AMAIRIKUHN EDGYKAYSHUN: PEARSON, THE GED, AND THE REAL PROBLEMFebruary 10, 2016
It's been a while since I've ranted on the state of Amerikuhn edgykayshun, that beacon of mediocrity, edubabble, and pedagogiblither to the rest of the Western world. It's so bad now, that even British edubabble giant Pearson, has glommed on to the situation. Now, I have to warn you, though, before I link this article, that I don't think the story here is exactly what the article says it is. It's that, of course, but so much more. Many teachers shared this one with me, and most of them, including my friend Dr. Scott de Hart, were seeing the same thing. I read the article, and I think I see the same thing they do, but this is one of those "you tell me" situations:
Now, in case you missed it, since Pearson took over the GED, and "adjusted" it to the Common (Rotten) Core, there has been an astonishing though not surprising:
“The city Department of Education touts its $47 million-a-year adult-education program as the biggest in the state and second-biggest nationwide, but last school year it awarded just 299 high-school equivalency diplomas, The Post has learned.
Now, this is so blatant and simple, that even a Dummycrook or a Republithug running for president could understand it... no, I take that back, that's just wishful thinking. But for the rest of us, the implications are painfully obvious. As Ms. Ravitch notes in her comment on this development:
The New York Post blames the program’s leadership, but in light of the national data, the test itself might be flawed. Still, $47 million to produce 299 graduates. Wow.
Now, using my Common Core matrix method of proto-linear algreba to construct a rectangular matrix array, and employing the latest mathematical edublither to come out of the teacher certification pedagogibaloney schools, I "partnered" my forty-seven million dollars in the form of lines on my (very large) paper(in order to show how I had arrived at my answer) with two hundred and ninety-nine students, represented by dots (trust me folks, it took MOST of two days to draw the array to solve this arithmetic problem, but I was determined to do it by using the New Common Core Proto-Matrix-Linear Algebra Array Method...if you're wondering why there were no blogs for two days, I was busy drawing lines and dots to solve this problem. This isn't the way Descartes did it, but I guess we're not supposed to be too fussy.).Anyway, it worked out to one hundred sixty-three thousand, eight hundred and seventy-nine lines/dollars and sixty cents being partnered with every graduating dot/student(notice the gender neutrality of the lines and dots), accompanied by a headache, severe hand cramp, and several felled trees(I had to redraw my array several times, and hence, needed many trips to the store to buy boxes of paper, and lots of scotch tape to tape the sheets together to form a paper large enough to draw my array in order to show my teacher how I derived my answer). With luck, the IRS, Wall Street, and major banks will adopt this method, and we'll never have to worry again.
While I was involved in deriving this answer using the New and Improved Methods, a neighbor happened to knock at my door wanting to borrow a cube of butter. She is an elderly woman, and, seeing the wreckage of my living room, office, and kitchen(as I said, the paper and space needed to draw the array to solve this arithmetic problem using The New Methods was rather large), she asked me if I was getting ready to paint my apartment. I had to tell her no, that I was merely doing a long division problem, and tried to show her how it worked. (I think I lost her at the part about partnering the number 49,000,000 with the number 299. She blushed, and departed quickly.)
Of course, I could just as easily have plugged in my calculator, punched in a few numbers, and done it the old fashioned way, or simply written 49,000,000/299 and done it the really old fashioned way with a pencil and piece of paper. It would have taken a few more seconds, but it would have saved me a lot of money, paper, scotch tape, and time as opposed to the New and Improved Method.
Now, before you laugh all this off as exaggeration, recall my blog of a few weeks ago where this is exactly the sort of method - and goofy language - being promoted by this Common Core quackery in the teaching of arithmetic. And you'll recall, while I thought it was "nice" that some people thought of this whole array business as a cool way to introduce concepts early on that will pay off big time later one when it comes time to learn things like linear algebra or differential calculus, using it to solve multiplication problems and division problems is a bit cumbersome, (To say the least! and remember, this is just what math teachers have to put up with. Can you imagine history? literature? Physics? Chemistry?)
So what's the point of this humorous little excursion? Well, look at Ms. Ravitch's other statement in the quotation above:
The New York Post blames the program's leadership, but in light of the national data, the test itself might be flawed.... (Emphasis added)
It is important to understand what Ms. Ravitch is really saying here, and why it is so significant. Before Pearson and the application of the Common Core "methods and assessment process" the success rate was much higher in New York City's programs. There are two possible explanations for the sudden decline: either the standards were made much tougher, which is possible. But given the state of Amairikuhn edgykayshun, I rather doubt it. The other possibility is that the failure rate is really measuring not failure to learn a subject, but failure to conform to certain methods of learning it, and adhering to those methods during the assessment process.
It is in short, the same problem that has dogged the standardized test from the beginning.
Rant over... see you on the flip side...