Thursday, March 27, 2008

Underfunded Schools

[ originally posted to Math Forum, two typos fixed, hyperlinks added ]

Yo Haim --

I think the Iraq War is pertinent to some extent as we've got designs for putting some returnees into math teaching roles, including on base in an enlisted capacity i.e. much of what we're doing with computers in the private sector, to teach children, might be adapted to advantage families in the services, which are subject to civilian oversight.

Regarding how reformists sound similar themes over time, I think that's true. Dave discounts minor wrinkles like technology, goes for the rhetoric. I notice in my Chicago talk (link posted) that I employ a familiar trope or two e.g. kids beg me to not send them back to their traditionalist context (which is true), plus I employ standard divide and conquer strategies vs. the states, singling out the smart ones by litmus test (do they teach Euclid's Method for finding the GCD?).

I'm also very typically a salesman (vendor), trash talking calculators because of my HP flatscreens or whatever they are. I'm clearly competing for public dollars, just as you suspect (no shame in being a defense contractor, if it's really defense that you're peddling (vs. some mindless manifest destiny imperialism of the prehistoric knuckle dragging "American century" type (a political embarrassment, worthy of spoof))).

Plus I think schools are underfunded, as we need more video/audio editing equipment and electric ATVs, not just Mindstorms Lego and Cuisenaire bricks. More field trips to Antarctica also on the drawing boards, an opportunity not just for the rich and privileged. Overseas boarding schools also planned, public as in tax sponsored (i.e. you can apply from Peoria, for a year in Uruguay or whatever, with at least half the student body from the school's locale (international school model, but adapted to serve a broader domestic base, give more USAers pre-college overseas experience through a secular model i.e. not in the capacity of missionaries or NGO personnel)).