The Producers

Or maybe we should have titled the post Springtime for Shitler. Whatever. The Productivity Commission has come out with its Final Report on the National School Reform Agreement. We made a submission, and we remarked upon the Interim Report, and so we feel obligated to write something now. But our heart isn’t in it. (And since there’s little else here, readers may as well enjoy the song.)

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Marshalling Resources

My family and I are just back from a week at the beach. Content from winning the Port Fairy boogie boarding championship,* I’ll soon get back to bashing the Australian curriculum and to other topics. First, a quick one, on some old books.

As is typical, the beach house where we stayed contained an odd assortment of games and DVDs and books. Oddest of the books was a selection from “The Marshall Cavendish Learning System”. These books are from the late 60s and rang the vaguest of bells, but I have no idea what the “learning system” was, if anything other than marketing, nor for whom the books were intended. The books, with no distinguishable authors, were published by the UK company Marshall Cavendish, which is now a Singaporean entity, or part of a Thai brewery, or something. God knows.

What is notable is that the books are good.

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Witch 91: Engaging With Reality

Following on from Adam Carey’s report on the decline of enrolments in Specialist Mathematics, Radio National held an interview-discussionHow to re-engage students in mathematics. The interview was with the president of the MAV and the Chief Engineer of Engineers Australia. We haven’t the energy to document or analyse their various diagnoses and caveats and solutions. Go for it. Continue reading “Witch 91: Engaging With Reality”

A Special Decline

Adam Carey has a report in The Age today, on Victoria’s declining enrolments in Specialist Mathematics. Which is quite the puzzle. After all, if an “advanced mathematics subject” is a prerequisite for tertiary studies, and if on top of that the subject is well constructed and offers serious and interesting mathematics, then student numbers should be very healthy. Oh, wait. Continue reading “A Special Decline”

Rishi Rich’s New Maths Problem

Of course, Rishi Sunak’s original maths problem was how to hide God knows how many millions of pounds from the UK tax authorities. Rishi’s new maths problem is convincing anyone that his idea for school kids to study “maths” until they’re eighteen isn’t monumentally stupid.

On the other hand, if anyone commenting on Sunak’s latest idiocy wrote anything remotely intelligent, we failed to see it. (But thank God for Michael Spicer.)

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What Should I Write About, What Should You Write About?

With a new year beginning, and with Do the Maths having struck a bit of a chord, it seems a good time to think about doing more than shooting stupid ACARA fish in ACARA’s stupid barrel. I’m open to suggestions for this blog, of what I might write about, and of what you might write about.

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New Cur 22: Stupor Model

When attacking ACARA’s draft mathematics curriculum, we noted the frequency with which certain words and phrases appeared. Below is the revised count for some of these, for the new curriculum. Not that ACARA is mandating how teachers should teach, or anything like that. It’s obviously the furthest thing from ACARA’s innocent little mind.

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New Cur 21: Depression of the Mean

It is no surprise that the Statistics strand of the new mathematics curriculum is thin. Still, it may be a surprise how thin it is.

The following, as near as we can tell, is the complete list of contents and elaborations that refer to “mean” or “median” or similar, and thus might (and still might not) require at least some mental or written computation. In other words, these are the only items we could find that seem to not simply be a matter of tabulating or “exploring” or “investigating” or “analysing”, the only items that consist of anything more than sitting around and chatting about stuff.

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