[Edu-sig] Fwd: The 'Certified' Teacher Myth (long)

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Sun Dec 14 20:27:57 CET 2008

I'm forwarding this, enqueued with Math Forum moderators, as it gives
some background perspective of potential utility to edu-sig
subscribers, plus indirectly expresses my gratitude to Stef Mientki
for his promising project.

If you're embroiled in USA "math wars" at all and want to do
background reading on this thread, here's a link:

I'd recommend staying blissfully ignorant of a lot of it though, lest
you get caught up in dinosaur flavors of "should we allow calculators
in math class?" kinds of debates (nothing at all about computer
languages), angry mud slinging that's been going on for decades and
going nowhere (lots of energy sinks, time sucks, not worth your

You may wonder why I bother to comment then, on Michael's mud-slinging
(appended).  As I mentioned in a follow-up:

I'll fix and upload to edu-sig, in case Math Forum management decides
not to archive publicly -- should go somewhere, world-readable, given
my marketing angle -- Grunch isn't Michael's to spin, at least not all
by himself.  I have my investments to protect.

For those with no idea what "Grunch" means (esoteric!), here's another
Math Forum thread you might find edifying in this regard:


If you heard my talk at Chicago Pycon last year, or watched it on
YouTube or ShowMeDo, you know that I talk about Fuller a lot -- a part
of my (Quaker brand) futurism.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: kirby urner <kirby.urner at gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Dec 14, 2008 at 11:06 AM
Subject: Re: The 'Certified' Teacher Myth
To: Michael Paul Goldenberg
Cc: math-teach at mathforum.org, Richard Tchen, Haim, Wayne Bishop

I haven't been following math-teach closely of late, don't think
spitting in anyone's face, Haim's included (a mask), is going to solve
the problems of Grunch being semi in control of world affairs, Grunch
being Fuller's psychological projection (into American literature) of
the phenomenon of wholesale globalization.

If you're at all curious about my focus these days, aside from K-mods
in the enneacontahedron (per geometry-pre-college, a different Math
Forum list), I'm getting input from my peers re my upcoming 'Python
for Teachers' in Chicago next spring.

In particular, I've been looking for ways to integrate the VPython
window, for spatial geometry, vectors and so on, with the shell and
editing environments.  Just yesterday, I learned of a breakthrough in
this regard thanks to Google's Summer of Code program, a way of
bringing strong coders into positions better able to benefit a larger

Here's a screen shot of overlapping windows with VPython's one of them
(spatial geometry lesson):


Here's a screen shot of a new project-based IDE (integrated
development environment) with VPython just one more display panel,
surrounded by editing surfaces (modeling a hospital ER):


I've already informed my edu-sig friends (a list in Python Nation), of
my intent to showcase the latter as a part of my discussion, even if
only in slide format.

Certified teachers from the Chicago area are invited to this workshop,
but mostly we're pandering to private sector geeks, thinking once they
get out of high school, they'll go directly into corporate training
programs, a lot of 'em, bypassing college until later maybe.

Many will start in these programs even before finishing high school,
as a bridge to some future position.

Tuitions are really high right now, out of step with the ambient
culture, especially in light of how far behind the times your average
PhD has become (in just about any field you care to mention).  Silicon
Forest needs people, can't afford to sponsor these pipelines that no
longer work for us.

So as you can see, the whole thing about "certification" is kind of a
side issue.  In the private sector, we have our own way of designing a
meritocracy, aren't looking to teacher unions for direction, not our

Kirby Urner

On Sun, Dec 14, 2008 at 10:42 AM, Michael Paul Goldenberg wrote:

<< SNIP >>

>  As we prepare for what well may another world-wide depression thanks to the
> GRUNCH of the giants that Haim doesn't want to discuss here (we're supposed
> to believe that it's teachers' unions that got us where we are, I suppose),
> we should be spitting in the faces of people like Haim and their
> self-serving, utterly bankrupt views and policies.

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