Postings 2/11/99

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Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 15:22:32
Subject: [education-consumers] Solving problems the hard way
To: "ClearingHouse" 
From: "Don Crawford, Ph.D  Western Washington University" 

Reply-To: "Don Crawford, Ph.D  Western Washington University" 
Precedence: bulk


At 7:47 AM -0500 2/11/99, Ken Gough wrote:
>Anyone of average abilities who had studied algebra for a few months can
>solve this problem in seconds with little more effort than a second
>needs to say "2 plus 2 equals 4".  Yet it took my son, who tests
>gifted, 5 minutes of concentrated effort to find the answer.  This is
>better?  In what universe?  Furthermore, he knows no more than he did
>before.  Algebra, the right way to solve this problem, is still a mystery
>to him.  The next time he sees such a problem, it will take him another 5
>minutes to play his guessing games.

     Ken is absolutely right on in his assessment.  Yet constructivists have

convinced an entire generation of teachers that the "guessing games" have
more inherent value than learning what they dismiss disdainfully as merely
"algorithmic problem-solving."  The algebra solution that Ken refers to is
an example of an algorithmic solution - you use it like a cookbook recipe,
plug in the numbers and solve it, without any "original" thinking.  The
contructivist's idea is that with a lot of these
guessing-game-type-problems children will develop some kind of generic
problem-solving skills so that they can figure out wierd problems as
quickly as Ken's son.  However,a s E.D. Hirsch has pointed out, there is no

such teachable skill, and no amount of these kinds of activities improves
ones ability to solve the next unique problem.
     My own real-life contribution to this discussion is that (in more than

university) teachers-in-training now take one or two courses almost
entirely devoted to practicing non-algorithmic problem-solving (or guessing

game) activities.  That is usually all they get anymore in the way of math
instruction (just like they don't often get much instruction in how to
teach phonics).
     Interestingly the professors almost always have the education students
solve one of these guessing-game-type-problems each week and write up a
description of their solution.  Students tell me that is the most difficult

part of these courses and I have listened to them obtaining the way to
solve certain problems from the education students who completed the course

in a previous quarter!  There is an underground oral tradition being passed

along to help these students solve these wierd problems.  And when asked
they readily admit that at the end of two quarters it is no easier to solve

the problem-of-the-week than it was at the beginning.  Now I don't remember

much of my algebra class but I do remember that I got better as I learned
and I could easily do problems at the end of the course that baffled me in
the beginning.  I was especially proud of my ability to solve quadratic
equations.  In contrast these students are learning nothing appreciable!!!

And that is their preparation to go out an do the same with the children.
       Now that constructivists have controlled the standards assessments in

places like Washington they can make certain that nearly all the problems
on the test appear as the much beloved "non-algorithmic" problems.  Why are

they creating statewide tests composed of these complex, hard-to-figure-out

problems?  The answer can be heard in their response to the poor scores all

the children get: "It will take ten years of reforming the math curriculum"

before we can expect scores to improve.  The constructivists want ten years

to replace all the dull, rote, simplistic, algorithmic math instruction
with non-stop problem-solving activities that involve these unique,
non-algorithmic, complex problems.
     Of course it seems logical that doing more of what is on the test will
improve math scores, because no one admits that we can't teach generic
"problem-solving skills."  And so more and more teachers are throwing away
the text and the scope and sequence and spending the bulk of math time on
these kinds of problems, encouraging a variety of approaches, ignoring the
accuracy of the final answer and spending precious math time trying to
teach children how to write explanations of their thinking processes that
will score on a test.   Unfortunately it is not at all clear that average
students who learn a lot of basic arithmetic algorithims (4th graders who
could divide would be a major improvement in math skills for example) will
do better on such tests than children who can't do much of anything.  So
there is little chance that improved math skills will show up on such tests

(unlike reading which is a more unified skill).  If we continue to allow
these type math tests to stand  then we can look forward to ten years of
contructivist dominance and declining math skills.


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Re: [education-consumers] Solving problems the hard way

Who knew before i got the sample test and looked at
sumanskis homework that they were throwing 9th grade algebra
at 4th and 5th graders?  We have to tell the wold about this
problem solving scam. Nearly every "difficult"
question onthe wasl sample exam is a straightforward
application of a common algorithm --- out of a 8th or1
9th or college level textbook. Of course the CSL
math expert says they dont expect kids to use ratio,
or proportionality or algebra. As if "figuring it out"
from sratch is any more developmentally appropriate.

Imagine a new generation where we wxpect everyone to
use gilligans island science and math, we just construct
everything from scratch instead of being taught how
5000 yrs of mathematicians have researchrd and put into books

I keep on telling everybody, problem solving is simply
expecting kids to be able to solve anything without being
taught anything. Just like whole language and Harold
Hills Think system. Insteads of teachers tranferring knowledge,
students make up knowledge naturally. right.

Arthur Hu "Fairness in Diversity" Kirkland WA

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Subject: IEEE Anti-Asian Legislative Agenda
Message-ID: <>
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From: Yang Cai 
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 15:18:34 EST

The majority of H-1B visa holders are Asian immigrants who are college
graduates of universities in America. IEEE advocates the elimination of
the H-1B visa program for Asians because they believe immigrants are
displacing native born Americans from employment. What IEEE doesn't
mention is the fact that skilled Asian immigrants actually improve the
standard of living for all Americans by developing new technologies which
improves national productivity. Moreover, there is no evidence of massive
unemployment for native born American engineers or programmers. In fact,
most economists would consider the 2% national unemployment rate for
engineers as full employment.

Since the majority of Asian Americans are naturalized immigrants,
elimination of the H-1B visa program would result in the de facto ethnic
cleansing of Asians from universities and corporations across America.
Asian college graduates could face  mass deportations from this country.
As in every government program, there are always some cases of abuse, but
the vast majority of Asian immigrants pay their taxes and productively
contribute to American society.  America has always represented the
principles of equal opportunity for all regardless of ethnic identity or
nationality. Yet, the IEEE legislative effort represents a stealth attack
against the Asian American community.

When I attempted to relay the Asian community's concerns to Mr Vincent
O'Neill of the IEEE, I was rudely told to "get lost" with the telephone
slammed. The IEEE lobbying office in Washington DC has the listed number
(202) 785-0017 and Mr O'Neill's extension is 319. Please pass this
message across the Asian community. The Asian American community should
no longer tolerate efforts to scapegoat any ethnic group for economic or
political issues.

David Chiang
Asian American Political Coalition (AAPC)
Phone: 732-532-6126

---- From IEEE's Website ----

IEEE Anti-Asian Legislative Agenda
 worked extensively in 1997 to oppose passage of an increase in the H-1B
visa caps. Our position is that there is currently no credible evidence
of widespread shortages of high-tech workers, that many H-1B temporary
workers have limited bargaining power and are being exploited in terms
of salary and opportunities for advancement, that permanent immigration
status is a better way to tap the "best and brightest" foreign technical
professionals, and that any increase in the H-1B visa caps should be
conditioned on credible safeguards that require all employers to
effectively utilize the U.S. high-tech work force before resorting to
immigration of temporary workers.
Next Steps for IEEE-USA
IEEE-USA will continue its efforts in the 106th Congress to seek the
repeal of the H-1B visa quota increases, to discourage exploitation of
foreign high-tech workers at substandard wages, and to encourage full
utilization of the U.S. engineering resource. Our legislative strategy
is two fold. First, we will continue to urge our members to communicate
their concerns to their representatives in Congress. Second, we will
collect data on, and inform Congress and the White House of, the impacts
of this legislation on U.S. engineers.

--------- End forwarded message ----------

They create jobs and pay taxes that pay for welfare and training
programs. How does keeping these people out of the country
help anybody?

Date sent:           Fri, 19 Feb 1999 17:54:21 -0500
From:                Earl Smith 
Organization:        Wake Forest University
Subject:             Re: [fair-diversity] Give Us Your Nerds, Your Techies,

> What about the native born, minorities, who suffer and are at home!
> What about all the cutbacks to help the underserved in this USA who are
> citizens.
> This type of story gets to me.  Of course immigrants are welcome here,
> but we need to ask at what expense?
> Earl Smith

  Anybody notice that race quotas have bit the dust at Boston Latin and Lowe

ll in San

Did anybody notice that Chinese for Affirmative Action, originally lead by H

enry Der, has
consistently BACKED quotas against Chinese? At least the Jews have never gon

e on
record as supporting quotas on their own. (Or have they?)

The crazy thing is that the quotas did not even protect African Americans wi

th a floor. It
only resulted in favoring WHITES over better qualified Asians. It's also a l

augh that the
quota preserved "diversity" since if you include all the othe API population

, something like
70% of the school was Asian anyways.

Is there anyone out there who can justify a 40% quota on Chinese Americans i

n any
school? This was the only school in the nation that openly admitted that it
favored whites
over Asians. Is anyone disappointed by this outcome?

Henry Der is a race traitor. Just because Asians have the most choices becau

se they have
the best grades and test scores is no reason they have to suffer racial quot

as which both
Henry Der and you evidently support.

I, Arthur Hu, am also mentioned in Tagkagi's book. However, NO ONE has repri

the whole story, of which I am still the only person on the planet objective

 enough to have
figured out.

UC Berkeley and UCLA
started out with a quota protecting WHITES. When blacks increased, Asians su

ffered by
exactly the same amount, and the result was clear admissions preferences
for whites against Asians. They then dropped the quotas, so that after that
year, whites
and Asians were basically admitted equally (except for the Filipinos who sta

rted out with
the highest most favorable admission rates and ended up in the end with the
worst most
discriminatory rates) They then realized that they got more points for reduc

ing whites and
increasing "diversity", and thus UCLA and Berkeley were transformed into pre

minority campuses, their idea of "diversity" in a state where half of high s

chool graduates
are still white.

I am continually amazed with how Asians have been sucked into the great libe

ral political
machine without realizing how they are screwing their own ethnic interests.
It's even worse
than white liberals. At least they don't support quotas on their own like th

e ones at Lowell.

mst wrote:

  NoSpam wrote in message <7aj107$>...
  >isn't the admission/scholarship requirements for Asian males substantiall

  >higher than that for any other groups? That seems rather discriminatory.

  NO.  Read Dana Takagi's excellent book, Retreat from Race, on the subject
  Asian university admissions before you make such assumptions.

  >I'll bet if he was black or latino he'd have no problems getting admitted


  You'd lose that bet.  Check the SF Chronicle (not to mention the Daily
  Californian) from March to June of 1997...the numbers of blacks and Latino

  dropped considerably.  Again, get the facts straight before you post such
  blatantly racist propaganda.

  >The various high schools around SF had such policies too at the behest of

  the Jews
  >and blacks until the victorious lawsuit by fed-up Chinese parents.

  I assume you mean the ACLU consent decree.  Once more, let me refer you to

  an actual source that refutes your points...Henry Der's article, "Clash
  Between Race-Conscious Remedies and Merit" in Asian American Policy Review

  Vol. IV, 1994.  It uses a wide range of empirical statistics to show that
  anything, Chinese American students in SFUSD are able to access MORE
  academic choices than any other ethnic group.

  >It's not my
  >fault some blacks and latinos can't measure up.

  It IS your fault that you are an ignorant racist who posts false
  information, however.

  >Trying to force lesser students into a rigorous academic institution
  >for which they're unprepared/unqualified as a social policy has and will

  Take a look at the LA Times, Wed. 9/22/98 article on page B7: "Merit and t

  Relevance of Race in College Admissions" by William G. Bowen and Derek Bok

  Once again, you're least according to published sources, not on

  of which has a thing to gain by refuting your untenable position.

  >As for the context of this thread, didn't it start with a black
  >columnist lamenting the failure of blacks in academics, particularly
  >to the Chinese due to ineffective touchy-feely policies or something?

  It started with another asshole named Arthur Hu twisting the words of a
  black columnist to incite a flamewar...why don't the two of you go to a ch

  room somewhere and stroke each other's hateful, ignorant egos?

  "Well, since you got here by not thinking, it seems reasonable
  to expect that, in order to get out, you must start thinking."
       Tock the Watchdog

\clip\99\06\edclip09.txt February 18, 1999, in the Herald-Leader
Study says test scores slow to match funding By Linda B. Blackford
HERALD-LEADER EDUCATION WRITER Kentucky's 1990 education reforms have
almost completely equalized funding between school districts, but the
state is making slower progress in student achievement...\ the
increase in performance, we haven't gotten there yet, Although scores
have risen steadily on Kentucky's statewide test, scores on the NAEP
have remained mostly stable.