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Comment: Since CC defines the purpose of K-12 education as (Score 5, Informative) 113

by DaveyJJ (#47340525) Attached to: Is K-12 CS Education the Next Common Core?

Since Common Core relies on a narrow conception of the purpose of K-12 education; that is, "career and college readiness", then a CC CS curriculum will certainly fulfill the Gates-ian ideal of producing an army of unquestioning and near-Aspberger-like programming drones. If you read the official rationale for the Common Core there is little question about a blind, utilitarian philosophy at work. US kids must be prepared to "compete in the global economy." Yet, anyone with a knowledge of the history of education knows that this runs against the grain of the fundamental purpose of public education—to prepare citizens for democracy, with the knowledge and skills to live fruitful lives and improve US society. The CC standards are a farce.

The process by which the Common Core standards were developed and adopted was undemocratic. Of the 27 people who designed them, there was only one classroom teacher involved—and they were on the committee to simply review the math standards. The Common Core State Standards are the complete opposite about what we know about how children intellectually and emotionally develop and grow. The Common Core is inspired by a vision of market-driven innovation enabled by standardization of curriculum, tests, and ultimately, the children themselves. That's utter BS ... this idea that innovation and creative change in education will only come from entrepreneurs selling technologically based "learning systems." In the real world, the most inspiring and effective innovations were generated by teachers collaborating with one another, motivated not by the desire to get wealthy, but by their dedication to their students. What else?

The Common Core creates a rigid set of performance expectations for every grade level, and results in tightly controlled instructional timelines and curriculum. Every student, without exception, is expected to reach the same benchmarks at every grade level. Too bad that children develop at different rates, and we do far more harm than good when we begin labeling them "behind" at an early age. CC emphasizes measurement of every aspect of learning, leading to absurdities such as the ranking of the "complexity" of novels according to an arcane index called the Lexile score. This number is derived from an algorithm that looks at sentence length and vocabulary. Publishers submit works of literature to be scored, and we discover that Mr. Popper's Penguins is more "rigorous" than Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. Uh huh.

And here's a question for NY State five year olds ... Which is a related subtraction sentence? Math standards for grade one kids were simply "back mapped" from grade 12 curriculum ... no early childhood math experts were consulted to ensure that the standards were appropriate for young learners. Great idea. The Common Core was designed to be implemented through an expanding regime of high-stakes tests, which will consume an unhealthy amount of time and money. $16,000,000,000 annually in fact. Proficiency rates on the new Common Core tests have been dramatically lower—by design. 30% of English students now fail the standardized tests and can not get a high school diploma.

And what is this for again? The Common Core is associated with an attempt to collect more student and teacher data than ever before. Gates' inBloom system will collect and data mine every student score in the US. Fortunately, states are withdrawing from this one at a rapid rate under siege from privacy lawsuits.

But perhaps worse of all ... The Common Core is not based on any external evidence, has no research to support it, has never been tested, and has no mechanism for correction. There is no process available to revise the standards. They must be adopted as written. As William Mathis (2012) points out, "As the absence or presence of rigorous or national standards says nothing about equity, educational quality, or the provision of adequate educational services, there is no reason to expect CCSS or any other standards initiative to be an effective educational reform by itself." The biggest problem facing American education and society is the growing number of children living in poverty. As was recently documented by the Southern Education Fund (and reported in the Washington Post) across the American South and West, a majority of our children are now living in poverty. The Common Core does nothing to address this problem. In fact, it is diverting scarce resources and time into more tests, more technology for the purpose of testing, and into ever more test preparation.

WTF. Common Core is a failure, unless dumbing down US society even more is the goal ... which is is for the people who are in charge.

Comment: A smart watch? Nothing. (Score 1) 427

by DaveyJJ (#47319991) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Would It Take For You To Buy a Smartwatch?
I haven't worn a watch in 15-20 years. So nothing could get em to start wearing one again. And a Google watch? Bwahaha!! I'd rather have root canal work done by a twitching drunk sadist dentist then touch anything Google ever makes. P.S. My WiFi blocked Nest thermometer is for sale, cheap, ever since Google bought them ... make me an offer.

Comment: OSX not affected? (Score 1) 239

by DaveyJJ (#46710301) Attached to: Heartbleed OpenSSL Vulnerability: A Technical Remediation
I've now read that: "No versions of OS X or OS X Server are affected by the OpenSSL Heartbleed bug, because the last version of OpenSSL shipped by Apple in an OS was 0.9.8y, which is a branch not affected by this bug. So unless you've installed OpenSSL via MacPorts or Homebrew, your public-facing OS X servers/services should be immune to this bug." What say the wise ones here?

Comment: That means Neil Turok's elegant cyclic model is... (Score 2) 269

by DaveyJJ (#46508307) Attached to: Big Bang's Smoking Gun Found
Incorrect. Or, rather, been shown to be false by the evidence. And it was such a damn elegant model, too. Bravo to the team of researchers who've been working a decade on this satellite and these observations. I believe Neil and another scientist had a small bet about this, so he's also out of pocket a few dollars. Now we just have to hypothesise new ideas that will eliminate the many kludgy math bits out of Big Bang model. This news, and 120 more BlackBerry jobs lost today, means a sad day here in Waterloo (at the Perimeter Institute).

Comment: Re:SubjectsInCommentsAreStupid (Score 1) 458

by DaveyJJ (#46056867) Attached to: Stephen Hawking: 'There Are No Black Holes'

Only literalist Christians who have no understanding of language at all and can't think for themselves (err, that would be all of the previously mentioned folks) misinterpret what the Bible actually says to claim the 6,000 year thing. The majority of people who call themselves Christian (followers of that hip and mythological dude, Jesus, whose own father concerns himself more with football apparently, than starving kids in Africa) do not think the Earth is only 6,000 years old.

The Hebrew word for "begat" (yalad) does not mean "son of". It's correct translation means "to bring forth" but in no way implies a father-child relationship. Compare Genesis 11:12, a verse that literalists take to mean that Arphaxad was the father of Salah, with Hebrews 7:9-10 in which begat clearly does not mean this since Levi isn't alive until 150 years after his "father". Begat indicates the first person was the originator of a (long) line of folks ending with the second person.

Comment: Now, Bill go talk to the Pope and US teens (Score 2) 253

by DaveyJJ (#45944951) Attached to: Using Nanotechnology To Build Thinner, Stronger Condoms

Bill Gates should use some of that clout of his to actually so some good re: condoms.

First, get on the phone and blast that mysogynistic virgin running the Catholic Church and make him promote condom use, especially in Africa. Then get US teens some proper, frank, honest and mandatory sex ed classes with all the gory details so that you combat the US having the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the industrialized world, according the the Center for Disease Control, who notes that 30% of women below age 20 get pregnant in the US. If those happen, then he can claim to be doing some good re: sex and condoms.

Comment: CBS interviewer is an intelligence guy himself (Score 3, Interesting) 504

by DaveyJJ (#45703347) Attached to: CBS 60 Minutes: NSA Speaks Out On Snowden, Spying
Regardless of CBS' political leanings, you'd have thought that the idea of CBS using John Miller, an ex-employee of the director of National Intelligence, and someone touted to be in the running for a top NYPD intelligence job, to be the interviewer would have stunk to high heaven. There was no criticism, no pushback and no attempt to suggest that the NSA has been doing anything wrong. Holy crickey ... did the NSA simply script this and hand it to CBS?

Comment: Re:"With its overtly Christian message" (Score 1) 1251

Which of the two sets of "not quite the same" 10 commandments are you referring to? The first set, which Moses supposedly smashed in a hissy fit (Exodus 20), or the second set, which actually are different than the first (Exodus 34)? And are you reading the Protestant, Catholic or Jewish version of them—again, different? Just to get my bearings, here. ;-)

Comment: Saw it with my kids from southern Ontario (Score 2) 34

by DaveyJJ (#45469441) Attached to: CubeSat Launch Visible Around U.S. East Coast Tonight
We're up in Waterloo, Ontario. Watched the launch go on NASA live and knew I had about two minutes. Got the kids out the back patio and facing SE up into the clear night sky. Our backyard faces due south and the moon was just out of sight behind the corner of the neighbours house to my left (looking south). About T+120 seconds saw the orange exhaust glow for about 20 seconds before it faded out. A bit "ripply" due to the amount of atmosphere and angle. Not especially bright, about 50% of the magnitude of Venus this evening (earlier). Only got about 15 degree above the horizon, just about 5 degrees above the house to the SE of us. Cool. Saw a launch from Vandenburg (?) more than a decade ago from Arizona and it was much more spectacular. But any excuse to teach the kids and show them a rocket launch shouldn't be missed.

Comment: Re:The internet didn't kill the library. (Score 1) 149

by DaveyJJ (#45143313) Attached to: Neil Gaiman On Why Libraries Are the Gates to the Future
Except ... income (including disposable) for the average American hasn't increased since the late 1960s. You have less real-world buying power now than your parents had five decades ago. While productivity has increased, your wages haven't. If the median household income had kept pace with the economy since 1970, it would now be nearly $92,000, not $50,000. (The 1% have seen their real-world income increase 240% in the same time, though.) Since 1990 the real value of minimum wage is up 21% ... but cost of living in that same time is up 67%. So while your basic premise may seem sound, the data about disposable income being the cause seems to falsify that theory.

An optimist believes we live in the best world possible; a pessimist fears this is true.

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