Keith Devlin and His Struggle with Maths Non-Experts

Is it significant that Keith Devlin’s twitter handle has “prof” in it, and that the name of Devlin’s website has “prof” in it? Maybe not, but at the moment it feels significant. Greg “Non-Prof” Ashman could reasonably regard it as significant.

Last week we wrote a bit about Slow Jo Boaler, her threat to call the cops on a critic of her California Curriculum work, and Keith Devlin’s slippery and silly defense of Boaler and her work. Greg Ashman had also been commenting on this, including a snide but pretty innocuous response to a tweet of Devlin’s. This inspired Professor Smarts to block Ashman and to dismiss Ashman with a wave of his lordly professorial hand:

What a dick. Continue reading “Keith Devlin and His Struggle with Maths Non-Experts”

The Lofty View From The Age’s Schools Summit

Yesterday, The Age held their annual Schools Summit. Of course we wouldn’t shell out a shekel to attend, presuming that not a lot could be learned, but reports on the Summit are here, here, here and here. And, what was learned? Clearly, not a lot.

Our main interest was in the idiotic Maths Wars discussion and the talk by ACARA’s CEO, David de Carvalho, and they appeared to be pretty nothing. But there were a couple notable things in the nothingness.

Continue reading “The Lofty View From The Age’s Schools Summit”

Maths Pathway Advised on the Draft Mathematics Curriculum

And the Australian Mathematical Society did not. That’s where we.

At some point we hope to write in detail about Maths Pathway and why we loathe it. Briefly, in the very early days of MP we were contacted by one of MP’s founders and, because he came with a trusted recommendation, we gave MP a lot of and way too much consideration. It soon became clear that the MP guy was either uninterested in and/or incapable of comprehending our very strong criticisms; he was simply trying to sell us on their Revolutionary Product. We didn’t buy it. We don’t buy it. It is difficult to imagine how any kid could learn properly based upon MP and we have never met one who did. Continue reading “Maths Pathway Advised on the Draft Mathematics Curriculum”

Adam Carey Inquired, But What Did He Learn?

Well, at least he didn’t use the expression “maths experts“, but there’s not much else to recommend Adam Carey’s piece in today’s Age. Carey is The Age‘s Education Editor, and his report is titled,

Maths Curriculum’s most pressing conundrum: “inquiry-based learning”

Yep, it’s a conundrum. Like whether or not to stick your hand in a blender.

Continue reading “Adam Carey Inquired, But What Did He Learn?”

Minister Robert’s Letter to ACARA

This one fell off the back of a bus.

Embedded below is a letter from Stuart Robert, the Acting Minister for Education and Youth, to Derek Scott, the new Chair of the ACARA Board. The letter (which we have been assured is a public document) reinforces the resolutions of this month’s Education Ministers meeting, in regard to ACARA’s invisible redraft of their draft Australian curriculum. It seems that the letter was tabled by a representative from Minister Robert’s office during last week’s Senate Estimates. Continue reading “Minister Robert’s Letter to ACARA”

Education Reporters, and Their Struggle with “Maths Experts”

Dear Jordan and Lisa and, now, Donna, it’s really not that hard: a “maths expert” is an expert in maths.

Sure, there are line balls and judgement calls. Unfortunately, education reporters demonstrably have no sense of where the lines are, nor how to make the necessary judgements. Greg Ashman is not a maths expert. Eddie “Too Much” Woo is not a maths expert. Peter “The Not So Great” Sullivan is definitely not a maths expert. Yes, these people might – or might not – be smart. These people might – or might not – be reasonable people to quote on a maths ed issue. But they are not remotely maths experts. And, it matters.

Continue reading “Education Reporters, and Their Struggle with “Maths Experts””

ACARA, and the Compliant Foolishness of Education Reporters

Where’s Rebecca Urban when we need her?

Last Friday, Australia’s Education Ministers met to discuss and potentially to approve, the redraft of the Australian Curriculum. That’s nine months after the launching of the original draft curriculum, in April last year. Nine months of those busy little ACARA beavers secretly working to allay public contempt for the original draft, all without a single hint of further public inspection, much less public consultation. Not to worry, though. Jordan Baker, the Sydney Morning Herald’s intrepid Education Editor, had the reassuring scoop. Continue reading “ACARA, and the Compliant Foolishness of Education Reporters”

Which is the Best ATSI Elaboration?

Are we trying to stir up trouble? No and, of course, yes. And yes. If we were really stirring up trouble, we’d be asking for the worst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elaboration. But yes, as with our previous competitions,1 the intention is to damn an aspect of the draft mathematics curriculum by making evident the faintness of the possible praise. Moreover, given that there is essentially no tradition of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander mathematics, something has to be said about this aspect of the curriculum. We do so.2

Continue reading “Which is the Best ATSI Elaboration?”