"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Larry Faulkner, "Shepherd" of the National Math Panel

With one former President of U of Texas already heading up a Spellings Commission, the one to meddle in higher ed, a second former president of UT has been pegged to head up the National Math Panel. Unlike the first one, this one does have an advanced degree, though not in math. But, then, neither does Vice Chair Benbow, but that's an unimportant detail because Dr. Faulkner sees himself not as an expert in this endeavor, but, rather, as the shepherd guiding the sheeple on the Committee to a pre-ordained end that will set back the teaching of math by a hundred years, thus keeping in step fwith other neocon cultural initiatives to roll back the social calendar to the days of Plessy.

If he follows the lead of the other Commission Chair, Charles Miller, he might choose a club rather than a staff to coax his flock. It seems that Miller wants to squelch any alternatives to the marching orders he received when anointed, er, appointed. From Inside Higher Ed, May 12:

Weeks earlier, it turns out, Miller and Richard Stephens, a commission member and senior vice president at Boeing, had huddled in Houston and agreed that Stephens would lead a session at the Indianapolis meeting at which members of the panel would try to “start coalescing,” as Stephens put it, around key themes and goals. Stephens said he had approached Miller about staging such a session because “I had heard that frustration” about the commissioners’ lack of input and believed it was time to “start seeing where we land, and get real feelings on the table.”

When the panel met later that day, Stephens indeed led an exercise in which the commission’s members offered their views on pressing issues the panel should confront, and took an informal tally of the goals the group should focus on. The event seemed to serve its purpose: The commission members who had been most upset felt as if they had asserted their authority and been heard (though Miller says gruffly, “They thought they had prompted it, but guess what — they didn’t"), and the rough consensus that emerged seemed to reinforce the idea that the panel’s diverse members could come together around broad principles, at least, potentially pointing the way for the tough decisions to come.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:36 AM

    The National Math Panel is too late. Why should this administration be credited with identifying a problem that they helped create?

    I've been studying and reporting on the effects of math reform in Washington state for several years and its a disaster.

    There's no accountability. The UW ed dept has been very troubling - they refuse to examine the culture surrounding school and instead focus on the behavior of children. OSPI should have been investigated for their waste and abuse.

    Experts have been warning for years that the NSF-EHM funded research on 'exemplary' curriculum was poor, if not criminally negligent. This is a sadly corrupt political system and someday I hope these people get their just desserts, but I seriously doubt it.

    The issue all along has been about literacy. If our system of educating kids is giving them books that don't instruct them, then that's not saying a whole lot about this country. Our leaders sold us out.