Portraits of Wildflowers

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Archive for March 12th, 2023

First spiderworts for 2023

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I didn’t have to go farther than our side yard on March 2nd
for this picture of spiderwort flowers (Tradescantia sp.)


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Some have called mathematics the universal language. Others have called it the language of the universe. Still others, unfortunately, are working to turn mathematics into the language of wokeness. A controversy has arisen in Pennsylvania, where some members of the school board in the Littlestown Area School District are urging the adoption of an elementary school math curriculum that integrates “social and emotional learning” (SEL). Like “equity” and “cultural competence,” “social and emotional learning” is another of the numerous euphemisms behind which wokeness has been masquerading.

In the Pennsylvania school district, activists want to adopt McGraw Hill’s “Reveal Math” program. I looked at the program’s overview and confirmed that it does indeed push wokeness at the expense of mathematics. My involvement in the American school system as a teacher beginning in the 1970s quickly taught me this truth: for educationists, to speak is to speak in jargon. They just can’t help themselves. Here are a few examples from the “Reveal Math” overview.

The program “Tailors classroom activities to student need through insightful assessment and purposeful, multi-modal differentiation.” Adjectives abound in educationese. Notice “insightful,” “purposeful,” and “multi-modal” all in one sentence. The next time Target has purposeful, multi-modal differentiation on sale, you should get yourself a bunch.

The “Reveal Math” program provides “access to rigorous instruction with embedded teacher supports and scaffolds.” And you thought scaffolds were restricted to the building trades. Note also the alliterative chaining together of “supports and scaffolds.” What words the gods of education have joined together, let no mere mortal split asunder.

The program will see to it that “all students can take ownership of their personal learning journey.” If you’ve ever encountered any kindergartners who’ve taken ownership of more than a doll or a toy or a teddy bear or an ice cream cone, much less of their personal learning journey, please let us know immediately.

Similarly, in the Assessment bullet point, “Students complete a short exit ticket and reflect on their learning.” Hate to say it, but students will be much more interested in making an exit—even without a ticket—than in reflecting on their learning.

Students also will “develop a voice and choice in their classroom environment.” Notice the rhyming “voice and choice,” like the “drill and kill” with which activists for decades have been disparaging memorization and sustained practice as effective methods of mastering material.

“Sense-Making Routines launch every lesson, creating an equitable classroom culture where all ideas are welcome and respected.” Well, no. Take the case of a student who has to add 1/7 + 1/7 and, to be “equitable,” adds across the top and then also across the bottom, to get a “sum” of 2/14 (in fact I’ve encountered incoming college students who’ve made that very mistake). Any student who thinks 1/7 + 1/7 = 2/14 is to be corrected, not respected. But being “equitable” overrules being right.

Another clue to the real agenda in “Reveal Math” is revealed in the document’s bullet point on Social and Emotional Learning: “Competencies [there’s that loaded word again] to support academically and socially engaged classroom members.” The point is to begin turning little kids into future social activists.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 12, 2023 at 4:33 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , ,

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