Latest posts from Math

Last month I wrote a post called ‘The Death of math’ which got a lot of attention as I described how I’d improve math teaching in this country by significantly reducing the number of topics taught and by making math optional after 8th grade.  A line that got quoted a lot when people tweeted about…

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I remember when I taught in Houston back in the early 1990s and felt it was a crime that my school did not offer any real computer programming course.  The best they had was something called ‘computer applications’ where students would spend the semester mastering things like Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.  I felt that…

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Dec 10 2013

Please Support Spencer Smith’s Recovery

This past summer I befriended a new TFA corps member named Spencer Smith.  For five months I followed his journey from his teacher training to his experiences in his Detroit classroom.  Sometimes I’d needle him about being in TFA, but he always took it in stride.  The other day I noticed that Spencer had not…

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Dec 03 2013

My first year, re-evaluated

A lot of what has motivated me throughout the past twenty-one years has been the desire to redeem myself for what I considered to be an unacceptable first year of teaching sixth grade math during the 1991-1992 school year at Deady Middle School in Houston. Nowadays, districts pay a $5,000 recruitment fee to TFA for…

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Nov 26 2013

My Daughter’s Kindergarten Common Core Math Workbook

The Common Core has hit home for me, literally.  I received from my daughter’s school a kindergarten common core workbook, and, as you might imagine, I have ‘issues’ with it. My daughter’s school, like most schools, is having a budget crisis.  So when I think that these workbooks each retail for about $30, I question…

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After two days of pursuit, I finally found him.  I had never visited anyone in jail before – had never known anyone in jail before.  Most of the people that waited on the visitor’s line with me appeared to be family.  Many were children.  The children didn’t seem to grasp where they were.  Maybe they…

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Nov 23 2013

Join me and Roxanna Elden on Tuesday for a live Spreecast!

A few times a year I host a live internet ‘talk show’ which is a lot of fun.  Most of the old shows were erased by a server crash, but the two I did over the summer episode 5 and episode 6 are still archived if you want to get a sense of what the…

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Nov 22 2013

7 Ways to Immediately Improve Classroom Culture

I wrote this blog post for TeacherPop and received some positive feedback, so I thought I would share it on my own page. Feel free to pass it around. You can access it here.    

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Nov 15 2013

My advice to TFA staffers: Quit For America

The organization of TFA is a bit like a pyramid scheme.  There are a bunch of VPs who are making a lot of money for a non-profit, certainly six figures.  Then there are the majority of staffers, people who work in recruitment, teacher ‘effectiveness’, even the alumni team, IT, etc., who make much less.  But…

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Nov 12 2013

My review of ‘Test and Punish’

If ‘Reign of Error’ were to meet ‘The DaVinci Code’ the result would John Kuhn’s ‘Test-and-Punish: How the Texas Education Model Gave America Accountability Without Equity’.   Kuhn is the superintendent of the Perrin-Whitt school district in Texas.  I first learned of him when I marveled at his show-stealing speech at the Save Our Schools rally…

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