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November 2007

Election Prep: Bellevue School District No 405 Director District No 4

Two candidates:

  • Jan Still
  • Michael Murphy

The official page on them here.

Also, after the last one and before this one, I found this article which goes more into where Sheila Killeen (who I already filled in the bubble for on the last line item on the ballot) and Michael Murphy (on this one) are coming from on the math.

And I’m not so sure I agree with them fully. They are into emphasizing computational mathematics over the more abstract ways of teaching math. I can understand where this is coming from, but I also stongly see the value of NOT teaching computational algorithms directly, but rather teaching how to think about problems and how to come up with the algorithms when needed.

However, I think the truth here is that which method is best depends highly on the child being taught. I do not think there is a one true right answer here. I think this is a perfect example where the method used should really be adapted on a per child basis depending on the child’s learning style. Unfortunately, things are just not set up to allow for that sort of thing.

Given that, I guess I am OK with going with “more traditional” methods that Killeen and Murphy advocate in the case where you have to pick one primary method. But I would really hope that more flexibility is put in place, and the actual mix of the council would allow for a more hybrid method. For people who will be going into higher math levels, learning to think of math as a problem solving exercise rather than somewhere where you memorize and follow rules is crucial. But for making sure people have the basic skills first, you need a bit of the computation and “this is how it is” bit, especially in early grades. You really do need both.

But I will go ahead and cast my vote for:

Michael Murphy

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