City's first all-STEM school set to open

WBUR reports on the new $73-million Dearborn STEM Academy - BPS's first all new school in years - which opens for grades 6-12 next month.

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Yep

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Thanks, changed. There have been several charter schools that have opened in the past 15 years.

Good Effing God - open

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Good Effing God - open classrooms. Yep ... we've never seen that tried before. How long will it take before they bring in the walls to divide up the space so that kids can think again?

Next up: the New Math, and Whole English!

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Nope

The presence of windows and a lack of walls are two different things.

New Math

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The New Math was kind of like the Great Leap Forward of mathematics instruction - realizing that schools were stuck in out-of-date, low-productivity methods of the past, educators decided to jump into the future all at once, a huge change for which neither students nor teachers were prepared, with catastrophic results. Nevertheless if you look at at material that was actually introduced to replace old mechanical methods of multiplication and division and so on - the subject-matter that was ridiculed by every senator and talk-show-host - it is striking how much more useful it is in today's STEM fields than multiplication and division. Set theory, modular arithmetic, symbolic logic, Boolean algebra - all of these are useful, and often necessary, for a career in Computer Science, for example. Multiplication and division are for calculators.

I remember my parents went to

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I remember my parents went to a class so they could learn the "New Math" that we were being taught in school.

Dad was the homework helper and appreciated the class.

Need for Both Old & New Math, Physics, etc

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The problem with the New this and New That is the mostly inadvertent disposal of the benefits which accompany the old and the old ways

Some of the real problems which we have today are:

  1. Innumeracy -- the equivalent of illiteracy applied to things mathematical
    1. the core of science is math -- often simple math -- i.e. the proverbial "back of the envelope calculation"
  2. lack of the understanding of the basis of science
    1. Newton's Laws
    2. Bernouli's Principle
    3. very simple electricity
    4. very simple electromagnetics -- inverse square law
    5. and a handful of more etc.

We live in an amazing era:

  1. Daily we hear about "science fiction-like breakthroughs," amazing inventions, and new policies involving science and technology
  2. Yet fewer and fewer of the people doing the reporting, editing, reading the news, or making the policy have any clue whatsoever is involved.
  3. In general the public is unqualified to evaluate what is being presented to them..
  4. Society depends on a "thin veneer" of science and technically competent to keep it running

The process of remedying this begins with exposure early on with skills such as:

  1. estimating [e.g. calculating without a calculator],
  2. common sense,
  3. practical experience with stuff

unfortunately these are not popular in the modern STEM curriculum

The above are much much more important than glass, steel or even 3D printers although the mention of the latter is the most important information about the new STEM Academy which I've seen so far in the media hype

NIMBYs

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And yet some neighbors tried to NIMBY this under the guise of 'historic preservation' of the long-outdated and obsolete building there before. Check the @SavetheDearborn Twitter handle.