EppsNet Archive: High School

New Digital SAT Seems Pretty Easy

 

https://t.co/HSdNfODnIP — Paul Epps (@paulepps) March 10, 2024 I took a digital SAT recently. I’ve got a BA in Journalism and an MS in Computer Science, so I’m very well-rounded, like a sphere. I eat standardized tests for breakfast. The English portion, or Reading or whatever they call it now, seems much easier to me. I got 800 (out of 800) on that. There’s no more “read a column and a half of text, then answer 10 questions about it.” You read a paragraph, answer one question and move on. There are no more analogies. There are no obscure vocabulary words. Math is still math, although as noted in the story, if you’re getting a lot of answers right, then they start serving you harder questions. I got 780 on the Math portion. TL;DR: It’s an easy test. I got an almost perfect score and believe me, kids, I’ve been… Read more →

DOJ to Work ‘Hand-in-Hand’ With LGBTQ Community To Address ‘Threats’

 

That’s a good idea because crazy trans hoes in the LGBTQ “community” are the most violent people I’ve ever seen. Riley Gaines doesn’t seem to be able to go out in public without police protection. Matt Walsh has security personnel living in his house. High school girls have been beaten and raped by trans-identifying boys in high school bathrooms. Here’s a nice sign that some trans activists brought to a women’s rally in London: In keeping with the tradition of other violent, lunatic fringe organizations, members of the trans group wore masks over their faces, but from photos in the article, they all seem to be male. I sense a strong aroma of three things: Misogyny Child endangerment Sexual gratification of deviant males I don’t see violence directed at LGBTQ people. America loves gay people. Many trans people are harder to like because they’re too angry and violent and delusional… Read more →

Mirrors and Mirror Holders

 

Inviting Chaya Raichik, the woman behind #LibsofTikTok, to CPAC is "a gesture of contempt towards every teacher, every medical provider, and every other American who cares about making the world a kinder and safer place,” @AriDrennen told me.https://t.co/4ZzMJXEm8T — David Gilbert (@daithaigilbert) March 1, 2023 Doesn’t LibsOfTikTok just repost other people’s videos? It holds a mirror up to people who don’t like what they see and all they can think of to do is to hate mirrors and the people who hold them. As I post this, the tweet is getting ratioed at more than a 10-1 clip. I’d like to think this means that many people are getting as sick as I am of this “I hate you because you’re not as kind as I am” mental malfunction. Also sick of “People who cannot be expected to parrot opinions I hold myself should not be allowed to speak.” Now… Read more →

Black Queer History in APAAS

 

Pritzker Demands Black Queer History in AP African-American Studies — nationalreview.com In case you don’t know who “Pritzker” is, which I didn’t, J.B. Pritzker is the governor of Illinois. The College Board is putting together a new AP African-American Studies (APAAS) course. Florida governor Ron DeSantis, whom you probably do know, recently rejected the APAAS course, said he would not allow it to be taught in Florida, because the curriculum includes topics that seem to be included for political purposes rather than their relevance to African-American studies. Like “queer history.” I’m not aware of any state ever previously vetoing an AP course. Pritzker sent a letter to the College Board in which he attacked what he called “Florida’s racist and homophobic laws” and pledged that Illinois would “reject any curriculum modifications designed to appease extremists like the Florida Governor and his allies.” I don’t think until fairly recently, it would… Read more →

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

 

Loudoun County Public Schools seem to epitomize everything that’s wrong with public education in America. Former superintendent Scott Ziegler and public information officer Wayde Byard were indicted by a special grand jury amid an eight-month investigation into the district’s mishandling of two sexual assault cases. A male high-school student sexually assaulted two female students in the LCPS district between May and October of 2021. The “gender-fluid” male student, who was wearing a skirt at the time (which would make it easier to rape a fellow student than having to remove a pair of trousers), sodomized a ninth-grade girl in the girls’ bathroom at Stone Bridge High School. The perpetrator was transferred to another LCPS school, Broad Run High School (BRHS), where he sexually assaulted another female student. A 15-year-old boy was convicted of both assaults and sentenced to complete a “residential program in a locked-down facility.” The initial assault in… Read more →

A Couple of Thoughts on Student Loan Debt

 

I’ve taken out mortgage loans, auto loans, acquired some credit card debt . . . am I forgetting anything? But I’ve never acquired debt and not paid it back. It never occurred to me to do that.   Transferring student loan debt seems like subsidizing irresponsibility. What happens when you subsidize something? You get more of it.   I saw the Secretary of Education being interviewed and although I don’t remember his exact words, he seemed to blame the whole thing on the COVID pandemic. He said it was his job (or the government’s job) to make sure that people can bounce back from that and not be crushed by their student loan payments. I’d like to ask him where he got the idea that it’s the job of the federal government to make sure that citizens don’t suffer financial hardships. In the early days of our country, many people… Read more →

NY Times Annual Dissing of Black Students

 

First of all, I don’t know who is helped by these annual NY Times headlines on the academic underperformance of students with darker skin pigmentation. The black kid going out on an interview and the interviewer reads the NY Times — is he helped? Who is helped? What’s the point? Asian students by the way are doing great! Over half of the offers to “elite” NYC public high schools went to Asian kids. And these are not crazy rich Asians we’re talking about, they’re low-income Asians, immigrants, children of immigrants, who have an added disadvantage of living in homes where English is not the primary language. In my experience, kids can achieve remarkable competence in anything that’s important to them, and getting into these top schools has enormous significance in Asian families. Why doesn’t the NY Times run an annual story on how many Asians are selected in the NBA… Read more →

Biological Women Will Be Extinct. Also: Roger Bannister

 

On this date, May 6, in 1954, in Oxford, England, 25-year-old medical student Roger Bannister became the first athlete to break the four-minute mile, finishing with a time of 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds. In other news, there’s currently a controversy over whether or not transgender girls and women should be allowed to compete against biological girls and women in sporting events. To that debate, we add a few more facts: The current men’s world record for the mile run is 3:43:13 by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco. The current boys’ high school record for the mile is 3:53:43 by Alan Webb. High school boys have been running sub-four-minute miles since at least the 1960s. The current women’s world record for the mile run is 4:12:33 by Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands. The athletic performance gap between men and women is so big that the best women in the world… Read more →

Ban Dr. Seuss Before It’s Too Late

 

In Baltimore, there are 13 public high schools where zero percent of students can do math at grade level. There are six other city high schools where only 1 percent of students can do math at grade level. We must ban more Dr. Seuss books before these numbers get worse! Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: Priorities

 

When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that’s when I’ll start representing the interests of schoolchildren. — Albert Shanker, President of the United Federation of Teachers (1964-1984) and President of the American Federation of Teachers (1974-1997) It’s a problem in my profession that the number of schools that want to teach computer science far exceeds the number of computer science majors who want to teach computer science. The opportunity cost is too high. Computer science majors can earn a lot more working as software engineers than working as teachers. I volunteer a couple mornings a week to help with computer science instruction at a local high school. This school has a teacher, originally hired as a math teacher, who must be well into her fourth decade of teaching.  She now teaches computer science classes — poorly, but she teaches them. Because of her professional longevity, she makes a six-figure income with… Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: Tips and Tricks for the AP CS Principles Performance Tasks

 

Your most valuable resource for the performance tasks is the AP Computer Science Principles Exam page. Look for the section titled Sample Responses and Scoring Information. There’s a rubric for performance tasks, but they’re graded by humans so scoring is somewhat subjective. This page takes the guesswork out of it. You’ll find multiple student responses from previous exam administrations, including scoring guidelines and commentary. Some of the responses are excellent, some are bad, and the rest are somewhere in-between. But they all come with a detailed explanation for each row of the rubric as to why points were or were not awarded. Don’t submit your performance tasks without ensuring that they most closely resemble the high-scoring examples on this page.   Teachers are limited in the type of questions they can answer regarding your performance tasks. It has to be your own work. That being said, if you have a… Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: Inequality = Bad?

 

I’m volunteering a couple mornings a week in a high school computer science class . . . “Why don’t schools and classes have sponsors?” I ask one of the teachers. “When my kid was in school, they were always complaining about not having enough money. So why couldn’t you, for example, come in and say, ‘Hey kids, before you come to 1st period, make sure you have a good breakfast at McDonald’s. I’m lovin’ it!’? “And McDonald’s pays you 100 grand or whatever to say that.” “My concern,” he says, “is that would lead to more inequality in education.” I’m not sure he really thought that through. It seems more like a mechanical response to an abstract notion, i.e., “Inequality is bad.” As a parent, I always supported inequality in education. I wanted my kid to get the best possible education, better than most other kids. As a classroom volunteer,… Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: You Just Got to Really Want To

 

I’m volunteering a couple mornings a week in a high school computer science class . . . “Does anyone recognize this gentleman?” No one does. “Any pianists in the class?” About 5 kids raise their hands. “Do you ever go to YouTube and watch videos of pieces that you’re trying to learn?” Yes, they do. “Ok, this is Vladimir Horowitz.” Last time around, no one was able to identify Martha Graham. “I always know the name after you say it though,” one girl says. “Well, there’s more to life than technology, kids. There’s music, art, dance, literature . . . all these things help blow the dust off our ordinary existence. “I’ll get back to Horowitz in a minute. Last time I was here, I heard a conversation about how hard is it to go to college as a CS major. “I have some good news and bad news. I’ll… Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: Say Your Ideas Out Loud

 

[I learned about Scary Ideas from Jim and Michele McCarthy — PE] I’m volunteering a couple mornings a week in a high school computer science class . . . “The main thing I wanted to tell you is that you’ve got to say your ideas out loud . . . “A scary idea is not an idea that’s going to scare people when they hear it, it’s an idea that you don’t want to say because you’re afraid of how people will react to it. Maybe they’ll think you’re crazy. “Here’s a couple examples of scary ideas. “You recognize the speaker in this video?” Everyone does. “Ok, let’s see what he has to say.” I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. “Keep in mind that he’s… Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: All Are Welcome

 

I’m volunteering a couple mornings a week in a high school computer science class . . . “Computing,” I tell the class, “is like most professions in that some groups are under-represented and some groups are over-represented. You may have heard that the reason some groups are under-represented is because computing as a profession is more welcoming to some people than others. “I haven’t found that to be the case and I’ll tell you why. “My perspective on this is that if you walk through the workplace at a typical technology company, you won’t see people who look like me. I’m too old and I’ve been too old for quite a while now. At this point, I’m usually old enough to be the CEO’s father. “So to the extent that people want to work with other people who look like them and people who fit into the group, that doesn’t… Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: Why Was I Not Consulted?

 

I’m volunteering in a high school computer science class a couple mornings a week . . . If you’re going to work with computers, you need to be able to move around between different number systems, most commonly base 10, base 2 and base 16. As a warm-up, I asked students how many ways they could represent the quantity 7. Answers included the word “seven,” roman numerals, seven dots, a septagon, a Chinese symbol, and so on. “Quantities exist naturally,” I said, “but number systems are man-made. They’re just a set of symbols along with an agreement about how to order them. Why do we use the number system that we do? Who decided that?” Because I phrased it in a provocative way, some students realized that they hadn’t been consulted. “Yeah, no one asked me,” one student said. “Raise your hand in math class,” I suggested, “and ask ‘Why… Read more →

Teaching Computer Science: Next Year’s Teacher

 

I’m volunteering a couple mornings a week in an AP Computer Science Principles class for the upcoming school year . . . Schools are adding more CS classes and, almost without exception, retraining in-service teachers to teach them, rather than hiring people with knowledge and experience in the field. I met with the teacher today to do some upfront planning. At one point, he was calculating how many printouts we’d need for 6 groups of 4 students each . . . “Let’s see,” he said, “6 times 4 is 20 . . .” If you think that’s funny, guess what class he normally teaches: accounting. “Are you going to write that?” someone asks me. “Does he know you have a website?” “I don’t know what he knows or doesn’t know. Except he doesn’t know what 6 times 4 is.” Read more →

How to Not Get a Job Teaching Computer Science

 

She was a software engineer interviewing for a job teaching high school computer science. One of the interviewers read a question: XYZ School District is committed to effective learning for all students. Key in this work is improving the success of historically underrepresented, low-income and/or students of color. What are your experiences implementing instructional strategies shown to be most effective in increasing the success of these populations? She knew what the “right” answer looked like but after a momentary hesitation decided to answer honestly. “I think it’s probably counterproductive to single out groups of students as needing special handling to be up to the standards of the other students.” “We’re not saying that they’re not up to the standards of the other students,” the interviewer said. “Okay, let me say it another way. We have four labels available: ‘historically underrepresented,’ ‘low-income,’ ‘students of color’ and ‘none of the above.’ “From… Read more →

Was Nikolas Cruz Bullied?

 

In 2018, being accused of bullying is not on a par with being accused of murder, but it’s close. Emma Gonzalez, one of the Parkland shooting survivors, said this about Nikolas Cruz at the anti-gun march in Washington, D.C.: Since he was in middle school, it was no surprise to anyone who knew him that he was the shooter. Those talking about how we should have not ostracized him? You don’t know this kid. OK? We did! I can’t see anything unusual about that. The popular kids sneer at the geeks, the nerds and the weirdos. Because they deserve it. You don’t know this kid. We did. But when the kid in this case goes off the rails, which “was no surprise to anyone who knew him,” some self-reflection seems to be in order before blaming the usual suspects. I don’t understand the strategy of gun control proponents. Every tragedy… Read more →

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of: High School Gun Experts

 

I’m burned out on the high school gun “experts” for a couple of reasons: They’re rude. It’s too obvious that someone or a collection of someones is scripting their talking points. I heard one of the kids raising an obscure point about record-keeping requirements at the ATF. Most gun control advocates are not even familiar with the basic mechanisms and terminology of guns, let alone with ATF policy minutiae. That’s something a gun control lobbyist would know about, but it’s not something a high school kid knows about, unless it’s scripted out for him. I don’t object to the anti-gun message, although I disagree with most of it . . . I object to being treated like the kind of rube who can’t tell when a high school student is plagiarizing someone else’s ideas. Also: these kids have a platform, not based on their own merits, but because 17 other… Read more →

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