Sunday, March 14, 2010

Obama Spend Our Money Wisely

The hands of one of our star Robotic Team members. He's not a shining star in calculus but I know his interest in robotics and engineering will more than make up for this. My money is on him to be a big success.
Look at the intensity on the face of the younger boy as he competes in the Lego competition.

This Lego Robot automatically took a picture. It was fascinating to watch.

The competition.

This teacher gave up his weekend to work with his young students.

President Obama is promising parents and their kids that his administration will help them have better teachers in improved schools so U.S. students can make up for lost ground against youngsters in foreign countries. Once again, he is saying teachers are the only variable in failing schools. He is calling for states to adopt standards the ensure students are ready for college or a career, rather than the grade-level proficiency which is the focus of the current law.

Before he starts writing all these new fancy standards, he needs to take a look at where kids are now. High school students that can barely read or do arithmetic are graduating and going on to college. If he really wants to fix these things he needs to begin by talking to the teachers who are out in the field every day.

Today, I had the privilege of attending the Robotics competition at Javitz Center. I watch children from elementary school through high school intently solving problems, and working as a part of a team with their machines and their Lego's. My school had received donations from various organizations such as NASA, to complete their work, but the money they were given was not enough. Instead of spending all this money on writing standards, I propose giving the money to schools to allow the youngsters to develop a real hands on interest in the field of engineering. These kids need to see a reason for learning math and learning science, the reason only this hands on activity can provide. Use this money to pay the dedicated teachers who work with them. The teachers in my school got paid for 20 hours but they put in close to 200 hours helping our Robotics team succeed. As I walked around the room, I saw many teachers like ours, working just as hard or harder.


mathman42 said...

Thre's nothing like hands-on for motivation. These kids obviously are not the ones who are four grades behind. Standards are needed, but must they be identical for all students ?

If Obama actually realizes that many students are better off not throwing money away at college and instead focusing on a career that they can handle and is of interest to them, we might actually keep this country from becoming a second rate nation.

Pissed Off said...

I agree, but some of these young kids might be saved by programs like this one.

E said...

Hands on is crucial to learning, much as critical thinking is to engendering a deeper understanding. Kids become invested in a subject when see that what they are being taught has a purpose. With hands on projects not only is creativity invoked, but what they have been asked to learn in the past is suddenly more than just a floating concept to be memorized.

Anonymous said...

I also came back today from watching my students take part in the first day of the Israeli FIRST robot competition,. Who knows, maybe our teams will meet in Atlanta!
sara g

Jodi said...

Thank you for your post. I teach math and I totally agree with you. Unless students can experience how math is used, it is, basically, useless. I was able to work with SPAWAR (Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command) in San Diego to come up with a learning module that incorporates a GPS unit and geometry standards. Hopefully I will be able to pilot it in May. I'm really excited for my students to be able to connect math to a device they actually use.