Saturday, July 09, 2005

Sparkling quackery

The Gates foundation keeps pouring money into the small-schools project. Even though small schools are an attractive notion, they are of little use if the curriculum and instruction are rotten. Small schools also seem to attract activists with political agendas.

I found this ad seeking math teachers for a sparkling new small school in Chicago (excerpt):

The Multicultural Arts School, an exciting, innovative new arts integrated high school that will be opening in September in the Little Village Lawndale High School Campus needs math teachers! We are looking for dedicated, creative professionals to teach the IMP math program in our brand new, state of the art, community based school. You will have the best of all facilities and resources and you will be a member of an incredible, talented, innovative, and challenging team.
What caught my eye is that this "exciting" new school wants to use the dreadful, constructivist IMP math program. IMP, which stands for Interactive Mathematics Program, has been thoroughly denounced by mathematicians, including by Bastiaan J. Braams who calls it the "most degenerate of all mathematics programs."

Sparkling new buildings and the "best of all facilities and resources" are going to be for naught if the curriculum and instructional practices -- the soul of a school -- follow educational quackery and are corrupted. It reminds me of Matthew's admonition which could be adapted to the situation with some modification: "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"


Anonymous said...

It always strikes me when these "progressive education" zealots claim that theirs ideas are "innovative". After all, these ideas are more than a hundred years old, they have been repeatedly tried and have always failed.

NYC Educator said...

The only thing worse, I suppose, is renaming the same crappy old buildings, dividing them into four or five "academies," hiring several more layers of administration, and mandating the same trendy methods you speak of.

That's how they do it in NYC...

EdWonk said...

Interestingly, I've been reading that schools that have a curriculum emphasizing fundamentals as well as holding students and parents accountable (as well as educators) for student success are the schools that have waiting lists.