Weekly Math Updates

November 26 , 2008


  • The True Story of Thanksgiving
  • John Stossel Dinner Speech (Excellent)
  • Obama's Education Secretary (Scary)
  • Articles of Interest

The True Story of Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving.  I sent this link out last year but I think it's more appropriate than ever to remember the true message of Thanksgiving and what caused the bounty.  It was the elimination of socialism amongst the pilgrams and a switch to free market economics.  If you don't know this story, please read it here:


John Stossel Dinner Speech

Last week I attended the PCE dinner where John Stossel spoke about education issues.  Here is a quick summary of some of my notes.  Warning: since it's a week later, I'm not 100% sure I'm catching the full meaning behind my notes.

John has won a lot of Emmy awards for his hard hitting reporting of consumer business issues.  Several years back, he turned his attention toward government issues of concern, and oddly, he hasn't won a single emmy, but I think he's endeared himself to the general American public more than ever.

John is a libertarian. He believes we need a return to the principles of our Founding Fathers.  He sees government monopoly of things as a real problem in our country because government breeds mediocrity.  Only a free market makes people excel and he brought up Milton Friedman's work "Free to Choose" as a great book on this subject.

He mentioned how his studies of other countries have shown the keys to success are contained in two things we don't have in our country:

1) autonomy for schools
2) vouchers in the sense that money is attached to the child and thus all schools compete to get that child into their school

He said that business is voluntary so both people only enter a deal if they both think it's a win for them.  Because business is free market, it creates win-win scenarios for people.  He contrasted that to government which is a zero-sum game.  It's force.  Someone wins and someone loses. 

He said it took the Soviet Union 70 years to fail under communism because it's a slow decay.  The bailouts we're having in our country are slow death to us.  He said we need a creative destruction system.  Failing companies should become the fertilizer for other companies to grow and succeed.

When asked what the most interesting innovation was in education, he said KIPP schools.  When asked about good books to read, he replied "The Road to Serfdom" by Hayek, Laize Faire books, and books by Thomas Sowell.

He was asked another question I didn't write down but his answer was we need to stop forcing the bottom kids into college.  It's not for everyone.

Someone also asked John about buying a copy of one of his education pieces from ABC and John replied it would be $10, but you can get it on YouTube for free. :)

Obama's Education Secretary

Well, I'm not sure if it's 100% official yet, but there's a very strong chance that Obama will pick Linda Darling-Hammond as his education secretary.  This is an individual who is in favor of reparations, universal preschool, and social justice curriculum.  If you haven't heard of this curriculum, think dumbed-down left-wing politicized curriculum interested in "righting-wrongs". Here are a couple of links if you're interested in more about this:

Stanford professor leads Obama transition team (article on Hammond)



Social Justice Math: http://www.radicalmath.org/main.php?id=SocialJusticeMath

Articles of Interest

German home schooling family seeks asylum in U.S.

"Mike Donnelly is a staff attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and says home schoolers in Germany are under great persecution. He also notes many German families home school in secret, but if they get caught, they can face fines in the thousands of dollars, lose their personal property, get thrown in jail, or even have their children taken from them."

Study: Math teachers a chapter ahead of students (clip)

"But the most well-known aspect of No Child Left Behind is its requirement for annual state tests in reading and math, and the penalties it imposes on schools that fail to make progress.

The teacher requirement is less well-known, and also less onerous. States were allowed to come up with their own definitions of "highly qualified." As a result, most teachers in the U.S. today are deemed highly qualified."

US officials flunk test of American history, economics, civics

Whoa!  This was a shocker.  I didn't know we were at war with Britain... ;)

"The exam questions covered American history, the workings of the US government and economics.

Among the questions asked of some 2,500 people who were randomly selected to take the test, including "self-identified elected officials," was one which asked respondents to "name two countries that were our enemies during World War II."

Sixty-nine percent of respondents correctly identified Germany and Japan. Among the incorrect answers were Britain, China, Russia, Canada, Mexico and Spain."

Court to decide whether campus evangelism a crime

That whole free speech thing is so overrated...

The Test Passes, Colleges Fail (NY Times)

"FOR some years now, many elite American colleges have been downgrading the role of standardized tests like the SAT in deciding which applicants are admitted, or have even discarded their use altogether. While some institutions justify this move primarily as a way to enroll a more diverse group of students, an increasing number claim that the SAT is a poor predictor of academic success in college, especially compared with high school grade-point averages..."


Till next week,

Oak Norton











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