Boaler Gets Called for Chucking

A few days ago, Stanford University received an anonymous complaint against Jo Boaler, the Nomellini-Olivier Professor of Education at Stanford. The complaint, which was first reported in the Washington Free Beacon, consists of a 100 page document, a compilation of Boaler’s alleged transgressions. The story was then picked up by Stephanie Lee at the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The inspiration for the complaint, and a good deal of its substance, appears to be Brian Conrad‘s critique of citations in the California Mathematic Framework (and see also this), in which Boaler and her work played a significant role. The “Executive Summary” of the complaint summarises it,

This complaint alleges that Dr. Jo Boaler has engaged in reckless disregard for accuracy through citation misrepresentation, asks that Stanford investigate, and if the allegations are confirmed, take appropriate disciplinary action.

What to make of it all? To be honest, I don’t much care.

Continue reading “Boaler Gets Called for Chucking”

A Secondary School From the 1970s

Obviously, “school behaviour” is being very much discussed these days, and I recently posted on the absurdity of the idea that a “behaviour curriculum” might be a meaningful way to address this. Pondering while writing the post, and then pondering the many very interesting comments in response, I’ve thought some about my own school education in the 60 and 70s, and the culture of my schools at the time. My primary school education, at the local Macleod State School, was in the main pretty traditional, which was both bad and, mostly, good. There were no straps although in the early years there were still “rulers” and some other needlessly authoritarian impulses, but mostly it was sensible and meaningful, disciplined in the good sense, and human; I have written a little about Macleod State, here and here and here. My secondary education, however, was different in important ways. By the 70s, the cultural revolution of the time, which I touched upon in this post, had begun to significantly affect schools. So here, for whatever it is worth, is some of my ponderings of that time of change (all with the caveat that these are fifty year old memories). It is simply reminiscing. There may be a moral in there but, if there is, I’m not sure what it is. Continue reading “A Secondary School From the 1970s”

The Obtuseness of a “Behaviour Curriculum”

I’m way, way late to this one and classroom behaviour is not my department. Anyone willing to announce to their class “I used to be an axe murderer and if you don’t learn how to solve linear equations then I’m going to kill you” should probably not be pronouncing too loudly on this stuff. But the behaviour thing got up my nose recently, and what’s a blog for if not to get things out of your nose? Continue reading “The Obtuseness of a “Behaviour Curriculum””

Welcome, You New Guys

Over the last few days there has been a number of new subscribers to this blog: the influx has raised the total to seventeen. I guess you new guys are somehow a byproduct of the ABC story on VCAA’s maths exams, but I’m not sure exactly how. Presumably someone wrote a social media thing saying “Marty isn’t an asshole, you should subscribe”, or “Marty is an asshole, you should subscribe”, or something. Anyway, welcome, and if you care to indicate how you got here, I’m curious. Continue reading “Welcome, You New Guys”

Maths Anxiety Is Still Not a Thing

I’m late to this. Things have been busy, and not good. Still, the work goes on and this has to be done.

Last week, The Centre For Independent Studies came out with yet another “Analysis Paper”: Facing Up to Maths Anxiety. The paper is by “eminent professor David C Geary” and was launched with the standard fanfare, including a Canberra Times op ed by Geary and a companion ABC article by CIS’s Lead Education Pontificator, Glenn Fahey. Continue reading “Maths Anxiety Is Still Not a Thing”

Tom’s Posts Are (Lagrange) Multiplying

Tom has a new post on his Teaching Mathematics blog: Lagrange Multipliers – A Historical Approach? Tom riffs off of a (not uncommon) poor 1960’s undergraduate lecture he had, on the method of Lagrange multipliers. Please support Tom’s blog and check it out.

Continue reading “Tom’s Posts Are (Lagrange) Multiplying”

Tom’s Latest Post: Introducing Negative Numbers

Tom has a new post on his Teaching Mathematics blog: Introducing Negative Numbers. Amongst other things, Tom suggests that Europeans eventually accepted this mathematical magic because of the genius and/or stubbornness of accountants. Please support Tom’s blog and check it out.

Continue reading “Tom’s Latest Post: Introducing Negative Numbers”

Goin’ Back to Dallas, Texas

This post is about Dallas, which, it must be noted, is one of the most sterile, soulless cities in existence. As such, it is obligatory to begin with the excellent Dallas, Texas performed by the very excellent Austin Lounge Lizards:

On with the post.

We had thought of writing further on California’s recent foot shooting, of screwing up mathematics for everyone in the name of equity. And then came the story of Cambridge, Massachusetts schools killing off early algebra for everyone in the name of equity. But it is all so painfully stupid, and familiar, nothing much needs to be said; yelling “Harrison Bergeron” pretty much covers it. While reading about all this stupidity, however, we came upon a report suggesting that Dallas was doing it right, or at least a hell of a lot righter. Continue reading “Goin’ Back to Dallas, Texas”