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AcademicGround >> Homeschooled kid's math breakthru


12/6/05 11:06 AM
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Buddhadev
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Edited: 06-Dec-05
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http://www.forbes.com/business/businesstech/feeds/ap/2005/12/05/ap2369830.html Hyperlink Excerpts:
A 16-year-old California boy won a premier high school science competition Monday for his innovative approach to an old math problem that could help in the design of airplane wings.
...
Viscardi said he's been homeschooled since fifth grade, although he does take math classes at the University of California at San Diego three days a week. His father is a software engineer and his mother, who stays at home, has a Ph.D. in neuroscience, he said. "It's unbelievable," Viscardi said of his win. "It's so incredible that I'm in shock right now." Viscardi tackled a 19th century math problem known as the Dirichlet problem, formulated by the mathematician Lejeune Dirichlet. The theorem Viscardi created to solve it has potential applications in the fields of engineering and physics, including airplane wing design. He said he worked on it for about six months with a professor at UCSD. "He is a super-duper mathematics student," said lead judge Constance Atwell, a consultant and former research director at the National Institutes of Health. "It was almost impossible for our judges to figure out the limits of his understanding during our questioning. And he's only 16 years old," she said.
Sheesh! Didn't he get the memo from Dr. ASDF (the noted author of The Big Book of All Things) that homeschooled kids are only supposed to be capable of grabbing the "low-lying fruit"?
12/6/05 5:03 PM
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vermonter
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" he does take math classes at the University of California at San Diego three days a week." Or that most home schooled kids aren't actually taught at home, but at school. -doug-
12/6/05 8:54 PM
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Buddhadev
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Most homeschooled kids are not taught by mothers that have PhD's in neuroscience. In fact, it is probably safe to say that most homeschooled kids are not taught by mothers that even have college educations.
That's not really true. Only 19% of homeschooling parents have a total lack of post-secondary education. Source/reference follows below. Furthermore, there's Simanek's data showing that the relative SCHOOLING public school teachers receive doesn't necessarily make them EDUCATED. This needs to be taken into account whenever a discussion arises about the proficiency or education of homeschooling parents. Says Simanek:
"[Freshmen majoring in education]are on the average, one of the academically weakest groups. Those choosing non-teaching physics and math are one of the academically strongest groups. Some of the more capable who initially chose teaching will find the teacher-preparation curriculum to be boring and intellectually empty, and shift to curricula that are academically more challenging and rewarding...On tests such as the Wessman Personnel Classification Test of verbal analogy and elementary arithmetical computations, the teachers scored, on average, only slightly better than clerical workers. A rather low score was enough to pass. Yet half the teachers failed."

Homeschooled parents, on average, don't have as much college as the average public school teacher, but they have far more than non-homescholing parents and don't compare too shabbily to teachers. Here's some data from the National Center for Education Statistics' (NCES) report Homeschooling in the United States, 1999:

Parents' highest educational attainment

Parents' highest educational attainment, however, was clearly associated with homeschooling. Parents of home-schoolers had higher levels of educational attainment than did parents of nonhomeschoolers. Table 3 shows that 37 per-cent of parents of nonhomeschoolers did not complete any schooling beyond high school, compared to 19 percent of parents of homeschoolers. Conversely, 25 percent of parents of homeschoolers attained bachelor's degrees as their highest degree, compared to 16 percent of parents of nonhomeschoolers.

So while it's true that many home-schooling parents don't have a bachelor's degree, it should be noted that they represent a slice of the population with an above-average amount of education. So to the extent that any objections to homeschooling are based on images of Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel "learnin' 'is youngins' ta read," such objections are just plain false and invalid. Furthermore (if you read more of that NCES report I linked above, you'll note that homeschooling parents represent a greater proportion of couples wherein one of the spouses stays home with the kids. In this case, a lack of a college degree in the at-home parent might not reflect a lack of educational ability, but simply a practical choice. Doug, I agree with what you pointed out. Something often overlooked in discussions about homeschooling is that a large percentage of homeschoolers choose to hedge/diversify their approach by mixing in some formalised classroom education as well--esp as the kids near college-going age (college/community college classes, high school AP classes, etc.).
12/6/05 11:51 PM
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Buddhadev
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Edited: 06-Dec-05
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that report says nothing about the level of educational attainment by the parent that is actually doing the homeschooling.
Such a thing would be very difficult to quanitfy. For one thing, I'm sure that even the breadwinner would still be participating--perhaps even heavily. Even if the breadwinner didn't participate at all (which sound unlikely to me, from what I know/see in homeschoolers) would that mean that his/her level of education has no impact on the kids? Surely not; I mean, afterall, such a thing even has an impact when the kids are gov't schooled. With homeschooling, such an influence could only be greater. As such, the way that the report did it made sense: including the data about both of the parents in a homeschooling household.
12/7/05 6:40 PM
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asdf
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Edited: 07-Dec-05
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Good for the kid. But, as cajones said, most homeschooled kids aren't taught by Ph.D.'s in neuroscience, and most kids period don't have genes of Ph.D.'s in neuroscience and CS degrees. "Didn't he get the memo from Dr. ASDF (the noted author of The Big Book of All Things) that homeschooled kids are only supposed to be capable of grabbing the "low-lying fruit"?" I guarantee you never would've heard of him or his research, except that he's homeschooled. His accomplishments are not even close to comparable to Edison and Franklin. Plus, as dougie said, he took classes at UCSD and his research accomplishments were done at school.
12/7/05 10:33 PM
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Buddhadev
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Edited: 07-Dec-05 10:36 PM
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I guarantee you never would've heard of him or his research, except that he's homeschooled.
Your guarantee is wrong. A cursory examination of of all the news articles covering this story shows that many of them don't mention Viscardi's homeschooling AT ALL. Neither the LA Times or New York Times mentioned it in their stories about the competition. CIO Magazine, in fact, mistakenly refers to Viscardi as a "high-school senior." So, like I already said, you're wrong. Many people, depending on where they get their news, will have heard about this but not know that the kid's a homeschooler.
His accomplishments are not even close to comparable to Edison and Franklin.
Homeschooling doesn't need to produce Franklins and Edisons in order to demonstrate superiority to gov't schooling--let alone to justify its very practice. Furthermore, his accomlishment can hardly be dismissed as low-lying fruit given that he's made progress on a problem that's confounded generations of great mathematicians who had far more education than he.
Plus, as dougie said, he took classes at UCSD and his research accomplishments were done at school.
As I said in our previous discussion, homeschooling doesn't need to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Additionally, he was pulled out of gov't schools in the fifth grade. The faster-paced homeschooling (where he wasn't stuck in classes dumbed down for the slowest/laziest kid) he received from that age gave him the foundation he needed to be where he is now: i.e., taking high-level math classes at age 16. If the CPS and teacher-union thugs (who want to outlaw homeshcooling and register it as a form of child abuse) had their way, what he's done just wouldn't be possible.
12/8/05 3:22 PM
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asdf
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"Your guarantee is wrong." OK. You may have seen it, but you wouldn't have noticed or cared if he weren't homeschooled. Can you name 10 famous chemists? Chemists appear in the press too, with even more frequency. "Homeschooling doesn't need to produce Franklins and Edisons in order to demonstrate superiority to gov't schooling." True, but your article writes noted basically "Franklin and Edison didn't need it either", well those are just totally not-going-to-happen-again examples. Science is not like that anymore. "Furthermore, his accomlishment can hardly be dismissed as low-lying fruit given that he's made progress on a problem that's confounded generations of great mathematicians who had far more education than he." He's a talented guy, but I don't think you understand how science is reported in popular news. Incremental steps are reported as huge news. My research got reported once in the Economist, and the gap between actual and reported was huge. This happens everywhere. "The faster-paced homeschooling (where he wasn't stuck in classes dumbed down for the slowest/laziest kid) he received from that age gave him the foundation he needed to be where he is now: i.e., taking high-level math classes at age 16." If he was looking for a challenge, he could've also skipped ahead one or two math classes (in one case, four) like many people did at my public HS. I guess there is some home schooling there too, but that is kind of stretching the term.
12/9/05 4:57 AM
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Revolver of Reason
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Edited: 09-Dec-05
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asdf - I think you were lucky enough to go to decent public schools in your K-12 years. I was as well, but for the kids who tried hard to learn but were stuck in the bad schools in the district, homeschooling with any motivated parent would be infinitely preferable. also, even with the decent education I received - I definitely would have progressed faster academically if I had learned at home, at least after elementary school (my elementary school had ridiculously good teachers and a supportive adminstration) and I was already in gifted and talented programs, and did all but one of the AP classes offered in HS. (AP Scholar with Distinction, blah blah) probably more than half my real education in the K-12 years came from self-study, just reading shit I was interested in. I could almost go to sleep in my AP Euro History class because I was already familar with 90% of the material. I think that's true of most bright kids. I don't think it's very controversial to say that public schools hold back the bright and inquisitive kids - by necessity, if they spent all their time keeping the bright and interested kids forging ahead, they would never get the rest of the kids educated, and they deserve an education too. I think Buddhadev went to not-so-great public schools and feels he lost many, many years in which he could have been doing self-directed learning - which is not unreasonable. most public schools do not cope well with kids who actually want to learn by themselves and go beyond the textbook.
12/12/05 6:51 PM
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Buddhadev
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Edited: 12-Dec-05 06:52 PM
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OK. You may have seen it, but you wouldn't have noticed or cared if he weren't homeschooled.
While I can't speak for everyone who reads news, I probably would have noticed the story anyway just because it's the kind of news story I tend to read. I'll concede that I wouldn't have started this thread if he weren't homeschooled, but that's another question entirely. Of course I don't start threads about every science news story I read.
Can you name 10 famous chemists? Chemists appear in the press too, with even more frequency.
LOL! I might be able to pull that off if I had a copy of the latest printing of your Big Book of All Things in front of me! But as it is, I'll grant you that I can't, but that does nothing to advance whatever vauge point you're trying make about this news story. The reader being able to "name" the scientists therein says nothing, nothing at all, about the relevance of a science news story or its subject matter. But for having started this thread I probably wouldn't be able to "name" that kid Viscardi. A couple of months ago, I remember reaading something in SciAm about some researchers who were building "scaffolds" that would hold patches of cultured cardiac muscle to graft onto hearts in order to improve the quality of life of heart attack survivors. For the life of me though, I can't begin to "name" the people who did the research. That certainly doesn't begin to diminish the importance of the story.
True, but your article writes noted basically "Franklin and Edison didn't need it either", well those are just totally not-going-to-happen-again examples. Science is not like that anymore.
I don't mind repeating myself. I really don't. Here again is what I wrote when you mentioned the Franklin and Edison examples before:
There's no reason that a middle-class pre-teen today couldn't also get a jump-start on the working world and simultaneously pursue a classical self-education; well, no reason except for the fact that compulsory schooling laws make him waste 6-7 hours a day in an idiot factory.
So again, even if early/pre-teens today don't find themselves inventing bifocals, lightbulbs, or Franklin stoves following the approaches of Franklin and Edison would result in vast improvements over where they mostly find themselves today: surly, apathetic, TV/entertainment-addicted, self-absorbed, and obsessively consummerist. Again, repeating myself from our earlier discussion:
To see relevance in those examples, you don't have to necessarily think they'd make modern inventions as equivalently revolutionary as lightbulbs, but that they'd be able to become functional members of productive society: ready for today's workplace and/or college education. And, in fact, with just the addition of the latter it's very likely they could once again become admirals, inventors, etc., and grab today's supposedly very "high-hanging fruit."
You further state:
He's a talented guy, but I don't think you understand how science is reported in popular news. Incremental steps are reported as huge news. My research got reported once in the Economist, and the gap between actual and reported was huge. This happens everywhere.
Stating that the news can sensationalize a story is something quite apart from saying that this kid's accomplishment was "low-lying fruit." Are you willing to endorse the latter?
If he was looking for a challenge, he could've also skipped ahead one or two math classes (in one case, four) like many people did at my public HS.
His parents chose not to do this. They chose an alt. ed. approach and it worked beautifully. They have no obligation at all to do things in the way that the ed. establishment wants. In doing things the way they did, they spared him the mind-numbing effects of being stuck in an age-segregated community and they were socially responsible in sparing their area's taxpayers several years of paying for him to go to the local HS. One of the judges in this competition remarked that it was hard to gauge the limits of Viscardi's mathematics knowledge. As such, it's safe to say that he's more than one, two, or even four years ahead. To do things your way, one of his parents would likely have had to run around his school district collecting signatures from his guidance counselor, his teacher(s), perhaps the principal, etc. etc.; instead they took a more direct approach to getting what they wanted. All the power to them for doing that. You might say that Gatto and I are doing a lot of speculating about the negative effects of the school environment, but as I mentioned in our last discussion, I can point to the 1960 study by Harold McCurdy in the Smithsonian Institution's Horizon journal that did an in-depth examination of patterns of childhood genius. McCurdy found that interaction with parents and other adults was more likely to spr childhood genius and that interaction with peers was more likely to repress or restrict it. Like the 68 years of studies comparing classroom instruction to correspondence/video instruction, the McCurdy study is another piece of peer-reviewed scholarship that you just can't ignore no matter how much you might want to.
I guess there is some home schooling there too, but that is kind of stretching the term.
You know, you say the most unintentionally hilarious things at times. First you concoct a mind-created hobgoblin of homeschoolers as social misfits who spend all their time at home and never receive outside interaction or instruction, and then you attack any example which doesn't neatly fit your narrow/stereo-typed views as not being "real homeschooling." I guess you can't lose if you want to argue it that way because you know I wouldn't endorse an approach to homeschooling that entails some skinny, pale, unhappy kid chained to a desk in his basement and memorizing Bible-verses by candlelight.
12/13/05 3:02 PM
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asdf
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"I think you were lucky enough to go to decent public schools in your K-12 years. " Probably true, Rob. "I could almost go to sleep in my AP Euro History class because I was already familar with 90% of the material. I think that's true of most bright kids. " I don't. Could most bright kids have done the same in Calculus? Chemistry? How did you do in Calculus? My class had some smart people - To my knowledge, that class graduated 6 Ivy league-caliber Ph.D.'s. And those kids didn't know all that stuff beforehand. "but that does nothing to advance whatever vauge point you're trying make about this news story." Point is this: the kid did good work, but don't make it out to be more than it is. Lots of freshman, and some HS students, do work that no mathmetician (chemist, biologist, whatever) "has ever done before". It's still incremental work. When he publishes that research in Science or Nature, I'll believe "breakthrough".
12/16/05 3:47 PM
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Buddhadev
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Edited: 16-Dec-05
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I don't. Could most bright kids have done the same in Calculus? Chemistry? How did you do in Calculus? My class had some smart people - To my knowledge, that class graduated 6 Ivy league-caliber Ph.D.'s. And those kids didn't know all that stuff beforehand.
Is this another example of your "effective sampling" that you alluded to in our previous discussion? LOL! But seriously, but the fact that they didn't know anything about Calc before sitting in the class doesn't mean they couldn't have. Are seriously willing to endorse the notion that it's not possible to learn Calculus without an instructor? The thousands of students who have happily passed the Calculus CLEP would prove you wrong.
Point is this: the kid did good work, but don't make it out to be more than it is. Lots of freshman, and some HS students, do work that no mathmetician (chemist, biologist, whatever) "has ever done before".
LOL! If you read what you just wrote very closely, you'll see that you're making an even more damning statement about traditional ed than even *I* would ever dream of making! Your statement actually even calls into question the utility of years of higher ed--something not even Gatto was willing to do!
It's still incremental work. When he publishes that research in Science or Nature, I'll believe "breakthrough".
Somethign being "incremental" is quite apart from it being "low-lying fruit." The "fruit" Viscardi has "picked" evaded being picked for generations--whereas "low-lying fruit" is definitionally that which is EASILY picked. As such, your criticism here doesn't support dismissing what this kid has done in the same way that you dismissed Gatto's examples. And if you were paying attention in our previous discussion and my examples about how many civilizations managed to miss concepts like the wheel and the number zero, you'd realize that it's kind of arrogant and foolish to so quickly dismiss what you've been calling "low-lying fruit."
12/16/05 9:06 PM
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asdf
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"Is this another example of your "effective sampling" that you alluded to in our previous discussion? " For Rob (who I was addressing), I know the answer to the question in advance. " The "fruit" Viscardi has "picked" evaded being picked for generations-" You sure you're born from somebody who went to IIT?. Every single paper in every single journal has been "evaded for generations". Almost all of it of it is incremental and not a big deal. It's no "breakthrough". Again, when it's published in Science or Nature, I will believe it's a breakthrough. "If you read what you just wrote very closely, you'll see that you're making an even more damning statement about traditional ed than even *I* would ever dream of making!" Then you're reading too much into it. "you'd realize that it's kind of arrogant and foolish to so quickly dismiss what you've been calling "low-lying fruit." Then scientists everywhere who understand this concept are foolish. "And if you were paying attention in our previous discussion and my examples about how many civilizations managed to miss concepts like the wheel and the number zero," And again, that was a long time ago. The best modern homeschooled scientific breakthrough you have is a kid who won a math competition and came up with some math theorem? When the kid took college classes and worked with a college prof? Couldn't you at least find some profs at MIT or Caltech or IIT or something?
12/22/05 1:22 PM
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Buddhadev
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Edited: 22-Dec-05 01:38 PM
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For Rob (who I was addressing), I know the answer to the question in advance.
You were trying to advance the theory (as a refutation of alt. ed. practices) that calculus can't be learnt independently. This is wrong on its face as evidenced by the Calculus CLEP. Indeed, alt. ed. doesn't even need to rely solely on independent study.
You sure you're born from somebody who went to IIT?.
Unfortunately, yes. LOL. I assume you're referring to my father.
Every single paper in every single journal has been "evaded for generations". Almost all of it of it is incremental and not a big deal. It's no "breakthrough". Again, when it's published in Science or Nature, I will believe it's a breakthrough.
Don't peer-reviewed papers usually involve more than six months of research by two people (in this case, Viscardia nad his professor)? In any case, quibbling with me over the semantics of the word "breakthrough" does nothing to advance your "low-lying fruit" refrain.
Then scientists everywhere who understand this concept are foolish.
Don't you get sick of your appeal to authority fallacy? If there are other scientists that express the "low-lying fruit" dismissal the same exact narrow-minded way that you do, then yes, then such statements are just as foolish coming from scientists as they would be coming from primary school teachers, MMA fighters, or kumquat pickers. I'll explain one of the examples I used before even further. The Mayan civilization had, for its time, a fairly respectable knowledge of mathematics and astronomy. They actually used a calendar that was more accurate than the Gregorian calendar that we use today. It's safe to say that there were a fair number of Mayan thinkers getting on after all the "high-hanging fruit" they could--and God bless 'em for it. Yet, for all their effort, they never managed to invent the wheel--clearly missing some "low-lying fruit." Your saying "that was a long time ago" doesn't in any way invalidate this point since people in Europe could have said that as well at the time. The Mayans still managed to miss it for A LONG TIME. The question you should wonder about is what other simple concept could we be missing. You wouldn't know till someone finds it. I'm honestly indulging you too much with this "low-lying fruit" nonsense of yours. Even if I were to totally concede that point, it doesn't undermine alt. ed. in the least. Look again at what I said today's middle-class pre/early teens could be doing. Q.E.D.
12/22/05 1:52 PM
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Buddhadev
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Edited: 22-Dec-05 10:11 PM
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The best modern homeschooled scientific breakthrough you have is a kid who won a math competition and came up with some math theorem?
This has to hands-down be one of the silliest counter-arugments you've ever posited. Viscardi's accomplishment is impressive and you'd have to be particularly snooty to dismiss it as low-lying fruit, but if Viscardi doesn't do it for you, I could point you to the noted economist Thomas Sowell, like I did in our last discussion. While not homeschooled, he was a highschool dropout who eventually made his way to Columbia (and no, affirmative action wasn't responsible for his admission). I could point out the fact that Albert Einstein considered his early schooling to be little more than a nuissance and that he credits his learning of alebgra to his uncle. He was practicing alt. ed. to the extent that he could in the cultural and legal context of his time. But honestly, the BEST defense of alt. ed. isn't Viscardi, Sowell, or Einstein. The BEST defenses are the ones I've brought up again and again because, despite your flipping back and forth through the latest printing of The Big Book of All Things, you have no answer for them. They are the serious research data like the 68 years of studies showing the classroom to be no better than distance ed., the Smithsonian study by McCurdy showing that patterns of childhood maturity and genius have NEGATIVE corellation with peer interaction, the superiority of homeschooler's SAT scores, and Sminaek's hard data laying out the relative academic and cognitive incompetence of public school teachers. All the elements of alt. ed's strength are there in research data that are already available today. As homeschooling and other alt. ed. practices get their legs underneath them over the next ten years, the case will only get stronger, and more people will look at it and wonder why establishment ed. wastes so much time and money when alt. ed. imparts more information for fractions of the time and cost. When these comparisons start to be made, traditional ed. will become mostly indefensible. Your lack of answer to any of this is why you consistently go after tangential points: the semantics of the word "breakthrough," the reliance of Gatto's examples on "low-lying fruit," etc.
When the kid took college classes and worked with a college prof?
Once again, taking college classes doesn't make one's homeschooling less "pure." Homeschoolers go on to post-secondary education in higher percentages than public schoolers and often earlier than public schoolers as Viscardi has done. In essence, what you're doing is holding a success of homeschooling (a kid taking very advanced mathematics classes at age 16) against it. Again, it's clear that you're never going to be able to ditch your cariacaturized view of homeschooling. For what it's worth, alt. ed. doesn't have to just be homeschooling. It's anything that a parent chooses for his/her kids without worrying about the ed. establishment approving it. For example, I posted this story about a father who chose to make his daughter bypass highschool completely and just go straight to college at age 11. He didn't make the round to her various teachers and her school counselor to get their "permission" to let her "skip" a grade, all he did was pull her straight out of there and put her into college on his own judgment. Gatto would applaud his choice. She's about 17 now and probably very close to finishing her Bachelor's.
Couldn't you at least find some profs at MIT or Caltech or IIT or something?
As far as IIT goes, most Indian people, unfortunately, subscribe to a bureaucratic totalitarian/collectivist/statist mentality (a mentality, I think you can relate to) and would view an idea like homeschooling with a tremendous degree of suspicion--for cultural reasons alone. I don't have any data about homeschooler representation in academia, but that's mostly because I don't see careers in academia as be-alls and end-alls the way that you do, so I haven't bothered to look. I would suspect that such representation is LOW simply because most homeschoolers are YOUNG. The movement is just now getting its legs under it after fighting legal battles with CPS thugs for years. Homeschoolers haven't been in the marketplace long enough to find themselves on tenure tracks yet. If you were intellectually honest, you would be willing to, at this point, concede that you haven't given alt. ed. practices a fair shake in your evaluation of them, but I somehow think you're too emotionally invested in your viewpoint to concede anything.
12/22/05 10:05 PM
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Buddhadev
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Edited: 22-Dec-05
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An interesting article here tells the reader the tale of a psychologist in the '50s who received no schooling at all until age 13 (was completely unable to read or write), but managed to graduate from a public high school at 16. That's certainly a stirring indictment of public schools' tremendous wastage of time and money. One could argue (and I'm sure Dr. ASDF would) that there's more to learn now than there was in the '50s, but it's not really reasonable to argue that TEN academic years of material have been added to the curriculum since then.
1/27/06 1:22 AM
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Buddhadev
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Edited: 27-Jan-06
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Coffee Guy, I agree that a lot of what's wrong with education are greater social problems, but I'm not willing to let teachers off the hook for their academic incompetence (I've pointed out Simanek's data on this more times than I can count) and malign influences. Additionally the teacher's unions are on the wrong side of many social issues that speak to the quality of education. For example, it's teachers unions that opposed philanthropist Ron Unz's ballot initiatives directed towards ending bilingual education. Everyone knows that immersion is the best way for English learners to advance their proficiency, but teacher's unions want to promote the identity politics of immigrants for reasons of ideology. Teacher's unions are also frequently on the side of failed educational practices such as the "whole-word"/"look-say" reading method and the fuzzy approach to math. I don't see any social or educational benefit coming from the tenure system,, but honestly, I'm not nearly as exercised about teacher pay as I am about other thigns like the existence of certification--which serves as a barrier to market entry for people who might be willing to try teaching just for the love of it, but dont' have the time to go back to school for two years to get "certified." Certs are a racket run by colleges of education and mostly teach John Dewey rubbish anyway. There need to be more teachers coming from other professions and more part-time teachers whose mentalities and teaching approaches will be influenced by the fact that they still have one foot in the real world. Finally, "holding parents and students accountable" is a point I'm frankly skeptical of. Usually when people push something like that, it's because they're trying to advance a Hillary "It Takes a Village"/Huxley's Brave New Word agenda of putting families and child-rearing under the control of the government. Except in cases of real abuse (and I don't mean BS abuse charges like how they try to call it "abuse" if say, a parent teaches un-PC viewpoints on race or religion to his kids), I don't like the idea of a policy of the government trying to second-guess a parent. I appreciate your support and agree with you about what the government wants.
1/27/06 11:48 AM
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asdf
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Edited: 27-Jan-06 11:49 AM
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 8803
"You were trying to advance the theory (as a refutation of alt. ed. practices) that calculus can't be learnt independently. " No I wasn't, you have a reading comprehension issue here. He thought most bright kids read up on stuff independently, which may have been true for Rob in history, but not for Rob in calculus, or too many others I would guess. Of course it's possible. "Don't peer-reviewed papers usually involve more than six months of research by two people (in this case, Viscardia nad his professor)? In any case, quibbling with me over the semantics of the word "breakthrough" Sometimes more, sometimes less. But big-time stuff gets published in Science or Nature. Your the one that stuck with "breakthrough" all this time, not me. "Don't you get sick of your appeal to authority fallacy?" Sorry, it's well-known. Don't get huffy because you don't know anything about scientific research. "The question you should wonder about is what other simple concept could we be missing. You wouldn't know till someone finds it." Well, go ahead. Tell me what simple, universal concept has been discovered in the last 30 years in mature fields such as physics or chemistry. "If you were intellectually honest, you would be willing to, at this point, concede that you haven't given alt. ed. practices a fair shake in your evaluation of them" And you'd admit you know jack about science, but like to talk as if you do. Cajones was correct in the other thread - you sound like an aunt with no experience who says "I know better". "I don't have any data about homeschooler representation in academia, but that's mostly because I don't see careers in academia as be-alls and end-alls the way that you do," Where do I say that? I'm not in academia anymore. You could find a head of labs at Lucent too, but acadamia might be easier. "Once again, taking college classes doesn't make one's homeschooling less "pure."" College classes is stretching the definition of homeschooling, and dougie thought so too. There's nothing "home" about the schooling at college, unless your mom or dad is the prof. " An interesting article here tells the reader the tale of a psychologist in the '50s who received no schooling at all until age 13 (was completely unable to read or write), but managed to graduate from a public high school at 16. That's certainly a stirring indictment of public schools' tremendous wastage of time and money." Or a tribute to his brains and work ethic.
1/27/06 11:48 PM
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Revolver of Reason
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Edited: 27-Jan-06
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 29674
"Teacher's unions are also frequently on the side of failed educational practices such as the "whole-word"/"look-say" reading method and the fuzzy approach to math." clarification on these... 1. phonics work best for most kids, but not all. I taught myself to read as a kid using the "look-say" method - Disney records + followalong book I read out loud, worked out pretty well. testing shows about 15% of kids consistently do better with the "look-say" method. phonics was an annoying waste of time for me in school that just confused things, but it's critical for most kids. a better approach would be to expose the kids to each method and use the one that works better on the kid. 2. New Math is not necessarily a bad idea. putting it into the hands of teachers without real math training is. the whole (original) point of New Math was to teach the concepts of math in the manner a mathematician uses to think about math. given that U.S. K-12 math education is pathetically rote compared to European classes in similar grades, this wasn't an entirely bad idea. the problem is that teachers never really got the full message, and twisted ideas like "it's just as important to understand the concepts as get the right solution" into "it doesn't matter if you get the right answer, just understand the concepts" asdf - I didn't take Calculus in HS - I would have had to take double math courses for one year, and I didn't know that was possible until much later. in any case, I wasn't interested in it at that time. I've already learned about half of the Discrete Math for CS Majors course I am taking next semester just futzing with various computer science things and learning math notation (I have the textbook they use)
1/28/06 12:33 PM
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Buddhadev
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Edited: 30-Jan-06 01:07 AM
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 1373
No I wasn't, you have a reading comprehension issue here.
This from the person who thought Gatto saying "Let them manage themselves" was a reference to children and that Simanek doesn't consider memorization important in science?
Sometimes more, sometimes less. But big-time stuff gets published in Science or Nature. Your the one that stuck with "breakthrough" all this time, not me.
OK fine, then let's look at one of the definitions of "breakthrough":"3 a : a sudden advance especially in knowledge or technique" The kid Viscardi made an unprecendented advance in knowledge with the potential for commercial application. Maybe he'll publish it someday, maybe he won't. Either way it fits the technical definition of "breakthrough." And it's certainly closer to "breakthrough" than it is to "low-lying fruit."
Well, go ahead. Tell me what simple, universal concept has been discovered in the last 30 years in mature fields such as physics or chemistry.
I can find thirty or 100 year periods throughout history wherein there haven't been simple, revolutionary discoveries in any sciences. That didn't prove that that all such things were gone at the time and doesn't prove it now either.
And you'd admit you know jack about science, but like to talk as if you do. Cajones was correct in the other thread - you sound like an aunt with no experience who says "I know better".
More display of your brilliant reading comprehension skills that I'm supposed to emulate? Cajones was, first of all, talking about my knowledge of parenting. Second of all, I have not anywhere pretended to any special knowledge of science. I have no problem admiting that I'm not a scientist. You seem to be fond of logical fallacies: appeal to authority and now argumentum ad hominem.
Where do I say that?
This the second or third time you've faulted alternative education practices for not producing career academics (yet). In our first discussion, you said something about Materials Science faculty at MIT or something like that.
I'm not in academia anymore.
Ok, now I'm getting huffy. Would you please stop reading your resume off to me? I never asked and I don't care!
You could find a head of labs at Lucent too, but acadamia might be easier.
Or I could just look at the studies and stastical evidence. Oh wait, that's what I've BEEN doing!
College classes is stretching the definition of homeschooling, and dougie thought so too. There's nothing "home" about the schooling at college, unless your mom or dad is the prof.
So the natural extension of your argument is that a homeschooler can NEVER go to college and still be considered a homeschooler. It's basically like saying that a girl who went to government school all her life and then went to Vassar for college couldn't be called a government schooler.
Or a tribute to his brains and work ethic.
Here, let me direct you to using those brilliant reading comprehension skills of yours. Open up your landmark work, The Big Book of All Things to page 472548919785798783915 and look at the section on this psychologist James Fisher and the case book he wrote entitled A Few Buttons Missing. In that book he remarks that he initially thought he must be some kind of genius but later discovered that he wasn't that much smarter than most people he met. He ultimately came to believe most kids were capable of doing what he did. I mentioned this in other references to him and it's also pointed out in the link I posted. Rob: I know that look-say has its uses. For example, it's pretty much the ONLY way to teach deaf kids to read, but it's just that most of the forces behind "progressive" education seem to be pushing it for everyone. This highlights the inherent problem with government mass-production-like schooling: it requires a "one-size-fits-all" approach when that's obviously not always appropriate. As for fuzzy math, I agree with you exactly, and therein you've pointed out the problem. Being able to later deal with it at higher levels REQUIRES a mastery of rote "drill and kill" and memorization. As Simanek pointed out, memorization is the essential fodder for thinking. This is something that I think even Dr. ASDF would agree with me on.
I've already learned about half of the Discrete Math for CS Majors course I am taking next semester just futzing with various computer science things and learning math notation (I have the textbook they use)
Tsk, tsk! You just damned yourself to a career restricted to low-lying fruit! ;-) [In the same way that Einstein did by learning algebra from his uncle instead of from school]
2/16/06 4:19 AM
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Buddhadev
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Edited: 16-Feb-06
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 1496
Earlier in our discussion, asdf wrote:
If he was looking for a challenge, he could've also skipped ahead one or two math classes (in one case, four) like many people did at my public HS.
To which I replied:
To do things your way, one of his parents would likely have had to run around his school district collecting signatures from his guidance counselor, his teacher(s), perhaps the principal, etc. etc.; instead they took a more direct approach to getting what they wanted. All the power to them for doing that.
As it turns out, I was even more right about Viscardi's parents' motivations than I thought. Viscardi's story is mentioned in another excellent piece on homeschooling in Business Week, where the following is mentioned:
Viscardi's neuroscientist mother and engineer father pulled him out of the tony, oxford-and-shorts private school St. Mark's in Dallas because administrators wouldn't accelerate Viscardi in math, even though he was doing high school-level work in the fourth grade. Michael's mother, Eunjee Viscardi, says Michael initiated most of his own learning. The challenge was dealing with her fears that she was ruining his life by isolating him, something he countered with heavy involvement in the community youth orchestra. "It was nerve-racking because we're all brainwashed to believe that our children have to be in school," she says. Those concerns have since faded; Michael is set to enter Harvard University this fall.
The kid worked ahead and his parents wanted his advanced knowledge reflected in his curriculum so that he wouldn't be wasting his time. The administration stood in the way. If they'd done things the establishment's way, Viscardi would have been wasting hours a day every day, for the next 6-8 years sitting in a classroom and having to suffer through material he already knew. Instead his parents pulled him out where he accelerated on his own, started taking classes at UCSD and now finds himself on the way to Harvard. Not too shabby. Viscardi probably counts his blessings every day for having been pulled out of traditional primary and secondary schooling.
2/23/06 4:37 PM
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Buddhadev
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Edited: 23-Feb-06 05:50 PM
Member Since: 01/01/2001
Posts: 1540
Certainly I would never discount the obvious advantage of intelligent/accomplished parents. However, he was going to a very elite prep school where other chidlren would have had similarly or even more accomplished/qualified parents. I'd guess the average kid in Viscardi'a former class there is doing pretty good at age 16-17, but likely not nearly as well as he is.
4/24/06 3:52 AM
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FightFan424
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Edited: 24-Apr-06
Member Since: 04/10/2003
Posts: 247
ttt

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