Saturday, January 14, 2006

This Is Why I Don't Get An Advanced Degree

You thought I was kidding back in April when I posted about my adventures getting my Cross-Cultural, Language, and Academic Development (CLAD) certificate at Sac State. You thought that I must be exaggerating, that my experiences were abnormal, that everything's fine in the world of post-bachelor degrees for educators. You were wrong.

Here are the April posts.

Intro to Bilingual Education
Bilingual Education, Part I
Bilingual Education Part II--The Teacher/Students
Bilingual Education Part III--Progressive Education
Bilingual Education Part IV--Horrible Is Great
Bilingual Education Part V--Not Politically Correct
Bilingual/Multicultural Education Part VI--The Last Class Begins

Now here's something new, from Right Wing Nation.

As they said in the movie, "Be afraid. Be very afraid."


Mike T said...

This is the adult supervision....that is scary.

I can see why you don't want a master's in education, etc...ever think of a Master's in Math or a MBA?

rightwingprof said...

Ah, math. Well, the school of ed faculty who were empiricists and did actual research based on actual data (research as in statistical analyses) are mostly retired, and those who aren't will be very soon. Postmodernists have taken over the ed schools, and most of them couldn't calculate a 15% tip.

Back at IU, there was a "teacher professional development" program that was a mailing list and bi-weekly roundtables. I participated for a couple of years, hoping there eventually would be something that had something to do with pedagogy. But even the "math ed" person was a math-illiterate touchy feely postmodernist (from the school of ed, not the math department).

I was called down more than once for stating that math literacy is important (that's cultural imperialism, doncha know -- also a way for them to excuse their own illiteracy). I got called down for saying I couldn't care less about my students' self-esteem. I got called down for defending assessment (as in grades). I got called down for stating that there was nothing unreasonable in demanding that students who get degrees from American universities had damn well better be fluent in English. I was branded as the sexist, ageist, xenophobic, fill-in-the-blank-ist evil business school bigot.

The university over the years has offered more and more high school level math classes, partly because students needed them, and partly because they got such high enrollments (read revenues) offering more would bring in even more revenue. So the university teaches pre-algebra math, two algebra courses, a geometry and trig class, and a pre-calculus math course.

But while these courses carry no credit, they are not mandatory for anyone -- the university dropped placement exams because they might make little Johnny feel inferior, or some such nonsense. So we still got kids in class who had no knowledge of cartesian geometry (kind of a problem when you need to teach them how to do linear regression analysis), students who were incapable of setting up a story problem in Excel (kind of a problem since every project they get is a story problem) without being told exactly what functions to put in exactly which cells, even students who didn't know how to calculate an arithmetic mean. Try teaching students like that basic business statistics.

I'm not going to pass the buck. I refuse to do that. Everybody is doing it, and that's why nobody is taking responsibility. But you may very well not know what we deal with in the university -- and you should (I was at a state seminar in Indianapolis and was talking to a high school principal. She was shocked to hear that I got the same "Johnny deserves an A! Change his grade now or I'll sue!" phone calls from parents she got.)

Darren said...

I have no doubt that what you say is true. "Helicopter parents" are just advance parents of high schoolers.

Don't you get tired of all the -ist namecalling? I know I do. But I soldier on because not to do so would be a disservice to the students, whom I *truly* care about.