We lag behind most other countries in math literacy. We cant decide how to teach it. And yet, after 50 years of research into the most effective ways to teach math, we know how: heres the concept, heres the technique, heres what its good for, now practice. After youre good at it, well move on to the next concept or technique. Later we will talk about why it works. Eventually it becomes intuitive.
Some say the answer is a return to basics. But learning numbers and how to manipulate them (computation) is what you do before you tackle math (yes, including set theory), as learning the alphabet and some phonetics is what you do before you tackle reading and writing. We need the basics, but lets not imagine we can stop there and compete in a world economy.
Why all of the fads? Secondary education is a big business, feeding at the public trough. The textbook industry, educational consultants, and trainers make money only if educational methodologies change. Is it any surprise that they are the advocates for the various teaching fads weve seen over the last decades? Did you know that there are new versions of math books every couple of years, and that states commission their own versions of math textbooks? That few kids ever use their textbooks to learn? Is it any wonder that good teachers are less than enthusiastic about all of this baloney?
High schools should use the cheap study guides sold in college bookstores instead. Teachers who can themselves pass math proficiency tests should be paid accordingly, from textbook savings. Parents should insist their kids do their homework, because otherwise they wont learn. And school boards should stop being impressed by buzzwords, glitzy marketing campaigns, and promises of easy fixes.
Raechel Wright Charlevoix
Layoffs at Northwest
Your article entitled Airline Hell (3/22) struck a chord with me but not in the way youd expect. As a laid-off former employee of Northworst Airlines I can only imagine the hell that the travelling public has been put through since last November when all of the original employees were canned.
Believe it or not, customer service used to be the name of the game in that industry, what with all the airlines‘ pricing tactics basically matching each other; the only thing left was how our customers were treated.
Im saddened but not surprised by the lack of feeling and/or empathy the gentleman in the article received. Our replacements were hired in at $8.94 an hour and though money shouldnt be the end-all in dealing with your job and the public, I cant stress enough the importance of a fair wage for a job well done. In this case, both were sadly underachieved. For myself and others in the industry it took years of public contact and on-the-job training as well as a want to do the job properly, efficiently, fairly, caringly and to get it right the first time.
The comment by the company mouthpiece was 100% wrong. Inexperience is exactly why people were disgruntled, and the only reason why it would ever take that long to re-book passengers onto a new flight, another airline or process their ticket so that they could make other travel arrangements and get on with their business. I cant stress enough, you dont lay off people with an average of 20 years or more, doing what they enjoy and dearly love, and get the same standard of employee at less than half the cost.
Id like to thank you for listening to my ranting and hope that this may shed a tad bit of light on whats become of 23 people with anywhere from six to 48 years of dedicated service that they truly thought would take them to higher highs, meeting new and interesting people and ultimately,.... into retirement.
Daniel O. Barnes via email
Treasure trove of worship
Upon reading your recent Body/Mind/Spirit issue, I thought I heard the sound of one hand clapping! I appreciate this issues holistic, integrated outlook as well as the depth and breadth of the individual articles. Nice work!
I consider myself fortunate to teach world religions at Northwestern Michigan College where yes, Siddhartha is still required reading. My students hunger for something beyond the crass superficiality our materially-obsessed culture offers them. They are bright, eager, and inquisitive. They discover in these world religions rich and varied traditions that have wrestled with lifes most fundamental questions and experiences. Yet they are often surprised - even shocked - at the beauty, insight, creativity and intensely spiritual practices these religions have birthed.
From what they continually share with me, the inherited cultural perspective of Im spiritual; not religious has devalued, denigrated and distorted all of these religious traditions, relegating them to a dusty antique store shelf. Yet once they move beyond the superficiality of all these major religions, they find profound and beautiful ways of living holistic and integrated spiritual lives.
While Traverse City sadly lacks a diverse expression of our worlds major religious traditions, there is a deep treasure trove of lesser-known spiritual offerings from Judaism and Christianity, offerings that lie beyond the traditional worship experiences. Both Congregation Beth El (Michigans oldest Jewish congregation in continuous use) and Congregation Ahavat Shalom have a number of retreats, speakers, and celebrations. Grace Episcopal Church offers Contemplative Prayer and St. Francis offers the deeply profound Taizé worship.
Perhaps your next Body/Mind/Spirit issue might include some of these lesser-known spiritual practices that remain grounded within the particular religions. Thanks again, and keep up the good work.
Rev. Corey J. Sanderson Potters House, United Church of Christ
4 years in Iraq
Another milestone has been reached: the U.S. has been involved in Iraq for four years now. Peace seekers/anti-war activists around the world have been on the streets in protest over this occupation of Iraq.
The peace movement in Northern Michigan is growing. Last Saturday a peace movement was born in St. Ignace thanks to Jim Ramelis and Mary Nichols. Traverse City has a huge anti-war movement. Our neighbors in Petoskey/Charlevoix are extremely vocal and active. Alpena has a young peace movement as well. This past Saturday eight peace activists gathered in front of Cheboygans County building, armed with an assortment of peace signs. We were greeted by many people honking in response to our HONK FOR PEACE signs.
Tens of thousands gathered in Washington ,D.C. over the weekend. They held a candlelight vigil and 220 or so of these peaceful people were arrested. Many were Christians representing an assortment of churches. On Saturday they faced an angry pro-war crowd. Some of these were big brutish men who pushed 60-year-old women around for simply carrying a peace sign. There was a large contingent of Iraqi Veterans Against the War leading the march to the Pentagon.
Our Congress continues to debate what should be done. This is an important week, if you are against the war, if you are ready to see some action in bringing an end to this quagmire; this is the week you need to contact your Congressman. Most people reading this paper are in Bart Stupaks district, so he is the man to contact. Personal visits to any one of his seven offices are recommended.
As I write this the latest casualty count for our troops is at 3,210. Please take action to stop this number from growing. The number of wounded is at over 23,000. Did you know that about one-third of all returning servicemen are facing mental health issues? Did you know that since this war began 60,000 active duty personnel have divorced? Have you heard of the neglectful treatment of some of our wounded? How many more have to suffer to save face? How many more have to die before it will be okay to say, bring em home? How many more have to die for this war of choice? These are not just numbers; these are precious sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters. When will enough be enough for those who support this war?
I say, NO MORE LIVES for George Bushs war.
Karen Martin Straits Area
Concerned Citizens for Peace and Justice Cheboygan
Our civil war
The latest poll in Iraq indicates that now 51% of Iraqis believe it is okay to attack our army fighting there. If we had studied the British earlier experience at Iraqi occupation we might have seen that the current situation was inevitable. Meanwhile, our Commander in Chief sends American troops in a forelorn attempt at saving his own political skin. ENOUGH.
Jim Sherman Garden
Probe mega mall plan
There has been little or no publicity on the issue of creating a land trust of 145 acres in Acme and Whitewater Townships for the purpose of building a mega retail mall along M72. Would your media please put this issue before the public?
Glory Wiltjer Williamsburg
Drugs & Petoskey
The Petoskey School Board needs to educate itself on the limitations of student drug testing.
The U.S. Supreme Court made a terrible mistake when it created an exemption to the Constitution and ruled in favor of allowing drug tests for students in extracurricular activities. Student involvement in after-school activities like sports has been shown to reduce drug use. They keep kids busy during the hours they are most likely to get into trouble. Forcing students to undergo degrading urine tests as a prerequisite will only discourage participation.
Drug testing may also compel marijuana users to switch to harder drugs to avoid testing positive. Despite a short-lived high, marijuana is the only illegal drug that stays in the human body long enough to make urinalysis a deterrent. Marijuanas organic metabolites are fat-soluble and can linger for days. More dangerous synthetic drugs like methamphetamine and prescription pharmaceuticals are water-soluble and exit the body quickly. If you think drug users dont know this, think again.
Anyone capable of running an Internet search can find out how to thwart a drug test. Drug testing profiteers do not readily volunteer this information, for obvious reasons. The most commonly abused drug and the one most closely associated with violent behavior is almost impossible to detect with urinalysis. That drug is alcohol, and it takes far more students‘ lives each year than all illegal drugs combined. Instead of wasting money on counterproductive drug tests, schools should invest in reality-based drug education.
Robert Sharpe, MPA
Common Sense for Drug Policy Washington, DC
The Governor‘s plan
For four years the Governor has espoused a vision providing hope for Michigan. Despite the auto industry ills we were encouraged that Michigan would move forward. That vision propelled the Governor to a landslide victory in 2006. The Governors recently submitted plan to rectify the State economy is politically sellable. She cuts some expenses, increases others and creates some new taxes that in all honesty are relatively modest. Unfortunately none of the modifications substantially alter the antiquated business plan for the State.
Now is the time for innovated legislation that will materially impact how Michigan moves forward. Essentially we know that revenues are deteriorating and that expenses are out of line with other states.
So change: The State has Brownfield and MEGA funds and other incentives to grant favorable tax treatment to some businesses at the expense of others. Most of these incentives are dog-and-pony shows for incumbents bent on retaining their elected office. What we need is standardized business taxation.
Prisons are overcrowded and expensive. So amend the mandatory sentencing laws that currently force judges to incarcerate non-violent criminals. Public education is expensive, yet we reward schools with declining enrollments, vary per pupil funding by districts and tolerate far too many school districts. So consolidate school districts and standardize school per pupil funding.
Universities are in trouble. Yet part-time professors receive full-time compensation and universities are grossly overstaffed with administration. Reward community colleges for their efficient delivery of education and force universities to do likewise. Then base Student Merit Awards on performance and need.
Lastly, totally revise State employee compensation packages. State employees receive salaries, benefits and pensions that compete with the private sector. The private sector in Michigan is sacrificing, so must our State employees.
Lets hope. Its a start.
Michael Estes TC