5. Educating the Class of 2034
see  Proposed Education Manifesto for 1-4
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Change 1 Base Primary Education on Determining a Student's Special Intelligence.
1) Special Intelligence
is above average ability a person has in one or more areas of the multiple intelligences which include Mathematical, Spatial, Bodily Movement, Musical, Verbal, Interpersonal,
and Intrapersonal. Curriculum should maximize special intelligence.
2
) Core Intelligence centers on mathematical-logical intelligence and verbal intelligence.
Skills related to core intelligence are emphasized by traditional curriculums.              
3) Rewards await people who develop skills associated with their special intelligence provided they have
the minimum core intelligence skills required for their career. In the words of John Dewey..."to prepare
him for the future life means to give him command of himself; it means so to train him that he will have
the full and ready use of all his capacities" My pedagogic creed, Dewey, 1897 Wiki
Change 3 "Individualized Curriculums" help students discover and enhance their "Special Intelligence."                    
1)
Grades one to eight should concentrate on determine and exploring a student's special intelligence while bringing their core intelligence up to an acceptable minimum. Note: This should be a fun time and not the rigor of some Asian countries and tiger mothers of the United States. Such activities caused anxious unhappy students!  If you must test, comparison to those in the student's school and state would limit the negative effects on self-esteem. See No Grades/Homework
2) Career availability information should help students with their curriculum choices.

Since 66% of future jobs require no additional formal education beyond high school, individualized curriculum for many may be more life/career skills oriented. For example, studies show that people with self-control do better in many aspects of life and it can be taught. RSA Animate – Empathic Civilization is just one example of the new areas that limiting concentration to one's special intelligence will allow.

Change 2 A year-round school calendar of four twelve-week terms with 4 plus 2 hour days for Secondary Education will improve learning and decrease cost. The U.S. has the best universities in the world and students only have 15-20 fifty-minute class periods per week. Our most successful students also have structured unstructured time for labs to apply knowledge or get involved with skill improving extracurricular activities. Germany schools produce the world's most productive workers and more than half her students finishes at 1 PM. A 4 plus 2 day has four 50-minutes traditionally structured classes in a row and two hours of structured unstructured time when a student's Individualize Curriculum is determined. Students can work, take more academic classes, volunteer, create a group to compete for academic prizes, attend career-focused academies, play sports or let American ingenuity provide relevant learning experiences.
Change 2 Benefits
1)
Studies show students forget more than 10% of their learning during the summer and "lower-class students" lose most. See Summer Setback: Race, Poverty ...Achievement in the First 2 Years
2) A two-tier classroom system has enhanced student work benefits.
3) Financial benefits for teachers result as they can teach overload courses in their off session.
If a system's average teacher earns $50,000/year for sixteen courses or $3,125 per class for a year round morning assignment they could earn say $2000 per course for additional afternoon overload courses. Sixteen overloads cost $32,000 saving $18,000 or 36% of a salary plus fringe benefits and also make for happy teachers.
4) Economic facilities use would solve housing problems. The potential cost saving for large school systems making maximum use of their facilities are unlimited.
5) Structured Unstructured Time benefits the community. It is spent at school or community facilities to enhance Special Intelligence and also to provide paid/voluntary experiences for students and teachers. John Dewey "...advocated for an educational structure that strikes a balance between delivering knowledge while also taking into account the interests and experiences of the student." Academics will not suffer as trying to enhance intelligence with additional memory training is not money well spent. source
Change 4 Schools should be academically demanding for those with high math/verbal intelligence and who fill the 22% bachelor's degree or higher jobs.
School curriculums should not so demanding that a substantial number of students drop out or lose confidence. Pre-algebra should only be in the curriculum of student possessing high mathematics intelligence. A nursing student should not have to take statistics (a course I taught for 35 years) because they might someday go on for a master's degree. Nursing isn't about mathematics, little inferential statistics is required.  Nothing is gained from the terror creates in the non-mathematical. See German Educational System
Change 5 Maslow's hierarchy of needs should be enhanced by education.
1)
Esteem is a requirement for self-actualization which is an important goal of human development. Collateral damage from creating low self-esteem is immeasurable. Testing should be career and not performance based. The result should be expressed as being above, at or below their school's performance level.
2 Students, especially in the Primary Grades, should advance at their own pace. 
Change 6 Tech-based Education
 should spread to college education immediately and hopefully to secondary education. This does not mean investing in computers. See Education Week: Software Found to Have Little Effect on Test Scores
Summary We must maximize the minimum for students with average special intelligence while maximizing the maximum for students with really high specially intelligence. We also must minimize the maximum regret that our current system does not do well as demonstrated by many dropouts. Please Share!

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The Story of Joan

An attempt to learn about the real estate business brought me in contact with Joan, a middle aged women who had been a million dollar salesperson in her first year. She was well dressed, attractive, very ambition and had a talent for selling. Joan was famous for her answer to a question from  prospective buyers who were aghast when they saw a foot of water in the basement of a home they might buy. “Well, think how lucky you are to know about the water. Now you can bid $3,000 lower and fix the problem for $1,000. Joan was correct; they bought and were very happy with the property. This was the middle 1970's when new starter homes were small, about 10,000 square feet, had one bathroom, three bedrooms, and cost about $40,000.
A larger home was one of the items the middle class purchased with productivity gains made over the last fifty years.

Joan wanted to be a real estate broker, but fail the test because of her poor mathematical skills. Math required for the license was using formulas, a little geometry, and multi-step word problems. Some of this was necessary for commercial developers but for what Joan wanted to do, little math was needed. But testing is a way to limit supply of brokers thus keeping broker/manager salaries high.  As her tutor, much of what I did was build her confidence that if she did the easy questions, a missed the few difficult questions, she would still pass. Needless to say, she passed the exam.

Joan was one of the most confident people I've encountered in many years of education. She went to school before testing sapped the vitality out of people who were not above average in both mathematic analysis and verbal understanding.  Interpersonal intelligence, easily the most important in the real world kind of useful intelligence, isn't considered important by our academic educators. 

The Rest of the Story

Joan had a secret to her success. She belonged to the Friday 7:00 AM Howard Johnson Breakfast Club. Two or three plus salespeople from ten or so local real estate companies met, talked a little business, and created a network, a monopoly. If you needed something for sale at one of your competitors, you called your friend from Friday morning and they would call you. The more people you helped, the more people who would help you.

I once had the world's greatest house listing in A+ condition at a great location, and price correctly. Two or three sales were stopped by parents coming to visit their children who loved the house.  I had guaranteed the owner who was leaving for Venezuela that it would be sold and he was nervous, but not me. With two weeks to go I called Joan and agreed to split the listing commission and it was sold the next day. Some people think Joan should go to college, I think school should be designed to maximize special intelligence of people like Joan.

e-mail comments to antonw@ix.netcom.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Battlefield Reflections of a
Life-Long Statistic Teacher


The Normal Curve Rules

Teaching Statistics to Open Enrollment
Evening College Students by
 Walter

Introduction: After years of traditional teaching I switched to the programmed type text Quick Notes Statistics and its companion Excel Statistics Lab Manual which had all the problems and their data sets written in Excel so much of the calculation requirements were removed as an obstacle to learning. Many students were familiar with the text as they had used Quick Notes Financial Accounting and/or  Economics Interactive Class Notes with Links in previous courses. These books had concise two-page outlines per learning unit with practice problems and complete solutions.

Methodology: Class one began with a 30 minute summary of material covered on the first computerized take-home exam or in the lab test. We then adjourned to the lab with some of the better students leaving to do required work at their own convenience while the  others joined me in the lab learn to use Excel to calculate measures of central tendency. Lectures/lab sessions followed. The class before the computerized test using Excel was a comprehensive hour or so review where I again saw the better students and after the review a few students were off to the lab to finish their computerized  lab set due before the test. This procedure was followed for tests on probability and on hypothesis testing/correlation/regression.

Result: 1) Being an honor system take-home or in lab computer exam resulted in the same grade distribution as for a traditional in class test where students were allowed  a large note card/ cheat sheet.
 
2) Using computers, more material was easily covered with less work and anxiety than the note card system.  3) But only the better students learned more, much more. Students over 35 years at four different average at best colleges divided themselves into four groups.

Group one completed the course requirements but never really learned much and some found  Excel very difficult. They assed with low grades because of easy grading procedures.

Group two calculated some statistics correctly but ran into trouble deciding which Excel menu procedure to use for each of the eight different problems on the take home final. I had warned them that over 35 years grades always went down with each tests and many were always disappointed. Some of these adults worked really hard but having to choose between finite and normal distributions, large and small samples and then between one sample and two samples eventually led to mistakes.

Group three often got the statistic correct but then had difficulty determining to accept or reject the no change null hypothesis.  All the studying in the world doesn't help because they had never really figured out what hypothesis testing was all about.

Group four, the top 20% had one final hurdle to explain what the answer meant. They had correctly accepted or rejected the null hypothesis but what did it mean? They needed to write in the analysis section that the new procedure was faster/slower or had less/more defects or the new diet was better/worse or else it was back to group three and a lower grade. Less than six from a class of twenty-five got almost everything correct and got a 4 points on almost every problem. A very few indeed got everything correct.

Teach Students to Read and
 Do a Little Basic Math and
Get Out of the Way

"Computerized work has also made knowledge more abstract and more reliant on data. In the late 1970s, Ford Motor Company began to use computer-controlled fuel injection systems in place of mechanical carburetors. Ford soon experienced heavy warranty expenditures because many technicians, not understanding fuel injection, would tackle a problem by "throwing parts at it"—replacing one component after another in the hope that something would work. Ford responded by requiring that warranty repairs could only be made by technicians who had passed a training course on repairing fuel injection systems. Half of the technicians who took the training course failed, many because they could not read well enough to understand the technical manuals. They knew how to repair mechanical carburetors because they had watched other mechanics do it. Watching other mechanics could not teach them to use computerized tools to test electronic components."

By making students read what the system wants and not what the student wants means too many students never really learn to read. Reading is key and what they read is irrelevant. Teaching General Science for students who don't like science was like me taking Gym; it was a waste of time. The idea that you taking CIVICS or studying US History makes someone a good criticize is ridiculous. Let students read what they want and let the computer interpreter and direct toward their studies. Can you imagine all the money we spent educating these mechanics and they couldn't read. Not doing algebra was not the problem. The term of a senator versus a house ,ember wasn't the problem. They couldn't read!

Dancing with Robots“ by
Frank Levy and Richard J. Mundane,
is right and in one respect
and wrong in another.

"It is important to put these trends in perspective. American schools are not worse than they were in a previous generation. Indeed, the evidence is to the contrary. Results from the NAEP long-term assessments show that most American students now master foundational skills as defined 40 years ago—for example, reading well enough to follow directions. Today’s education problem stems from the increased complexity of foundational skills needed in today’s economy and from the changes in family income and family structure that leave a significant portion of American children unprepared to learn when they enter school."

There has been an  increase in the complexity of foundational skills needed in today’s economy.

They are wrong in thinking that the changes in family income and family structure that leave a significant portion of American children unprepared to learn when they enter school because intelligence is normally distributed and it is impossible to increase the number of people with the ability to master these more difficult foundational skills. Just find these intelligent people and encourage them to develop foundation skills and reward them economically.

 

 

 

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edited and written by Walter Antoniotti