Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Today's Debates

Arthur Siegel again berated me for sticking to my guns as a Fuller Schooler, suggesting I'm marginalizing a lot of perfectly good math by hooking it to a crackpot: "I emphasize the Fuller stuff only because it is an example of you refusing to do your homework, and sticking to your guns at the expense of good sense." [1]

John Zelle attacked what he thought was my brave new world without textbooks [2], but we later dovetailed over the idea of keeping small presses in business (Zelle is the author of a small press Python textbook, a good one).

It's "one size fits all" mass publishing that I'm fighting.

Relating to that theme, over on the Math Forum I kept challenging the wisdom of letting a tiny cabal manage California's K-12 math standards. Wayne Bishop of CalTech was exulting in his group's power to keep "technology" at bay.[3]

I envision small, community-based experiments, including with indigenous curricula, though importing at will. In our Python Nation, we'll teach mathematics and programming in tandem, as somewhat inseparable disciplines. Not everyone needs to choose this combo.[4]

I want schools (even the public ones) free to form multiple voluntary affiliations and alliances, and not be forced into some lockstep, top-down, state-mandated regime. Get parents involved, and students. Make the wheels of democracy turn (they're so rusty these days -- like some forgotten machinery in Uru).

These free and voluntary alliances could be with agencies of the federal government.

Get your GIS/GPS curriculum from the Department of the Interior why not? Government imprimaturs belong on course materials, not exclusively, but as a part of a healthy public/private mix.

The USG should stick its neck out, enter the fray, and deploy those eagle shields on public school materials -- not expect private companies to always provide the branding.

Why can't HUD teach about housing, dwelling machines even? I once publicly harangued Freeman Dyson for doing too little with the Fuller memes when consulting for HUD.[5]

Which reminds me, is there any mention of OMR in the Congressional Record yet, post Katrina?