Funding Friday: Math In America

Did you know this?

Well, this film that is being funded on Kickstarter is all about the math crisis in America. I backed it this morning and you can too.

#crowdfunding#hacking education

Comments (Archived):

  1. Pointsandfigures

    Talking my book but make sure your kids put app on their phone. Better to do that than screwing around with pointless apps

  2. William Mougayar

    Curious how do you find these projects that intersect w your interests so well? Does Kickstarter send you personalized emails on trending projects or do you manually search?

    1. Rob Underwood

      I wonder if that’s along with lots of folks who know Fred and what he likes and in turn are putting lots of interesting ideas in his inbox.

  3. Christopher Seshadri

    You had me at MATH. I’m in on this one.

  4. Diane Levitt…Mark Guzdial points out there are two ways to look at the stats on math. First, that way fewer students take upper level math courses than we think (How can we do better in math achievement?). Or, that way more students take upper level math than take CS (How can we make CS more like math?).

  5. DJL

    What does it mean to be “proficient” in math? In our little world my kids are ahead of where I was at the same grade 50 years ago. My guess is that the distribution is not very even. You would really need to see the details behind these stats to properly go after solutions.I any case, any film about math is a GOOD thing!

  6. Elia Freedman

    Looks like a great documentary. Now…Anyone notice that the ONE time the kids got math in that sample video it was because they were doing it visually? Not coincidence.How do we understand math and numbers when we enter Kindergarten, when the documentary says we are all at roughly the same level? Mostly visually.Who falls behind first and who tend to learn visually? Females.If the film doesn’t talk about the role of the College Board, TI, HP, and Casio (mostly TI) in this charade we call math Ed today then it missed the core of the story.

    1. Alex Wolf

      Yes! Except it’s more than visual, it’s spatial reasoning. We are a think tank working on this problem, and I design manipulatives to help visual spatial solving. Math anxiety is tied to spatial anxiety which is something we can solve.

      1. Elia Freedman

        Sounds like an awesome job, Alex. In my 22 year professional career the years I spent in math education were easily the most rewarding.

        1. Alex Wolf

          I can imagine! What ages? My quest is getting deep into how things are seen. Now designing for pre-verbal as our preschool stuff is in a pilot in Tanzania.

          1. Elia Freedman

            Grades 6-14.

  7. Richard

    The crisis starts with common core math. It is absolutely nauseating. The dumbing down of America started in 1975 and now the dumbing down of America is here. California once first in the nation is now 48th. Technology will likely bail us out. Wow, America is a lucky place.

    1. kidmercury

      all the books by charlotte yserbyt, former department of education member under reagan, and john taylor gatto go into the deliberate dumbing down of america in detail.

      1. Richard

        I’ll check it out.

        1. kidmercury

          Be careful. It starts with Charlotte yserbyt and the next thing you know you’re removing fluoride from your water, resisting vaccines, acquiring gold, and revising your wardrobe to include more 9/11 truth shirts. It’s a slippery slope.

  8. kidmercury

    the distribution here is also a part of the story, in other words this is not a problem for anyone i know, in fact amongst my peers the kids are much further along in math than their parents were when they were the same age. that leads me to think part of the problem is related to poverty, single parent households; lots of kids only get one meal a day at school, if your only food is a crappy school lunch concentrating on math is going to be really hard — and the odds will be compounded if you only have one parent at home.all these problems really escalated around 1971, when the gold standard was fully abandoned and the US money/debt supply began its exponential growth rate that continues to this day, fueled by the welfare + warfare algorithm.

  9. sigmaalgebra

    Okay, again, once again, over again, yet again, one more time, the US is falling behind in K-12 math, HAS fallen behind.So, on some standardized tests, supposedly the US in math K-8 or so is 24th or so behind Switzerland, South Korea, Japan, Germany, France, Latvia, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Finland, Belgium, Holland, Israel, Russia, Hungary, or some such. I won’t bother to look it up again.First, likely the biggest cause of academic performance K-college is the home life of the student. Well, in home lives, the US standard of living, on average, just SUCKS. The US family is very sick and often essentially dying.By analogy, if do a good job putting some seeds in the ground and they don’t grow in plot #1 but grow much better in plots #2, #3, …, #24, and this situation remains with seeds of wide variety each season for decades, then maybe there is something wrong with plot #1. And there is something wrong with the US family.What could be wrong? How ’bout US treasure sent on absurd foreign adventures, for decades, bad trade deals, and news media and the government bought off by special interests and just don’t care about the common people.Next, “control on country of origin”: So, compare how well (1) US kids with parents from Sweden do with (2) kids now in Sweden, same for the other countries doing well. Do this before the migrants from countries that do poorly bring down the scores of Sweden!So with this control might find that the two collections of kids, (1) and (2), do about equally well. In this case, we quit blaming the US schools!!!! Might even find that the US kids in (1) do a little better! In this case, maybe the US schools are better!! Did I mention that there is a role for the family? That is, the problems are not just the schools but also the families?But like nearly all K-12 teaching, the situation is usually pretty bad, commonly at best baby sitting until the kids are too old to put with that. Still with a good family, the kids can do well. From this, we discover that the schools are close to irrelevant, actually don’t have much to do. BUT we can also suspect that the schools, whatever has been the case, with kids from good families, could do a LOT, MUCH more than now. Even though kids from good families can do comparatively well in schools that are not much better than baby sitting does not mean that good schools would do no better: I did a LOT in education, and my view is that with kids from okay to good families good schools could do a LOT better.I have a friend who was in a poor NYC school. When he was home for two weeks with the flu or some such, his mother was shocked to discover that he didn’t know how to read. So, in two weeks his mother taught him. Why were the schools not able to do that? Well, my friend’s explanation was the other students in the school he was in — the other students had basically a two word vocabulary with different inflections of just the two words commonly abbreviated MF.No doubt similarly for K-8 math.Like nearly everything for parenting, the foundation of education is the home and family. In the US, family formation SUCKS. The main reason is the media and politics bought off by special interests.Someone should do a documentary movie on good versus bad families.I should follow through on my threat to write a book Girls 101 for Dummies — Boys — it would be wildly politically incorrect but might help the boys who read it to do well with family formation.Nutshell outline: Have a good structure. Realize that the first foundation is chemicals, strong chemicals, in the teens her love chemicals. Get her engaged while she is still in high school. Get married when she is 18-20. Have at least three kids in 6-7 years, and then depend on motherhood chemicals. Then emphasize FAMILY, the marriage, motherhood, parenting, and the kids. For the kids, get them with good values and on track in their development:emotional, verbal, psychological, social, creative, artistic, empathetic, moral, ethical, religious, athletic, academic, mechanical, rational, quantitative, scientific, technical, romantic, yes, and in there, math.To try to do well with current families, should run some well designed experiments with teaching techniques and materials. So, motivate, excite, explain, be visual, have hands on, show utility, have some current applications for, say, family budgeting, surface areas for painting, applications of Newton’s second law F = ma for car acceleration and why in a drag race a Tesla is so tough to beat, mortgage calculations, costs of some homemade pizza versus frozen, carry-out, deliveries, or in a restaurant. E.g., I worked up a home made pizza for one recipe: The flour is the star of the show and costs 9 cents. All the ingredients cost 40 cents to 1 dollar depending on the toppings. It’s faster, better, and cheaper than the alternatives. So, do the cost arithmetic.Late news: Shocking little freshly grated genuine Italian Pecorino Romano cheese on top after the baking and just before serving can be just fantastic — we’re getting up into actual really good food!