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A Trial Run for School Standards That Encourage Deeper Thought
New York Times ^ | April 24, 2011 | FERNANDA SANTOS

Posted on 04/25/2011 8:01:22 AM PDT by reaganaut1

Until this year, Ena Baxter, an English teacher at Hillcrest High School in Queens, would often have her 10th graders compose papers by summarizing a single piece of reading material.

Last month, for a paper on the influence of media on teenagers, she had them read a survey on the effects of cellphones and computers on young people’s lives, a newspaper column on the role of social media in the Tunisian uprising and a 4,200-word magazine article titled “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”

A math teacher, José Rios, used to take a day or two on probabilities, drawing bell-shaped curves on the blackboard to illustrate the pattern known as normal distribution. This year, he stretched the lesson by a day and had students work in groups to try to draw the same type of graphic using the heights of the 15 boys in the class.

“Eventually, they figured out they couldn’t because the sample was too small,” Mr. Rios said. “They learned that the size of the sample matters, and I didn’t have to tell them.”

In three years, instruction in most of the country could look a lot like what is going on at Hillcrest, one of 100 schools in New York City experimenting with new curriculum standards known as the common core.

Forty-two states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands have signed on to the new standards, an ambitious set of goals that go beyond reading lists and math formulas to try to raise the bar not only on what students in every grade are expected to learn, but also on how teachers are expected to teach.

The standards, to go into effect in 2014, will replace a hodgepodge of state guidelines that have become the Achilles’ heel of the No Child Left Behind law.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: New York
KEYWORDS: commoncore; education; publicschools
Schools cannot develop higher-level skills when the lower-level ones are absent. Before students can write a paper using many sources, they should be able to "summarize a single piece of reading material". Can they?

More broadly, trying to prepare everyone for college will fail because of the Bell Curve in intelligence. It would not work if U.S. were 100% white, and it will fail even more badly as the school population becomes more Hispanic.

1 posted on 04/25/2011 8:01:25 AM PDT by reaganaut1
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To: reaganaut1
Teaching deeper thought?

That's called Calculus.

2 posted on 04/25/2011 8:26:06 AM PDT by BenLurkin (This post is not a statement of fact. It is merely a personal opinion -- or humor -- or both)
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To: reaganaut1

Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey

If they ever come up with a swashbuckling School, I think one of the courses should be laughing, then jumping off something.

When you’re riding in a time machine way far into the future, don’t stick your elbow out the window, or it’ll turn into a fossil.

It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man.

At first I thought, if I were Superman, a perfect secret identity would be “Clark Kent, Dentist,” because you could save money on tooth X-rays. But then I thought, if a patient said, “How’s my back tooth?” and you just looked at it with your X-ray vision and said, “Oh it’s okay,” then the patient would probably say, “Aren’t you going to take an X-ray, stupid?” and you’d say, “Aw **** you, get outta here,” and then he probably wouldn’t even pay his bill.

One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. “Oh, no,” I said. “Disneyland burned down.” He cried and cried, but I think that deep down, he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting prettylate.

A good way to threaten somebody is to light a stick of dynamite. Then you call the guy and hold the burning fuse up to the phone. “Hear that?” you say. “That’s dynamite, baby.”

Why do people in ship mutinies always ask for “better treatment”? I’d ask for a pinball machine, because with all that rocking back and forth you’d probably be able to get a lot of free games.

I’d like to be buried Indian-style, where they put you up on a high rack, above the ground. That way, you could get hit by meteorites and not even feel it.

If I lived back in the wild west days, instead of carrying a six-gun in my holster, I’d carry a soldering iron. That way, if some smart-aleck cowboy said something like “Hey, look. He’s carrying a soldering iron!” and started laughing, and everybody else started laughing, I could just say, “That’s right, it’s a soldering iron. The soldering iron of justice.” Then everybody would get real quiet and ashamed, because they had made fun of the soldering iron of justice, and I could probably hit them up for a free drink.

I bet when the neanderthal kids would make a snowman, someone would always end up saying, “Don’t forget the thick, heavy brows.” Then they would all get embarrassed because they remembered they had the big hunky brows too, and they’d get mad and eat the snowman.

Fear can sometimes be a useful emotion. For instance, let’s say you’re an astronaught on the moon and you fear that your partner has been turned into Dracula. The next time he goes out for the moon pieces, wham!, you just slam the door behind him and blast off. He might call you on the radio and say he’s not Dracula, but you just say, “Think again, bat man.”

Too bad you can’t buy a voodoo globe so that you could make the earth spin real fast and freak everybody out.

The people in the village were real poor, so none of the children had any toys. But this one little boy had gotten an old enema bag and filled it with rocks, and he would go around and whap the other children across the face with it. Man, I think my heart almost broke. Later the boy came up and offered to give me the toy. This was too much! I reached out my hand, but then he ran away. I chased him down and took the enema bag. He cried a little, but that’s the way of these people.

I wish I had a Kryptonite cross, because then you could keep both Dracula AND Superman away.

I don’t think I’m alone when I say I’d like to see more and more planets fall under the ruthless domination of our solar system.

Dad always thought laughter was the best medicine, which I guess is why several of us died of tuberculosis.

Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: “Mankind”. Basically, it’s made up of two separate words - “mank” and “ind”. What do these words mean ? It’s a mystery, and that’s why so is mankind.

I hope if dogs ever take over the world, and they chose a king, they don’t just go by size, because I bet there are some Chihuahuas with some good ideas.

I guess we were all guilty, in a way. We all shot him, we all skinned him, and we all got a complimentary bumper sticker that said, “I helped skin Bob.”

I bet the main reason the police keep people away from a plane crash is they don’t want anybody walking in and lying down in the crash stuff, then, when somebody comes up, act like they just woke up and go, “What was THAT?!”

The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.

Ambition is like a frog sitting on a Venus Flytrap. The flytrap can bite and bite, but it won’t bother the frog because it only has little tiny plant teeth. But some other stuff could happen and it could be like ambition.

I’d rather be rich than stupid.

If you were a poor Indian with no weapons, and a bunch of conquistadors came up to you and asked where the gold was, I don’t think it would be a good idea to say, “I swallowed it. So sue me.”

If you define cowardice as running away at the first sign of danger, screaming and tripping and begging for mercy, then yes, Mr. Brave man, I guess I’m a coward.

I bet one legend that keeps recurring throughout history, in every culture, is the story of Popeye.

When you go in for a job interview, I think a good thing to ask is if they ever press charges.

To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there’s no music, no choreography, and the dancers hit each other.

What is it that makes a complete stranger dive into an icy river to save a solid gold baby? Maybe we’ll never know.

We tend to scoff at the beliefs of the ancients. But we can’t scoff at them personally, to their faces, and this is what annoys me.

Probably the earliest flyswatters were nothing more than some sort of striking surface attached to the end of a long stick.

I think someone should have had the decency to tell me the luncheon was free. To make someone run out with potato salad in his hand, pretending he’s throwing up, is not what I call hospitality.

To me, clowns aren’t funny. In fact, they’re kind of scary. I’ve wondered where this started and I think it goes back to the time I went to the circus, and a clown killed my dad.

As I bit into the nectarine, it had a crisp juiciness about it that was very pleasurable - until I realized it wasn’t a nectarine at all, but A HUMAN HEAD!!

Most people don’t realize that large pieces of coral, which have been painted brown and attached to the skull by common wood screws, can make a child look like a deer.

If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason.

Better not take a dog on the space shuttle, because if he sticks his head out when you’re coming home his face might burn up.

You know what would make a good story? Something about a clown who make people happy, but inside he’s real sad. Also, he has severe diarrhea.

Sometimes when I feel like killing someone, I do a little trick to calm myself down. I’ll go over to the persons house and ring the doorbell. When the person comes to the door, I’m gone, but you know what I’ve left on the porch? A jack-o-lantern with a knife stuck in the side of it’s head with a note that says “You.” After that I usually feel a lot better, and no harm done.

If you’re a horse, and someone gets on you, and falls off, and then gets right back on you, I think you should buck him off right away.

If you ever teach a yodeling class, probably the hardest thing is to keep the students from just trying to yodel right off. You see, we build to that.

If you ever fall off the Sears Tower, just go real limp, because maybe you’ll look like a dummy and people will try to catch you because, hey, free dummy.

I’d like to see a nude opera, because when they hit those high notes, I bet you can really see it in those genitals.

Anytime I see something screech across a room and latch onto someones neck, and the guy screams and tries to get it off, I have to laugh, because what is that thing.

He was a cowboy, mister, and he loved the land. He loved it so much he made a woman out of dirt and married her. But when he kissed her, she disintegrated. Later, at the funeral, when the preacher said, “Dust to dust,” some people laughed, and the cowboy shot them. At his hanging, he told the others, “I’ll be waiting for you in heaven—with a gun.”

The memories of my family outings are still a source of strength to me. I remember we’d all pile into the car - I forget what kind it was - and drive and drive. I’m not sure where we’d go, but I think there were some trees there. The smell of something was strong in the air as we played whatever sport we played. I remember a bigger, older guy we called “Dad.” We’d eat some stuff, or not, and then I think we went home. I guess some things never leave you.

If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is “God is crying.” And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is “Probably because of something you did.”

Contrary to what most people say, the most dangerous animal in the world is not the lion or the tiger or even the elephant. It’s a shark riding on an elephant’s back, just trampling and eating everything they see.

As we were driving, we saw a sign that said “Watch for Rocks.” Marta said it should read “Watch for Pretty Rocks.” I told her she should write in her suggestion to the highway department, but she started saying it was a joke - just to get out of writing a simple letter! And I thought I was lazy!

If you saw two guys named Hambone and Flippy, which one would you think liked dolphins the most? I’d say Flippy, wouldn’t you? You’d be wrong, though. It’s Hambone.

Laurie got offended that I used the word “puke.” But to me, that’s what her dinner tasted like.

We used to laugh at Grandpa when he’d head off and go fishing. But we wouldn’t be laughing that evening when he’d come back with some whore he picked up in town.

I wish a robot would get elected president. That way, when he came to town, we could all take a shot at him and not feel too bad.

As the evening sky faded from a salmon color to a sort of flint gray, I thought back to the salmon I caught that morning, and how gray he was, and how I named him Flint.

If you’re a young Mafia gangster out on your first date, I bet it’s real embarrassing if someone tries to kill you.

Whenever I see an old lady slip and fall on a wet sidewalk, my first instinct is to laugh. But then I think, what is I was an ant, and she fell on me. Then it wouldn’t seem quite so funny.

If you go parachuting, and your parachute doesn’t open, and you friends are all watching you fall, I think a funny gag would be to pretend you were swimming.

When I was a kid my favorite relative was Uncle Caveman. After school we’d all go play in his cave, and every once in a while he would eat one of us. It wasn’t until later that I found out that Uncle Caveman was a bear.

Children need encouragement. If a kid gets an answer right, tell him it was a lucky guess. That way he develops a good, lucky feeling.

The crows seemed to be calling his name, thought Caw.

When you die, if you get a choice between going to regular heaven or pie heaven, choose pie heaven. It might be a trick, but if it’s not, mmmmmmm, boy.

Whether they find a life there or not, I think Jupiter should be called an enemy planet.

Instead of trying to build newer and bigger weapons of destruction, we should be thinking about getting more use out of the ones we already have.

I think a good gift for the President would be a chocolate revolver. and since he is so busy, you’d probably have to run up to him real quick and give it to him.

Just because swans mate for life, I don’t think its that big a deal. First of all, if you’re a swan, you’re probably not going to find a swan that looks much better than the one you’ve got, so why not mate for life?

Many people could really use used ice picks.

If you ever reach total enlightenment while drinking beer, I bet you could shoot beer out of you nose.

I believe in making the world safe for our children, but not our children’s children, because I don’t think children should be having sex.

Even though I was their captive, the Indians allowed me quite a bit of freedom. I could walk freely, make my own meals, and even hurl large rocks at their heads. It was only later that I discovered that they were not Indians at all but only dirty-clothes hampers.

I wish outer space guys would conquer the Earth and make people their pets, because I’d like to have one of those little beds with my name on it.

It’s true that every time you hear a bell, an angel gets its wings. But what they don’t tell you is that every time you hear a mouse trap snap, and Angel gets set on fire.

If you’re in a war, instead of throwing a hand grenade at the enemy, throw one of those small pumpkins. Maybe it’ll make everyone think how stupid war is, and while they are thinking, you can throw a real grenade at them.

I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it.

The next time I have meat and mashed potatoes, I think I’ll put a very large blob of potatoes on my plate with just a little piece of meat. And if someone asks me why I didn’t get more meat, I’ll just say, “Oh, you mean this?” and pull out a big piece of meat from inside the blob of potatoes, where I’ve hidden it. Good magic trick, huh?

Life, to me, is like a quiet forest pool, one that needs a direct hit from a big rock half-buried in the ground. You pull and you pull, but you can’t get the rock out of the ground. So you give it a good kick, but you lose your balance and go skidding down the hill toward the pool. Then out comes a big Hawaiian man who was screwing his wife beside the pool because they thought it was real pretty. He tells you to get out of there, but you start faking it, like you’re talking Hawaiian, and then he gets mad and chases you...

Sometimes, when I drive across the desert in the middle of the night, with no other cars around, I start imagining: What if there were no civilization out there? No cities, no factories, no people? And then I think: No people or factories? Then who made this car? And this highway? And I get so confused I have to stick my head out the window into the driving rain-—unless there’s lightning, because I could get struck on the head by a bolt.

The whole town laughed at my great-grandfather, just because he worked hard and saved his money. True, working at the hardware store didn’t pay much, but he felt it was better than what everybody else did, which was go up to the volcano and collect the gold nuggets it shot out every day. It turned out he was right. After forty years, the volcano petered out. Everybody left town, and the hardware store went broke. Finally he decided to collect gold nuggets too, but there weren’t many left by then. Plus, he broke his leg and the doctor’s bills were real high.

Too bad when I was a kid there wasn’t a guy in our class that everybody called the “Cricket Boy”, because I would have liked to stand up in class and tell everybody, “You can make fun of the Cricket Boy if you want to, but to me he’s just like everybody else.” Then everybody would leave the Cricket Boy alone, and I’d invite him over to spend the night at my house, but after about five minutes of that loud chirping I’d have to kick him out. Maybe later we could get up a petition to get the Cricket Family run out of town. Bye, Cricket Boy.

I think a good product would be “Baby Duck Hat”. It’s a fake baby duck, which you strap on top of your head. Then you go swimming underwater until you find a mommy duck and her babies, and you join them. Then, all of a sudden, you stand up out of the water and roar like Godzilla. Man, those ducks really take off! Also, Baby Duck Hat is good for parties.

I wish I lived back in the old west days, because I’d save up my money for about twenty years so I could buy a solid-gold pick. Then I’d go out West and start digging for gold. When someone came up and asked what I was doing, I’d say, “Looking for gold, ya durn fool.” He’d say, “Your pick is gold,” and I’d say, “Well, that was easy.” Good joke, huh.

A funny thing to do is, if you’re out hiking and your friend gets bitten by a poisonous snake, tell him you’re going to go for help, then go about ten feet and pretend that *you* got bit by a snake. Then start an argument with him about who’s going to go get help. A lot of guys will start crying. That’s why it makes you feel good when you tell them it was just a joke.

I guess I kinda lost control, because in the middle of the play I ran up and lit the evil puppet villain on fire. No, I didn’t. Just kidding. I just said that to help illustrate one of the human emotions, which is freaking out. Another emotion is greed, as when you kill someone for money, or something like that. Another emotion is generosity, as when you pay someone double what he paid for his stupid puppet.

Many people think that history is a dull subject. Dull? Is it “dull” that Jesse James once got bitten on the forehead by an ant, and at first it didn’t seem like anything, but then the bite got worse and worse, so he went to a doctor in town, and the secretary told him to wait, so he sat down and waited, and waited, and waited, and waited, and then finally he got to see the doctor, and the doctor put some salve on it? You call that dull?

I scrambled to the top of the precipice where Nick was waiting. “That was fun,” I said. “You bet it was,” said Nick. “Let’s climb higher.” “No,” I said. “I think we should be heading back now.” “We have time,” Nick insisted. I said we didn’t, and Nick said we did. We argued back and forth like that for about 20 minutes, then finally decided to head back. I didn’t say it was an interesting story.

If you’re a Thanksgiving dinner, but you don’t like the stuffing or the cranberry sauce or anything else, just pretend like you’re eating it, but instead, put it all in your lap and form it into a big mushy ball. Then, later, when you’re out back having cigars with the boys, let out a big fake cough and throw the ball to the ground. Then say, “Boy, these are good cigars!”

I remember that one fateful day when Coach took me aside. I knew what was coming. “You don’t have to tell me,” I said. “I’m off the team, aren’t I?” “Well,” said Coach, “you never were really ON the team. You made that uniform you’re wearing out of rags and towels, and your helmet is a toy space helmet. You show up at practice and then either steal the ball and make us chase you to get it back, or you try to tackle people at inappropriate times.” It was all true what he was saying. And yet, I thought something is brewing inside the head of this Coach. He sees something in me, some kind of raw talent that he can mold. But that’s when I felt the handcuffs go on.

If I ever opened a trampoline store, I don’t think I’d call it Trampo-Land, because you might think it was a store for tramps, which is not the inpression we are trying to convey with our store. On the other hand, we would not prohibit tramps from browsing, or testing the trampolines, unless a tramp’s gyrations seemed to be getting out of control.

I can still recall old Mister Barnslow getting out every morning and nailing a fresh load of tadpoles to the old board of his. Then he’d spin it round and round, like a wheel of fortune, and no matter where it stopped he’d yell out, “Tadpoles! Tadpoles is a winner!” We all thought he was crazy. But then we had some growing up to do.

Once when I was in Hawaii, on the island of Kauai, I met a mysterious old stranger. He said he was about to die and wanted to tell someone about the treasure. I said, “Okay, as long as it’s not a long story. Some of us have a plane to catch, you know.” He stared telling hes story, about the treasure and his life and all, and I thought: “This story isn’t too long.” But then, he kept going, and I started thinking, “Uh-oh, this story is getting long.” But then the story was over, and I said to myself: “You know, that story wasn’t too long after all.” I forget what the story was about, but there was a good movie on the plane. It was a little long, though.

I bet a fun thing would be to go way back in time to where there was going to be an eclipse and tell the cave men, “If I have come to destroy you, may the sun be blotted out from the sky.” Just then the eclipse would start, and they’d probably try to kill you or something, but then you could explain about the rotation of the moon and all, and everyone would get a good laugh.

I wouldn’t be surprised if someday some fishermen caught a big shark and cut it open, and there inside was a whole person. Then they cut the person open, and in him is a little baby shark. And in the baby shark there isn’t a person, because it would be too small. But there’s a little doll or something, like a Johnny Combat little toy guy... something like that.

3 posted on 04/25/2011 8:29:47 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: dfwgator

“Deep Thoughts By Jack Handey” who obviously needs deep psychiatric help and perhaps a few thousand ml of thorazine.

4 posted on 04/25/2011 8:37:26 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Some, believing they can't be deceived, it's nigh impossible to convince them when they're deceived.)
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To: reaganaut1
This year, he stretched the lesson by a day and had students work in groups to try to draw the same type of graphic using the heights of the 15 boys in the class.

“Eventually, they figured out they couldn’t because the sample was too small,” Mr. Rios said. “They learned that the size of the sample matters, and I didn’t have to tell them.”

Wow, he managed to do in one whole class period something that used to take all of two minutes. He's certainly gotten his class deeper there- an object lesson in statistics and opportunity cost. That's two for the price of one....

5 posted on 04/25/2011 8:49:08 AM PDT by Eepsy
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To: Eepsy
I think I see where this is going. The math requirements are modeled, in part, by the Japanese and Indonesian way of teaching math. They do go deeper into a concept, mining it as far as they can. A lot of the lessons I've seen deal with one or two problems. The problems are presented, the kids solve them, and the rest of the time is spent discussing why or why not different solutions work. Homework is often five problems, tops. Compare that to the 35 or so number-crunching problems that are presented in the US texts, with four deeper word problems at the end, and that's if you're lucky.

Which way of teaching will make it stick more in the kid's head? Which one will lend itself better to expansion of concepts? Not the way we do it now, that's for sure!

There are also fewer "standards" to cover, which means the ones that are there will be covered deeper and better. Also, the kids are tested after 25%, 50%, 75%, and 90% of the school year. This means a better picture of how the kids are learning than having one biga$$ test at the end of the year.

Just my two cents. (Or $40,000, if we're using Obama money...

6 posted on 04/25/2011 9:51:56 AM PDT by Othniel (There is no god named Allah, and Mohammed is its false prophet.)
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To: Othniel

I’d love it if that’s what schools were doing- taking a math concept and teaching it to mastery, then moving on to the next concept and teach that to mastery, and so on and so forth.

This is not what is happening here. What the american education system means by “depth” is the spiral approach. The underlying assumption is that it is fundamentally impossible to get all kids in a class to knuckle down and learn fractions/algebra/statistics/etc. one subject at a time. The preferred method is to spread the teaching over a number of grade levels in small, MTV-like chunks, switching on a prescribed timetable regardless of mastery. If the student doesn’t “get it” the first time around, says this philosophy, they’ll get it the second or third time. Meanwhile, time is freed up for the teacher to provide many entertaining interludes such as described above, to hold classroom attention with minimal effort.

The educational establishment can then brag about how deeply they cover Mathematics- “Look at our students! For three years they’ve had Geometry! Statistics! Algebra! And they’re only in 7th grade!” And the parents think to themselves what a wonderful school system they have, and vote for the next tax levy.

The state of education today disgusts me....

7 posted on 04/25/2011 10:26:18 AM PDT by Eepsy
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