i have mixed feelings about this whole cahsee lawsuit thing.

California Supreme Court Revives CAHSEE
Appeals Court Asked for Quick Decision in CAHSEE Case

one the one hand (μεν) i think that standardized testing in general is bullshit. i thank goodness that i went to a college that placed more emphasis on writing ability that sat act or gpa. fuck that. at the same time, have a clear writing presupposes a clarity of mind. the more i think about it, im sure everyone at st johns would have done fairly well to very well on any number of standardized tests. anyway, so the part of me that knows standardized tests are bunk, the part of me that knows they are written for white middle america and not for my poor kids in south LA makes me want to do away with the cahsee.

on the other hand (δε) i think that if these kids are to compete against their richer, whiter, nore priveledged peers, being unable to pass a standardized test only places them at a disadvantage. as much as i want to break down this oppressive system, i will always believe that infiltration and bringing it down from the inside shall be more effective (and more satisfying) than litigation and enabling. part of me says that we do not need to relax standards but to strengthen them; then demand the resources to make everyone pass sopme stupid fucking test.

i dunno, i guess i too am conflicted about this. i just wish everyone knew how to do binomial expansions using pascals triangle and knew how to develop a profit-loss analysis and how to build a table. math! ah if only everyone 5pok3 1n num63r5.

ok still busy.

lets see. i am:

1) finishing my PACT.
2) i just took subtests I and III of the goddamned CSET.
3) i am in the process of getting officially employed by lausd.
4) i am in the process of getting officially employed at a wonderful, well-known school in South LA.
5) i had to make time for my brother coming to visit, as well as my BFF, la isla.
6) my dog needed a walk earlier; that took precedence over the blog.
7) my boyfriend jon stewart is in reruns right now, so im stealing a moment to share my list of crazy shit im doing which is why i have been unable to keep up my posts.

i just want to say that i am very happy at my school. when i compare my experiences to those of my peers at other ucla partner schools, i thank goodness for my good fortune. and to think: if i hadnt had such a hard time finding a bclad teacher, i may never have wound up there at all. wow. but yes i am happy. all of you should apply and join me. it would be lovely.

ok i have a quick minute.

well lets see. this week is cat9 testing at school, but i guess these days its called cst or some other such thing. anyhow, ive been able to go in late because of this. today i have to be in at 11am, so i have a few more moments of dicking around on the internets.

I made a very difficult decision last week. J, the kid whose dad i've talked to about a million times, simply refuses to behave himself. i feel i have tried everything. i offered tutoring; he came twice. i told his father that he was not keeping it up; nothing happened. his behaviour will improve for a few days after these calls, or if i speak to his counselor, but two days later, he is at it again. his counselor told him that if i came to speak to her once more then there would be enough documentation to keep him out of the classroom. so the next time he disturbed the class (and by this i mean not just a single outburst, but a series of remarks with no heed) i waited patiently until class was oveer and told Ms. F, his counselor, that i had had enough. there are simply too many other kids who need the attention and *benefit from it*. so yeah. its sad and unfortunate. but *shrug* c'est la vie, i guess. you can lead a horse to school, but you cant make him learn. i dunno. maybe one day, years from now, when this kid is (a) mopping floors or (b) in prison, he can think back to the opportunities he squandered. at this point, thats all i can hope for him: that he one day recognize the error of his ways.

part of the reason i chose high school is because the kids are older. they are able to make their own decisions at this point. if an elementary school teacher encounters a problematic child, it is quite likely that the child has no fault in the matter: a learning disability, a broken family, poor living conditions. but as that child matures, they gain the gift of free will—key word being WILL. the desire, drive and determination to achieve (and yes, i know: achievement is not the same for everyone; for one it could be getting straight As, for another passing algebra by the skin of their teeth: the point is that in each case, the student works their ass off and they reap the benefits of that hard work). but if instead they shrug and say "fuck it!" … well theres not much i can do. i can try to explain that their attitude is exactly what keeps them down, not their ability (or as they believe, lack of ability).... but many of them just shrug and say, "fuck it!" ... then it gets into a societal issue, and man, i certainly dont have time to soapbox about that.

i'm off. in the meantime, please peruse my new favorite magazine, seed.

shit ive been busy. sorry.

not as bad as the death of feynman, but close.

"Life is good for only two things, discovering mathematics and teaching mathematics." - Siméon Poisson

i shall be leaving town tomorrow morning, as my older brother shall be graduating from college. he is getting his bachelors. he said he would be damned if i got my masters before he got his bachelors! hey! at least im motivating someone!

in the hopes that the words of others can motivate, perhaps move you, i now present:

math quotes which should make you feel warm and fuzzy like a baby chick and which you could find on the wikipedia math portal but i know that not all of you go trolling through the wiki math portal so im going to copy and paste them here, (besides im a bit bored in class and dont worry, im aware of the irony).

"Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty —a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without appeal to any part of our weaker nature, without the gorgeous trappings of painting or music, yet sublimely pure, and capable of a stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show. The true spirit of delight, the exaltation, the sense of being more than Man, which is the touchstone of the highest excellence, is to be found in mathematics as surely as poetry." - Bertrand Russel <3<3<3<3

"Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable sub-human who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house." - Robert Heinlein <3<3 (and you scifific freaks better not attack me for the fact he only gets 2 hearts)

"The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophesies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell." - St. Augustine (<3 ... and thats a courtesy heart)

"He who can properly define and divide is to be considered a god." - Plato <3<3<3<3 (+ <3 for being my luva')

may the third

After more than three years of combat and nearly 2,400 U.S. military deaths in Iraq, nearly two-thirds of Americans aged 18 to 24 still cannot find Iraq on a map. this reads like a word problem.

you are in a military convoy going northwest from baghdad at 65 mph. an insurgent army is travelling south from mosul at 50 mph. how long until democracy is spread throughout iraq? show all your work; there will be partial credit.

may day

summary: in the morning, my guiding teacher called and told me she would be unable to be there today. she asked if i could cover her 5th period which is at the same stage as the 4th period. sure. period one: no one was there; all gone for la marcha.
period two: conference period; went with my wonderful cameraman to eat.
period 3: shared the articles from yesterday with the kids, asked them to summarize for the class as well as give their opinion. for the most part, they participated and were insterested. at some point, i told them that in order to know what kinds of things go on in the world, they need to speak to their parents, that they underestimate their knowledge. *nervous giggles all around* one girl said, "i've asked but she doesn't want to talk about it." another girl said, "yeah my dad's the same way." so i said, "sometimes, the things that immigrants go through and experience are hard and painful, and they don't want to tell to their kids. tell me: does your mom ask you to clean your room just once, or does she have to tell you a million times before you do anything?" the girls giggled, a clear indicator that it's the latter. i continued, "you need to be the same way. ask her at dinner. ask her in the car when she picks you up. ask your aunts and uncles about it. ask your brothers and sisters to help you. at some point, she will tell you her story. your history starts at home." and you know, i didnt get the blank stares from the class one would expect. all in all, 8/10.
period four: pact filming. fundamental counting principle, the building block of statistics. cooperative for the most part. one girl, J is very confrontational about everything. you could ask this girl for the time and she would take it as a personal affront. she is very angry. i am worried about her. also, due to AP testing, they put the morning announcements smack dab in the middle of the period. uh how about THATS STOOPID? better? skip announcements all together or make them at the end of the period. it disrupted the entire flow of the lesson, broke the kids attention and made it more troublesome to get them back on task. who the hell are these administrators, anyway? havent they ever taught a day EVAR? 6.5-7/10.
period five: same lesson as period four. here's what i learned, via direct experience: giving a lesson is more effective, more streamlined, more concise, and more clear the second time around. i also take into account the lack of a giant inturruption in the middle of class. 9/10.
period six: algebra 1a. never met them before ever. in fact, i wasnt even gonna stick around since i had work for tomorrow, and was all anxious about dealing with the clusterfuck of traffic (going from school to my apartment takes me across wilshire, through the center of la marcha). same thing as period three. these kids were asking more questions than third period and were really affected by the story from the toronto star. we talked about ther fears more. at some point, our discussion was about how minority groups turn on each other (there was one african american boy and one asian girl in this period, making it a different dynamic than period three, where all the kids are latino). we did the exercise i participated in with the BCLAD compas where we bring 10 chairs to the front to symbolize wealth, then force people out accordingly. it was really effective with the kids. they really got into it. they are bright kids. they made my day. and all this for kids i wasnt gonna see today. 10/10.

so yeah, i feel good about going to school today. i wish more educators taught them about the history they dont learn in school, read subversive literature in english class. i gave them a little bit, but tomorrow is more graphing and more statistics. the truth is in the numbers; power is in the truth.