Thursday, October 30, 2008

Measuring Teacher Performance

I stumbled upon this article from 1999 stating clearly issues raised by teachers regarding student performance in primary and secondary schools. It is just as relevant today as it was then. This shows a number of areas of difficulty measuring teacher performance. I have highlighted some of the areas of student performance impacted by teachers. Many carry through to high school from primary.

I grouped the results into behavioural (primarily learned behaviours brought to the classroom), genetics, environmental (factors with limited control by the teacher), structural (constraints imposed on a classroom) and societal factors to isolate factors solely controlled by teachers within the classroom. Pedagogy(teaching methods), content knowledge are the two major factors teachers contributing to teaching students.

  • students who are not doing well tend to give up, refuse to try, and this makes the problem worse - this behaviour gets worse as they get older and they start to compare their work with those of other students (behavioural)
  • high achieving students can taunt low achievers and this makes the problems worse
    students with psychological problems (eg, trauma experienced in the home) have trouble learning (behavioural)
  • sometimes teachers can’t work out why students can’t learn - it can be the problem of the teacher who hasn’t worked out how to engage students (getting inside the walnut) (pedagogy)
  • parents refuse to have their children placed in classes for students who have intellectual disabilities (structural)
  • students lack academic ability (genetics/environmental)
  • teachers don’t explain concepts clearly (pedagogy/content knowledge)
  • parents indulge their children so they won’t pay attention in class (societal)
  • parents don’t take an interest in children’s school work (societal)
  • students are transient and so miss a lot of school (societal)
  • it’s more difficult these days to get students placed in classes for students with intellectual disabilities there are children with attention deficit disorder who have difficulty concentrating in class (structural)


  • students haven’t been well taught in earlier years at school (historical)
  • students don’t value school work (behavioural/societal)
  • parents don’t value their children’s school work (societal)
  • students lack ability (genetics/environmental)
  • the system allows students to progress through grades without passing subjects (structural)
  • maturational level - students mature at different rates - they may not be able to grasp concepts now but they could in a couple of years’ time (genetic/environmental)
  • poor teaching (pedagogy/content knowledge)
  • teachers blame the students for poor performance when it’s the teachers’ fault (pedagogy)
  • students have psychological problems because of unhappy home lives (environmental)
  • teachers don’t have a good mathematics background (pedagogy/content knowledge/structural)
  • students’ poor behaviour in class means they don’t pay attention to the work - discipline problems in schools are on the rise - it’s part of wider societal problems (behavioural/structural/societal)
  • students lack self discipline - they’re not prepared to work (behavioural)

It is clear to see that student performance is a poor measure of teaching ability as many other factors exist to influence this criteria. To blame teachers for poor performance of students based purely on teacher pedagogy (teaching methods) or lack of knowledge of content ignores a host of other possible reasons.

Creating an 'unAustralian' education system

An article in the Australian discusses the challenge of improving schooling in Australia. Another article with opinion and without supporting facts to back them up. What has happened to our media? Why can they not develop a position and then report with supporting or refuting evidence!

The main points were:
  1. Development of a national curriculum (supported).
  2. Minimising or even abandoning plans for national testing programs (supported).
  3. Funding private and public schools on the same basis (?).
  4. Auditing the intellectual capital -- that is, teacher quality -- in all schools (?).
  5. Greater autonomy for schools and principals (?).
  6. Creating a federation of schools, in line with the British model (?).
  7. Refurbishing or replacing most school buildings constructed in the 20th century (supported).
  8. Increasing the business sector's involvement in education, including private funding of schools through foundations and trusts (supported with reservations).
Part three: By doing this we are accepting that we will have a two+ tier society. Those that can afford private schooling and those that can't. Public schools cannot compete with schools that have equal funding with private schools and are supplemented through school fees. Those students that cannot pay fees in private schools will be disadvantaged (students in private schools schools already have the advantage of rapid exit of undesirable students, this is their USP). Public schooling should be given more of the public purse than private schools. Our disadvantaged kids need our support. How is further disadvantaging them going to prepare them to compete equally in the workforce - it just creates an underclass. The funding ethos put forward is grossly capitalist and American. It is decidedly unAustralian.

Part four: Sure, let's audit teachers, how and who shall do it? What makes a good teacher? What happens if a teacher fails the audit? How do we re-educate them? Who plans and pays for the implementation? Who is to blame for poorly performing students - the teacher, past teachers? It's nonsense.

Part five: Where is the research that greater autonomy for schools leads to better student outcomes? The idea is counter intuitive. Surely re-inventing administration currently centralised cannot be cheaper, as flexible to change or as easily monitored than decentralised at a school level. All decentralisation does is decentralise blame for a system that isn't working very efficiently. Today is a time of centralisation as information technology closes the efficiency gains once found through decentralisation. Analysis and change coordinated at one location is far more efficient than directing responsibility to islands of learning.

Part six: I have no idea yet what this idea is of federated schools in the UK but I haven't heard the UK system as a model system for eons. I must investigate this further.

Passion, student behaviour and being fiery

One of the issues in classes today that stems from the home is that students have trouble accepting that a teacher has authority in the classroom. At home they argue with parents in a very democratic fashion. Students believe (wholeheartedly) that they have a right of reply to any misconception that they face.

I must admit this gets me fired up especially in my 'A' class. Any student willing to take responsibility for the care, nurture, learning needs and welfare of thirty students, get a degree as a minimum requirement for teaching can have my job if they can prove they would do it better. Until they do this, if I ask a student to be quiet or stand in the hall, see the team leader, copy off the board or attempt a question they may believe they can't do, I expect them to attempt to follow my expectation.

They will fail sometimes, and this is ok. This does not give them a right to argue and waste teaching time. It should prompt some introspection as to why they didn't understand how to do it and hopefully seek assistance from friends, pay more attention when solutions are put on the board or seek assistance at an opportune moment during class or after class. Maybe it would be a good idea to get them to journal why they have had such trouble understanding a concept and identify ways they could better understand a topic. Bringing the correct materials to class (eg. CAS calculators, pens, paper, texts), paying attention during instruction, fostering friendships with those that do understand, reading their notes (and keeping them in a place they can be used) - attending school regularly (my favourite) and catching up after sickness may be a good start.

These students do not have a right to insist on help at a time that suits them. To use a claim for help to justify poor or avoidant behaviour is not acceptable. I would love to be able to provide just-in-time intervention to every student all of the time. In a class of thirty it just is not possible. The belief that getting instant help is a right is infuriating and I don't know where it is being fostered. Maybe I should enquire into how many are only children (and thus do not have to compete for attention) and also examine my own methods of helping during practice time (maybe I am a contributer to the problem!).

When instructed on where their actions are errant I expect nothing less than silence especially with those talking during teaching time - this is done in the hall outside my room. Try my patience and half the school hears. It's fun watching them open their mouth and then hear them "but you won't let me talk to explain". If you talk during my teaching time and I have to stop the only thing I wish to hear is I'm sorry and then see an end to that behavior. Woebetide the student that interupts me again. My other students have the right to learn and it must be protected.

There must be a line between teacher expectation and student behaviour. There must be a consequence if this is crossed. A lecture, for many of my kids is enough to get the message. If they get the message, no further consequence. If it continues -they start the path to BMIS.

The argumentative nature of students at correct times needs to be fostered (we don't want meek students) - but it must be cultivated with manners and knowledge that there is a time and place to discuss the finer points of an issue. I always offer time after class for extra assistance and am happy to discuss any issues or problems from a class at this time. Funnily enough rarely is this offer taken up by these students during lunch or their own time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Creating inspirational students

Students aren't born inspirational. They're born rather podgy blobs that whinge a lot... Some never change...

This week I spent a bit of time reminding my year 10's that they are inspirational. Lower school students look to them for cues on how to behave, on determining what is important and setting the tone within the school. If they want a happy school - be happy. If they want a school with a million rules - do stupid things. If they want a school based on success of students, show the lower years that our school can perform at a high level.

For this I think it is important that we create opportunities for them to be successful and protect those that foster these activities. It might be taking an interest in a student that is doing an afterschool ESL class, or not getting grumpy with the dance teacher that is taking students out of class for a recital, being supportive of the physical education staff and their events, supporting SOSE excursions by providing extra supervisor bodies or helping out with relief classes.

I think it also means looking for information that might help inspire kids. I recently found two books by the actress that played Winnie on the Wonder Years (Kevin's girlfriend for those of you ancient enough to remember). One is called 'Math doesn't suck' and the other is 'Kiss my Math'. The books themselves may be just the thing to get a student going and get them to believe that you care about how they think. The maths is a bit dodgy in places ('Highest common factor' becomes 'greatest crush factor') but it has a go at making maths pop culture ready and that's a good thing.

Another bit of success I've had is to let them into my life a little. Last class we created tally tables on the best baby name that we had selected. Next time I'll have a silent poll as it was a case of many just following the leader. Maybe this is a discussion in itself. We've also used my history to investigate stocks, examine salary ranges and evaluate priorities on what is important in life.

Another opportunity has been with my guitar. I am worse than hopeless, but the kids see that I am still learning well beyond school.

Lastly whenever a leadership event occurs I draw their attention to it and suggest that they pay heed to things done well or poorly as they will soon be in that position. If they can learn good leadership habits now, they will be in better stead going forward.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Year 12 leaving ceremony

It was interesting to watch the leaving ceremony for the year 12's. It gives you a lot to think about for times where you are helping set up such an event and things that kids really need to do to make these events successful.

Firstly all kids need to feel included in the ceremony - not just the popular kids. Photo montages need to include everyone, memorable events need to cover the full spectrum of students academic, sporting, VET; dominant personalities need to celebrate and value the achievements of all, not just the popular few.

Perhaps we need to consider how we could create photo libraries for all years, mini yearbooks documenting events as they occur as part of the various handshaking ceremonies throughout the year.

There was a clear lack of thanks from the current year group. There was a brief thanks to all our teachers and then a celebration of all the events where misbehaviour had occurred and had perhaps caused embarrassment to students, the school or disrupted classes. This left a sour taste in the mouths of the senior teachers as a lot of effort had gone into getting this cohort over the line. Many have decided to give the graduation ceremony and dinner a miss. Maybe this is an indication that we need to focus on those that appreciate our efforts and that the efforts at 'inclusive' education have gone too far. Maybe students beliefs are right and we are not doing enough! I don't know but somehow I doubt that our efforts are best spent on students that perform at a very low level (even with all the help in the world) and take away time from students that could really use extra help. There needs to be further authority given to schools to move students that will not respond to learning opportunities to free up time for those ready. Perhaps it is just my utilitarian tendencies showing through.

When all graduate there is a clear diminishing of value placed on secondary graduation. With graduation rates of 80-100% and all students needing to continue school to year 12, graduation for many has limited worth. Many leave with little more knowledge than they had at year 10. It has diminished the achievements of those attempting TEE courses, there is little recognition of the difference in effort required. I feel for those that attempt TEE courses and get fails on their certificates due to external circumstance instead of taking the easy option and doing VET or alternate education courses.

Another clear transformation is the knowledge that these kids will probably communicate with their cohort for some time unlike any cohort from my time. The advent of Facebook and mySpace will mean that they can have instant communication with their cohort and an instant network to resolve issues and celebrate success. I don't know if this is a good thing as coming of age was about new times and new people, the removal of negative reinforcers and a new beginning.

The lack of concern of students for their TEE exams and the haphazard attitude to study borne through portfolio entry and low TEE scores is definitely to their detriment. The baptism of fire is now more dip in a warm pool. These students have managed to leave school without any anxiety of security and self worth - how will I support myself, what occupation can I do, how will I be worthy of my life partner, how will I be a valid contributor to society? Resilience is something borne of experience and these students lack any real concept of the difficulty of gaining true independence.

Casio Classpad 330, Finding the mean and missing values

I posed the following question to my year 10's in order to continue our learning of the new calculator. It is an example of solving a problem where the mean is known but a value in the sample is not.

"Q: A class had 5 students. Student results in the last test was {50,56,64,72,81}. Isabella joined the class and the new mean became 68. Did Isabella score higher than the old mean and what was her score?"
H: If the mean of {50,56,64,72,81} is less than 68 then Isabella has scored higher as a higher score by Isabella will raise the mean. Since we know the new mean (68) we can work out Isabella's score by working backwards.
Set up a working pane with a main application and a list editor. Title a column 'list1'. Add the 5 student results to the list editor.

Click in the main application and type mean(list1) using the soft keyboard. Hit the blue exe button. The answer is 64.6 .
A: The old mean 64.6 is less than 68 therefore Isabella has scored higher.

To find Isabella's score click in the list editor and tap the next empty cell in list1. Press the x button. Click in the main application pane on the line that says mean(list1). Press the blue exe button.

This will return a sum to work out the mean of the list for values of and value of x i.e. (x+323)/6.

As we know the new mean alter the first line to read mean(list1)=68. Highlight the solution sum and tap Edit in the menu bar and then Copy. Paste the sum on the next line in the main application pane. Highlight the sum, tap Interactive on the menu bar, then tap Advanced on the sub menu and then tap solve. Tap ok at the base of the dialog box. The answer is x=85.
A: Isabella's test score was 85.

Click here for other CAS calculator articles

Revisiting fractions

My 10D class has revisited fractions over the last week. For many fractions is like another language others have managed it in the past but have forgotten basic principles. The sequence I have used leading up to percentages of amounts is as follows

Drawing and identifying numerators and denominators
First exercise was identifying a variety of numerical fractions from pictorial form and then constructing pictorial fractions from numerical forms. We spent a lot of time looking at mixed numerals and converting between mixed numerals and improper fractions using pictorial means.
eg. for 3 2/3: draw 3 lots of 3 boxes with all boxes coloured and 1 lot of 3 boxes with two boxes coloured. When students counted the coloured boxes they had 11/3.

Investigating fractions of amounts
It seemed strange to do this here, but funnily enough it worked well as it established relevancy of the topic for many students. We started with a problem 3/4 of $24 is to be given to John and 1/4 to Mary.
I explained it as:
3/4 of 24 is: $6 per part (24/4)
I drew a box and split it into 4 equal parts (drawing attention to the denominator)
I put $6 in each box.
I coloured in three sections that represented John's portion
then counted $6 x 3 parts = $18 for John

I then repeated the same steps for Mary
1/4 of 24 is: $6 per part (24/4) then $6 x 1 part = $6 for Mary

We checked our answer to ensure all the money had been accounted for ($18+$6=$24). Students then completed a number of examples.

Investigating multiples and factors & Equivalent fractions
Next day we looked at multiples and factors. I explained this through examples, showing them examples of multiples and factors, then getting them to find the first five multiples for 2,3,4,7 and then the first five multiples for 2,3,5,7 over 100. After this they found factors of 10, 15, 24 and 42. We investigated patterns in factors (none greater than 1/2 the original valure other than itself, how it helped knowing your tables, factor pairs, 2 is always a factor for even numbers)

Students were then given a fraction wall and identified equivalent fractions in preparation for adding and subtracting fractions. The idea was put forward that fractions rely on parts to be equal otherwise the idea of equivalency would not be able to be used.

Adding and subtracting fractions
In the third lesson we looked at the problem of 1/3 + 1/2 using paper strips. The aim was to establish why equal parts is essential to an understanding of fractions. We used our fraction wall to look for equivalent fractions that allow us to add equal parts. After a few pictorial examples I started to show students how to use multiples and factors to assist in finding common denominators.

Next lesson we look at multiplying fractions...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Recharging students for success in mathematics

Being in a low socio-economic school sometimes is disheartening. The students don't believe that they are able to achieve academically. This is reinforced by parents, teachers and the school in subtle ways throughout the year.

A parent complains that the student is only doing lower maths and does not need a $175 calculator. The timetable allows many non-TEE subject to run, but only a few TEE subject selections are available. Portfolio entry is seen as a primary pathway to university rather than a backdoor entry for extreme cases. Lower school programmes lack the rigour of programmes in more academic schools. A single student or groups of students can disrupt classrooms for an entire year, but little coordinated effort can be made to limit the damage being caused. The idea of secondary graduation is diminished by the idea that 'anyone' can graduate. Cohorts of students are labelled challenging and good students lose opportunities as classes are aimed to manage the lower students and keep them engaged to detriment of academic achievement by top students.

Charging academic students for success is a mentality that must be driven - it doesn't just happen. Kids need to be told that they have the ability to succeed, shown possible outcomes, be given opportunity to try/fail/succeed and be mentored as they go along. Setting clear standards sets the groundwork for success.

Things that I consider serious issues in my A class:
  • Not being quiet and ready to start work within 2 minutes of entering the room
  • Being late for class and not entering the room quietly
  • Complaining, whining and whinging before attempting work
  • Not paying attention when instruction is given
  • Relying on friends or personal attention of the teacher for instruction rather than some level of personal investigation
  • Not attempting homework
  • Failing a test or assignment ( lower than 1 standard deviation from mean)
  • Not seeking assistance when required
Students that continuously fall into these issues risk demotion to BCD classes. For some, demotion is the right option, for others the motivation to be moved down is enough for them to alter negative behaviours. For a relative few, it identifies students with ability but are unlikely to succeed at TEE level. This year, boys in particular have been a real issue and a focus for the course next year (I think this is the most significant issue at our school).

Things that I do to promote positive attitudes towards mathematics and address issues:
  • Look for opportunities to congratulate students on achievement
  • Attempt to talk to each student each class
  • Allow friendship groups to remain together only when learning is occurring
  • Ensure that new topics include new material
  • Promote the A class as being a privilege and a responsibility
  • Reinforce that attitude is as important as aptitude
  • Change the difficulty level regularly to allow for opportunities for success/failure and stretching of the mind.
  • Question their own beliefs of their ability and remind them of progress made
  • Use personal experiences to enhance class material
  • Focus the basis of enjoyment in mathematics in achievement rather than entertainment by the teacher (though the converse may be more important in lower classes)
  • Encourage students to self monitor behaviour and provide peer feedback
  • Create opportunities for students to see the different rapport with yr 11/12 TEE students than with yr 10 students

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Casio Classpad 330, Creating a Histogram

Today in class we looked at how to produce a Histogram using the list editor. A Histogram is used when data is continuous (there is no gap between intervals).

Class interval (Frequency)
0 <= x <>=80 (1)

Tap in the list editor. Tap Edit in the menu bar. Tap Clear All. and tap Ok in the dialog box. If a graph is open tap the StatGraph pane to select it. Tap the cross in the top corner of the window to remove the graph.

Name a column in the list editorclassmid’using the soft keyboard. Put the midpoint of each class into the classmid column. eg. {5,15, 25, .., 85} (make sure you name the column before putting the data in!).

Name a column in the list editor ‘freq’ using the soft keyboard. Add each corresponding frequency into the freq column. eg. {3,10,16,..,1}.

Tap SetGraph in the menu bar. Tap Setting. Select Histogram in the Type dropdown, select classmid in the XList dropdown and freq in the Freq dropdown. Make sure the Draw option is on. Tap Set at the base of the dialog box.

Tap the StatGraph icon in the icon bar to display the graph. Make HStart 5 (midpoint of first interval) and HStep 10(size of intervals).

A Histogram will appear. Tap the StatGraph pane and then tap Analysis in the menu bar. Tap Trace in the menu.

A flashing crosshair should appear above the first column of the graph. Use the blue cursor key to navigate column values in the graph. You can use these values to create your histogram on graph paper. The xc at the base of the graph are horizontal axis values and the Fc are your vertical axis values.


Other educationWA articles on CAS calculators
How to navigate through menus (what's a menu bar?) Click here
How to create a list (what's a list editor??) Click here

Here's a link to an index of other CAS calculator posts.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Casio Classpad, day 1 with students

As I play with the calculator things become a little more obvious. It was good fun with my year 10's showing them how to find the mean of


with the CAS calculator during p5 on a 35°C day and then set Maths for WA3 10C with 50 items in the sample. I was upfront in saying to my students that learning all the new content next year and learning how to use the calculator was a bad idea (lights went on... ahh, that's why I need to get one this year!!). For those students still unsure, I made them find the mean of a 50 item sample with their scientific calculators. They promised to buy a CAS calculator tomorrow.

Anyhow.. this is one way of finding the mean with the CAS calculator. There are many better ways but the idea was to learn how the calculator works (the picture is the end result).

Open a main application in the work pane.
  1. The last icon in the tool bar should be a graph. Click the dropdown to the right of the graph. Tap the icon that looks like three columns in the sub menu. The list editor will open in the bottom pane below the main application.
  2. We need to give our list a name. Tap the top of the first column. “list =” should appear at the base of the list editor.
  3. Press the blue Keyboard button. The list editor will temporarily move to the top pane. The soft keyboard will appear in the bottom work pane.
  4. There are four tabs in the soft keyboard. Tap the abc tab with the stylus. A qwerty keyboard should appear. Name the first column in the list editor ‘list1’ if it is not already. You may need to click again in the list editor list= textbox first.
  5. Press blue Keyboard to get rid of the soft keyboard. The main application should reappear in the top pane and the list editor in the bottom pane
  6. Use the stylus, tap the first cell in list1.
  7. Using the number keys press 10 then exe (bottom right hand corner of the keypad). This should put the first number in the list. Not that the cursor has dropped to the next item in the list without having to use the stylus. Now enter 12 then exe. Your list should now have two entries. Add the remaining entries.
  8. Click in the main application. Raise the soft keyboard with the blue Keyboard button. Open the abc tab and type list1 and press exe. {10,12,13,14,15} should appear.
  9. Click Action in the menu bar and tap List-Calculation. Tap mean from the options provided. 'mean(' should appear in the main application.
  10. Complete the action by typing ‘list1’ using the soft keyboard and the button ‘)’. You should now have ‘mean(list1)’ displayed. Press exe. The answer 64/5 will appear. To get a decimal representation, highlight ‘64/5’ with the stylus and click the first icon in the icon bar.
viola. You should be able to finish the tutorial by finding the median yourself. (An alternate way is to type list1, highlight it, tap the Interactive item in the menu bar, tap list calculation in the sub menu and then median and then select ok at the base of the dialog box.) You could also use statistics mode (tap Main on the icon bar, then tap Statistics.) The Statistics application is very similar in structure to the stats mode on the fx graphics calculator).

Here's a link to my last article on learning how to use a CAS calculator.
Here's a link to an index of other CAS calculator posts.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Casio Classpad 330 Journey

Second weekend playing with the calculator.

When I was doing phone support often I could not see what the person on the other end was doing. I became quite adept at directing customers on quite difficult tasks blind. The most important thing to do was to adequately define things up front.

With the CAS calculator the windowing system can be quite confusing at first. It is important to name things in such a way that students can listen to your direction and follow it, rather than needing snapshots all of the time.

In the worksheets I have created, the calculator is divided into the screen and the buttons. The screen in divided into the menu bar, the tool bar, the work pane, the status bar and the icon panel. The buttons are blue, grey and black.

The Edit, Action, Interactive text at the top is the menu bar
The icons underneath the menu bar is the tool bar
The area underneath is the work pane, it can be split into the top pane and the bottom pane. The work pane is currently filled with the main application.
The bit beneath the work pane (eg. Alg, Standard, Real, Deg, battery indicator) is the status bar.
The stylus and buttons are used to enter data and operations into the calculator.

Here's a link to the "How do I.. ???? on a Casio Classpad" book that I have been using.
Here's a link back to my first article on CAS calculators
Here's a link to an index of other CAS calculator posts.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Management in schools

Having a management background sometimes makes me have to look twice at those that are in management positions, particularly those that criticise superiors. In my day that was called whiteanting.. a popular (and healthy) pass time of staff, a particularly unhealthy occupation of management. Management that did stupid things like that found themselves being shown the front door.

For similar reasons management that wished to leave were given their severance and shown the door rather than working out their notice. Unhappy management talking about how the "grass is greener" elsewhere rarely have the motivation to do their job to the level required. It tends to be half hearted and based around explaining why leaving is a good idea to other staff. There are exceptions based on circumstance but usually this is true.

A strong administration gives an organisation direction and purpose. In teaching (where promotion is often from within to administration), a strong relationship often exists with staff and the newly promoted that cross the staff/admin boundary; this inexperience ends with the newly appointed siding with staff rather than with school policy set by the senior management group. Pre-policy positions should be open to discussion with staff but dissension with policy (once decided) should stay with the SMG.

This is why in many cases it would be better to gather administrative staff from out of school, rather than promote from within (temporary postings are the exception to this, this is where you get experience for a permanent position). The staff relationships are less fixed and a clear line can be drawn that is needed for a working environment. Good time guys with unprofessional relationships with staff allow schools to be run down as staff run in individual directions and lose direction on teaching outputs. Old boys networks within schools should be discouraged at all costs. Management is about setting the school direction and managing staff - when management and staff are travelling in different directions then this is not a positive outcome.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Surfing & Structured and sequenced content

When at uni, in my last year I sent a letter to the Dean about the mathematics course. The gist of it was that I thought that the course needed more structured and sequenced content.

It seems this is becoming a more popular view. When 'mature age' students leave university they have a real disadvantage as a lot of mathematics is not fresh in your mind (as it is when you leave school) and you have no real idea what is to be taught to what year group and how. You have to muddle along for a few years before it is all sorted out.

There is also a pressure for all of the kids to feel successful all of the time. To achieve this, typically teachers dumb the course down a little. As you get more experienced you can lift the bar higher without students feeling hopeless, get them to 'ride the wave' so to speak.

The idea of mandating a minimum curriculum (and setting a syllabus) in mathematics for each year group is a good idea. By setting a standard this will assist graduate teachers know what needs to be taught, where the course is going in following years and make for an easier transition when moving between schools. The scope and sequence documents are a good start, but we probably need to now go further and make it compulsory to use these as the minimum benchmark for teaching mathematics K-10.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blog entries on CAS calculators.

Other educationWA articles on CAS calculators:

My first use of the CAS calculator Click here
Naming conventions Click here
How to navigate through menus (what's a menu bar?) Click here
Naming variables Click here

How to create and use a list of data (what's a list editor??) Click here
How to create a graph? (What's a StatGraph?) Click HereHow to find the mean and missing values of a data set? (how do you solve an equation?) Click here
How to find probabilities with Normal Distributions? Click Here
Finding simple moving averages Click Here
Combinations and Permutations Click Here

Balancing equations. Click Here
Solving simultaneous equations. Click Here
Absolute Value and Inequalities. Click Here
Absolute Value and Inequalities 2. Click Here
Functions (Inverse) Click HereFunctions (fog(x)) Click Here

How to find an unknown angle from a triangle using the sine rule. Click here
Storing formulae on the CAS calculator. Click Here

Annuities, Reducible Interest and Amortisation (Finance). Click Here
AP's & GP's. Click Here

Finding and solving problems involving the 1st derivative. Click Here

The articles should be completed in order as they build upon previous entries. They use the Casio Classpad 330.

Monday, October 13, 2008

CAS Calculators Casio Classpad 330

Sat with the CAS casio classpad 330 calculator today. OMG.. what a learning curve, to face 3AB MAS MAT and learning how to use this new bit of tech.

We tried to use it to assist in solving an investigation. Took 3 mins on paper. 5 mins to setup on the calculator and 1/2 hour to find out why it wasn't working.

I think I'll need to post a few things on here about it as I learn more.

My advice to all - get the stupid thing out and start playing with it tonight if you haven't started already.

The first bit of useful content for learning the tool I've been given is The videos are a bit of a help and look quite good. They may assist if you can take the students to a lab after introduction of a new topic.

The consensus is to get proficient to at least the level of graphics calculators and then the rest will follow as everyone gets more aware of their capabilities. I certainly miss not having certain buttons at easy range that I am familiar with such as trig functions and sqrt keys. I do like fiddling with technology though so I don't see it as too much of an issue for me.

oh.. and Rom Cirillo from the Curriculum Council (who has been a rather nice bloke throughout the NCOS fiasco).... of course if you ask us to vote whether we want CAS calculators now we are going to say yes... WE HAVE ALREADY TOLD PARENTS THAT THEY HAVE TO GET THEM FOR NEXT YEAR BECAUSE YOU/CC SAID THEY WERE REQUIRED, YOU DILL! Great idea to shift blame to teachers for any costs to date by shifting responsibility for calculator selection in 2AB back to schools. What happened to the equity issue for 2CD students next year (not to mention the need to buy a $175+calculator for use in 3 terms year 12)? When CC people (at the PD) were questioning the need for these calculators at all, I wonder how much thought has gone into the need for this planned, staged, implementation by CC (it seems another opportunity to ditch teachers into a hole and see what comes out). Is there any actual measurable improvement in maths by students expected by using these tools (especially as complex calculators are rarely used out of school)? Does anyone know where the broom is?

Click here for an index of CAS calculator posts.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mock Exams

Mock results are in and they're looking good. You've all worked consistently and have performed above your indicated ability levels.

Well done guys!

Now is the time to examine those areas that were nearly there and consolidate them. Study hard, make sure that your time is focused on subjects that you need for your TEE scores. Enjoy the last two weeks with your friends, pick your study buddies well. Get stuck into those revision guides and past TEE papers. Soak up the last of school life.

Well.. don't just sit there.. get to it!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tribute to a great lady.

Yesterday one of the finest people in the world passed away, 93 years old. Born Gertrude Whitmore on 15th February 1915 to William and Dorothea in Calcutta India, orphaned at a young age. Educated at Loreto convent Entally and on finishing school undertook nursing training and taught kindergarden children. She was introduced through her sister to her future husband Carl. She married him on the 2nd of June 1941 and together they had 4 children, Patricia, Roger, Arlene and Steven. She migrated to Australia in 1971 and although life was hard in India, it in no way prepared her for life in Australia. Here she had to learn how to cook, operate a washing machine, look after the garden, operate a vacuum cleaner.

Compared to Calcutta, Perth was a quiet place, she initially felt isolated and lonely, but with her indomitable spirit she made new friends and conquered all obstacles before her. Her 4 children eventually reunited in Perth, bore 8 grandchildren, Lisa, Russell, Andrew, Nicole, Sascha, Kym, Ashleigh and Corey. After a long wait during her 93rd year two great grandchildren were born Tani and Angeline.

She was caring, so very strong, happy, never had a bad word to say about anyone, was loved by everyone. She lived for her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. This is how we remember her.

Her home was always open to all, food was always available in abundance, there were often kids scattered around the place. People were forever dropping by. We sat for many an hour in front of the tv cheering on the local cricket team or playing wheel of fortune. She was afraid of the electricity and I would tease her by sticking my head in the microwave. We would make camp beds on her floor, play hide and seek around the garden. She was a very ordinary scrabble player, would cheat constantly unless she had the urge to prove a point. We played Caroms, Ludo and Snakes and ladders. She would guess Jill first go in 'Guess Who' and be right. She played badminton with us at age 80. I would tickle her and she would pull faces. She would 'jarp' us up if we were being naughty (holding a fist in the air); 'chowkree' if we were barefoot; 'maraga sala' if we were cheeky (and we would chorus 'bleddy'); she'd tell us 'cul ma thow' if we hadn't been home for awhile. She made banana fritters, chow, fried rice, chicken curry, dahl, cutlet putlet and curry puffs that we all fought over. We'd make cul-culs at Christmas. We belted her ginger and garlic to a mash. She made the best tea in the whole world. It was safe in her house, I count many more hours in her home than my own.

She was a keen gardener, we picked her tomatoes, snow peas, grapes and lettuce from the yard. She had chooks and we ate the eggs. She would wake to a tap on her window at 6am every morning to make sure that I had breakfast before school. She would pack my lunch each day. We would rewrite her recipes for writing practice. She kept all my schoolbooks and reports. She was ever ready and never sat down. I went there for dinner after school. She always forgot to take out the salad. She saved her water from the washing machine long before it was fashionable.

She was four foot nothing. She gave and gave and gave of herself unconditionally unless Baileys was concerned (which tended to defy physics and evaporate at an alarming rate). More than once did she end up on her bottom from a bit of over enjoyment.

She loved her clubs and outings (the world would stop turning before Nana missed her club), she made friends at every opportunity. Gallivanting, gadabout Gertie from Girrawheen was always happiest when tripping here and there, coach, plane or train. She was game for anything, riding on motorcycles, loved going camping with Sascha and Kym, even finding a crab on the end of her hand when digging in the sand on a holiday to Wedge island.

It was fun going 'hopping with nan. We would have lunch in the old person canteen at Coles in town. She would sit at the local shopping centre with a gaggle of grandchildren (all sub 4 years old) and bags too heavy to carry. Someone unrelated would always miraculously turn up and take her and us home. She accepted help graciously. She knew so many people and they loved her as we did. She could meet someone and know their life story three minutes later.

She welcomed my future wife into the family with open arms. I have wondered who my wife fell in love with first. Every visit was an attempt to make her explode with food. It would only stop when Kendra would say I'm going to throw it all up again if I eat more. I think this became the challenge.

She would nickname everyone, Babu, Hooligan, Ahool, Tatto Meero, Putto to name a few.

She loved photographs of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. We all fought to be the picture in the front. She would remind me that she still had a pulse and that I needed to visit her now. I'd say I'm coming soon. I should have visited more. I could never have visited enough.

She loved Grandpa and missed him greatly when he passed away not so long ago. She loved her two dogs, Scampy and Sam. Her love for all of us was unconditional and for her the gift was always in the giving (we often received our gifts back rewrapped the following Christmas - and only rewrapped because we would open them for her and rip up the paper). She claimed that she was a big Jonah, but everything she wanted, it seemed she already had. She valued what was important in life.

Nana would always say a prayer to St Anthony when we had lost anything and she would remind us to say a prayer before driving anywhere to be safe. She had advice on everything, never patronising, always said with a good spirit.

Towards her last days, even in great pain, to the point she couldn't talk and struggled to breathe, she would still indicate to nurses that they should rest, not fuss and have a sit down; or could kick my guitar album closed to say that she'd had enough of my woeful playing. She put her hand on Kendra's pregnant belly and smiled. She would try to eat just because she knew we worried but had no way to swallow. Visiting babies would smile and gurgle at her on her bed in the hospital. She never complained except to say it was terrible to get old.

We would get a cuddle, her hands were always warm and soft, just holding her hand was often enough to cheer you up.

Gertrude Fernandez passed away with family at her bedside at 4.30 pm.

She was an amazing person, I was her favourite and baby (at age 34), I loved her, she always made me feel special. Nana you have always been my inspiration. Your life has made the world so much incredibly brighter but the tears still well, although I treasure every second you spent with me, it makes it that much harder not being able to hear your voice and having to spend days without your support. I wish you could have stayed and met our first baby. You were an inspiration to all you raised and taught. Yet, know all your favourites miss you dearly and we will carry you with us always. I still feel you with me.

This is my tribute to you nana and to all those that have made differences in our lives. May we look to your example and seek to do likewise.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

EducationWA milestone

A bit of posting trivia.. reached the big triple... 100 blog items, 500 visitors and the 1000 page hit mark..

I updated the header.. I had a bit of a dig at the edubabble acronyms usually pedalled out at uni and PD days. The fourth word in the logo is supposed to be 'ivaluate' - wen I lurnt my spellings we yewsd the hole of langwadge uprowch(sic) :-) I have no idea what the maths is behind the text - but it looked good!

Again.. thanks to all for their visits and comments... It helps keep the motivation up.. and promotes the thinking on how to do things better. It has been a great reminder to appreciate the profession we are a part of!

I'm organising a few new people to add their opinions, rather than just my ramblings.. so stay tuned..

Monday, October 6, 2008

Being paid less than a dog walker

-> November 2008 update: click here

The government has just announced a 6% pay rise backdated to September 2. I congratulate the Liberal party for 'making good' on an election promise in the limited time frame stated. I await rather cynically to find out how long it takes to move through parliament and the DET paymaster.

Much fanfare was made by the media that this makes WA teachers the highest paid in Australia. Again we have clear misleading of the public through indirection rather than an investigation of the underlying issues and the reporting of a clear opinion based on a justifiable set of associated facts. Lazy journalism rather than investigative journalism relying on media releases rather than reasoned facts.

Why boast about teachers being the highest paid.. it's like waving a red rag at bull. My wife made the comment, "highest paid what? Dog walkers??" She earns considerably more than I do in an occupation where typically there is no educational requirement. There is clear inequity in teacher salaries and it needs redressing - not window dressing.

A forum entry on the Plato website lists wages in WA to be:
"The six per cent increase would see a first-year teacher’s annual salary grow
from $48,425 to $51,331, a senior teacher’s salary from $70,868 to $75,120,
a principal of a small school (under 100 students) from $77,744 to $82,409
and a principal of a large school (more than 700 students) from $114,593 to

After the increase a teacher salary is about $24.70 an hour for a 4 year degree trained graduate or $36.12 an hour for a senior teacher (salary ÷ 52 weeks ÷ 5 days ÷ 8 hours). My last car service (on a Camry) was $427. I don't even want to think what that apprentice doing my oil change was earning. In the gap between uni and teaching I was earning $30 per hour shifting boxes from one site to another.

ABS stated on the first of April 2008, the average wage in WA in 2007 was $1185.80 pw or $61,000 per year (this includes an adjustment for gender). If we are trying to attract people from industry into teaching, they will (in an average case) take at least a $10,000 pay cut on entry to the profession.

In international terms teacher wages would be 31, 216 USD (21,109 Eur) for a graduate and 52,792 USD (38,825 Eur) for a senior teacher with at least 7 years experience that can get their accreditation granted and credited in WA. "Move to Australia, have sub-habitable conditions in inhospitable regions and take pay just above the cost of living. It's a great adventure, you should do it now!!" Strangely this campaign failed to attract the number of teachers required in the short to medium term.

We expect teachers to take full responsibility for classrooms in their first year out and this responsibility does not change significantly throughout their career. For this they are paid $10,000 under the average wage. I can't imagine the financial strain some are feeling starting a family and getting a mortgage on a teaching salary especially when you consider repaying HECS fees, recovery from the loss of income during study and the distance/support issues with potential country postings. Each year we see TEE scores for teaching drop and pre-requisites fall by the wayside for specialist and core subjects (who remembers the 3 month bridging course idea that thankfully was dropped!).

I have also seen two friends and great teachers in the last two years quit teaching for financial reasons. In no industry are you expected to get a four year university degree, on starting work be directly responsible for the management of 30 (potentially aggressive) people at once (and 150 over the year), be expected to drive the formation of the social fabric of a community, take leave when suitable to your employer, potentially move away from home for years at a time to inhospitable regions and be paid well below the average wage. Teaching has been made an undesirable occupation for too many.

If you have survived financially after working in your subject area for 7 years, becoming a specialist in your field, you may get a premium of $10,000 over the average wage. If you are any good you may be encouraged to take an administrative role and be promoted in many cases to incompetence. Or you could spend two years going to courses learning how to submit an application for level 3 promoting yourself. Whoopee! It is just as well those remaining in the profession are as dedicated to the students and social good as you would think, otherwise you would suspect that they are of sub-par intelligence for putting up with all this.

We need to forward plan for the shortfalls in teaching staff projected for 2009/2010 and arrest the increase in resignations (graphs taken from PlatoWA website). Teachers have low morale at present and need a positive outlook in order to work effectively. Any real benefit must be sold to both teachers and the community through the media to make both appreciate the needs and benefits of change.

It is quite clear that to regain the position of teachers as professionals in the community and rectify morale issues, there needs to be a 10K increase now and another 10K in 3 years time with CPI increases in the interim. The issue is that it will cost an extra $523 million dollars p.a. It is money that must be spent to preserve the state school system. A monitoring system could then be instigated to ensure that the wage position of teachers in society does not change (with periodic reviews against top 10 occupations - similar to the politician wage fixing system). This is a minimum negotiating position for the restoration of the status of teaching as an occupation in society and could be sold to teachers.

Society values the dollar more than any factor when setting status and only when it is fought for. I fear the only effective method available for teachers to fight with at present is for strikes during TEE to create an understanding for the need for change stemming from the community. If society believes that state education is a requirement but does not believe teachers do a required job, then it should be reminded - if teachers stop working when it will hurt most - society may realise the critical role they play and the lack of alternative courses for students that are effective.

Teachers being caring and nurturing want to avoid this situation at all costs, even to their own detriment; because of this they are constantly taken advantage of. To avoid the strike action (that no-one wants - but clearly is in the best interests of teachers and society) there needs to be a media campaign with discussion of the worth of teachers; establish fair monetary value of their sacrifice in becoming teachers and value their contribution in the community over and above contributions of other occupations - teachers ARE an exception (this is what lifting the status of a profession entails). This would restore morale in the teaching sector, improve recruitment and justify/allow/promote some levels of rationalisation in the short term to correct perceived deficiencies in classroom teaching and school performance. This is something political parties, the business community and the media has to support.

Make the change and attract real teachers. Reward those within the system that have striven to keep standards high. Create a situation where sub par applicants can be redirected to other occupations within or outside education.

From dire times have always come great leaders. Let's hope that leader is going to stand up soon.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Establishing performance criteria for teachers

I have commented on how difficult it is to produce meaningful performance criteria for schools and discussed how poor an idea 'performance pay' is for schools as an incentive. One would think that you could use graduation data as a key performance indicator. It could be used very effectively as a media "beat up" story.

The table shows that in the 2006 census, 55% of 20-24 year olds proceeded to yr 12 (or equivalent) in Girrawheen/Koondoola/Balga. In contrast Warwick/Greenwood/Ballajura had percentages on average of 73%.

Let's suppose an increase in graduation rates was a key performance indicator for teachers and schools. After all the only real gap between Warwick (77%) and Girrawheen (57%) is a 5-10m strip of Wanneroo road.

Over the next 20 years the 20% gap will reduce but I doubt schools will get the credit - and nor should they, it will be demographic change that drives performance not school performance to any great degree. All schools teach basically the same curricula (guided by DET and the curriculum council), have very similar students in terms of IQ and have the same quality of staff. These factors in combination are not enough to justify the 20% difference today. There must be other issues at play outside the control of schools.

Social change is the key driver - not educational inputs. Nutritional awareness, social attitudes, pre-school learning, ESL requirements are all key factors other than schools. In one family the first student in a generation will make it past yr 10, then the next generation past yr 12, then another generation to university. In another family, the family home is sold and they move deeper into surburbia removing themselves from the local statistics.

Julia Gillard has stated that underperforming schools will recieve $500,000 to rectify deficiencies. It would make a squidge of difference but not much more than that.. The idea of putting this money to finding and paying "super teachers" shows a clear lack of understanding in the sector and huge pressure on the teacher - to my mind these teachers are being set up for failure. After all, a 'super teacher' in one school can be a struggling prima donna in another demanding of resources to get the job done. What works in one location does not guarantee success in another. Horses for courses!

Typically large amounts given to schools are earmarked for infrastructure or very narrowly focussed programmes with short term outcomes to measure the impact of the funding. It is deemed impractical to wait 5 years to see if long term mainstream programmes have truly worked, evaluate flaws and modify the programmes; or wait a further ten years to see if the programme has provided benefit in finding employment.

A less attractive suggestion to 'powers that be' is to have more hands on deck and create more developmentally appropriate classes (eg. specialist upper school subjects or sports/arts/dance/T&E programmes) and smaller class sizes available for enrolled students. This would make upper school more attractive to students and would in most cases produce higher yr 12 graduation figures. Our school does this quite effectively for challenging students that would have finished school in yr 10 in past years.

Even this approach for using graduation figures as a KPI is fraught with danger - as I pointed out in earlier blogs, students are fickle and tailoring courses to students may work to increase graduation one year and be an absolute failure the next due to changes in the directions of courses (eg. with the implementation of NCOS), changes in teaching staff or student whim. The recent mining boom is a great example of 'uncontrollable factors'- students graduating year 12 will drop as a result of the 2006+ boom as the lure of the mining labour exceeds the desire for schooling. It is poor planning to decrease school capability(losing the capability to offer subjects in the future due to staff losses from decreased funding or losing incentive funding due to lack of perceived positive effect) purely because of financial trends in the marketplace.

I have only used one statistic as a possible measure of performance, imagine the complexity of a full blown model evaluating schools including academic, emotional and social factors drilling down to individual classrooms. A teacher is deemed to have done well because they have been provided a well prepared class from previous years (or vice versa). Performance pay lifts the blame game in the primary-middle senior school to a whole new level.

To my mind it is not possible to do accurate performances measurements to the degree necessary and any attempt would be largely ineffective due to the differences across schools/classes and the lack of fine grained control over these factors throughout Australia.

That data used has been taken from the ABS (here).

Topics for next term

It is always useful to examine what is to be done in term 4 as there is often time to do something special.

Yr 10(focus) - 10 weeks
Perimeter and Area of composite shapes (L4)
Construction and Identification of polygons and angles in polygons (L4/5)
Operations with fractions (L5/6)
Area of circles and sectors, arc length (L5/6)

Yr10(advanced) - 10 weeks
Series (L6,7)
Basic statistics and CAS calculator use(L5)
Regression, residuals and moving averages (L7)
Theoretical probability (L6)
Exponential and other functions (L6)

Yr11(MIPS) - 6 weeks
Finish incomplete assignment work

Yr 12(Discrete) - 2 weeks
TEE exam preparation

Yr12(MwM) - 2 weeks
Finish incomplete assignment work

Plan for 1B,C 2A,B,C,D 3A,B (MAT) 3A,B (MAS) - courses running 2009
Review 1D,E 3C,D (MAT) 3C,D(MAS) - courses running 2010
Prepare materials for yr 6/7 courses 2009 - courses running 2009

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Newspaper reporting

I had the unfortunate experience today of reading the Australian and again finding an article that showed little research and was basically just a beat up bit of sensationalist nonsense. I am happy to beat up the union under normal circumstances but this article in my opinion is poor journalism as it uses emotive language and unsupportable assertions.

"How will it wangle agreement on education reform from state Labor governments beholden to teachers unions? When the West Australian teachers union won pay increases of 21.7 per cent earlier this year, union boss Anne Gisborne boasted that "one of the strongest elements behind this has been the political campaigning that our members have had on track for eight to 10 weeks".

If Janet Albrechtsen had done her research she would know that the 21.7% was not seen as a win, nor was the main push by the union (the push was from state government onto the union to resolve the agreement to the satisfaction of the state government to prevent the wage claim being an election issue). The offer was seen as so poor by union members (don't get me started again on how misleading it is to call it a 21.7% increase without clarification that it is over 3 years and that only a small percentage of teachers would receive that amount.. blah.. blah.. blah..) that it was rejected despite direction from the "union boss" to the contrary. This is hardly the stuff of a powerful union and more of a union boss beholden to state government.

More so it is bizarre that she has chosen WA today as the example of a Labor government/union impediment to federalism as WA now has a Liberal government.

"Consider the union reaction to the Rudd Government's education revolution outlined last month by the Prime Minister and his deputy, Education Minister Julia Gillard. Reforms to make education more transparent by mandatory reporting of student results, allowing parents to compare school performance? Opposed by unions."
And rightly so. Anyone working within a school would know that socioeconomic factors influence the ability of students to perform. Yes, students are as bright in low socioeconomic areas as in other areas but the effect of poor environment and lack of parental support cannot and should not be discounted. This affects school results greatly. Comparing school results puts undesirable pressure on schools to focus on measurables and not on the best possible education of a student. One only needs to look at the effects of league tables in WA and the outcome of students being discouraged to take TEE subjects as a key negative outcome of mandatory reporting.

"Transparency and accountability reforms that will enable the most disadvantaged schools to be identified and receive extra funding of $500,000 for your average school so that they may improve? Opposed by unions."
How will comparable schools be identified and how will improvement be defined? Provide a reasonable workable model and there would be support for such measures. Make overarching statements with deadlines for implementation that can only produce wafty goals and of course there will be opposition. The major reason for the reduction in educational results in WA schools is OBE and the rise of the heterogeneous classroom. In disadvantaged schools this has been a disaster as teaching 4-5 different levels in a classroom has resulted in dumbing down of curriculum. Government fault yes, school fault no.

"Moves to give greater autonomy and flexibility for principals to hire staff? Opposed by unions."
Ok. I agree with Janet here. Permanency is an archaic concept as is the indenture model inflicted on teaching graduates. A move to a currency based economy where scarcity drives salary is desirable (but can the state afford it?).

"Moves to introduce performance-based pay for teachers to encourage better teachers? Opposed by unions."
Performance management in schools is non-existent/ineffective. Fix this first and then introduce performance based pay. With the limited management skills and time available in schools today, the introduction of another layer of administrative requirement would take time, money and skills the sector clearly does not have.

"Moves to introduce a national curriculum so that students moving between states and territories can access a seamless education system? Opposed by unions."
Yes, and it is no wonder given that we have just overcome the last educational fad. The ability of government to deal in 3 to 4 year terms does not equate to the requirements of educational facilities that run to 12 year periods. Bipartisan support is required from both sides of the political fence to adequately trial and research the effects of a curriculum in a range of schools across Australia before implementing in all schools. This is of course politically unacceptable as the completion time is greater than one political term.

Thankfully blogging is an outlet for opinion and the need for accuracy is lessened as by definition and intent it is a discussion between the reader and writer on a topic. It is scary when journalists are allowed to present poor research in the form of fact within traditional media. The public can be given the completely wrong impression through faith in journalistic integrity. I must admit, like many readers, my faith is dwindling faster in media news outlets with each year that passes.

The full article can be found here:,,24427663-32522,00.html