They’re teaching math all wrong. And parents know it. That’s why the adults in the waiting room outside the local Kumon center spill out into the hallway. Every parent in town has a tutor of some sort to reteach their kids math, because the schools aren’t doing it. In 2nd grade, my autistic kid looked at the multiplication table once and just knew them — pattern recognition is his special skill. But an idiot math teacher gave him bad grades, because he couldn’t explain in words why 3 X 3 = 9. He has autism and is bad at words!!

The pandemic set back student learning. Newark kept the data under wraps — Nearly 80% of third graders and almost 90% of fourth graders would “not meet the passing score” on the state math exams.

We got stuck in a massive “revenge travel” traffic jam coming back from the beach last night. 1 hour 40 minutes getting to the beach in the morning. 5 hours coming back.

The GPS sent us through the ports of industrial Jersey — Elizabeth and Linden– down empty streets with towers of shipping containers. Actually damn scary. The whole area is one toxic dump. Note to self — go back with a camera and take pictures of all that.

Picture: My book business was very neglected in June. I’m going to spend the rest of the afternoon back in the shop. This 1932 edition of Pinocchio is selling for $80-190 right now.

How to count to 9,999 on your fingers! This 11/12th-century copy of the Venerable Bede's "On Time-Reckoning" illus… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…— Seb Falk (@Seb_Falk) June 01, 2020

On the subject of teaching math all wrong:

Here’s a manuscript drawing of how monks taught math in the middle ages in monastery schools. It was a system for computing decimal sums on your fingers (or your “digits”–where the word “digital” is derived from.)

You are supposed to be able to show numbers from 0 to 9,999 on you two hands and they claim that using your four fingers as place values for thousands, hundreds, ens and ones–it makes adding and subtracting large numbers easy.

I can’t even get my pinky or ring finger to separately bend down like in the drawing, so the teacher would have flunked me on the first day of this old-math class. Also I have no clue what is going on. And doing this while combining arabic numbers with roman numerals is another level that eludes me.

All this to say: the more things change, the more they stay the same.

I am also confused, though I have good finger flexibility. Are they using Roman numerals? I think so. In which case I might be confused because Roman numerals make me ill. And, then, this counting is really a sign language for Roman numerals, loosely linked to fingers and counting.

Laura wrote, “But an idiot math teacher gave him bad grades, because he couldn’t explain in words why 3 X 3 = 9. He has autism and is bad at words!!”

Oh, man.

Our family has found our private school’s Singapore Math (and eventually the American version of Singapore) curriculum mostly painless. I did/do Kumon math workbooks at home with the kids up to about 6th grade, with the kids getting paid about a quarter per page. After 6th grade, it’s my husband’s problem.

“Newark kept the data under wraps — Nearly 80% of third graders and almost 90% of fourth graders would “not meet the passing score” on the state math exams.”

Ooooh!

“This 1932 edition of Pinocchio is selling for $80-190 right now.”

It means nothing to be able to write or say 3X3=9 unless you can also know (nothing about saying or using words), if we want three apples each we need to buy nine apples. I was recently talking to a teacher about teaching 2nd graders to add, who was telling me me how difficult it was, to teach some children to add and understand what adding the numbers meant.

(Mind you, knowing is not the same as saying, so I’m certainly not commenting on the teacher).

“talked to two families over the weekend that had teenage sons (no IEP or 502) that completely flamed out with remote education this year. Failed all classes. Stopped showing up. So, what’s the district’s response? 3 hours of remote summer school for 4 weeks.”

Oh, man.

This reminds me of the restaurants where, if they horribly botch your food, they offer you a free meal…at their restaurant.

My hs English teacher friend just finished up one of those 3 hour/day, 4 week (or so) summer school sessions, in person for students who were failing out. I think 20+ were supposed to come, about 10 did. She said it was great to be in person and worked them pretty hard – lots and lots of writing, on actual physical pieces of paper (sometimes summarizing TED talk videos), and they got lots of feedback. She felt pretty good about it – was great to teach 100% in person, no dealing with tech or multiple formats, to a small group. She could see definite improvement, as you would expect with that class size.

Our university is eliminating the no-credit “remedial” math course, but we’re still going to have a math requirement. I was in on this debate about 5 years ago and it sounded like a nightmare. I don’t know how they resolved the problem that about 40% of our incoming students do not have the skills to take a college-level math course of any kind (we’re talking the level of algebra that I took in 8th grade). And these, obviously, are the ones who graduate and go on to college. Depending on what the Newark schools are like, I wouldn’t be surprised if those numbers are only a bit worse than in an ordinary year.

Ah, east coast vacation traffic. I’ll have to remember this when I head out to NH/VT later this month. Glad you got to the beach, though!

Sorry, that was me, af. Here’s the data from the article:

The district estimated that only 22% of third graders would be able to meet grade-level expectations on the state math test, compared with 35% who met expectations in 2019. Among fourth graders, just 11% were projected to meet math expectations, compared with 32% who did so in 2019.

So it did go down quite a bit, but it was already really, really bad.

I’ve been hearing the reports on the remedial math courses and how they set students back, but really don’t understand how simply getting rid of them is the solution. Maybe there are fields where you don’t need the math to do the subsequent classes? So, they can just permanently not know the math?

bj said, “I’ve been hearing the reports on the remedial math courses and how they set students back, but really don’t understand how simply getting rid of them is the solution. Maybe there are fields where you don’t need the math to do the subsequent classes? So, they can just permanently not know the math?”

You also hear the story that some students can just go on to the next math course and do OK. I’m not sure I believe that, but I’ve seen it in articles before.

(That article mentions that you can get pretty good results by still giving a placement test, but by having laxer cut-offs for requiring remedial classes.)

I suspect that remedial college classes are going to be a really important policy question for the next several years, given 2020-2021 problems.

“so they can just permanently not know the math?” I’m pretty sure this will be the eventual conclusion. I am not a math person, and only know from multiple committee meetings that this is very contentious, but at least one perspective is that the following will happen:

1) applicants will not have to take standardized tests, because (apparently) GPA is a much better marker of college success (and, also, more people apply if you drop the test) – so there won’t be a consistent way of assessing iapplicants’ math skills;
2) incoming admitted students will not have to pay for a remedial class no matter how low their placement tests are (required, no-credit classes are very unpopular and people believe they decrease our admitted-to-enrolled numbers);
3) the 40% of students who currently place into the remedial course will place into our lowest-level for-credit course, say Math 100 (a pre- or early-algebra level course, what counts as middle-school level math in better school districts);
4) x % of these students will fail Math 100, y% will pass;
5) there will be a lot of pressure to ensure that x goes down and y goes up, because failing a class your first semester makes it more likely you will drop (and putting it off is worse – we require students to take math their first year because otherwise it becomes the thing that they have to take senior year and then they keep failing it and don’t graduate) (I had one student take it like four or five times, and happily was able to get out of it with a “math dyslexia” type diagnosis);
6) the requirements for Math 100 will drop to about 5th grade level math;
7) Colleges will eventually decide that if the math requirement is so low it really doesn’t make sense to require math courses. Students really hate math and most fields don’t require it. Universities without math requirements will become more popular, thus triggering more and more to drop it altogether.

My public directional U did 1) a couple years ago; 2) last year; and we’ll see how things go with 3) this fall. I predict we’ll hit 7) in the next ten years.

Anonymous said, “6) the requirements for Math 100 will drop to about 5th grade level math.”

Wow, that was dark!

I’m betting that a number of the vocational fields taught at the community college level do need their math.

bj said, “So part of the argument is that they are gate keeping that isn’t tied to performance in subsequent classes?”

Yeah.

It’s kind of a murky and controversial area, but really important to figure out right now, due to COVID.

I believe there was something about this in the Paul Tough college book.

Bonus thought: My guess is that remediation of older kids and young adults is mostly going to fail, because a big part of what they lost was motivation and a peer group that they wanted to keep up with. I actually wouldn’t be against paying dropouts for a year to finish high school or get their GEDs or setting up workplace GED programs, so workers could get paid to get their GED. (I used to teach in a workplace ESL program where the refugee workers got paid for their ESL class time.)

Somewhat related story: My college student was supposed to take Calculus 3 this spring. The professor and course were terrible in a variety of variety of ways, so we gave our student our blessing to drop the course, with the idea that she’d take it in the summer. Well, the summer is now and her course (100% online asynchronous) begins tomorrow. My husband had the good idea of finding a Calculus 2 final exam and having her work through it to get ready for the Calculus 3 course. Our student was kind of struggling with it, even though she got an A in Calculus 2 last fall, and she needed some help from her dad, but I think the wheels eventually started to turn. I have my fingers crossed that she’ll be able to succeed in the Calculus 3 course, but it was interesting to see that even just a 7 month gap (Dec.-July) created some problems, both with regard to being rusty and losing confidence. (My husband has a math PhD and is free to help her, so we have an unusually good situation.)

COVID remediation is going to be a heck of a problem.

AmyP As a former physics major I remember how easy it is to get rusty at calculus after a break. (I did not finish the major so I never got beyond calculus and linear algebra). Interestingly it came in handy 20 years later when I got an MBA.

When I was considering going into healthcare I took a bunch of community college classes and saw so many students struggling because their basic algebra skills were lacking. A lot of students wanted to become nurses but couldn’t get through chemistry because working the chemical equations requires the skills you get in algebra.

I do remember reading somewhere that children often learn math operations first and acquire the deeper learning later but I don’t remember where I read that.

Marianne said, “AmyP As a former physics major I remember how easy it is to get rusty at calculus after a break. (I did not finish the major so I never got beyond calculus and linear algebra). Interestingly it came in handy 20 years later when I got an MBA.”

Yay!

“When I was considering going into healthcare I took a bunch of community college classes and saw so many students struggling because their basic algebra skills were lacking. A lot of students wanted to become nurses but couldn’t get through chemistry because working the chemical equations requires the skills you get in algebra.”

Ay yay yay!

I think people often underestimate the amount of academic or academic-adjacent knowledge necessary for what we think of as “vocational” tracks, which leads them to underestimate how much education people in various non-professional trades need. (This thought crossed my mind many times when reading Bryan Caplan’s Case Against Education book.)

“Write a newsletter post about the fact that group homes for disable people are gone, but they are super trendy for 20-somethings. ”

Totally want to hear the newsletter on the topic.

The New Yorker article is fun. I entirely enjoyed my dorm living experience in college and wouldn’t have minded a more communal experience in grad school. The description of “Treehouse” sounds like an expensive college style apartments (like you described at Rutgers, and that we see here as well). $1700/month minimum for a private bed/bath in a shared suite (3-5 bedrooms) And community spaces.

The Axelrod article, about Misericordia describes something like a dorm home (600 people on a 36 acre campus, in a variety of living arrangements: https://www.misericordia.com/our-story/). It doesn’t look like Misercordia is in any danger of being shut down, though some of their features are affected by changes in the disability laws (including the reason for Axelrod’s piece: advocacy for pay for workers at Misercordia compared to other settings). Dividing their annual cost (70 million by the number of people served, we get about $117,000 per person, with 55% from government sources).

But, I will say one reason why people would think of them differently is the 20-somethings can leave. And, taxpayers are funding a substantial piece of the bill, which then brings us back to how we mae individualized decisions while funding from the public purse.

I agree mostly with the author of the EdWeek link that ignoring “[the role of] memorization, the difference between understanding and procedure, and the issue with trying to teach problem solving solely by teaching generic skills.” (ugh, the parallel structure in that sentence is terrible, making it hard for me to just quote the 3 points). But, I think memorization of multiplication tables definitely helps with more math because you’re not slowed down while doing the other more conceptual thinking. And, I think there are some problems that I have only learned to solve procedurally (train problems come to mind, and that’s OK, rarely do I have to do train problems or to calculate when the hands of a clock will overlap). I also think learning how to do specific problems rather than the one grand problem that includes everything is good.

But, I don’t think learning something only to forget it and not be able to use it in any meaningful way after a test is useful at all. A local Head of school called that “sit, get, spit, forget”. What have you learned then?

When seeking “deep learning” means ignoring the building blocks that lead to it and relying on the fact that deep learning is hard to assess to pretend that teaching and learning has occurred, it’s terrible. And I think that happens. But when I was studying learning, transfer (can you apply the learning to something that has not been explicitly taught) was everything. Sometimes maybe you just need to know explicitly that there are 16 tablespoons in a cup and never know that also means that there are 4 tablespoons in a quarter cup (maybe you are doing a job where you put 16 tablespoons into a cup), but that’s very limited learning.

What about the Ronan Farrow piece on Britney Spears? I don’t follow celebrity culture much, so I knew about the Free Britney movement only vaguely, but the article was quite devastating and I find myself infuriated. I’d read a previous horrifying article about people who use conservatorships to rip off old people (also in the New Yorker) but I could never have imagined an abusive father being allowed to use one to control his adult daughter.

I don’t know what these high profile cases involving lots of money tell us about conservatorships for regular people where family members don’t have the kind of financial interest that is the issue in these cases. But I do think there’s something wrong with the conservatorship courts in CA. I’d like to see more oversight when so much money is involved and with non relative conservatorship (I think some of the elder abuse involves non family)

The Spears case is horrifying. I hope this terrible situation will be changed, that Britney will be freed.

I find the talk about her “estate worth $60 million” sickening. It is a forced servitude for Britney, as she is forced to perform. Those in control–and their employees–have total control over Britney.

I wonder if the “missing” $290 million is to be found in the vast entourage of people who maintain the guardianship? I’d say Britney could live very well just from royalties for the rest of her life. Why should she pay to keep the “Britney Spears Corporation” going, when she can’t even paint her kitchen cabinets ? When she is not allowed to have a phone or a credit card, and has a budget of $2,000 a week?

She didn’t finish high school, it seems–but the man most responsible for that would be her father, who has been granted total control of her life for the last 13 years. I can’t think of any woman of that age who’d want to take that bargain.

It stinks. Look, everyone around her is open to the charge of manipulating her. That’s show business. But I notice that control of her fertility seems to be very important to the cabal–while making her perform sexually suggestive songs in lingerie.

For a starlet nearing 40, it’s a very rational decision to stop performing. She has enough money. Perhaps someone who cared about her would have allowed her to stop performing long enough to get a GED.

The only reason I can hope that the conservatorship would be overturned, is that different people involved are resigning. Her manager. Bessamer Trust, the co-conservator. As a financial company specializing in this area, I’m sure they care about their reputation.

I saw something pretty shocking in my local paper: apparently 100 or so YMCAs have closed nationally during the pandemic. Our community is about to lose one of our two YMCAs.

The title of this piece is, “The CDC Owes Parents Better Messaging on the Vaccine for Kids
The agency’s strange math and blunt statements are missing key nuances—and may be underplaying myocarditis cases in teenage boys in particular.”

Many European countries are proceeding with a lot more caution than we are on COVID vaccination of kids. Also, as the author of this piece notes, there are a lot more options available than a) give all kids and young adults 12-and-up two full current doses or b) don’t vaccinate any of them at all.

Needless to say, this raises a lot of questions about colleges and schools that have been making double vaccination mandatory for attendance for kids and young adults in the high risk categories.

On the subject of teaching math all wrong:

Here’s a manuscript drawing of how monks taught math in the middle ages in monastery schools. It was a system for computing decimal sums on your fingers (or your “digits”–where the word “digital” is derived from.)

You are supposed to be able to show numbers from 0 to 9,999 on you two hands and they claim that using your four fingers as place values for thousands, hundreds, ens and ones–it makes adding and subtracting large numbers easy.

I can’t even get my pinky or ring finger to separately bend down like in the drawing, so the teacher would have flunked me on the first day of this old-math class. Also I have no clue what is going on. And doing this while combining arabic numbers with roman numerals is another level that eludes me.

All this to say: the more things change, the more they stay the same.

LikeLike

I am also confused, though I have good finger flexibility. Are they using Roman numerals? I think so. In which case I might be confused because Roman numerals make me ill. And, then, this counting is really a sign language for Roman numerals, loosely linked to fingers and counting.

LikeLike

Laura wrote, “But an idiot math teacher gave him bad grades, because he couldn’t explain in words why 3 X 3 = 9. He has autism and is bad at words!!”

Oh, man.

Our family has found our private school’s Singapore Math (and eventually the American version of Singapore) curriculum mostly painless. I did/do Kumon math workbooks at home with the kids up to about 6th grade, with the kids getting paid about a quarter per page. After 6th grade, it’s my husband’s problem.

“Newark kept the data under wraps — Nearly 80% of third graders and almost 90% of fourth graders would “not meet the passing score” on the state math exams.”

Ooooh!

“This 1932 edition of Pinocchio is selling for $80-190 right now.”

Pretty!

LikeLike

It means nothing to be able to write or say 3X3=9 unless you can also know (nothing about saying or using words), if we want three apples each we need to buy nine apples. I was recently talking to a teacher about teaching 2nd graders to add, who was telling me me how difficult it was, to teach some children to add and understand what adding the numbers meant.

(Mind you, knowing is not the same as saying, so I’m certainly not commenting on the teacher).

LikeLike

Laura tweeted:

“talked to two families over the weekend that had teenage sons (no IEP or 502) that completely flamed out with remote education this year. Failed all classes. Stopped showing up. So, what’s the district’s response? 3 hours of remote summer school for 4 weeks.”

Oh, man.

This reminds me of the restaurants where, if they horribly botch your food, they offer you a free meal…at their restaurant.

LikeLike

My hs English teacher friend just finished up one of those 3 hour/day, 4 week (or so) summer school sessions, in person for students who were failing out. I think 20+ were supposed to come, about 10 did. She said it was great to be in person and worked them pretty hard – lots and lots of writing, on actual physical pieces of paper (sometimes summarizing TED talk videos), and they got lots of feedback. She felt pretty good about it – was great to teach 100% in person, no dealing with tech or multiple formats, to a small group. She could see definite improvement, as you would expect with that class size.

Our university is eliminating the no-credit “remedial” math course, but we’re still going to have a math requirement. I was in on this debate about 5 years ago and it sounded like a nightmare. I don’t know how they resolved the problem that about 40% of our incoming students do not have the skills to take a college-level math course of any kind (we’re talking the level of algebra that I took in 8th grade). And these, obviously, are the ones who graduate and go on to college. Depending on what the Newark schools are like, I wouldn’t be surprised if those numbers are only a bit worse than in an ordinary year.

Ah, east coast vacation traffic. I’ll have to remember this when I head out to NH/VT later this month. Glad you got to the beach, though!

LikeLike

Sorry, that was me, af. Here’s the data from the article:

The district estimated that only 22% of third graders would be able to meet grade-level expectations on the state math test, compared with 35% who met expectations in 2019. Among fourth graders, just 11% were projected to meet math expectations, compared with 32% who did so in 2019.

So it did go down quite a bit, but it was already really, really bad.

LikeLike

I’ve been hearing the reports on the remedial math courses and how they set students back, but really don’t understand how simply getting rid of them is the solution. Maybe there are fields where you don’t need the math to do the subsequent classes? So, they can just permanently not know the math?

LikeLike

bj said, “I’ve been hearing the reports on the remedial math courses and how they set students back, but really don’t understand how simply getting rid of them is the solution. Maybe there are fields where you don’t need the math to do the subsequent classes? So, they can just permanently not know the math?”

You also hear the story that some students can just go on to the next math course and do OK. I’m not sure I believe that, but I’ve seen it in articles before.

https://hechingerreport.org/states-testing-unproven-ways-to-eliminate-remedial-ed-on-their-students/

(That article mentions that you can get pretty good results by still giving a placement test, but by having laxer cut-offs for requiring remedial classes.)

I suspect that remedial college classes are going to be a really important policy question for the next several years, given 2020-2021 problems.

LikeLike

So part of the argument is that they are gate keeping that isn’t tied to performance in subsequent classes?

LikeLike

“so they can just permanently not know the math?” I’m pretty sure this will be the eventual conclusion. I am not a math person, and only know from multiple committee meetings that this is very contentious, but at least one perspective is that the following will happen:

1) applicants will not have to take standardized tests, because (apparently) GPA is a much better marker of college success (and, also, more people apply if you drop the test) – so there won’t be a consistent way of assessing iapplicants’ math skills;

2) incoming admitted students will not have to pay for a remedial class no matter how low their placement tests are (required, no-credit classes are very unpopular and people believe they decrease our admitted-to-enrolled numbers);

3) the 40% of students who currently place into the remedial course will place into our lowest-level for-credit course, say Math 100 (a pre- or early-algebra level course, what counts as middle-school level math in better school districts);

4) x % of these students will fail Math 100, y% will pass;

5) there will be a lot of pressure to ensure that x goes down and y goes up, because failing a class your first semester makes it more likely you will drop (and putting it off is worse – we require students to take math their first year because otherwise it becomes the thing that they have to take senior year and then they keep failing it and don’t graduate) (I had one student take it like four or five times, and happily was able to get out of it with a “math dyslexia” type diagnosis);

6) the requirements for Math 100 will drop to about 5th grade level math;

7) Colleges will eventually decide that if the math requirement is so low it really doesn’t make sense to require math courses. Students really hate math and most fields don’t require it. Universities without math requirements will become more popular, thus triggering more and more to drop it altogether.

My public directional U did 1) a couple years ago; 2) last year; and we’ll see how things go with 3) this fall. I predict we’ll hit 7) in the next ten years.

LikeLike

Anonymous said, “6) the requirements for Math 100 will drop to about 5th grade level math.”

Wow, that was dark!

I’m betting that a number of the vocational fields taught at the community college level do need their math.

bj said, “So part of the argument is that they are gate keeping that isn’t tied to performance in subsequent classes?”

Yeah.

It’s kind of a murky and controversial area, but really important to figure out right now, due to COVID.

I believe there was something about this in the Paul Tough college book.

Bonus thought: My guess is that remediation of older kids and young adults is mostly going to fail, because a big part of what they lost was motivation and a peer group that they wanted to keep up with. I actually wouldn’t be against paying dropouts for a year to finish high school or get their GEDs or setting up workplace GED programs, so workers could get paid to get their GED. (I used to teach in a workplace ESL program where the refugee workers got paid for their ESL class time.)

Somewhat related story: My college student was supposed to take Calculus 3 this spring. The professor and course were terrible in a variety of variety of ways, so we gave our student our blessing to drop the course, with the idea that she’d take it in the summer. Well, the summer is now and her course (100% online asynchronous) begins tomorrow. My husband had the good idea of finding a Calculus 2 final exam and having her work through it to get ready for the Calculus 3 course. Our student was kind of struggling with it, even though she got an A in Calculus 2 last fall, and she needed some help from her dad, but I think the wheels eventually started to turn. I have my fingers crossed that she’ll be able to succeed in the Calculus 3 course, but it was interesting to see that even just a 7 month gap (Dec.-July) created some problems, both with regard to being rusty and losing confidence. (My husband has a math PhD and is free to help her, so we have an unusually good situation.)

COVID remediation is going to be a heck of a problem.

LikeLike

AmyP As a former physics major I remember how easy it is to get rusty at calculus after a break. (I did not finish the major so I never got beyond calculus and linear algebra). Interestingly it came in handy 20 years later when I got an MBA.

When I was considering going into healthcare I took a bunch of community college classes and saw so many students struggling because their basic algebra skills were lacking. A lot of students wanted to become nurses but couldn’t get through chemistry because working the chemical equations requires the skills you get in algebra.

I do remember reading somewhere that children often learn math operations first and acquire the deeper learning later but I don’t remember where I read that.

LikeLike

Marianne said, “AmyP As a former physics major I remember how easy it is to get rusty at calculus after a break. (I did not finish the major so I never got beyond calculus and linear algebra). Interestingly it came in handy 20 years later when I got an MBA.”

Yay!

“When I was considering going into healthcare I took a bunch of community college classes and saw so many students struggling because their basic algebra skills were lacking. A lot of students wanted to become nurses but couldn’t get through chemistry because working the chemical equations requires the skills you get in algebra.”

Ay yay yay!

I think people often underestimate the amount of academic or academic-adjacent knowledge necessary for what we think of as “vocational” tracks, which leads them to underestimate how much education people in various non-professional trades need. (This thought crossed my mind many times when reading Bryan Caplan’s Case Against Education book.)

LikeLike

“Write a newsletter post about the fact that group homes for disable people are gone, but they are super trendy for 20-somethings. ”

Totally want to hear the newsletter on the topic.

The New Yorker article is fun. I entirely enjoyed my dorm living experience in college and wouldn’t have minded a more communal experience in grad school. The description of “Treehouse” sounds like an expensive college style apartments (like you described at Rutgers, and that we see here as well). $1700/month minimum for a private bed/bath in a shared suite (3-5 bedrooms) And community spaces.

The Axelrod article, about Misericordia describes something like a dorm home (600 people on a 36 acre campus, in a variety of living arrangements: https://www.misericordia.com/our-story/). It doesn’t look like Misercordia is in any danger of being shut down, though some of their features are affected by changes in the disability laws (including the reason for Axelrod’s piece: advocacy for pay for workers at Misercordia compared to other settings). Dividing their annual cost (70 million by the number of people served, we get about $117,000 per person, with 55% from government sources).

But, I will say one reason why people would think of them differently is the 20-somethings can leave. And, taxpayers are funding a substantial piece of the bill, which then brings us back to how we mae individualized decisions while funding from the public purse.

LikeLike

I agree mostly with the author of the EdWeek link that ignoring “[the role of] memorization, the difference between understanding and procedure, and the issue with trying to teach problem solving solely by teaching generic skills.” (ugh, the parallel structure in that sentence is terrible, making it hard for me to just quote the 3 points). But, I think memorization of multiplication tables definitely helps with more math because you’re not slowed down while doing the other more conceptual thinking. And, I think there are some problems that I have only learned to solve procedurally (train problems come to mind, and that’s OK, rarely do I have to do train problems or to calculate when the hands of a clock will overlap). I also think learning how to do specific problems rather than the one grand problem that includes everything is good.

But, I don’t think learning something only to forget it and not be able to use it in any meaningful way after a test is useful at all. A local Head of school called that “sit, get, spit, forget”. What have you learned then?

When seeking “deep learning” means ignoring the building blocks that lead to it and relying on the fact that deep learning is hard to assess to pretend that teaching and learning has occurred, it’s terrible. And I think that happens. But when I was studying learning, transfer (can you apply the learning to something that has not been explicitly taught) was everything. Sometimes maybe you just need to know explicitly that there are 16 tablespoons in a cup and never know that also means that there are 4 tablespoons in a quarter cup (maybe you are doing a job where you put 16 tablespoons into a cup), but that’s very limited learning.

LikeLike

What about the Ronan Farrow piece on Britney Spears? I don’t follow celebrity culture much, so I knew about the Free Britney movement only vaguely, but the article was quite devastating and I find myself infuriated. I’d read a previous horrifying article about people who use conservatorships to rip off old people (also in the New Yorker) but I could never have imagined an abusive father being allowed to use one to control his adult daughter.

(The old New Yorker article is a gripping read: here’s the link, if anyone’s interested: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/09/how-the-elderly-lose-their-rights)

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I was also horrified by the Spears article. It did, however, seem to rely heavily on others around her who also have incentives to manipulate her for personal gain. I also read an article about Brad Lund, a Disney heir: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/grandson-of-walt-disney-brad-lund-asks-ninth-circuit-for-his-day-in-court-stating-that-sitting-judge-made-false-assertion-of-disability-depriving-lund-of-his-civil-and-anti-discrimination-rights-301164258.html

I don’t know what these high profile cases involving lots of money tell us about conservatorships for regular people where family members don’t have the kind of financial interest that is the issue in these cases. But I do think there’s something wrong with the conservatorship courts in CA. I’d like to see more oversight when so much money is involved and with non relative conservatorship (I think some of the elder abuse involves non family)

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I haven’t finished the article yet. Want to wait on a comment until I’m done.

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The Spears case is horrifying. I hope this terrible situation will be changed, that Britney will be freed.

I find the talk about her “estate worth $60 million” sickening. It is a forced servitude for Britney, as she is forced to perform. Those in control–and their employees–have total control over Britney.

This is interesting: https://moneynation.com/britney-spears-net-worth-the-350-million-blowout/

I wonder if the “missing” $290 million is to be found in the vast entourage of people who maintain the guardianship? I’d say Britney could live very well just from royalties for the rest of her life. Why should she pay to keep the “Britney Spears Corporation” going, when she can’t even paint her kitchen cabinets ? When she is not allowed to have a phone or a credit card, and has a budget of $2,000 a week?

When her father is getting a cut of her tours: https://www.forbes.com/sites/maddieberg/2021/06/24/how-much-did-britney-spearss-dad-earn-controlling-her-life/?sh=78f30b847a6b

She didn’t finish high school, it seems–but the man most responsible for that would be her father, who has been granted total control of her life for the last 13 years. I can’t think of any woman of that age who’d want to take that bargain.

It stinks. Look, everyone around her is open to the charge of manipulating her. That’s show business. But I notice that control of her fertility seems to be very important to the cabal–while making her perform sexually suggestive songs in lingerie.

For a starlet nearing 40, it’s a very rational decision to stop performing. She has enough money. Perhaps someone who cared about her would have allowed her to stop performing long enough to get a GED.

The only reason I can hope that the conservatorship would be overturned, is that different people involved are resigning. Her manager. Bessamer Trust, the co-conservator. As a financial company specializing in this area, I’m sure they care about their reputation.

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I saw something pretty shocking in my local paper: apparently 100 or so YMCAs have closed nationally during the pandemic. Our community is about to lose one of our two YMCAs.

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https://www.wired.com/story/the-cdc-owes-parents-better-messaging-on-the-vaccine-for-kids/

The title of this piece is, “The CDC Owes Parents Better Messaging on the Vaccine for Kids

The agency’s strange math and blunt statements are missing key nuances—and may be underplaying myocarditis cases in teenage boys in particular.”

Many European countries are proceeding with a lot more caution than we are on COVID vaccination of kids. Also, as the author of this piece notes, there are a lot more options available than a) give all kids and young adults 12-and-up two full current doses or b) don’t vaccinate any of them at all.

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Needless to say, this raises a lot of questions about colleges and schools that have been making double vaccination mandatory for attendance for kids and young adults in the high risk categories.

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