IMHO]).  

On reading carefully through those 'elements', I for one really find little to which I would need to object if I were in the US and therefore to be impacted by them - EXCEPT in the following very important respect: they (the proposers of the "Strategies", i.e., the NEA I guess) almost certainly  have NOT demonstrated just how the teachers (/others involved in actually working on "Closing the Achievement Gap" and the like) should proceed in order to implement those suggestions, with reasonable effectiveness.  

In fact, from my reading of other documents put up at the NEA website (and from my reading of much other literature here and elsewhere about the ills of the US educational system), I'm pretty certain that the NEA does not itself clearly know just how these useful suggestions towards a strategy should be implemented in practice, on the ground. Using any conventional approach, it would be quite impossible to achieve all (or even a few of) the desiderata outlined in those suggestions).

Anyway, if I'm correct in my (cross-cultural) understanding of those suggestions, I want to observe that putting them up is certainly NOT something for which the originators (members of the 'Education Mafia') should be jailed, as Haim demands; in fact, they should be commended - AND they should be asked only:

Just how do you propose that we do all of that?  

Practically every suggestion made is more or less useful, I feel.  Some may even be essential.  The only underlying issue largely left untouched is:

How to develop a working system that enables teachers and others involved practically to implement such useful suggestions?

I have, in the past, suggested some practical means - most recently, at at the postings at the thread "Can Thinking Be Learned?" - http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=7385789&tstart=0 and http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=7387599&tstart=0 .

GSC
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Re: Problem Solved!

kirby urner-4
In reply to this post by Haim-5
On Sun, Feb 20, 2011 at 9:20 PM, Haim <[hidden email]> wrote:
Kirby Urner Posted: Feb 20, 2011 7:21 PM

>Regarding your "Education Mafia", you're obviously not
>worried about offending Italians,

  Correct.

> many of whom are somewhat defensive of Mia Familia,

  Never heard of "Mia Familia".  As for the "Cosa Nostra", Italians for the most part fear and loath it.  Italy has special courts to fight it.  Nobody in his right mind could be sympathetic to those psychopaths.


Or just Ma Familia.

You'll have your ethnic Italians on the receiving end of your epithets too of course.  Lots of teachers in your cross hairs.  

You paint with a broad brush it seems.


  By the way, there must be here a few fans of the excellent but now defunct HBO series, "The Sopranos", about the NJ branch of the Italian Mob.  You would have heard Tony Soprano many times referring to his business as "this thing of ours", which is the precise translation of "Cosa Nostra".  One of myriad details that made the series so good.


I've yet to view a single episode myself.  Used to teach high school in Jersey City though, lots of Italians (Koreans, Irish etc.).
 
> kind of like many Irish about the IRA,

  The one big difference is that the IRA can at least claim, however plausibly, that they are a national liberation movement.  Who or what are the Mafia liberating?


Or the Muslim Brotherhood?  

Liberation is generically "from tyranny" e.g. "when in the course of human events...".  

Many professing Muslims seek more democracy, not less.  

But then is "democracy" code for "multi-culturalism"?  Maybe you're against it then?
 
  On the other hand, I attended a lecture some years ago by John Keegan ("Mask of Command", "The Face of Battle", etc.), himself an Irishman transplanted to England.  Keegan had interviewed some IRA leaders some years before that.  Keegan described them as really bad guys.


I was just reading an article in The Nation about the congressman with IRA connections who wrote a novel staring himself as hero.  

He tends to demonize his fellow Americans (including constituents) of Islamic heritage, a favorite pass time of many a retro Xtian.  A two way street of course.  "Religious wars" go on and on (and on).  Yawn.
 
>who then decry any "Islamic brotherhood" in true
>Catholic fashion, despite the great similarity in
>the "us against them" mentality.

  As the father of a daughter, how do you feel about sharia?


Somewhat the same way I feel about Xtian fundamentalism, though I'm OK with alternative models of banking.

If you're asking about religious crazies, zealots etc., they come in all stripes.  That's why this "melting pot" thing can be something of a challenge sometimes, a chore for campus security.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIgaTJTzLhs  (not seeing my daughter in this one, maybe some of her friends?)
 
>My question is why is your resistance movement so
>ineffectual? We've been hearing about this criminal
>syndicate, pouring money down the drain, for some time,
>yet it only seems to get worse, no matter which so-called
>administration as at the so-called helm.

  Such things are tallied in generations, not years.  Although I mark the beginning of the modern phase of American education at 1957 (Sputnik), the Education Mafia did not start to get really massive and really destructive until about 1980, with the advent of the US Dept of Education, which was Jimmy Carter's payoff to the Education Mafia that supported him.

  Until fairly recently, most people just did not need that much education, and they certainly did not get it.  These days we have, on the one hand, more people needing more education and, on the other hand, the Education Mafia doing a lot of damage to public education.  Both their destructive practices and their insane expense (now approaching 50% of state budgets) are plainly unsustainable.  Something will give.


There's lots that's unsustainable, I agree.  

Your analysis always seems too narrowly focussed too serve an anticipatory or predictive function.  

You're the prophet with a sign saying "Things Will Change".  Later you'll say "I Told You So".
 
  I believe we are coming to the end of an evolutionary road.  The disgruntlement we see in NJ with their excellent governor Christie resisting the Ed Mafia, and the remarkable events now transpiring in Wisconsin are, I believe, only the beginning of a social tsunami that will wash away a lot of the rot.

So there's a lurking utopianism in your thinking, interesting.  

Somehow it seems like the so-called political "left" is supposed to cough up utopian visions, which are then scoffed at and dismissed (because "utopia" is by definition infantile and unattainable), while the so-called "right" gets to indulge in nostalgia for some fictional past.

I'm wondering what the movie would be like, of your "other tomorrow" (were things to go your way).  

Schools of thought that won't bother to sketch their preferred futures in some detail (hoped for outcomes) are too lazy to be taken seriously.  Any near future science fiction you'd care to circle, as "how it should be"?  

Many of Jewish heritage have tried to establish egalitarian communities, e.g. The Alliance in NJ, home of the Seldes family (famous brothers, taking after their father in some ways per the documentary 'Tell the Truth and Run' (recently screened in our meetinghouse)).

http://www.languagehat.com/archives/001070.php (more details re Seldes brothers)



>You've got a rather hard-to-understand language I think
>is the problem. "Mutli-culturalism" is an unmitigatedly
>bad thing, and yet "melting pot" is just fine.

  You are funny guy.


I live in the 1990s they tell me (in Portlandia).  Perhaps that explains something?  So many projections...


(already extended to a 2nd season they tell me -- I've not yet seen a full episode, having "killed my television" in true Portland fashion).

Kirby
@ pdx airport

 
Haim
We're buying shrimp, guys.

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Re: Problem Solved!

Haim-5
In reply to this post by Haim-5
Kirby Urner Posted: Feb 21, 2011 12:11 PM

>You'll have your ethnic Italians on the receiving end of
>your epithets too of course. Lots of teachers in your
>cross hairs.

The 1968 NYC insurrectionists complained that teaching was too much a Jewish profession. So which is it? Am I attacking Italians or Jews?

> You paint with a broad brush it seems.

No, you paint with a broad brush. My definition of the Education Mafia is ethnicity-free and quite precise.

>I've yet to view a single episode myself. Used to teach
>high school in Jersey City though, lots of Italians
>(Koreans, Irish etc.).

I am proud to tell you that I do not have cable TV. However, so many people were saying for so long how good that TV series was, that I rented the first season on DVD. They were right.

>> The one big difference is that the IRA can at least
>> claim, however plausibly, that they are a national
>> liberation movement. Who or what are the Mafia
>> liberating?
>
> Or the Muslim Brotherhood?

> Liberation is generically "from tyranny" e.g. "when in
> the course of human events...".

You are entitled to stiplulate your definitions. However, "national liberation" usually implies liberating one nation from the domination of another. The concept is closely related to anti-colonialism. If people are being tyrannized by their own, other terms tend to apply.

> Many professing Muslims seek more democracy, not less.

Many professing Muslims seek just the reverse.  The competition between them is a blood sport.

>But then is "democracy" code for "multi-culturalism"?
>Maybe you're against it then?

I don't do code.

> Somewhat the same way I feel about Xtian
> fundamentalism, though I'm OK with alternative models
> of banking.

I take that to mean you know nothing of sharia.  The time to find out is...now.  As the father of a daughter, you could start by investigating the sharia rules concerning rape.

> There's lots that's unsustainable, I agree.
>
>Your analysis always seems too narrowly focussed too serve an anticipatory
>or predictive function.

   Eh?  I have been making exactly one prediction in this forum:  so long as the Education Mafia is in charge of our public schools, nothing will change except, possibly, for the worse.  And for the last ten years I have been batting 1,000.

>You're the prophet with a sign saying "Things Will Change". Later you'll
>say "I Told You So".

   You must be confusing me with another pudgy, middle aged, white man.  I have been consistently saying that unless we get rid of the Education Mafia, nothing in public education will change.  Further, getting rid of the Education Mafia is extremely difficult.  The obvious inference (well, I have always thought it obvious) is that change will be very, very hard to come by, if it comes at all.

        In such cases (and there have been such cases, historically), change eventually does come, but only after some major catastrophe or systemic collapse.  This seems to be what we are observing now.  With education spending approaching fully 50% of state budgets, and states rapidly falling into bankruptcy, I think we are looking at systemic failure.  Perhaps you have heard of California and Wisconsin.  So far, New York State has remained in deep denial, but even our newly elected governor, Andrew Cuomo, an old line Democrat if ever there was one, is talking deep cuts.  Since education is the major part of the budget, either you have deep cuts in education or you do not have deep cuts at all.

> So there's a lurking utopianism in your thinking, interesting.

   If systemic collapse is the same as utopianism, then yes.

Haim
We're buying shrimp, guys.
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Re: Problem Solved!

Paul A. Tanner III

- --- On Mon, 2/21/11, Haim wrote:

> From: Haim
> Subject: Re: Problem Solved!
> To: [hidden email]
> Date: Monday, February 21, 2011, 7:54 PM
> Kirby Urner Posted: Feb 21, 2011
> 12:11 PM
>
>
> > Many professing Muslims seek more democracy, not
> less.
>
> Many professing Muslims seek just the reverse.  The
> competition between them is a blood sport.
>

"Many"?

The peer-reviewed evidence that you can cite that the percentage of Muslims in the world who want representative government is less than the percentage of Christians in the world who want representative government is.....what?
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Re: Problem Solved!

Robert Hansen
In reply to this post by Haim-5
Anna wrote...

"While other elitist-minded individuals such as Robert, seem to think that if students are not college-math-ready by the time they reach Lou's or any other math professors classroom, that there is something wrong with the student and their teachers and curricula - that students could not "get it" through traditional means like he did. Personally, it seems like it is a way for Robert to "toot" his own horn and feel proud. I am often saddened by those who feel they must keep stomping on others' toes in order to feel important themselves. Robert, where is it that the line is drawn between feeling proud of one's accomplishments and just plain boasting?"

I am not sure how you get "boasting" out of what I say. I am blunt with my words for the the very same reasons in the rest of your post, grade inflation, social promotion, etc. Those are not isolated troubles that sometimes affect education today, they are systemic and accepted policy. For me, the best way to expose this is to point out that the results thus obtained are invalid. My other motive is for parents (that may be reading this) to remember that while the best way to improve oneself is to work hard and do well in school, this still hinges entirely on what "doing well" means. In a system of education where "doing well" has been greatly diminished for the sake of political correctness, I think this is a very important message.