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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Subliminal algebra

From today's Palm Beach Post-

Flip through the textbooks used by every Palm Beach County Algebra I student and take a look at the faces in the pictures.

Forest Hill High School resource teacher Karen Cook did that. What she found among the lessons on graphing linear equations and calculating slope was what she calls a hidden curriculum.

Most of the photos were of white men or women. And when a black man was shown, chances are he was throwing a football or swinging a golf club instead of sitting behind a desk.

The images or lack thereof send a subliminal message to students, said Cook, who reviewed district-approved Algebra I texts as part of her doctoral study at Florida Atlantic University.

"Our textbooks are basically the window to our society in that classroom," she said. "If our textbooks are not reflecting opportunity and diversity in society, then I wonder how it's affecting our students and how they perceive our society."

Cook took on the textbook study last year as a project for a six-week summer course called race, class and gender issues in education. Her results were based on a small sample, the two district-approved Algebra I books. She chose math books because previous research on racial representation focused primarily on social science textbooks. She zeroed in on Algebra I because it is a required course for Palm Beach County students.
A hidden curriculum? The course is set by the teacher in the classroom, not the text book. A textbook is an aide, but without proper instruction its useless. On the other hand a bad textbook can be overcome by a good or exceptional teacher.

Ms. Cook's study is also worthless because of its small sampling.(Cook admits as much, saying her methodology was not an exact science. Nor did she supply any of her research to publishers) Can she present any data on how students did with these books? Its up to Cook to prove her case, right now it looks like a house of cards to me.

What do you think?

Linked to- Amboy Times, Samantha Burns,


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