Saturday, August 14, 2010

Letter to Amherst Bee about ACSD math teaching

Data shows math textbook doesn’t hurt scores” (June 23, 2010) shows nothing of the sort.
The school district has no data for years prior to use of the mentioned text – Math Investigations, so no comparison can be made.

All data presented were based on the NYS test, which the state Education Dept. itself admits has been lowering thresholds for “mastery level” for years. The district's own longitudinal data shows a drop of 2% “mastery” per year of exposure to MI at Amherst, while NYS and Erie county averaged 2% per year increases! For Maths 3,4,5: at the end of 4 years, Amherst finishes at the bottom of all 5 neighboring districts.

Ms. Lavin's vociferous claims of children's and teachers' “increased ... ability to think, ...understanding and ...confidence” have no basis in reality.

Dr. Carosella's “ (The Adminstration's) ...statements do not support that MI is a bad program ...” makes me proud to have a Board member with such incredibly high standards.
The relative high performance of ACSD students (and the difference between SDS and Windermere) can be attributed to the socio-economic status of the parents, and there is no way to attribute it to MI.

A US Dept. of Education 2009 study found that MI is “the least effective” of 4 curricula and found a 9 - 12%-ile drop attributable to MI. 40 of 70 school districts touted as “successes” by the publisher of MI dropped the program within two years and 24 have funding that obligates the use of MI.

Your ostensibly neutral reporter, Mr. Nagy, displays a bias towards the Administration and no understanding of the issues or the Math involved.

For a comprehensive pedagogical and mathematics based critique of MI, allow me the opportunity to write an article. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

“When the Doctor no longer looks like You, White Boy.”

When the Doctor Doesn’t Look Like You

The full column should have been titled “When the Doctor no longer looks like You, White Boy.”. Women and non-white people have long contended with doctors who don’t look like them. What is more, white male doctors have long dismissed symptoms, in American women and African-American patients, which the doctors take seriously enough for white male patients.
Other than the overt racism and sexism inherent in patients and colleagues discriminating against non white male doctors, there is the covert racism and sexism in taking this issue seriously only when the affected patients are white males (as the title of the full column implies).

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Re "What Makes Chechen Women So Dangerous?" (NYT, Op-Ed, March 31)

To The Editor, 

Re "What Makes Chechen Women So Dangerous?" (Op-Ed, March 31): While purporting to be an explanation of terrorism by Chechens, the article is nothing more than a barely disguised effort to criticize Israel and the simple desire of Jews everywhere to have a safe place to live and have families. One has only to replace "Chechnya" with "West Bank" - which the authors themselves seem to suggest- and "Moscow" with "Jerusalem", to see the clear anti-Semitic nature of the article. With the New York Times publishing such excuses for terrorism in its Op-Ed pages, does Israel have no friends left anywhere?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Gratuitous sexism alive and well amongst MDs in 21st century

Tara Parker Pope's blog on health on the NYT, 8 feb 2010, on the retraction of Lancet article linking MMR vaccine and autism:
Comment #3 : In psychiatry long enough to have seen diagnostic fads come and go. Strongly suspect there’s a large subset of children diagnosed as autistic who merely suffer from a lack of maternal attention from busy working mothers and too much day care.
— MARK KLEIN, M.D. My response: In response to #3 Mark Klein’ s time-travelling email from the 1950’s:
“lack of maternal attention from busy working mothers”!
Lets try and rephrase that for the 21st century: “lack of parental attention from busy working parents”.
So how come so many of the kids diagnosed with autism seem to be children of white suburban full-time moms?
Anything else you want to blame it on: Rising illegal immigration; Increasing number of ignorant M.D.s?
— Ranjeet Tate