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    #77811 - 06/09/10 12:59 PM Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Please read my proposal description for "NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences" at:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/

    I have proposed a nationwide public school for high school students who are exceptionally gifted in mathematics and the physical sciences. The curriculum is standard, straightforward, and universal with very few choice options. I call my proposed school "NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences."

    I am especially proud of one particular element in the curriculum that I call the Colloquy, which awards The Linus Pauling Medal to deserving students. I describe the Colloquy at:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/2009/11/colloquy-linus-pauling-medal.html

    The following excerpt describing my thinking regarding the Colloquy is from my "One Response" at:
    http://paulingblog.wordpress.com/2008/06/26/pauling-and-the-nobel-prize-trip/

    "Though I am proud of my academy idea in its entirety, I am especially proud of the Colloquy honoring Linus Pauling. I believe the Colloquy will be the most inspiring and life-changing learning experience of all for some academy scholars, and I look at it as something Linus Pauling would be proud to have his name on. Being awarded The Linus Pauling Medal at a “NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences” will be a high distinction that will certainly earn some academy scholars significant university scholarships.

    If you have not read through the Colloquy description in my document, please do so. And then remember back to being in high school. The academically-minded high-achieving grade-driven student who will be the typical academy scholar will be entirely flummoxed by the Colloquy in the beginning, because all of the usual motivations are gone: it is Pass / No Pass with no need whatsoever to please or impress the teacher, but with every need to impress and influence peers with clear thinking, precise articulation, and persuasive argument in achieving a growing agreement toward a common goal of identifying and advancing an idea for the good of humanity.

    A careful read of the Colloquy description reveals the telling endgame decision that will seriously challenge some academy scholars: Do you abandon the growing consensus of the group effort when the rules allow you to revert to being a lone wolf again, or do you stick with the group effort (even if only in a supportive role) to make the shared solution the best that it can be?

    In the world of ideas, there are those who create, invent, or form ideas, and there are those who make ideas happen — the doers. The idea people need the doers more than the doers need the idea people; the doers can muddle on because they will always accomplish something in the process, but the idea people and their ideas will die lonely deaths if they cannot persuade the doers to actually make things happen. The Colloquy will identify both the idea people and the doers, and sometimes the doers will be those who are most deserving of praise and recognition — and should be those who sometimes receive The Linus Pauling Medal for their efforts.

    Again, I think Linus Pauling would be proud."

    I hope you will read the entire blog. If you do, know that I especially value the following excerpt from:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-scie...-of-oregon.html
    "NAPS will put an enormous academic and emotional strain on its NASA Scholars, especially during the junior year. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that each and every scholar can relate in a genuine supportive way with his/her classmate scholars especially, but also with scholars from the other two grade levels and with the “high school” teachers. Because emotional maturity is not always on a par with intellectual maturity, gifted adolescents in the transition to adulthood need friends who can understand them. Gifted adolescents are adolescents at risk who are sometimes very vulnerable to social challenges, and they tend to know this about themselves. But, in usual settings, they are alone with their fears. NAPS academies will have the opportunity to create a safe haven in which truly extraordinary young people can experience what it feels like to be ordinary, at least during the while when they are among peer classmates; the importance of this cannot be overstated: a NAPS site will either succeed or fail in its primary purpose by whether or not it can succeed in making its scholars feel ordinary."

    It may seem like an odd thing to many, but special programs for gifted students only succeed if they create an opportunity for the gifted child to feel "ordinary" or normal. Too often — in fact, almost always — the TAG opportunity is something IN ADDITION TO the regular curriculum. By comparison, Special Education for poor performing students is something INSTEAD OF the regular curriculum.

    The catch is this: a truly gifted child does not need something IN ADDITION TO the regular curriculum, because the truly gifted child is NEVER unable to be self-directed in a personally interesting fun activity. A truly gifted child is rarely bored if he/she is left alone. Therefore, the IN ADDITION TO stuff robs a truly gifted child of that most precious thing of all, which is free time.

    It is tiresome to always be extraordinary in a school setting. Worse than that, always being the smartest person in the room can lead to self-destruction, because even the very smartest young people want more than anything to fit in somewhere — to be ordinary — to be normal. My "NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences" proposal attempts to create that "somewhere" for those young people who are exceptionally gifted in mathematics and the physical sciences — that "somewhere" where those who are truly extraordinary can be simply ordinary for three years of their life.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #77971 - 06/11/10 02:02 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    chris1234 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/27/08
    Posts: 1891
    Very interesting!

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    #78046 - 06/12/10 10:19 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    dd5 Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 04/19/10
    Posts: 9
    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester

    It is tiresome to always be extraordinary in a school setting. Worse than that, always being the smartest person in the room can lead to self-destruction, because even the very smartest young people want more than anything to fit in somewhere — to be ordinary — to be normal.


    I agree with this statement wholeheartedly. I hope your proposal gets a lot of support.

    --
    dd5

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    #78090 - 06/13/10 08:17 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: dd5]
    blob Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 263
    Thanks for writing this, Steven. I identify with so many points that you've brought up.

    Good luck on your proposal!

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    #78152 - 06/14/10 03:36 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: blob]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    The following is a comment that I made to Forbes:
    http://rate.forbes.com/comments/CommentS...y-managers.html

    The Forbes article:
    What Educators Are Learning From Money Managers
    by Daniel Fisher
    http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2010/0607/e...y-managers.html
    Innovative schools collect data, look for small changes, intervene quickly and move resources to the formulas that work.


    Posted by Steven_A_Sylwester | 06/07/10 02:19 PM EDT
    As much as we need the masses to reach their potential so that the U.S. might have a literate and capable workforce, we need more for the prodigies and the geniuses to reach their potential, too, so that the U.S. might maintain world leadership in discoveries, innovations, and inventions. Ultimately, our success as a nation will be measured by copyrights and by patents - by the economic power we will derive from intellectual property ownership rights.

    The American ethos granting "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" tends to be bottom-up in practice in public education, and only lasts as long as the money lasts. Special Education for poor performing students is required by laws that speak of legal rights and fairness, as if excellent performing students can somehow make it on their own while poor performing students are doomed without extraordinary interventions. By comparison, Talented and Gifted (TAG) programs are recommended and endorsed, which means they no longer exist because the money for them ran out a long time ago.

    Though a common fallacy believes otherwise, the fact is: prodigy and genius are not reliably the product of privilege. Economic advantage and high social status do not determine giftedness. A genius can be born in poverty.

    In the face of it all stand three truths: 1) Special Education students are children at risk, 2) TAG students - especially the prodigies and the geniuses - are children at risk, and 3) the United States of America is a nation at risk. If we ignore any of those "at risk" groups, we do so at our peril - and all three of those groups are interrelated.

    I propose a nationwide public high school for our science-minded prodigies and geniuses to be located on the campuses of 150 public research universities across the U.S. I have called the school "NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences." My proposal can be read at:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/

    Steven A. Sylwester


    Edited by StevenASylwester (06/14/10 03:43 PM)

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    #78153 - 06/14/10 03:41 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Again, please read:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/

    Please read the whole blog from start to finish from the beginning to the end. Thank you.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #78244 - 06/15/10 01:30 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    inky Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/10/08
    Posts: 1299
    Thanks for sharing this! A great example of thinking outside the box when it comes to gifted education and I really liked the stealth approach. Hope it catches the attention of those who can make it happen.

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    #78332 - 06/16/10 12:15 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: inky]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Kudos to "inky" for reading this:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-scie...a-and-naps.html

    Now, how do I get everyone else to read it, too?

    Why is this so important? And why would the many U.S. intelligence agencies partner with the U.S. military with a NASA front to make "NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences" happen? For starters, watch the following linked "60 Minutes" segment "Cyber War: Sabotaging the System" online if you missed the repeat national broadcast last weekend:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/11/06/60minutes/main5555565.shtml

    Some of the prodigy and genius children in our nation would have happy and fulfilled lives if they were specially trained and educated in mathematics and the physical sciences for the task of keeping America safe. If creating that opportunity for such special training and education allowed for some or most of the exceptionally gifted young people to then advance into other career choices, we would be doubly blessed.

    Some parents might balk at the stealth underpinnings of "NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences," but they would be fools to do so in my opinion. Whatever it takes is worth the doing.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #78388 - 06/17/10 12:50 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    ColinsMum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/08
    Posts: 1898
    Loc: Scotland
    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester
    Kudos to "inky" for reading this:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-scie...a-and-naps.html

    Now, how do I get everyone else to read it, too?

    I think you have two separate problems to tackle:
    (a) how to get people here to read your proposal;
    (b) how to get other people to read it.
    I think you'd do better with (a) if you realise that this is a community (largely) consisting of people struggling to get better education for their children. You don't need to convince us that there is a problem in much of education: we know that.

    Moreover, we are busy and we don't owe you anything. "Thanks" to inky for reading your proposal would have been more tactful than "kudos".

    It would also help to know why you would like us to read it. Do you want detailed constructive criticism? Feedback on whether we broadly like the idea? Action to push for its implementation? Or do you want nothing from us and just think we'll find it interesting or encouraging that it exists?

    If you want people to invest time reading your proposal, what you need to convince us of (and in fact, the same will apply to others, although with others you may also have to convince them that there is a problem to be solved) is that you have something to offer towards a solution. That could either be a convincing abstract posted here, or something about your credentials to do this (who are you, what is it in your background that means we should expect you to have done a good job of designing a school?) or better, both. To be concrete, I think a succinct description here of your Pauling Colloquy, which is a seriously interesting idea, would have hooked more readers than what you did write about it, which didn't make sense unless the reader had actually read what you'd written about it elsewhere.

    My own reaction, which may or may not have been typical, was: when you first posted, I clicked, skimmed, saw a large body of highly rhetorical and not clearly structured text, and made a judgement that the expected value from reading your blog wasn't worth the time it would take. It was only when chris1234, a long-time poster here whose opinions I've come to respect, posted that it was interesting that I invested the time in reading it.

    When I did so, I found some interesting ideas and a lot of statements that I agreed with, but I felt that the proposal was frustratingly vague in important ways, such as the curriculum. Perhaps your US readers have background that helps them to understand things I'm missing, though. To give one example from a field I'm very familiar with, you list CS courses and you suggest that computing is central to your proposal, but you say nothing about what's in the CS courses and you come worryingly close to equating CS with programming. It makes me wonder whether there is any substance to the proposal.

    Perhaps it would be a good idea to write a straight, rhetoric-free description of what the proposal actually is, with more detail than you have given so far, and separately, a document justifying your choices?
    _________________________
    Email: my username, followed by 2, at google's mail

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    #78398 - 06/17/10 07:44 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ColinsMum]
    inky Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/10/08
    Posts: 1299
    Steven, I sense frustration about "what is our call to action?" Maybe it would help to clarify what steps you've already taken to contact NASA Administrators about this proposal. It seems to fit with the Education Mission Directorate. It would help to have an Executive Summary and the conventional proposal format.
    http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/428355main_Education.pdf
    P.S. Have you tried this route already?
    http://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/about/ideas.html
    Or as an unsolicited proposal?
    http://prod.nais.nasa.gov/pub/pub_library/unSol-Prop.html


    Edited by inky (06/17/10 11:09 AM)
    Edit Reason: P.S.

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    #78488 - 06/18/10 02:08 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: inky]
    PoppaRex Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/09/10
    Posts: 44
    I hope you're not offended if i start commenting before i read the WHOLE thing. My attention span ain't that great!

    - I do not like the stealth option. Stealth option is how the government works. It sucks. People are fed up with new programs disguised as tack-on to other programs. A new model should stand on it's merits or forget it. I realize that's not the way things work today, but i am a firm believer that there is room for honesty and directness.

    - I am not crazy about eliminating sciences such as biology. Seems to be a prejudice there? The goal should be to foster immagination/creative thought in all disciplines.


    - additionally, the comments about the need to limit dual enrollment between the HS and college level smacks to me of being a flase limitation. If there's a roadblock, don't drive around it, knock it down. Identify the shortcomings of the current way of thinking and propose a solution to get it to work in the way is should have been intended to work.

    That's as far as i skimmed. I like the general idea of this though. The one issue i see is "no child left behind". I can hear the screaming already. What we need is to change NCLB to "All children to the best of their potential".

    lastly, limiting this to HS is shortsighted. I know, you have to start somewhere, but it would be nice to see a larger vision that also builds the foundation to preparing ALL children for such a system.

    Good luck!

    Poppa

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    #78492 - 06/18/10 02:37 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: PoppaRex]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3288
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: PoppaRex
    lastly, limiting this to HS is shortsighted. I know, you have to start somewhere, but it would be nice to see a larger vision that also builds the foundation to preparing ALL children for such a system.



    This is an interesting comment. From what I've seen, high schools tend to be the best of the lot for gifted kids. When these kids finally get to 9th grade they can finally pick their courses themselves and they have a variety of courses available to them. Choices include AP courses and electives, plus, age restrictions are dimished.

    In contrast, elementary students are trapped in lockstep curricula and giftedness isn't even usually recognized until 3rd or 4th grade. I can't tell you how many people have told me, "Well, they're all the same until that age anyway."

    I disagree! I think that the differences between gifted and ND kids are usually most obvious at younger ages.

    I'd really like to see a proposal for an elementary/primary school that accepts bright and gifted kids at very young ages and allows them to work at a pace and level best suited to them (in each subject). It would be nice to get the curriculum more aligned with say, E.D. Hirsch's books (Poetry! Science! Geography!), and less aligned with objectives that are quantifiable on high-stakes tests.

    I'm not advocating to move away from teaching things that you can test (definitely not). I'm advocating for changing the tests away from the high-stakes/Scantron model. First rule: get rid of multiple choice.

    Val

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    #78501 - 06/18/10 08:02 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: Val]
    PoppaRex Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/09/10
    Posts: 44
    Val, I'm not sure that schools haven't pinpointed kids at an early age. I think they have, but the model doesn't allow for anything much out of the norm. Fist off, i don't think the average teacher understands how much these kids CAN learn. I am sure you have gotten the "look" from parents and teachers if you try to explain just how much your child already knows.

    I also think that there is a danger in your comment about accepting bright/gifted kids into a special program. We had something like that when i was a kid. There was an 'A' class, 'B' class etc. and that's exactly what led to no child left behind! The second that you focus on a subset of kids you get a clatter from those left behind that the system is not fair... and it WASN"T! I know kids who were labled and placed in the 'C' class because their parents were immigrants and they didn't speak english well, or they were poor and hungry in class, or dyslexic etc., etc..

    What I am saying, is the system needs to be designed so that ALL kids can go as fast as they want, every child has the same opportunity as the next. You are only limited by your intellect, your desire, the desire of your parents, and so on.

    I agree with getting rid of multiple guess.

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    #78523 - 06/19/10 09:25 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: PoppaRex]
    TMI Grandma Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 05/21/10
    Posts: 46
    I am new on the board and appreciate opportunity to evaluate all information on ideas and programs to improve Gifted Education. I would encourage everyone to read this proposal so they can evaluate the ideas proposed. It gives us a opportunity to offer susgestions of what we do or don't like, or what we do want. From what I read, this program offers opportunities to 1% of the gifted population. In implimenting programs in schools to identify the 1%, is there funding that would be made available to address many of the issues addressed on this board,like lack of funding in schools,teachers need to take class to support gifted children...? What is trickle down efect of this program in improvements in Gifted Education for all Gifted Children? How will this program benifit us as a nation? Does anyone know of other susgestions of programs to meet this need? If so, how do they compare? Would love to have answers to these questions! For 2E parents, schools being educated of their childrens potential to possibly change the world because of their learning style, would possible generate professional development classes for all professionals. Will finding the 1 % generate money,programs, and change education in Ameria for everyone? If so, there would be a voice so loud arise from the public it would be ground shakeing.

    Thank You for submiting your proposal to this board.

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    #78540 - 06/19/10 05:35 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: TMI Grandma]
    inky Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/10/08
    Posts: 1299
    Poppa,
    I was surprised to find myself agreeing with the stealth method since I'm a big proponent of transparency and open records. Unfortunately there's a widespread belief that GT is a label that sets kids apart and makes it harder for the unGT population to excel (as master of none described it so well in another thread). This is reflected in the paltry amount spent on gifted education at the national and local level. Going through the standard budget channels will probably have the same lackluster results. I'm envisioning something more like the directive that created DARPA, the DoD's “Chief Innovation Agency."
    http://www.darpa.mil/Docs/Intro_-_Van_Atta_200807180920581.pdf
    Quote:
    DARPA’s higher-risk, longer-term R&D agenda distinguishes it
    from other defense R&D organizations. Perhaps the most important
    effect of DARPA’s work is to change people’s minds as to what is possible.
    DARPA’s 50-year history reveals a constant mission to create
    novel, high-payoff capabilities by aggressively pushing the frontiers of
    knowledge – indeed demanding that the frontiers be pushed back in
    order to explore the prospects of new capabilities. As an entity DARPA
    has many of the same features as its research. DARPA began as a
    bold experiment aimed at overcoming the usual incremental, tried
    and true processes of technology development. Like the research it is
    chartered to develop, DARPA consistently over its 50 years has been
    purposively “disruptive” and “transformational.”

    As for the multiple choice testing, I'm a big fan of the Diagnostic Pretesting-Prescriptive Instruction described in Assouline's Developing Math Talent. As far as I can tell, the tests recommended for diagnostic pretesting are above level multiple choice tests. I understand the limitations of standardized testing but what would you substitute? It seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater to get rid of multiple choice tests instead of recognizing when they're useful and when they're not.

    I'm looking forward to hearing more of your views! smile

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    #78550 - 06/19/10 09:20 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: inky]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3288
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: inky
    As for the multiple choice testing, I'm a big fan of the Diagnostic Pretesting-Prescriptive Instruction described in Assouline's Developing Math Talent. ... I understand the limitations of standardized testing but what would you substitute?


    I've been fortunate to have been educated in three countries: here, and two western European countries. One thing that I saw overseas was a lack of emphasis on multiple choice testing (especially the way it's practiced here).

    Exams in, say, Ireland, are usually structured as follows:

    1. The paper has, say, 10 questions (hypothetical number). A student has to answer, say 5 or 6 of them. These numbers are hypothetical, but the questions can't be answered in a minute or way less.


    2. In maths, you solve the whole problem and your marks aren't based solely on the correct answer. You also gain or lose points based on what you wrote as you tried to solve the problem.

    Check out a higher level maths paper here.

    3. Exams in the humanities are based on essays. You are given a question based on something you covered in your courses and you have to answer the question.

    Here are two sets of sample questions:

    Originally Posted By: LeavingCert2010_English_1
    WUTHERING HEIGHTS – Emily Brontë
    (i) “Unlike Heathcliff, Hareton maintains a positive attitude to the world.”

    Discuss this statement with reference to both Hareton and Heathcliff.

    Support your answer with suitable reference to the text.

    AND

    [The exam provides Al Gore's Nobel acceptance speech]

    (i) Al Gore asserts that we are “confronting a planetary emergency”.

    In your own words outline the argument he makes in support of this view. ...

    (iii) Identify and comment on four elements of effective speech-writing evident in this text.


    Compare with this question from the Advanced Reading section of the CAHSEE (CA exit exam for high school):

    Originally Posted By: CAHSEE

    [The student reads a passage about John Muir]

    What happened first?

    A. The Muir family moved to the United States.
    B. Muir Woods was created.
    C. John Muir learned to climb rocky cliffs.
    D. John Muir walked to the Gulf of Mexico
    E. Muir visited along the east coast.

    Not only is the question really basic, it's also wonderfully suited to guessing.



    The Irish exams require that students know stuff and apply knowledge. The California exams require that a student pick a fact out of a test booklet and regurgitate it.

    For me, this is the biggest problem with multiple choice (MC) tests. These tests not only encourage the writing of simplistic questions --- they pretty much require it. Plus, questions can (and often are) written in a way that facilitates guessing. NCLB's draconian requirements presumably drive this last approach.

    We use multiple choice tests because they can be graded using industrial methods (eg, with Scantron devices). I expect that people will argue that this method is more objective, because a Scantron will always give the same credit for the same answer. But from my perspective, MC questions are basically pointless measures of learning, so why even bother? We're penny-wise and pound-foolish in this regard.

    One could also argue that exams like the SAT and the MCAT have essay questions, but the grading system is, well, sub-optimal. And this is correct. But the fault doesn't lie with the idea of an essay question; it lies in the fact that they're graded via formula and by low-wage people. Again, the industrial approach. Here's one example.

    In Ireland, on the other hand, university faculty members who are knowledgeable in the fields grade exam papers. This is very serious stuff! Obviously, different people will give different marks, but they're experts and they get guidance. They definitely don't give the highest marks to the longest essays.

    What's really, really, unfortunate is that most Americans probably have no idea that a national essay-type exam could even exist---let alone know that it's the norm in many places.

    Sorry, but a lot of US education and educator ideas --- way beyond the denial of cognitive giftedness --- are just plain broken. Chief among them is the simple refusal to recognize that sometimes the slow, old-fashioned way (essay questions graded by professors) is superior to the modern method (Scantrons).

    So, honestly, the problem isn't just that our school system doesn't want to recognize that some people have better cognitive abilities. A lot of other things are also profoundly, horribly, terribly messed up, including how we even define the idea of education.

    THIS is why I don't like MC tests.

    (Davidson Institute, thanks for the soapbox.)

    Val


    Edited by Val (06/19/10 09:37 PM)
    Edit Reason: Clarity

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    #78578 - 06/20/10 12:00 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: Val]
    inky Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/10/08
    Posts: 1299
    Val, thanks for getting up on the soapbox and posting the information about how some other countries test. For the same reasons you wrote about, I would prefer seeing my children answer open ended questions but only if those tests are graded competently. Otherwise it's likely to be what's described in the article you posted about the SAT that ends with this statement:
    Quote:
    ''The multiple-choice makes the writing test valid,'' he says. In short, the most untrustworthy part of the new SAT writing section is the writing sample.
    And this is the competency of the graders you get for a test with a $50 fee! cry
    I saw Iowa schools now pay $2.50 for each student to take the ITBS once a year. Their new assessments with an essay portion may cost an additional $6 to $10 per student.
    http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article...d-raise-the-bar
    I don't have much confidence that the U.S. taxpayers will pony up the extra money for high quality graders for the open ended assessment like in Ireland. I'd rather have the standardized results from a high quality multiple choice assessment than a poorly graded open ended assessment... and I'll afterschool to make sure my kids can answer open ended questions. crazy

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    #78584 - 06/20/10 02:14 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: inky]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3288
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: inky
    I'd rather have the standardized results from a high quality multiple choice assessment than a poorly graded open ended assessment... and I'll afterschool to make sure my kids can answer open ended questions. crazy


    Unfortunately, I'm not convinced that there is such thing as a "high-quality multiple choice assessment." These tests simply can't test the ability to apply knowledge. Yet the US educational system relies on them completely to assess students. This means that the tests drive the use of superficial curricular materials that are in wide use in this country (and which many people have complained about here).

    The materials should drive the test, not the other way around.

    Val



    Top
    #78615 - 06/21/10 12:25 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: Val]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    According to Google Analytics, in the eleven days since I started this thread, there have been 61 visits from 45 cities to http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/ Subtracting out the eight visits from my own hometown (which are probably my own visits), there have been 53 visits from 44 cities.

    According to Google Analytics, 49 of the visitors to my website were referrals from giftedissues.davidsongifted.org According to the internal analytics of this Forum, there have been 747 Views of this thread and 17 Replies — http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/B...ifted_Educ.html

    I am grateful to the many people who have spent time reading my proposal, and especially to those who have cared enough to make Replies on this thread. However, I am perplexed by the many people who did not have the curiosity to investigate my proposal beyond reading this thread. If my proposal cannot generate excitement and a concerted group effort here where people actually care about making worthwhile educational opportunities happen for the exceptionally gifted, then the value of my continuing effort must be questioned.

    I am a committee of one. I wrote every word of my proposal by myself without an editor. The current version is the result of several significant revisions, and I am happy with the level of refinement my proposal now has. Though I challenge anyone to make improvements, I ask that you do not criticize any of the specifics until after you have actually read the whole proposal.

    You will find that my explanations of my thinking regarding the proposal's important elements are part of the proposal itself. It is very frustrating for me to defend the proposal to people who refuse to read it. I have already been down that road, and it is pointless to go down that road again.

    What I welcome is constructive criticism like this:
    Originally Posted By: ColinsMum


    When I did so, I found some interesting ideas and a lot of statements that I agreed with, but I felt that the proposal was frustratingly vague in important ways, such as the curriculum. Perhaps your US readers have background that helps them to understand things I'm missing, though. To give one example from a field I'm very familiar with, you list CS courses and you suggest that computing is central to your proposal, but you say nothing about what's in the CS courses and you come worryingly close to equating CS with programming. It makes me wonder whether there is any substance to the proposal.


    "... frustratingly vague ... such as the curriculum." ?!? Well, I have detailed out every last bit of the curriculum very carefully, but ColinsMum had the eagle's eye to find an error. As shown quoted below, I do state "provide computer-programming instruction to all sophomores" where I should have stated "provide computer science instruction to all sophomores." Also, in the CLASS SCHEDULE CHARTS for the SOPHOMORE YEAR, I have "NAPS: Computer Programming" where I should have "NAPS: Computer Science."

    ColinsMum, I do thank you for that careful edit, and I welcome any more improvements that you can make.

    Consider the following excerpts from my proposal regarding the NAPS curriculum:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-scie...-of-oregon.html

    The First Model:
    NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences
    at The University of Oregon

    The University of Oregon (UO) is located in Eugene at the southern end of the Willamette Valley, approximately 105 miles south of Portland. Springfield is Eugene’s sister city, separated neatly north-and-south by I-5 and in part by the Willamette River. As of 2007, Eugene-Springfield Metro Area's population is 337,870 people. Eugene is the county seat of Lane County, and is located geographically mid-county. Lane Transit District (LTD), which is a mass transit bus system that has a central hub in downtown Eugene just nine blocks away from the UO campus, serves much of Lane County with a schedule that makes morning/evening commutes possible.

    The UO is a public research university and a member of the Association of American Universities, one of only two such universities in the greater Northwest. It has a total enrollment of 20,376 students: 16,681 undergraduates and 3,695 graduates. It has 1,714 faculty members, and a Faculty-to-Student Ratio of 1:18.

    The NASA Academy of the Physical Science (NAPS) concept is easy to pioneer at the UO because: 1) it works neatly there with already established programs, and 2) the significantly countywide model creates a workable ideal for other locales nationwide. The overriding purpose should be clear: the specific task of NAPS academies is to educate high school students who are gifted in mathematics and the sciences. ...

    NAPS academies will be day schools on public university campuses with maybe only a building hallway or a building floor to call its own. The Duck Link model at the core of the NAPS curriculum will maintain its established innovative concept, which is simply stated: the high school students take university classes with university students on a university campus.

    Duck Link has a limit of 8 college credits per term for high school students because a full-time UO student is defined as someone who takes a minimum of 12 college credits per term. Legally maintaining the status of “high school student” until graduation is important because that status is what qualifies students for significant scholarships to colleges and universities. Therefore, NASA Scholars will generally take 8 credits per term from the UO Course Catalog every term throughout their junior and senior years, and will take the remainder of their classes from the NAPS Course Catalog to fulfill their state high school graduation requirements.

    NAPS will be a three-year public high school; all of its students will attend a regional high school as freshmen, and will enter NAPS as sophomores and continue there as juniors and seniors. As freshmen, all students seeking admission to NAPS will be required to earn “A” grades in both Geometry (or a math class more advanced than Geometry) and regular Chemistry, to score in acceptable ranges on the national PSAT, and to pass other tests that will demonstrate their mastery of reading comprehension skills and writing skills above high minimum standards. ...

    NAPS will define its curriculum requirements by following the common requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree in the disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics. When requiring outside of its own discipline, each discipline minimally requires General Chemistry (CH 221, 222, 223), General Physics (PHYS 201, 202, 203), and Calculus I, II, III (MATH 251, 252, 253), except biology does not require Calculus III. Therefore, NAPS will recognize mathematics as the first language of the sciences, and will require students to continue math instruction at least through Calculus III. Furthermore, NAPS will recognize the primary importance of both chemistry and physics to all the sciences, and will require all sophomores to enroll in Advanced Placement Chemistry, and all students to simultaneously enroll in calculus-based Foundations of Physics I (PHYS 251, 252, 253) when they take Calculus I, II, III (MATH 251, 252, 253). Finally, NAPS will recognize the essential use of computers in all laboratory science disciplines, and will provide computer-programming instruction to all sophomores sufficient to meet all prerequisites for Computer Science I, II, III (CIS 210, 211, 212).

    The UO awards 12 credits and recognizes the equivalency of General Chemistry (CH 221, 222, 223) for all high school students who score a “4” or a “5” on the national AP Chemistry test. But the UO does not recognize the high school chemistry laboratory experience as being sufficient preparation for Organic Chemistry I (CH 331), and consequently requires all students who want to advance in chemistry to minimally take three terms of General Chemistry Laboratory (CH 227, 228, 229) before beginning the Organic Chemistry sequence. Therefore, the UO will provide university-level chemistry laboratory instruction to all NAPS sophomores in conjunction with their AP Chemistry class to qualify NAPS juniors to enroll in Organic Chemistry if they so choose.

    As juniors, NAPS students will separate into three groups according to their interests. Those who are especially advanced in math will take the Foundations of Physics I sequence and the Calculus sequence throughout the school year [total UO credits per term: 8, 8, 8]. A second group will take Organic Chemistry I, II, III (CH 331, 335, 336); Organic Chemistry Laboratory (337, 338); and Organic Analysis (CH 339) [total UO credits per term: 7, 7, 8]. A third group will take Computer Science I, II, III and Elements of Discrete Mathematics I, II, III (MATH 231, 232, 233) [total UO credits per term: 8, 8, 8].
    (See class schedule charts below)


    As seniors, the especially advanced math students who are interested in physics will take Foundations of Physics II (PHYS 351, 352, 353), Introduction to Differential Equations (MATH 256), and Several-Variable Calculus I, II (MATH 281, 282) [total UO credits per term: 8, 8, 8]. Those interested in mathematics only will take Elementary Analysis (MATH 315) and Elementary Linear Algebra (MATH 341, 342) instead of Foundations of Physics II [total UO credits per term: 8, 8, 8]. The rest of the NAPS seniors will take the Foundations of Physics I sequence and the Calculus sequence [total UO credits per term: 8, 8, 8]. Though Duck Link limitations do not allow earning more than 8 college credits per term, students in Foundations of Physics I might audit Foundations of Physics Laboratory (PHYS 290) [1 credit per term], and those in Foundations of Physics II might audit Intermediate Physics Laboratory (PHYS 390) [1-2 credits per term].

    Without exception, the only UO courses to be taken by NASA Scholars will be those mentioned above. All other coursework will be “high school” classes within the exclusive confines of NAPS to fulfill state high school graduation requirements.

    A careful read of the above reveals one glaring quirk: “the third group” takes Elements of Discrete Mathematics I, II, III as a for-credit UO course while the other groups will take an equivalent pre-calculus “high school” course within NAPS. This oddity occurs because Elements of Discrete Mathematics I, II, III is co-required for Computer and Information Science majors who are enrolled in Computer Science I, II, III. Similarly, the math courses taken with Foundations of Physics I and with Foundations of Physics II are co-required.

    NAPS focuses on the “foundations” courses in physics for its students for three reasons: 1) NASA Scholars are gifted; 2) the foundations courses are math-based at calculus and above, and therefore provide understandable applications in physics that make it easier to learn calculus; and 3) the foundations courses do not fill up. ...

    The “high school” AP classes will be standard according to national AP standards. ...

    CLASS SCHEDULE CHARTS

    It is very rare that a high school freshman ever takes trigonometry, but it does happen. Every year, NAPS will establish its class schedules according to the scheduling needs of its most advanced incoming scholars: those who have already taken trigonometry


    SOPHOMORE YEAR: Advanced Mathematics Scholars Only
    Fall Term Winter Term Spring Term
    NAPS: Advanced Placement English Language
    Fall: Grammar, Sentence Structure & Poetry
    Winter: Prose, Short Story & Journalism Writing
    Spring: Essay & Composition Writing
    NAPS: Advanced Placement United States History
    Fall: 1700s
    Winter: 1800s
    Spring: 1900s
    NAPS: Advanced Placement Chemistry and Laboratory
    UO: Computer Science
    Fall: I: CIS 210 (4 credits)
    Winter: II: CIS 211 (4 credits)
    Spring: III: CIS 212 (4 credits)
    UO: Elements of Discrete Mathematics
    Fall: I: MATH 231 (4 credits)
    Winter: II: MATH 232 (4 credits)
    Spring: III: MATH 233 (4 credits)

    JUNIOR YEAR: Advanced Mathematics Scholars Only
    Fall Term Winter Term Spring Term
    NAPS: Advanced Placement English Literature
    NAPS: Advanced Placement Economics
    Fall: Microeconomics
    Winter: Macroeconomics
    Spring: Game Theory
    UO: Calculus
    Fall: I: MATH 251 (4 credits)
    Winter: II: MATH 252 (4 credits)
    Spring: III: MATH 253 (4 credits)
    UO: Foundations of Physics I
    Fall: PHYS 251 (4 credits)
    Winter: PHYS 252 (4 credits)
    Spring: PHYS 253 (4 credits)

    SENIOR YEAR: Advanced Mathematics Scholars Only >> Physics Major
    Fall Term Winter Term Spring Term
    UO: Foundations of Physics II
    Fall: PHYS 351 (4 credits)
    Winter: PHYS 352 (4 credits)
    Spring: PHYS 353 (4 credits)
    Fall: Intro Differential Equations: MATH 256 (4 credits)
    Winter: Several-Variable Calculus I: MATH 281 (4 credits)
    Spring: Several-Variable Calculus II: MATH 282 (4 credits)
    NAPS: Colloquy: Morality, Ethics & Society: Science & Technology in the 21st Century
    Fall: U.S. Constitution Amendment Proposal
    Winter: World Treaty Proposal
    Spring: Philosophy of Science and Technology Definition Statement

    SENIOR YEAR: Advanced Mathematics Scholars Only >> Mathematics Major
    Fall Term Winter Term Spring Term
    Fall: Intro Differential Equations: MATH 256 (4 credits)
    Winter: Several-Variable Calculus I: MATH 281 (4 credits)
    Spring: Several-Variable Calculus II: MATH 282 (4 credits)
    Fall: Elementary Analysis: MATH 315 (4 credits)
    Winter: Elementary Linear Algebra: MATH 341 (4 credits)
    Spring: Elementary Linear Algebra: MATH 342 (4 credits)
    NAPS: Colloquy: Morality, Ethics & Society: Science & Technology in the 21st Century
    Fall: U.S. Constitution Amendment Proposal
    Winter: World Treaty Proposal
    Spring: Philosophy of Science and Technology Definition Statement

    SOPHOMORE YEAR
    Fall Term Winter Term Spring Term
    NAPS: Advanced Placement English Language
    Fall: Grammar, Sentence Structure & Poetry
    Winter: Prose, Short Story & Journalism Writing
    Spring: Essay & Composition Writing
    NAPS: Advanced Placement United States History
    Fall: 1700s
    Winter: 1800s
    Spring: 1900s
    NAPS: Advanced Placement Chemistry and Laboratory
    NAPS: Mathematics
    NAPS: Computer Programming

    JUNIOR YEAR: Computer Science Major
    Fall Term Winter Term Spring Term
    NAPS: Advanced Placement English Literature
    NAPS: Advanced Placement Economics
    Fall: Microeconomics
    Winter: Macroeconomics
    Spring: Game Theory
    UO: Computer Science
    Fall: I: CIS 210 (4 credits)
    Winter: II: CIS 211 (4 credits)
    Spring: III: CIS 212 (4 credits)
    UO: Elements of Discrete Mathematics
    Fall: I: MATH 231 (4 credits)
    Winter: II: MATH 232 (4 credits)
    Spring: III: MATH 233 (4 credits)

    JUNIOR YEAR: Chemistry Major
    Fall Term Winter Term Spring Term
    NAPS: Advanced Placement English Literature
    NAPS: Advanced Placement Economics
    Fall: Microeconomics
    Winter: Macroeconomics
    Spring: Game Theory
    NAPS: Mathematics
    UO: Organic Chemistry
    Fall: I: CH 331 (4 credits)
    Winter: II: CH 335 (4 credits)
    Spring: III: CH 336 (4 credits)
    Fall: Organic Chem Laboratory: CH 337 (3 credits)
    Winter: Organic Chem Laboratory: CH 338 (3 credits)
    Spring: Organic Analysis: CH 339 (4 credits)

    SENIOR YEAR
    Fall Term Winter Term Spring Term
    UO: Calculus
    Fall: I: MATH 251 (4 credits)
    Winter: II: MATH 252 (4 credits)
    Spring: III: MATH 253 (4 credits)
    UO: Foundations of Physics I
    Fall: PHYS 251 (4 credits)
    Winter: PHYS 252 (4 credits)
    Spring: PHYS 253 (4 credits)
    NAPS: Colloquy: Morality, Ethics & Society: Science & Technology in the 21st Century
    Fall: U.S. Constitution Amendment Proposal
    Winter: World Treaty Proposal
    Spring: Philosophy of Science and Technology Definition Statement

    * * *

    The First Model in my proposal uses the University of Oregon, and it details out every class taken by a NASA Scholar. The University of Oregon is a real university, and I actually used the UO Course Catalog as my guide. Anyone who is curious about a detailed description of any particular class can go online and read the UO Course Catalog word-for-word. Here are the links:
    http://uocatalog.uoregon.edu/
    http://uocatalog.uoregon.edu/liberalarts/liberalarts
    http://uocatalog.uoregon.edu/liberalarts/chemistry
    http://uocatalog.uoregon.edu/liberalarts/computer%20and%20information%20science
    http://uocatalog.uoregon.edu/liberalarts/mathematics
    http://uocatalog.uoregon.edu/liberalarts/mathematics%20and%20computer%20science
    http://uocatalog.uoregon.edu/liberalarts/physics

    The Advanced Placement courses in the NAPS curriculum are all standard, and the content and curriculum of the courses are controlled and certified by a national group. The following links will describe those details for anyone who is curious:
    http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/about.html
    http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/subjects.html
    http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/sub_chem.html?chem
    http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/sub_englang.html?englang
    http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/sub_ushist.html?ushist
    http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/sub_englit.html?englit
    http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/sub_miceco.html?micro
    http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/sub_maceco.html?macro

    Quite literally, the only thing in the entire NAPS curriculum that is not absolutely standardized by established educational structures is the Colloquy, which is entirely my own creation:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/2009/11/colloquy-linus-pauling-medal.html

    I do appreciate that ColinsMum is not an American, and that perhaps I expected too much in leaving it to curious readers to determine on their own what the necessary Google searches are in order to access additional detailed information. I apologize for that oversight on my part. If strong opinion thinks I should include all of the UO Course Catalog links and the AP course description links in my online http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/ document, I will do so.

    Again, please read the entire proposal before criticizing it, but please do criticize it where criticism is deserved. Thank you.

    Steven A. Sylwester

    Top
    #78651 - 06/21/10 12:12 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    One more wording that needs changing in response to the criticism from ColinsMum.

    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/2009/11/overview.html

    What was:
    NAPS will establish a universal curriculum with the acronym CPCPC, which describes “Computer Programming, Chemistry, Physics, and Calculus.”
    will change to:
    NAPS will establish a universal curriculum with the acronym CSCPC, which describes “Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, and Calculus.”

    I was being pedestrian in my original wording to impress plainly that being able to do computer programming is now a required basic skill. However, to use the word "science" instead of the word "programming" takes the importance of it all to a new level where the "how to" shares equal time with the "why" and the "what for" — and also with the deeper involvements of experimenting and new discovery that lead to innovation and invention.

    I like the change.

    Again, thank you to ColinsMum.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #78655 - 06/21/10 12:40 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    Clay Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/11/10
    Posts: 123
    Loc: GA (for now)
    First, many of those 747 (or, 799, at last count) views are going to be people who are following this thread. I myself probably account for ~ 10 of those views. So, it’s not that 747 people looked at the thread and only 49 went to your blog… It might be something closer to 40 out of 100, which, if you have any experience with “click through” rates, you should know is pretty phenomenal. Also, you must consider that some people – like me – have been waiting for your feedback regarding exactly what you were hoping we would do before we posted.

    Second, you must realize that – as important as your proposal may be -- you are asking for a lot. You can probably safely assume that most of us either work or are stay at home parents, or both. Right now, I am PAYING someone to look after my child while I look through your proposal and write this post. Every moment, I am doubting my sanity, as I have a half-dozen other things that I should be doing. So, please do not take it personally that people are not responding at the rate you would like. I am quite concerned about the human trafficking that is occurring in my area, the general disappearance of bees, the sex-changing amount of female hormones in our water, sweat shops, rampant consumerism, etc., etc., etc. and I don’t pay as much attention to any of those as I would like.

    Finally, regarding your multiple requests that people read the whole thing before responding: this is a great example of that maddening political process you want your young scholars to experience. I assure you that when you submit your unrequested proposal to the power that be, if you are lucky, it will FIRST get a cursory glance. If the reader seems something worth-while in that glance, the reader will THEN start skimming from the beginning. During that skim, one of two things will happen: either the reader likes what s/he is seeing, and will start reading in earnest, or s/he doesn’t, in which case the reading will stop and you MIGHT get a courteous standard-issue “thanks, but no thanks.” So, adjusting for the time issue that your current readers on this board are faced with, if I were you, I would be asking what I could do to make the proposal more readable, not what I could say to make people actually read it –because that’s just not how it works. Further, you CANNOT expect people to withhold judgment until they read the whole thing. Not going to happen with us, and not going to happen with funders. At best you can hope that judgment will be adapted as the reading continues.

    Now, for specifics:

    “…proposal attempts to help prepare future generations of scientists…” – You have a couple of hedges here – “attempts” and “help”. Be less modest, if not less accurate. “…proposal creates an avenue to prepare future generations…”, for instance.

    The lack of biology was a major stumbling block for me. I agree that chemistry and physics are the basis for biology, but I also recognize that for many people, biology is the gateway to those other sciences. You allow people to study bio, and soon enough, they’ll be asking questions that require biochemistry or biomechanics, etc., etc., and then they are hooked. Biology is the first love of many of the smartest and hardest working people I know. Further, I think that an interdisciplinary biology approach is needed to answer some of the most pressing questions we face now, and will have to face in the future – issues about crop responses to changes in atmospheric gases, temperature, etc; epidemiology and bioterrorism; genetic engineering; biofuels, etc; etc. etc. I *think* that including biology would make this proposal more palatable to more people. Or at the very least, eliminating the phrase “Though NAPS does not provide any instruction in biology”

    There is something tidy and logical about your distribution of academies, yet it doesn’t really work for me. I can’t quite bring myself to believe that 150 students should be chosen from both Texas and Vermont. Wouldn’t something proportional be more adequate? For some sparsely populated states, having only one or two academies would make them more successful than having three. Probably legally states need to be given some leeway in how the program is set up (at any rate, the states can always turn down federal funding) – you should consider adding some flexibility to this portion of the proposal.

    Regarding the first model, it occurs to me that you should probably write this proposal as a pilot study. START off with Oregon, and explain how the idea is to ultimately scale up. (I know you are doing this, but not in the right order: you are saying, here is the entire idea, and we’ll do a test run, whereas in the granting world, it is typical to propose a feasibility study first; then once there is data, propose the scaling up). It is also easier for people to take you seriously and be able to accommodate your request when you are asking for less than a million/year off the bat.

    Also, it occurs to me that UO might not be the best place to do a pilot/feasibility study, because it has the relatively rare trimester system. It might be easier to justify scaling up from a study carried out using the more common semester schedule.

    “Legally maintaining the status of “high school student” until graduation is important because that status is what qualifies students for significant scholarships to colleges and universities.” Now this part, I really don’t get -- nor did I get why your daughter graduated high school with 100 credits (impressive though it may be). I never graduated high school; got through 10th grade, then enrolled full-time in college. And, yes, with "significant scholarships". A good proposal does its homework – I want to know what other options these highly talented students have, why those options aren’t sufficient, and why this option is better – or at least, why this option should be added to the mix. I strongly urge you to add a section somewhere that addresses these issues. (Yes, you discuss how NAPS compares to DuckLink, but that is only relevant to one state).

    “The lesser academic schedule during the senior year affords time and energy for three things: 1) to fully consider college/university opportunities and make scholarship applications, 2) to work on a UO science research team, and/or 3) to enter national mathematics and science competitions.” To me, this is key. You should consider providing opportunities to do this sooner, and/or think about how summer experiences could be weaved into the NAPS curriculum or at least supported by it.

    “Without exception, the only UO courses to be taken by NASA Scholars will be those mentioned above. All other coursework will be “high school” classes within the exclusive confines of NAPS to fulfill state high school graduation requirements.” – Again, why?

    You give a VERY detailed schedule of how things would work in UO. Could you explicitly state in the proposal how you see this relating to other schools in other states. Would every school follow basically the same path, or would they be allowed to do what they think makes sense for them. (Again, since states have the ability to not participate, I would choose the latter).

    I am sure there are more things to comment on, but there is only so much digesting of proposals I can do in one day.

    Hope this helps…

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    #78662 - 06/21/10 03:46 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: Clay]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Clay, thank you.

    I will start my response now, but I will certainly finish it later in a second or third reply.

    I am happy that you are involved in many other concerns. So am I. Google "Steven A. Sylwester" — and also consider the many topics at the following links to my several blogs:
    http://steven-a-sylwester.blogspot.com/2009/12/nationalize-us-private-health-insurance.html
    http://community.nytimes.com/comments/ro...=154#comment154

    http://steven-a-sylwester.blogspot.com/2009/11/legal-co-equal-solution-for-everyone.html
    http://community.nytimes.com/comments/ww...rmid=3#comment3

    http://steven-a-sylwester.blogspot.com/2009/10/connecting-dots-asthma-and-vitamin-d.html
    http://community.nytimes.com/comments/ro...=170#comment170

    http://supreme-court-gender-equality-pac.blogspot.com/
    http://community.nytimes.com/comments/ro...id=97#comment97

    http://what-is-whispered-proclaim.blogspot.com/
    http://community.nytimes.com/comments/ww...089#comment1089

    None of the above should derail the task at hand, which is to first improve the "NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences" proposal, and to then make it happen.

    Clay, I appreciate your willingness to get involved, and I welcome your criticism. Let me start by making something very clear: my presentation of my idea is my presentation of my idea. It has been plain to me for a long time that others might have to significantly rework the presentation according to "The Rules of Order" for such things if I ever want my idea to be actually implemented someday. In other words, "my idea" will have to become "our idea" for a working group that can be of one mind about it. I have provided a solid starting point, but others might have to do the finish work.

    However, having opened the door that wide, I still stand guard over certain elements of the idea that must remain intact in my opinion. The biology question is one of those elements.

    Very deliberately, I changed the name of the school to "NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences" to quiet that question. As you know, biology is a life science, not a physical science.

    Know this: Advanced Placement Biology is a worthless course to those who would be NASA Scholars. The average NASA Scholar is not just bright; he/she is functioning at or very near a genius level. Teach such a young person AP Chemistry, university-level calculus-based Physics, and mathematics through university-level Calculus, and that young person will be able to pass the national AP Biology test with a very minimal effort, and I am not exaggerating to describe that "minimal effort" as nothing more than a week-long crash course.

    The First Rule is this: Do NOT waste the time of a NASA Scholar with anything that is a waste of time. High school biology is a waste of time — a complete and utter waste of time!

    My NAPS curriculum decisions were made through a deep consideration of the prerequisite streams found in the University of Oregon Course Catalog. Concerning the biology question, consider the following excerpts:

    http://uocatalog.uoregon.edu/liberalarts/biology

    Major Requirements

    A major in biology or marine biology leads to a bachelor of science (B.S.) or to a bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree. The B.A. requires completion of the foreign-language requirement. Twenty-four credits of biology that are applied to the major must be taken at the University of Oregon (which includes the main campus, the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology in Charleston, the central Oregon campus in Bend, and university-approved overseas and exchange programs). Majors must either meet the major requirements in effect at the time they are accepted as majors or complete subsequent major requirements. Specific courses follow.

    1. General Chemistry (CH 221, 222, 223) or Honors General Chemistry (CH 224H, 225H, 226H)

    2. General Chemistry Laboratory (CH 227, 228, 229) or Advanced General Chemistry Laboratory (CH 237, 238, 239)

    3. Mathematics, to include Calculus for the Biological Sciences I,II (MATH 246, 247) or Calculus I,II (MATH 251, 252) or equivalent; a course in statistics is recommended

    4. General Physics (PHYS 201, 202, 203) or Foundations of Physics I (PHYS 251, 252, 253)

    5. One of the introductory sequences: the four-term general biology sequence (BI 211–214) or the three-term foundations sequence (BI 251–253)

    6. Organic chemistry sequence

    a. For the biology major, a minimum of two organic chemistry courses are required: Organic Chemistry I (CH 331) and either Organic Chemistry II (CH 335) (preferred) or Organic Chemistry III (CH 336)

    b. For students interested in graduate programs in medicine, dentistry, biomedicine, or allied health, three organic chemistry courses and two laboratories are required (CH 331, 335, 336, 337, 338). Since many medical schools require upper-division genetics and/or biochemistry, Molecular Genetics (BI 320), Physiological Biochemistry (CH 360), or both are suggested. Students are urged to contact specific institutions to confirm admission requirements
    Major in Biology

    The major in biology requires a minimum of 44 upper-division biology credits with the following restrictions:

    1. At least one 300-level course in each of the three areas—cellular-molecular, systematics-organisms, and ecology-evolution

    2. At least 12 credits in courses with a BI subject code, numbered 420 to 499

    3. At least two courses at the 300 or 400 level with significant laboratory or fieldwork


    Preprofessional Students

    Preprofessional health science students who want to major in biology need to plan carefully to complete major requirements and meet entrance requirements of professional schools. These students should consult a biology adviser as well as the adviser for the professional area of their choice. See Preparatory Programs in the Academic Resources section of this catalog for more information about these requirements.

    Although Organic Chemistry Laboratory (CH 337, 338) and Introductory Physics Laboratory (PHYS 204, 205, 206) are not required for the biology major, they are required for programs at most professional schools, including many programs at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.


    251 Foundations I: Biochemistry and Cell Physiology (5) Focuses on the cellular structures and chemical reactions that allow cells to grow, to transform energy, and to communicate. Lectures, laboratories. Prereq: CH 223 or 226H.

    252 Foundations II: Genetics and Molecular Biology (5) How living organisms store, replicate, and transmit their genetic information, and how this information directs the activities of the cell and organism. Lectures, laboratories. Prereq: C– or better or P in BI 251.

    253 Foundations III: Evolution and Biodiversity (5) Genetic basis and ecological context of evolutionary change leading to an examination of the generation and major patterns of biodiversity. Lectures, laboratories. Prereq: C– or better or P in BI 252.

    * * *

    If you read the above UO Course Catalog excerpts carefully, you will realize that a NASA Scholar who is interested in eventually majoring in biology at the university level will end up taking the Biology Foundations I, II, III sequence (BI 251, 252, 253) if he/she becomes an undergraduate at the University of Oregon, and that that Biology Foundations sequence does NOT have a biology prerequisite, but does have a third term General Chemistry (CH 223) prerequisite, which is a level of chemistry that all NASA Scholars will complete before graduating from NAPS. Consequently, a NAPS graduate will be able to enroll in the Biology Foundations sequence (or its equivalent elsewhere) as a university freshman, which is fully one year ahead of the normal schedule — and without ever having taken high school biology!

    That is efficient. That is smart. And that will end up saving time and money without sacrificing any learning at all. In fact, I would bet that a NAPS graduate would be better prepared for the Biology Foundations sequence course than any and all other students, including those students who took two years of Biology during high school.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #78670 - 06/21/10 06:39 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    Clay Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/11/10
    Posts: 123
    Loc: GA (for now)
    I mentioned some interests of mine (some of which I only wish I was "involved in", but cannot currently claim to be) just to point out that we do not all have the time to do all the things we wish we could, including commenting at length on your proposal.

    I will agree with you that high school level, and, heck, even some graduate level biology (depending on one's concentration) is "easy" -- that doesn't make the study of biology any less enjoyable or interesting -- or, ultimately, important. I see a NAPS scholar as a lover of learning, a person who is curious about the way things work, and that, I would imagine, includes living things. So, don't teach high school bio. I don't care. But why not have a college-level bio track, so when they become college freshmen (though, again, I wonder why there isn't just an early admission option, maybe with some special programming for the "young scholar" cohort?), they can take upper-level bio courses, or realize they're really going to have to major in chemistry to achieve their goals, or what have you?

    As to your point regarding efficiency, it's an inefficient process if it doesn't appeal to students that are smart enough to excel in the program. I would not consider anything a "complete and utter waste of time" that keeps brilliant students motivated and engaged.

    Have you discussed this your proposal with any TAG students? I wonder, for instance, if your target enrollment of 37% is reasonable (Also, I note that . I'm just thinking about the distribution of student course enrollments in programs like CTY or Simon's Rock, which, I imagine, would be a similar pool from which you would draw your NAPS scholars. At any rate, I would seek TAG input on this, if you haven't already. Doubtless, smart teens could provide valuable feedback regarding several aspects of your proposal.

    Regarding your comment about calling it the Academy of *Physical Sciences*... math and computer science are not physical science, but they are core parts of the NAPS program. Geology and meteorology are physical sciences, but they are not mentioned in the proposal. So, clearly, there is a bit of wiggle room...



    Some other thoughts:
    (Forgive me if you have covered any of this in your proposal already. I HAVE read the entire thing more than once and I have looked specifically for the elements I am asking about. If I mention something that you have already discussed, then you might consider adding more information to it, creating a subheading, putting it in another section, or some other strategy to make the information more obvious).
    -- Is there any criteria for the high school teachers? Ie, do they need a gifted ed background?
    -- What is the selection/admission criteria for NAPS? What, exactly, does "acceptable range" mean -- top 5%? top 1%? (Here again, I am concerned about having, for example, 150 students from Vermont and 150 from Texas. It seems that different states might end up having very different de facto admissions criteria or levels of competitiveness.)
    -- It'd be nice (expected?) if you have a separate section with a budget and budget justification. How much goes to teacher salary, to professor salary? What amount goes to local overhead (ie, the fact that local schools are providing rooms, electricity, IT support, etc., etc.)? And how about NASA's administrative costs? Advertising? Teacher training?
    -- I'm used to seeing goals, objectives, and outcomes in grant proposals. At the very least an evaluation section. How does one determine that this program has been a success? By the completion rate of the NAPS program? (In that vein, what are the requirements for continued participation in the program?) By the number of NAPS graduates that go into STEM programs? Or that graduate from college? Or that obtain graduate degrees?

    Again, hope this helps...

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    #78678 - 06/21/10 08:12 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: Clay]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3288
    Loc: California
    Hi Steven,

    I skimmed through your proposal and have a couple comments. I don't have time to read the whole thing (nor am I obligated to), but I've reviewed a lot grant applications in this field, and here are some things that that struck me immediately about your application:

    1. I'm confused about the name. Are you affiliated with NASA? Is NASA involved in this idea? If not, you'll need to pull NASA out of the title of the academy. If your idea has a formal buy-in from NASA, you need to say so, up front. No way can you use NASA's name without formal buy-in from them.

    For example, NASA participation your title could be inferred as meaning that program graduates will have a formal connection to NASA that may not exist. Ouch!

    2. Your overview lacks focus. An overview needs to get to the point, and fast. Specifics:

    * Get rid of the quotes; they're distracting.

    * State the problem succinctly, and then state your solution succinctly. A reviewer needs to know exactly what you want to do and how you're going to do it. You also need to show how you'll measure success or failure at various steps along the way.

    * Clay is right about running a pilot project first. It's extremely unlikely (really, impossible) that you'd be given funds to start academies at 150 research universities without the existence of even one now.

    * Do you have letters of support from high-level people and department heads at the University of Oregon? If not, you need them. No buy-in from the university is a funding-killer. This alone could be a barrier to funding. You need to have all kinds of commitments from the university to make this project work.

    * The same need for letters applies to local high schools that will be involved. And NASA, if it's involved.

    3. You wrote:

    "NAPS will put an enormous academic and emotional strain on its NASA Scholars, especially during the junior year..."

    Okay, so why would I put my child through this? As a parent, I read this and think "Forget it; I don't want to kill my teenager's love of learning by piling too much pressure on him."

    Besides, how can people think creatively to solve problems when high stress is the norm? The answer is that they can't. Just because excessive work is common in this country doesn't make it a good idea.

    4. How will you recruit, specifically? How will you evaluate your program, specifically? etc.

    5. You obviously put a lot of thought into your courses; this is a strength. The entire application needs that same level of detailed thought.

    6. I haven't read the request for applications/RFA you're responding to, so I don't know how carefully you've addressed all the points it lays out. So I'll just make a general statement: you need to address everything in the RFA, specifically.

    7. I agree with Clay about the lack of biology being a weakness (unless you assume that we're the only planet in the universe that's ever been home to a living thing). NASA has huge efforts underway in biology. Why exclude this area? The physical sciences don't stand apart from biology. Plus, you exclude everyone who's interested in the subject right from the start, which narrows your pool of potential students.

    Originally Posted By: clay
    I will agree with you that high school level, and, heck, even some graduate level biology (depending on one's concentration) is "easy"...


    I'm going to disagree very strongly here. I guess it's possible to see Biology as being easy because biologists were once able to rely heavily on observation, and because introductory classes (unfortunately) focus so much on memorization. However, this approach once worked because we knew so little about the subject, rather than because it's easy. In other words, we were so ignorant, we had no choice about how to approach the subject.

    Humans have only scratched the surface of this field. In the last 50 years or so, we've finally gained knowledge and developed technologies that allow us to see how complex biology actually is.

    Biology is built on top of mathematics, physics, and chemistry. No one truly appreciated this idea even a hundred years ago. You need only start looking up questions in the field and this complexity rears up very quickly (Try, "What causes the sporadic form of Lou Gehrig's disease/ALS?").

    This is actually a huge argument for starting biology education when students are young.

    Just my 2c.

    Val




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    #78690 - 06/22/10 12:32 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Originally Posted By: Clay


    There is something tidy and logical about your distribution of academies, yet it doesn’t really work for me. I can’t quite bring myself to believe that 150 students should be chosen from both Texas and Vermont. Wouldn’t something proportional be more adequate? For some sparsely populated states, having only one or two academies would make them more successful than having three. Probably legally states need to be given some leeway in how the program is set up (at any rate, the states can always turn down federal funding) – you should consider adding some flexibility to this portion of the proposal.



    Clay, it is called political expediency. And, yes, it is a bit ugly.

    However, there is a beauty to it, too. It is the difference between the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. One would think that the smaller states would especially champion the "NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences" idea, because those states would certainly receive a greater benefit in the beginning on a per capita basis.

    The proposal states:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/2009/11/overview.html

    States with more than three public universities will select the three universities that: 1) have the largest population base within an established to-and-from daily commute using public mass transit, and 2) do federally funded research on topics associated with gifted learning. All site universities should propose and do research that will improve the NAPS academies over time while also maximizing the benefits that can be had by other schools. Grant money from both federal and private sources will support select research over time.

    Three states have fewer than three public universities each: Delaware (two), Rhode Island (two), and Wyoming (one). The four NAPS academies not established in those three states will be assigned to California, thereby giving California a total of seven NAPS academies.

    If any states choose not to participate in this initiative, those states will permanently forfeit their entitled NAPS academies to other states that desire more NAPS academies. The U.S. Secretary of Education will permanently reassign to other states any NAPS academies that are forfeited.

    * * *

    Why live with the "three NAPS per state" model?

    I offer the following two excerpts from the proposal as my reasons:

    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/2009/11/overview.html

    This Obama Initiative will provide a special opportunity for 5,100 of the most gifted sophomores being educated in America’s public high schools every year. Including the juniors and seniors who continue in a NAPS until graduation, no more than 15,300 students will every year be the direct recipients of this opportunity, but millions of other high school students will every year receive indirect benefits that will improve their math and science education as a consequence of this initiative.

    Each state will every year spend 85% of its average per high school student per year expenditure for each of its NASA Scholars to fund its in-state NAPS academies, and the U.S. government will add $4,000 per student per year funding to each of the 150 NAPS academies nationwide for a total federal funding of $61.2 million per year. The states will be obligated to collect their 15% per student per year expenditure savings into a Science Education Fund that will be exhausted every year through the issuing of major grants to upgrade public high school science classrooms with new computer technology, new laboratory equipment, and/or general facility improvements. The grants will range in size from $20,000 to $50,000 each, and will be awarded by a three-person review committee comprised of one science professor from each of the three public research universities where the in-state NAPS academies are sited. If a state expends $8,500 per high school student per year, its SEF will collect and then spend out $390,150 per year, which could result in 19 grants of $20,534 each.

    After the awarding of SEF grants every year, the state governors will consider the merits of all unfunded grant requests for their individual state, and will forward all deserving requests to in-state private industry leaders for their consideration and possible patronage. Special corporate tax credits will be given to companies that fund SEF grant requests. If the SEF grant review committee recommends improvements to particular requests along with encouragement to request a grant the following year (for example, if the request was for equipment that is being made obsolete by new technology), those recommendations will remain attached to the unfunded requests that are forwarded to industry leaders. ...

    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-scie...-of-oregon.html

    NAPS will put an enormous academic and emotional strain on its NASA Scholars, especially during the junior year. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that each and every scholar can relate in a genuine supportive way with his/her classmate scholars especially, but also with scholars from the other two grade levels and with the “high school” teachers. Because emotional maturity is not always on a par with intellectual maturity, gifted adolescents in the transition to adulthood need friends who can understand them. Gifted adolescents are adolescents at risk who are sometimes very vulnerable to social challenges, and they tend to know this about themselves. But, in usual settings, they are alone with their fears. NAPS academies will have the opportunity to create a safe haven in which truly extraordinary young people can experience what it feels like to be ordinary, at least during the while when they are among peer classmates; the importance of this cannot be overstated: a NAPS site will either succeed or fail in its primary purpose by whether or not it can succeed in making its scholars feel ordinary. ...

    * * *

    Simply, every state deserves a chance to benefit from the whole program, including the Science Education Fund grants that would be created. Furthermore, I cannot stress enough the importance of this excerpt from above:

    "All site universities should propose and do research that will improve the NAPS academies over time while also maximizing the benefits that can be had by other schools. Grant money from both federal and private sources will support select research over time."

    The research findings at the different universities could discover remarkable differences from state to state, even though all 150 NAPS sites nationwide would have exactly the same curriculum. I have lived in small town Nebraska and in small city Oregon, and I have visited in major cities on both coasts and in the Midwest. It would not surprise me if remarkable differences in learning were discovered from place to place, but I cannot even imagine what they might be. The three sites in Oregon would likely be Eugene (University of Oregon), Corvallis (Oregon State University), and Portland (Portland State University) — and those are three very different settings in very different community environments. But, again, the NAPS curriculum would be exactly the same at each site.

    Finally, the young geniuses in America need to be found, wherever they are, and they need to be treated with the dignity they deserve. NAPS should not be a California, Texas, and New York thing. Rather, it should be nationwide with a plain equality from state to state. Certainly, if NAPS is successful, I think it might eventually have an active site at every public research university in the United States. That is a big dream, but why not?

    Steven A. Sylwester


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    #78691 - 06/22/10 01:42 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Again, I am a committee of one.

    NAPS is built squarely on KISS >> Keep It Simple Stupid.

    No public research university would want NAPS on campus unless NAPS was essentially invisible and no problem. A university will not fit to NAPS, so NAPS must fit to the university. This is a key understanding regarding the entirety of my idea.

    Lower level biology classes are full at public research universities. A university will be significantly disinclined toward NAPS if NAPS requires additional course sections to be scheduled. For NAPS to succeed, it has to be small and parasitic, and go unnoticed as a liability when university budgets are being considered.

    Furthermore, NAPS will only succeed if it is largely a shared experience for NASA Scholars, which means that a focussed limited curriculum is essential.

    My proposed NAPS "shared experience" is this:

    Required Courses:
    AP Chemistry with University Laboratory class
    AP English Language
    AP United States History
    AP English Literature
    AP Microeconomics or AP Macroeconomics

    Mathematics through University Calculus I, II, III
    University Computer Science I,II, III
    University Calculus-based Physics: Foundations of Physics I

    Colloquy

    Specializations beyond the universally "shared experience" are available in mathematics, physics, and chemistry, and allow for one year of university instruction beyond the above mentioned levels in physics and in chemistry, and two years beyond in mathematics.

    That is as simple as it gets.

    What would you exclude to include biology? But, again, the biology sections are all full.

    Know this: A university biology major is not required to take Calculus III, calculus-based physics, or Computer Science I,II, III, all of which are required by NAPS. I contend that the best scientists of the future — including the biologists — need to know mathematics through calculus, calculus-based physics, and the basics of computer science. Do you disagree?

    Steven A. Sylwester


    Edited by StevenASylwester (06/22/10 01:26 PM)

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    #78715 - 06/22/10 09:19 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3288
    Loc: California
    Hmm. Well, I get the impression that you're mostly looking for feedback that you agree with. I worked pretty hard on the message I sent and everything seems to have been ignored. Why would I bother continuing? <eom>


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    #78726 - 06/22/10 10:29 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    inky Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/10/08
    Posts: 1299
    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester
    What would you exclude to include biology?

    Instead of having two separate courses on microeconoics and macroeconics, I'd have one course on economics in order to include biology. The fact that lower level university biology classes are full doesn't seem to justify excluding it from the curriculum.

    To go along with the recommendations to run a pilot project first, you might look at setting up a charter school. Looks like there are a number of different models in Oregon:
    http://www.ode.state.or.us/opportunities/grants/nclb/title_v/b_charterschools/charterschools.pdf

    Val has the impression that you're mostly looking for feedback that you agree with which made me think of the 15 rules of engineering design, specifically #8:
    Quote:
    Recognize that while emotion is a fundamental
    driving force in human behavior, emotion
    must not select alternatives. Emotional
    commitment is vital for any human being to
    commit fully to a task, but it must be set aside
    when making design decisions. A good design
    engineer must be free of emotional
    “hang-ups” that inhibit making use of all information
    available, calmly sorting through
    the pros and cons of each approach before
    recommending a solution, and being willing
    to accept someone else’s idea when objective
    analysis shows it to be superior.
    http://www.prtnz.com/index2.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=28&Itemid=34
    These seem to fit for engineering a school design too. smile

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    #78741 - 06/22/10 12:34 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: Val]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Val,

    For you, I will start by being somewhat philosophical, because that might just drive you crazy. Do I want you to leave? No. But I do want you to set aside your usual thinking — only just for a while.

    Sometimes I think people should introduce themselves by naming their two favorite (read: most appropriate to their own being) Bob Dylan songs. Why two? Because naming just one song leaves too much mystery intact. Naming the second song provides just enough juxtaposition to let sunlight into a very deep place that is usually hidden from the outside world. That "very deep place" is not necessarily dark and foreboding, but it is hidden in a world that has its own light, a world where sunlight is not necessary because the relationships that exist there are just these two: the one with one's own self, and the one between one's own self and God.

    My two favorite Bob Dylan songs are "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" and "Shelter From The Storm," and the lyrics are:

    http://www.bobdylan.com/#/songs/love-minus-zerono-limit

    Love Minus Zero/No Limit

    My love she speaks like silence
    Without ideals or violence
    She doesn’t have to say she’s faithful
    Yet she’s true, like ice, like fire
    People carry roses
    Make promises by the hours
    My love she laughs like the flowers
    Valentines can’t buy her

    In the dime stores and bus stations
    People talk of situations
    Read books, repeat quotations
    Draw conclusions on the wall
    Some speak of the future
    My love she speaks softly
    She knows there’s no success like failure
    And that failure’s no success at all

    The cloak and dagger dangles
    Madams light the candles
    In ceremonies of the horsemen
    Even the pawn must hold a grudge
    Statues made of matchsticks
    Crumble into one another
    My love winks, she does not bother
    She knows too much to argue or to judge

    The bridge at midnight trembles
    The country doctor rambles
    Bankers’ nieces seek perfection
    Expecting all the gifts that wise men bring
    The wind howls like a hammer
    The night blows cold and rainy
    My love she’s like some raven
    At my window with a broken wing

    http://www.bobdylan.com/#/songs/shelter-from-the-storm

    Shelter From The Storm

    ’Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood
    When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud
    I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form
    “Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

    And if I pass this way again, you can rest assured
    I’ll always do my best for her, on that I give my word
    In a world of steel-eyed death, and men who are fighting to be warm
    “Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

    Not a word was spoke between us, there was little risk involved
    Everything up to that point had been left unresolved
    Try imagining a place where it’s always safe and warm
    “Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

    I was burned out from exhaustion, buried in the hail
    Poisoned in the bushes an’ blown out on the trail
    Hunted like a crocodile, ravaged in the corn
    “Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

    Suddenly I turned around and she was standin’ there
    With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair
    She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns
    “Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

    Now there’s a wall between us, somethin’ there’s been lost
    I took too much for granted, got my signals crossed
    Just to think that it all began on a long-forgotten morn
    “Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

    Well, the deputy walks on hard nails and the preacher rides a mount
    But nothing really matters much, it’s doom alone that counts
    And the one-eyed undertaker, he blows a futile horn
    “Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

    I’ve heard newborn babies wailin’ like a mournin’ dove
    And old men with broken teeth stranded without love
    Do I understand your question, man, is it hopeless and forlorn?
    “Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

    In a little hilltop village, they gambled for my clothes
    I bargained for salvation an’ they gave me a lethal dose
    I offered up my innocence and got repaid with scorn
    “Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

    Well, I’m livin’ in a foreign country but I’m bound to cross the line
    Beauty walks a razor’s edge, someday I’ll make it mine
    If I could only turn back the clock to when God and her were born
    “Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm”

    * * *

    Val, if you knew me, you would say "Of course" time and time again while you consider the details of my "NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences" proposal, especially if you first pondered deeply the Dylan lyric: "Beauty walks a razor’s edge, someday I’ll make it mine." NAPS is an artwork — a thing of beauty that was created through me. Yes, I did it by myself, but I am familiar enough with the creative process to know that I am nothing but a channel for a Creative Force that far exceeds me, and that my doing is mostly just getting out of the way. We are given the rich and complicated substance of our own lives, and our challenge is to reach some personal understanding about that substance, and to then make our substance useful for others — to share the blessing.

    For NAPS to finally become a thing of utility in addition to being a thing of beauty, I know others will have to be involved. Yes, to some significant extent, those "others" will be people who see the beauty of NAPS. Those who think NAPS is wrong-headed for whatever reasons should not involve themselves, because they will only become more and more frustrated. NAPS is what it is.

    Val, regarding your stated concerns:

    #1: I have no agreements and no understandings with NASA — none whatsoever. NAPS is an idea — a proposal. Regarding NASA, read the following excerpts from my proposal:

    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/2009/11/history.html

    I have renamed the academy NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences (NAPS) for five reasons:
    1. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is a United States government agency with an annual budget exceeding $17 billion. The annual federal funding projected for NAPS in the following document is $61.2 million, which is an amount that could easily hide inside the NASA budget without causing alarm.
    2. NASA already has developed resources that effectively lobby the U.S. government for ongoing and increased funding as needed. Those resources include NASA's Education Coordinating Committee (ECC), which is chaired by Dr. Joyce Leavitt Winterton, NASA's Assistant Administrator for Education.
    3. NASA has an ongoing need to develop homegrown mathematicians, scientists, and engineers, so taking ownership of NAPS would certainly be in NASA's self-interest.
    4. The dream of being involved in space exploration is a common dream among many young people who are gifted in mathematics and the sciences. The opportunity to become a NASA Scholar in my proposed NAPS program would inspire many young people to focus their studies in mathematics and the sciences from a young age, and to work hard at excelling academically.
    5. If NASA actually managed NAPS, it could create summer internship opportunities for NASA Scholars between their junior and senior years in high school. Being a summer intern at NASA would certainly inspire many NASA Scholars to pursue NASA careers. Consequently, NASA could recruit select NASA Scholars right out of high school, and thereby influence if not outright direct the higher education choices of those recruits.

    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-scie...a-and-naps.html

    Paying for the NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences (NAPS) program I have proposed must be done with serious consideration given to three realities that stand in direct opposition to each other: 1) the academic needs of Talented and Gifted (TAG) students who excel in mathematics and the sciences are generally not acknowledged by U.S. taxpayers, because the general sentiment is that “smart” kids can get by in our public schools without any additional funding for merit-based programs that might result in educational advantages for the top-end few; 2) the U.S. is falling behind in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) expertise when compared to the rest of the world, especially in public schools classroom learning as measured by standardized tests; and 3) U.S. industrial companies, military forces, and intelligence agencies, and the space exploration of NASA must depend on the talents of U.S. citizens who are tremendously skilled and highly educated in STEM, especially regarding top secret “classified” developments that pertain to national security and/or to national defense.

    Unfortunately, #1 trumps #2 and #3 in every case in which the outcome is dependent on a vote of the people. Americans are a people who will help the disadvantaged up to mediocre standing while simultaneously dragging the advantaged down to mediocre standing, even when doing the latter is not in their long term self-interest. That strange and peculiar trait seems to battle strongly against anything that smacks of stratified learning tracks, especially if there is a high-end fast track that in any way glorifies those whose talents and skills are not expressed in athletic competitions. In all of this, we are a stupid people, and we can no longer afford that stupidity — even if it means becoming un-American by saying “Yes” to an intellectual meritocracy that we collectively nurture starting no later than the seventh grade.

    Establishing NAPS nationwide is a starting point that must be accomplished by whatever means necessary. It appalls me that many who should support my proposal do not, and that they justify their lack of support most ungenerously: from patronizing notions that value the humanities over the sciences as a supposed matter-of-fact, through scary statements that high school’s overriding purpose is forced socialization to the norm, to depressing pronouncements that “smart” kids do not need — nor do they deserve — special considerations of any sort. If it is left to the masses, NAPS will never happen. So the implementation strategy must go stealth regarding funding, and live by the crazy truth that a nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse; in other words, just do it!

    Do not go through local public school boards and public school district superintendents seeking support and approval. You will fail if you do so. Do not go through every state’s department of education hierarchy and every state’s legislature seeking support and approval. You will fail if you do so. Do not go through the U.S. Congress seeking support and approval. You will fail if you do so. The simple idea that is NAPS is too complicated for all except those who can see its beauty and its simplicity plainly at first sight. If you have to be convinced that NAPS is a good idea, you will never be convinced. Those who will not need convincing are these: the genius young people who score at the 99th percentile in mathematics and the sciences and who enjoy mathematics and the sciences, and the parents of those young people; Pentagon-based generals and admirals; the highest ranking personnel in the various U.S. intelligence agencies; and the highest ranking personnel at NASA.

    Going stealth is as simple as this: entirely federally fund and entirely oversight manage NAPS through the public auspices of NASA with behind-the-scenes shared funding and governance coming from both the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). According to my proposal, the federal funding portion of the NAPS program is $61.2 million per year. NASA’s budget for fiscal year 2009 is $17.6 billion. DoD’s budget for fiscal year 2010 is $533.8 billion. The National Intelligence Program (NIP) spent $49.8 billion in fiscal year 2009 according to official documents (Oct 30, 2009), though the DNI, Dennis Blair, recently stated publicly “we’re talking about the very important business of a blueprint to run this 200,000-person, $75 billion national enterprise in intelligence …” (Sep 15, 2009). Most of the official NIP budget is hidden in the DoD budget, though some of it hides elsewhere; the details of the NIP budget are top-secret “classified” information that exists outside of any public scrutiny. NASA, the DoD, and the DNI have considerable shared interests (for example, spy satellites), so the “contract” work certainly boosts NASA’s $17.6 billion cash flow, perhaps significantly.

    The point being this: $61.2 million split three ways between NASA, the DoD, and the sixteen U.S. government and military agencies that answer to the DNI make the NAPS annual federal budget of $61.2 million turn into invisible pocket change that no one will argue about because no one will be able to see it. That is going stealth, and that is a good thing in this case.

    The NAPS program implementation then becomes this simple: NASA selects the 150 public research universities it wants to work with, and offers its deal to them and the local public school districts that would be involved at each NAPS site. With the backing of the U.S. government, NASA creates a high school diploma for the NAPS program that would be universally accepted by American colleges and universities. Doing this would bypass any odd high school graduation requirements that might exist in some states. The public identity of the program would be this: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences is a nationwide effort federally funded and managed by NASA to educate future generations of scientists and engineers to serve the national interests of the United States of America.

    Is there a downside to this paying scheme? No. Is there a trade-off? Yes.

    Because each of the 150 NAPS academies will likely draw its students from many different public school districts and each NAPS will therefore float outside the control and jurisdiction of just one school district, NASA should establish itself as the de facto public school district equivalent for the entire NAPS program, meaning: NASA should take complete operational control of the NAPS program, and should leave no local program design control of any sort to parent groups, school boards, school district administrators, or the NAPS host universities. To accomplish this, the NAPS “high school” teachers must be NASA employees, and the entire NAPS curriculum must be NASA-controlled.

    The NAPS curriculum I have proposed is simple and straightforward, and it is driven exclusively by the standard university prerequisite stream for mathematics and the physical sciences, which — when accomplished — fulfills the core math and science course requirements of any university-level laboratory science major (including the biology major). If anything, NASA might simplify my proposed curriculum in some way, though there is nothing to simplify that I can see. With few exceptions, NAPS will teach only select Advanced Placement courses (which are standardized nationwide) while living as a parasite on the standard undergraduate course offerings in mathematics and the physical sciences found at all public research universities in the U.S., and the subject matter and teaching of the university courses taken by NAPS students will not be tampered with or in any way controlled by NASA at all.

    Paranoid people will rightly observe that the U.S. government will have direct free access to NAPS student transcripts through NASA, and that includes access given to the DoD and the various NIP agencies if they partner in funding NAPS. This does not in any way bother me, but it might bother some. To those “some” who are bothered, my advice is simple: do not enroll your child in NAPS under any circumstance. NAPS is an extraordinary optional educational opportunity that will only be available to the very few who qualify. If NASA, the DoD, and the DNI partner in making NAPS happen, then they deserve the access to student transcripts that they will have.

    NAPS fulfills the government obligation to provide free public education through the twelfth grade for its students, but it in no way contractually obligates its graduates to ever work for the U.S. government in any capacity at all for any length of time. A NAPS graduate is entirely free to do whatever he/she wants to do with the rest of his/her life. That stated, it will certainly be the case that many NAPS graduates will be recruited by the U.S. government for employment and/or higher education opportunities that might have significant contractual obligations attached (for example, U.S. military academy appointments). But other private industry recruitments and also significant university scholarship offers will certainly come to many NAPS graduates. The plain fact of the matter is this: most NAPS graduates will be academically among “The Top One Percent” of all U.S. high school graduates in any given year; they will be in high demand by many, including the whole assortment of U.S. government agencies and departments.

    In the end, many NAPS graduates will maintain their dream to become NASA employees, and they will freely choose to follow NASA’s guidance in their higher education choices in their continuing effort to make that dream happen. If NASA adopts this proposal, it will certainly have the inside track on finding and developing the very best young minds in America to meet the agency's ongoing need to remain on the cutting edge of new space technologies. Many young geniuses are naturally drawn to the exciting work that NASA does, and NASA should invite those young geniuses into its fold by becoming the U.S. government agency that funds and manages the NAPS program.

    * * *

    Val, I will respond to your concerns #2 through #6 in later replies. My response to your concern #7 about biology has already been given in my Reply #78662 to Clay earlier in this thread, and also in my general Reply #78691 to both Clay and you.

    Steven A. Sylwester


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    #78747 - 06/22/10 01:23 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Originally Posted By: inky
    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester
    What would you exclude to include biology?

    Instead of having two separate courses on microeconoics and macroeconics, I'd have one course on economics in order to include biology. The fact that lower level university biology classes are full doesn't seem to justify excluding it from the curriculum.



    Inky, I chose Economics to be an Advanced Placement course. However, consider the current listing of recognized AP courses at:
    http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/subjects.html

    [SPAM]! No Economics. Just:
    http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/sub_maceco.html?macro
    http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ap/sub_miceco.html?micro

    That is either a recent break-apart change or is an oversight on my part. My proposal has Advanced Placement Economics in the Junior Year, which I describe by terms as:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-scie...-of-oregon.html

    Fall Term Winter Term Spring Term
    NAPS: Advanced Placement English Literature
    NAPS: Advanced Placement Economics
    Fall: Microeconomics
    Winter: Macroeconomics
    Spring: Game Theory

    * * *

    Inky, AP courses are usually a school year long. I should not have stated both AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics in Reply #78691 when I wanted to state AP Economics, which is a course that does not exist currently as an AP option. To correct myself, I should either/or AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics in my reply.

    To add University Biology in the Junior Year is unthinkable. In my opinion, you cannot exclude AP Economics for University Biology, because AP Economics fulfills statewide high school graduation requirements in the humanities, which are standing requirements that cannot be overlooked in a NAPS curriculum.

    I chose AP Economics because it is a significantly math-based subject matter, and one of the basic purposes of NAPS is to develop mathematical thinking to the highest proficiency level possible.

    Again, AP Biology is a joke, and I know this from firsthand experience as the parent of two genius daughters, both of whom endured AP Biology during high school and both of whom scored "5" on the national test, which is the highest score possible. Do NOT insult NASA Scholars with AP Biology, not even as high school freshmen.

    Remember, there is a strict limit to the number of university credits that can be taken by a NASA scholar during any school term, and it is important to not exceed that limit because exceeding the limit creates a college student by legal definition.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #78748 - 06/22/10 01:32 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Inky,

    I edited my Reply #78691. It now reads:

    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester


    Furthermore, NAPS will only succeed if it is largely a shared experience for NASA Scholars, which means that a focussed limited curriculum is essential.

    My proposed NAPS "shared experience" is this:

    Required Courses:
    AP Chemistry with University Laboratory class
    AP English Language
    AP United States History
    AP English Literature
    AP Microeconomics or AP Macroeconomics

    Mathematics through University Calculus I, II, III
    University Computer Science I,II, III
    University Calculus-based Physics: Foundations of Physics I

    Colloquy




    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #78752 - 06/22/10 02:06 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    ColinsMum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/19/08
    Posts: 1898
    Loc: Scotland
    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester

    If you have to be convinced that NAPS is a good idea, you will never be convinced.

    How very convenient for you. Unfortunately, this part seems not to be true:
    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester

    Those who will not need convincing are these: the genius young people who score at the 99th percentile in mathematics and the sciences and who enjoy mathematics and the sciences, and the parents of those young people; Pentagon-based generals and admirals; the highest ranking personnel in the various U.S. intelligence agencies; and the highest ranking personnel at NASA.

    in that you've reached plenty of people who are in at least one of those groups here, and we do seem to need to be convinced.

    A school is not a painting. The only way you can expect to put one together to your vision without negotiation, justification or compromise is by making your billions first, and then choosing to spend them this way. And even then, you have to convince the parents - the same parents who are reading you here.

    In fact, you haven't yet made a serious attempt at an argument for why this school should meet the needs of its target children. It's teaching material normally taught to older people, fine - but the pace and depth of those courses will still be that designed for average college attenders, which will be too slow and too shallow for our children. There's more to providing suitable education for GT students than getting them to the same courses early. I repeat the question someone else asked, apart from your own daughters, have you talked to any?

    There's also something jarring me to what you seem to be expecting in the students at NAPS. You talk about these students being in the 99th percentile, but also about them being "near genius" as though you could expect them to have no difficulty with anything you could throw at them. Top 1% is not the same as near genius! Not every student at that level even needs much differentiation compared with a normal good high school class, let alone the radical acceleration you're proposing. Yet you expect to recruit practically all of them (you say you want more than a third of a TAG group which is defined irrespective of subject strength as being for the top 3% - there will be some wriggle room as some students will be in the top 1% for maths and science without being in the top 3% overall, although you don't say how you'll identify them) For comparison, the Davidson Institute, which runs this forum, requires its scholars to be in the top 99.9th percentile.
    _________________________
    Email: my username, followed by 2, at google's mail

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    #78757 - 06/22/10 02:42 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ColinsMum]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    The following excerpt is from the University of Oregon Course Catalog regarding a major in biology:
    http://uocatalog.uoregon.edu/liberalarts/biology

    Lower-Division Biology Sequences.

    Students planning to major in biology or a related discipline may take either of the 200-level biology sequences: BI 211–214 or BI 251–253. Students should consult the department website or visit the advising center for up-to-date information about the sequences and for advice on which sequence is best for them.

    To enter the general biology sequence, a student must have completed at least one term of college-level chemistry or the equivalent (Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate examination credit). The course sequence is targeted toward students with an interest in whole-organism biology. For some science majors, three terms of general biology suffice. For biology majors, General Biology IV: Biochemistry and Genetics (BI 214) is required.

    The three-term foundations sequence requires completion of a year of general chemistry and concurrent enrollment in or completion of the first term of organic chemistry. It is for students with an interest in processes and mechanisms at the cellular and molecular level. Students contemplating medical school or an emphasis in molecular genetics or biochemistry are advised to take this sequence. Because the sequence assumes familiarity with chemical concepts, most students should begin it fall term of the sophomore year, after completing the year of general chemistry with laboratories that is required of biology majors.

    * * *

    A NAPS graduate would be able to begin the three-term foundations sequence in biology fall term of the freshman year — fully one year ahead of what is possible for other students. As stated in the excerpt: "Students contemplating medical school or an emphasis in molecular genetics or biochemistry are advised to take this sequence."

    * * *

    Furthermore, another excerpt from the University of Oregon Course Catalog regarding a major in biology follows. I have noted "NAPS DONE" by those required courses which would have already been completed by a NAPS graduate who was a chemistry major while enrolled in NAPS.


    Major Requirements

    A major in biology or marine biology leads to a bachelor of science (B.S.) or to a bachelor of arts (B.A.) degree. The B.A. requires completion of the foreign-language requirement. Twenty-four credits of biology that are applied to the major must be taken at the University of Oregon (which includes the main campus, the Oregon Institute of Marine Biology in Charleston, the central Oregon campus in Bend, and university-approved overseas and exchange programs). Majors must either meet the major requirements in effect at the time they are accepted as majors or complete subsequent major requirements. Specific courses follow.

    NAPS DONE >> 1. General Chemistry (CH 221, 222, 223) or Honors General Chemistry (CH 224H, 225H, 226H)

    NAPS DONE >> 2. General Chemistry Laboratory (CH 227, 228, 229) or Advanced General Chemistry Laboratory (CH 237, 238, 239)

    NAPS DONE >> 3. Mathematics, to include Calculus for the Biological Sciences I,II (MATH 246, 247) or Calculus I,II (MATH 251, 252) or equivalent; a course in statistics is recommended

    NAPS DONE >> 4. General Physics (PHYS 201, 202, 203) or Foundations of Physics I (PHYS 251, 252, 253)

    5. One of the introductory sequences: the four-term general biology sequence (BI 211–214) or the three-term foundations sequence (BI 251–253)

    NAPS DONE >> 6. Organic chemistry sequence

    NAPS DONE >> a. For the biology major, a minimum of two organic chemistry courses are required: Organic Chemistry I (CH 331) and either Organic Chemistry II (CH 335) (preferred) or Organic Chemistry III (CH 336)

    NAPS DONE >> b. For students interested in graduate programs in medicine, dentistry, biomedicine, or allied health, three organic chemistry courses and two laboratories are required (CH 331, 335, 336, 337, 338).

    c. Since many medical schools require upper-division genetics and/or biochemistry, Molecular Genetics (BI 320), Physiological Biochemistry (CH 360), or both are suggested. Students are urged to contact specific institutions to confirm admission requirements

    * * *

    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-scie...-of-oregon.html

    JUNIOR YEAR: Chemistry Major
    Fall Term Winter Term Spring Term
    NAPS: Advanced Placement English Literature
    NAPS: Advanced Placement Economics
    Fall: Microeconomics
    Winter: Macroeconomics
    Spring: Game Theory
    NAPS: Mathematics
    UO: Organic Chemistry
    Fall: I: CH 331 (4 credits)
    Winter: II: CH 335 (4 credits)
    Spring: III: CH 336 (4 credits)
    Fall: Organic Chem Laboratory: CH 337 (3 credits)
    Winter: Organic Chem Laboratory: CH 338 (3 credits)
    Spring: Organic Analysis: CH 339 (4 credits)

    SENIOR YEAR
    Fall Term Winter Term Spring Term
    UO: Calculus
    Fall: I: MATH 251 (4 credits)
    Winter: II: MATH 252 (4 credits)
    Spring: III: MATH 253 (4 credits)
    UO: Foundations of Physics I
    Fall: PHYS 251 (4 credits)
    Winter: PHYS 252 (4 credits)
    Spring: PHYS 253 (4 credits)
    NAPS: Colloquy: Morality, Ethics & Society: Science & Technology in the 21st Century
    Fall: U.S. Constitution Amendment Proposal
    Winter: World Treaty Proposal
    Spring: Philosophy of Science and Technology Definition Statement

    * * *

    It seems to me that I have done a great big favor for those who want to major in biology at the university level in how I have designed the NAPS curriculum.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #78759 - 06/22/10 03:00 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    ColinsMum,

    NAPS is for very, very few people. The greater Eugene, Oregon, area that would feed The First Model at the University of Oregon has a population base of 337,870 people, and I target a NAPS enrollment of no more than 34 students per grade level. A major high school with an enrollment of 1,000 students might release just two or three sophomore students to NAPS per year — fewer than ten students total at the three NAPS grade levels combined. In some years, some major high schools might release no sophomore students to NAPS. I am talking about the very rare student — the student who by him/herself can raise the curve in an Advanced Placement class by ten points. Those students are out there, and their needs are not being taken care of by the available public high school curriculum.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #78770 - 06/22/10 05:38 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    ColinsMum,

    Please, ...

    Originally Posted By: ColinsMum

    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester

    Those who will not need convincing are these: the genius young people who score at the 99th percentile in mathematics and the sciences and who enjoy mathematics and the sciences, and the parents of those young people; Pentagon-based generals and admirals; the highest ranking personnel in the various U.S. intelligence agencies; and the highest ranking personnel at NASA.

    ... in that you've reached plenty of people who are in at least one of those groups here, and we do seem to need to be convinced.

    A school is not a painting. The only way you can expect to put one together to your vision without negotiation, justification or compromise is by making your billions first, and then choosing to spend them this way. And even then, you have to convince the parents - the same parents who are reading you here.

    In fact, you haven't yet made a serious attempt at an argument for why this school should meet the needs of its target children. It's teaching material normally taught to older people, fine - but the pace and depth of those courses will still be that designed for average college attenders, which will be too slow and too shallow for our children.


    ... you are an "I," not a "we." Long ago in difficult circumstances, I learned that those who claim to speak for everyone actually speak for no one other than themselves. There have been no votes taken here yet, and so there is no "we" that has spoken.

    I want to create an opportunity for deserving young people who want it. I am concerned about parents. Consider the following excerpt from my proposal:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-scie...-of-oregon.html

    Finally, they will undergo an interview process to test their emotional maturity and their ability to handle stress in a university environment. Everything possible will be done to select for enrollment only those students who will thrive and succeed at NAPS.

    * * *

    In my opinion, most of that interview process should be conducted one-on-one between the prospective student and a NAPS representative without the parents of the prospective student in the room. Under no circumstances should any child be made to enroll in NAPS against his/her will. In the whole NAPS equation, parents are most to be feared.

    Why? I very confidently predict that most NAPS graduates will receive a full-ride academic merit scholarship offer from almost any university they apply to. There is an enormous financial reward awaiting the average NAPS graduate at the end of their three year grind, and that reward will be mostly experienced by parents in the form of a free university education for their child. Consequently, many parents are to be feared in what I am proposing.

    But, ColinsMum, you are welcome to keep your child away from it all. My genius children are now 21 and 23. Maybe my grandchildren will benefit someday, but not me and not my children — at least not directly. My NAPS proposal is in response to what I went through. Any American who imagines that public education will take care of the needs of their exceptionally gifted children by using the current models is full-blown delusional. Funding for TAG is evaporating. Hell, just call it gone!

    ColinsMum, you wrote: "... the pace and depth of those courses will still be that designed for average college attenders, which will be too slow and too shallow for our children." Consider: almost all university professors have Ph.D. degrees and almost all high school teachers do not. I am talking University Calculus I, II, III; University Calculus-based Foundations of Physics I and II; University Organic Chemistry and Laboratory; mathematics as high as University Elementary Linear Algebra, which is beyond University Several-Variable Calculus I and II, and you are talking "too slow" and "too shallow." Are we on the same planet?

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #78843 - 06/23/10 08:53 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    Austin Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/25/08
    Posts: 1840
    Loc: North Texas
    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester

    I am talking University Calculus I, II, III; University Calculus-based Foundations of Physics I and II; University Organic Chemistry and Laboratory; mathematics as high as University Elementary Linear Algebra, which is beyond University Several-Variable Calculus I and II, and you are talking "too slow" and "too shallow." Are we on the same planet?

    Steven A. Sylwester


    I don't think you know much about math or science.

    If these kids are that smart, then those math classes are not appropriate for more mathematically mature kids. I would expect to see classes on Analysis or Abstract Algebra as the first-year course followed by Statistics, then seminars at a graduate level on various topics. Things like Calculus and Linear Algebra could be covered in a Numeric Methods class that also introduces programming in C with the focus of the class being not applied math, but a topic in physical sciences. In fact, a seminar approach after 6 semesters of the basics would be best.

    Most PG kids could start such a program as I outlined above when they are 14 or earlier. And after such a program they would more than likely enter industry or go into a Grad program rather than enter a normal college.

    I taught myself to program when I was 12 and was working on chemical control software when by the time I was 16.


    Edited by Austin (06/23/10 08:55 PM)

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    #78915 - 06/24/10 01:26 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: Austin]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Austin,

    You are missing the whole point of my NAPS proposal.

    What you are recommending will never happen. Developing a unique curriculum for The Top One Percent as you suggest will require a separate dedicated faculty that will drive costs through the roof.

    The only new curriculum element in NAPS is my Colloquy. All of the Advanced Placement courses are standardized, and all of the university courses are already being taught on the campuses of the 150 public research universities that would host NAPS across the nation. The AP courses would be NAPS-only, but there would be no sections of any of the university courses that would be dedicated only to the NASA Scholars. Instead, the NASA Scholars would fill the empty seats in the course sections already scheduled to be taught, and their fellow students in those classes would include regular university students.

    The point is this: my NAPS proposal is a fill-the-empty-seats proposal. My argument in favor of NAPS in this regard is that it makes economic sense — a whole lot of good could be accomplished at very little cost.

    Consider the following excerpt from my proposal:

    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-scie...-of-oregon.html

    NAPS focuses on the “foundations” courses in physics for its students for three reasons: 1) NASA Scholars are gifted; 2) the foundations courses are math-based at calculus and above, and therefore provide understandable applications in physics that make it easier to learn calculus; and 3) the foundations courses do not fill up.

    NAPS is viable only if its cost of operation as a school is affordable to the state, and it is certainly affordable if its UO expense is largely invisible and essentially free. After the UO’s Fall Term 2008 registration was completed, the following spaces were still available: Organic Chemistry I — 133 out of 400; Organic Chemistry Laboratory — 42 out of 248; Foundations of Physics I — 13 out of 134; Foundations of Physics II — 11 out of 48; Computer Science I — 24 out of 110; Elements of Discrete Mathematics I — 8 out of 100; Calculus I — 52 out of 352; and Introduction to Differential Equations — 14 out of 72.

    Remember, NAPS has a target enrollment of 34 students per grade level. If the UO’s Fall Term 2008 registration was usual, then only Foundations of Physics I and Elements of Discrete Mathematics I seem likely to be over-filled in future terms by enrollment from NAPS if another section is not added in each case. So, in the general case, NASA Scholars will simply fill available spaces that are currently going unfilled in courses that are being taught anyway, despite under-enrollment.

    NAPS will teach AP Chemistry according to the UO model: in this case, a general lecture to all 34 students and an accompanying separate AP Chemistry laboratory class that has three sections, with a maximum enrollment of 12 students per section. At the UO, Organic Chemistry Laboratory (CH 337) sections have a maximum enrollment of 13 students each, and Advanced General Chemistry Laboratory (CH 237) sections have a maximum enrollment of 11 students each.

    Excluding the UO faculty for the above-mentioned courses, NAPS will function with just four “high school” teachers: a teacher for AP Chemistry (who will also teach math), a teacher for basic computer programming and math through pre-calculus, a teacher for AP Economics and AP U.S. History, and a teacher for AP English Language and AP English Literature. NAPS will have no electives in its “high school” curriculum. Except that some students will be especially advanced in math and will take calculus as juniors, all NAPS classmates will take the same “high school” classes every year. As stated above, NAPS juniors will separate into three groups according their interests regarding their UO Duck Link classes.

    It is very important to note that pushing enrollment above 34 NASA Scholars per grade level risks two bad outcomes: 1) having to have more than four “high school” teachers per NAPS, and 2) having to teach more than one section of the shared “high school” classes. An enrollment of 34 scholars per grade level is an outer limit that is doable only because it is reasonable to expect a well-behaved, productive classroom from 34 highly intelligent students who are motivated to be there. If any enrollment adjustment were made, it would be down to 24 scholars per grade level.

    * * *

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #78927 - 06/24/10 02:53 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    Austin Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/25/08
    Posts: 1840
    Loc: North Texas
    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester
    Austin,

    You are missing the whole point of my NAPS proposal.

    What you are recommending will never happen. Developing a unique curriculum for The Top One Percent as you suggest will require a separate dedicated faculty that will drive costs through the roof.


    DYS offers a unique approach. So, a unique approach does exist.

    And as far as cost, that is really driven by salaries and overhead, not curriculum.

    You claimed that your course selection was college level. Well, its not. Its offered at hundreds of schools nationwide.

    If your proposal is not going to attract the PG/MG as DYS does and offers what local private, magnet and level III schools already do, then what is the purpose? Seems like a waste of money to me. For instance, in the DFW area, four schools with just 2% of the graduating Seniors produce over 50% of the National Merit Scholars. I don't see what your proposal offers that does not exist at those schools.

    Is this school going to be launched into Orbit? I really do not understand the NASA angle.

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    #78966 - 06/25/10 01:47 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: Austin]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    DYS:
    http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art27056.asp

    Why are you opposed to spreading the wealth?

    Are the four "Dallas/Fort Worth-area" schools "with just 2% of the graduating Seniors producing 50% of the National Merit Scholars" free public schools? The NAPS schools I propose are free public schools that generate at least two full years of college credit to its graduates.

    NAPS would be nationwide in all 50 states at 150 sites with a standard shared curriculum, and a significant number of the classes would be taught by Ph.D. university professors in a university setting in which most of the classmates would be university students. There are many dumb university students, but dumb university students do not take full-year Calculus, full-year Organic Chemistry and Laboratory, and full-year Calculus-based Physics, or any courses above those levels. Those are the university classes that NAPS students would enroll in.

    Yes, Calculus is taught in hundreds of high schools nationwide, but Organic Chemistry and Laboratory is taught in no public high schools in the U.S. that I am aware of. Part of my impetus for designing NAPS has to do with AP Chemistry. Universities do not recognize the laboratory work done in U.S. high schools during AP Chemistry to be sufficient preparation for Organic Chemistry. Even if a student scores a "5" on the national AP Chemistry test, which is the highest score possible, that student must take a full year of General Chemistry Lab at a university before he/she can enroll in Organic Chemistry. As a parent, I learned that lesson the hard way twice — and there is no getting around it in the current system. And so I created NAPS, which solves the problem.

    Consider the following excerpt from my proposal:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-scie...-of-oregon.html

    The UO awards 12 credits and recognizes the equivalency of General Chemistry (CH 221, 222, 223) for all high school students who score a “4” or a “5” on the national AP Chemistry test. But the UO does not recognize the high school chemistry laboratory experience as being sufficient preparation for Organic Chemistry I (CH 331), and consequently requires all students who want to advance in chemistry to minimally take three terms of General Chemistry Laboratory (CH 227, 228, 229) before beginning the Organic Chemistry sequence. Therefore, the UO will provide university-level chemistry laboratory instruction to all NAPS sophomores in conjunction with their AP Chemistry class to qualify NAPS juniors to enroll in Organic Chemistry if they so choose.

    As juniors, NAPS students will separate into three groups according to their interests. Those who are especially advanced in math will take the Foundations of Physics I sequence and the Calculus sequence throughout the school year [total UO credits per term: 8, 8, 8]. A second group will take Organic Chemistry I, II, III (CH 331, 335, 336); Organic Chemistry Laboratory (337, 338); and Organic Analysis (CH 339) [total UO credits per term: 7, 7, 8]. A third group will take Computer Science I, II, III and Elements of Discrete Mathematics I, II, III (MATH 231, 232, 233) [total UO credits per term: 8, 8, 8].

    * * *

    Why do you imagine that my "proposal is not going to attract the PG/MG as DYS does and offers what local private, magnet and level III schools already do"? I did not involve either one of my daughters in the Davidson Young Scholars program, and I did investigate it when I was searching for solutions for my oldest daughter when she was young. DYS is not a be-all end-all solution for everyone, nor will NAPS be that. Many students who could qualify for enrollment in NAPS would choose to instead attend their local high school for all sorts of good personal reasons, and I understand that fully, and it does not bother me in the least. I have designed NAPS only for those students who would want to attend it, and for no others.

    In Eugene-Springfield, Oregon, where the University of Oregon is located, there are seven public high schools within three different school districts. The public high school that has the long-time reputation for being the best academic high school in the city has not offered AP Chemistry for several years now. As funding for public education gets axed time and time again in Oregon, what is disappearing are the AP classes.

    The NASA angle is a clever way to avoid public hostilities toward smart kids. Please read the following linked section of my proposal for a detailed explanation:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-scie...a-and-naps.html

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #78968 - 06/25/10 03:46 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    rodc Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 05/19/10
    Posts: 17
    Mr. Sylwester.
    The Nation needs such a program – pure and simple. Most important is that your proposal focuses resources on specific students that can help rebuild this Country. Keep in mind that the most successful people, in general, are those with moderately high IQ’s, have excellent work ethic, are capable of focusing their attention and are motivated. This program would serve the greatest number of highly functional people. For those few who are extremely talented and share similar attributes, this program would give them a sound foundation.

    Rod

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    #78993 - 06/25/10 09:53 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: rodc]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Rod,

    Thank you. Of course, you are correct in your assessment.

    If you want to be involved in making it happen, let me know.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #79011 - 06/25/10 11:49 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    PoppaRex Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/09/10
    Posts: 44
    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester
    The NASA angle is a clever way to avoid public hostilities toward smart kids.


    ...Until someone discovers the ruse and there's a backlash of outrage. It perpetrates the perception that there's a group of silver spoon fed uberkinder that is being groomed for replacing those "Pentagon-based generals and admirals and the highest ranking personnel in the various U.S. intelligence agencies". I understand what your concerns are and the reasoning behind it. It just stinks of entitlement and payoffs.

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    #79040 - 06/26/10 12:56 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: PoppaRex]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Entitlement?!

    PoppaRex, think this through: Every child living in the United States, including even the child of illegal immigrants, is required to be schooled from 1st grade through 12th grade. The child can be home-schooled, schooled in a private secular school, schooled in a private parochial school, or schooled in a public school — or in any combination of those many options during the twelve required years of schooling — but the child must be schooled somehow and somewhere to the approval of state authorities who are empowered to monitor such things. A child who does not go to school according to state requirements is considered to be a truant, and that child and that child's parents can be legally made to suffer terrible consequences for truancy. The requirement to be schooled is so determined and so ironclad that the state is obligated to provide a free public school education from 1st grade through 12th grade for any child who chooses that schooling option, including the profoundly mentally disabled child who is literally incapable of learning anything at all. So in truth and in every actuality, twelve years of schooling is a requirement that is also an entitlement if the free public school option is chosen. Many argue that twelve years of schooling should be treated as an entitlement in all cases, and that that should be accomplished through an equitable voucher system whereby private schooling of any sort could be paid for at U.S. taxpayer's expense. Regardless of the outcome of that argument, as it is, any child can choose to receive a free public school education through 12th grade.

    The question then becomes this: Exactly what is an education, and what is the obligation of the state to every child who is required to be schooled?

    PoppaRex, your "it just stinks of entitlement and payoff" comment suggests to me that, in your opinion, the state's only obligation to the child who is required to be schooled is to provide a standard mediocre curriculum that is designed to suit the needs of a 50th Percentile student, and that no child deserves special consideration of any sort under any circumstance either above or below that 50th Percentile standard.

    In my opinion, the state has an obligation to provide an appropriate, meaningful, and challenging education according to the child's academic and nonacademic interests and according to the child's potential as determined by standard testing measures for every child who is required to be schooled for as long as that child is required to be schooled, meaning for twelve years. Therefore, if a child has the ability to excel at the university level while still in high school, that child should be entitled to enroll in a public university at taxpayer's expense until the twelve years of free public schooling for that child is entirely spent. That is what should be the state's obligation because that is what is fair and equitable to all students, including the genius students whose needs are presently being overlooked or ignored.

    PoppaRex, there is no "ruse" and there are no "silver spoon fed uberkinder." Get real, and show some compassion to those who deserve it through no fault of their own. What is real is this: I was born without a left hand, which is a birth defect. What is real is this: A genius child is born that way, which is a birth defect. The term "gifted" masks an awful truth, which is that gifted children often suffer through the same unending calamity as that suffered by birth defected children, because genius is a birth defect that sets its victim apart from almost everyone else. I have witnessed ragged grief and painful tears expressed by my own daughters over this, and I have known those emotions firsthand and intimately at the very deepest levels of my own being at many times throughout my life because of my lack of a hand. There is nothing cute about it when a child bitterly laments and offers to God the entirety of her intelligence in exchange for just one honest friendship.

    PoppaRex, you are wrong — very, very wrong! I cannot make you know what it is like, I can only beg you to believe me. Genius children deserve the NAPS option, and they deserve it as an entitlement. And I do not apologize for that one bit — not now, not ever!

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #79041 - 06/26/10 04:03 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    rodc Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 05/19/10
    Posts: 17
    Steve.
    I concur with everything you said with the exception of your suggesting that school are designed to suit the needs of the 50 percentile. In my humble opinion schools and teachers are being forced to meet the needs of the least common denominator, at the expense of the average, let alone gifted children.

    You commented on educating persons with intellectual challenges – the cost of doing so is staggering - A day program for a person with intellectual disabilities can easily cost the State and Federal Government $35,000 per year or more, for life (that is just the “day program” component of their care and support). As a tax payer, I have no problem supporting people with additional needs, HOWEVER, there are countless children out there with academic needs that are being overtly and covertly overlooked, who if enabled could benefit our Nation beyond expectation. Supporting gifted children is more then a feel good, entitlement type of option; it is absolutely necessary for our Country – plain and simple, if we don’t harvest these resources, its over! The world is changing and we must get off the dime and start producing talent – we need large NUMBERS of highly talented people in the work place.

    Let me pull out the violin for a moment, but before doing so, let me assure you that I am not a gifted individual. On the other hand, my 8-year-old son is very different from other kids. His brain works differently, sometimes for the better and sometimes not. We took him for testing and were told that he is very gifted and should “find options for him”. In school he has no challenges – he is the first to finish his work, first to put his hand-up, gets all A’s and hates going to school. He told my neighbors that he couldn’t stand school because he feels trapped all day doing nothing. The solution is to move him into a corner of the classroom and give him worksheets on subjects more advanced then the other kids. So while the other kids are sitting together with the teacher, my son is isolated doing worksheets (Please keep in mind, I do not fault the teachers, they are wonderful and trying their best but I do fault the system). My son loves to be social but it’s getting harder and harder for him in school to identify with kids the same age, so I find him now socializing with the fifth and sixth graders during recess. Last week he came home from school very, very upset, believing he was stupid – “Dad, I’m the most stupid person on earth, I just Can’t explain things to other kids so they understand things” – he was talking about a complex question that the teacher asked his classmates and when none of the other kids knew the answer, my son tried to explain it to the other kids, for an extended period - his answer was correct but the other kids could no appreciate the right answer, even after the teacher worked with them. Recently I took him for the Johns Hopkins SCAT exam (Computer based exam offered on computers at various test centers). After the exam, he came out of the test center and as I went to give him a hug he started to cry and said “Dad, I just loved this test, please, can I do it everyday, it makes me use my brain and I love that, please let me come here again” (he got high honors by Hopkins for his test results – which I am told is very difficult to achieve). There are countless other children in similar circumstances, not just my kid, countless others!

    Lets start focusing on the needs of our Country – lets offer meaningful, robust and advanced educational opportunities for the countless students that not only will personally benefit by such opportunity but will, in turn, benefit our Nation. If this Country does not do something soon, it will be to late (take a look at Central America - that could be us, the US, in 20 years, at the rate we are going). Our resource is the talent of our collective children and we need to harvest this talent now more then ever.

    Steve, soldier on!


    Edited by rodc (06/26/10 08:56 AM)

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    #79135 - 06/28/10 06:42 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: rodc]
    PoppaRex Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/09/10
    Posts: 44
    Steven, I apologize for my terse post as it is obvious I goofed in making my point.

    Entitlement was the wrong word. I believe that any program which caters to a few will be plagued with corruption issues. Funding via a back door policy sets the stage. There’s enough of that ongoing today.

    Certainly I understand that your feeling is that there is a critical need to meet the needs of advanced students. I could not agree more. What I don’t agree with is the method. Addressing one (tiny) segment of the educational system is simply going to create an outcry that could destroy that option for a long time.

    Quote:
    PoppaRex, your "it just stinks of entitlement and payoff" comment suggests to me that, in your opinion, the state's only obligation to the child who is required to be schooled is to provide a standard mediocre curriculum that is designed to suit the needs of a 50th Percentile student, and that no child deserves special consideration of any sort under any circumstance either above or below that 50th Percentile standard.


    How did you jump to that conclusion? I believe exactly the opposite, that “No Child Left Behind” needs to be transformed into “Every child to his ability”. I think your proposal does not address the critical early years where children need to be identified as to their potential and allowed to track accordingly. Of course there’s the problem of how one identifies the potential of a child and how stringent does that become. Hopefully it is flexible enough to recognize that potential changes due to circumstance and development, that a child does not become pigeon-holed at day one and is forever stuck with some prophesy.

    Quote:
    that child should be entitled to enroll in a public university at taxpayer's expense until the twelve years of free public schooling for that child is entirely spent. That is what should be the state's obligation because that is what is fair and equitable to all students, including the genius students whose needs are presently being overlooked or ignored.


    Have you read your own proposal? I believe you are talking about something beyond the states responsibility to fund K-12. You are talking about a separately funded system. I believe there is very little money provided to fund the other end of the spectrum (at least such is my experience in Massachusetts). School systems are required to pay for special needs education from the same batch of funds that the rest of the children are schooled from. How is providing a special fund equitable? Don’t jump to the conclusion that because I don’t agree with your method that I think the current system is fine.

    I am a little wishy-washy on the emotional pleas and personal insight you provide, because they have no bearing on the program you propose. I suggest that you refrain from making assumptions about my abilities or what I and my family have been through. I am no stranger to the emotional pain genius brings and I assure you I can tug on your heartstrings so hard you’ll drop with a full coronary.

    You propose I get real? The reality is until the lower grades are structured in a way that exceptional children are provided the resources they need to flourish, I believe most kids in your program will be those of parents who can afford the $24,000 tuition at a private school for gifted children (and who want to ship them off to such a place). I have a 10 year old son who likely is gifted. Unlike my daughters, I will have him tested as he is heavy into science and math and I need to open as many doors as I can. I hate the thought of him growing to hate school as I did (Note School <> learning).

    I think we want to get to the same place. I just think you are jumping to the end while I see a need to start at the beginning.

    Rob

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    #79184 - 06/28/10 12:39 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: PoppaRex]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Rob,

    Thank you for clarifying your position.

    I am for starting at the point where it is feasible to start, and for placing obligations on the public schools in advance of that point.

    My proposal reads:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/2009/11/overview.html

    THE SIX BASIC PREMISES:
    1. Starting no later than 7th grade, public schools should accelerate the learning of those students who display an extraordinary aptitude in math and science.

    * * *

    Sure, start in 1st grade, but it will not happen in these economic times.

    I edited the startling verbiage out from an earlier version of my NAPS proposal, but my intent and the reality remains plainly the same, which is: NAPS is educational triage — it is saving the best first, and it is saving the best first without spending more than the reasonably available resources.

    For the most part, NAPS functions on a redirection of state funds that would otherwise be spent educating the NASA Scholars in an ordinary public high school setting. The additional federal money is best thought of as a carrot to encourage the public research universities to: 1) host a NAPS site, and 2) conduct research using NASA Scholars and the NAPS program to improve math and science education in general.

    My proposal states regarding this:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/2009/11/overview.html

    Each state will every year spend 85% of its average per high school student per year expenditure for each of its NASA Scholars to fund its in-state NAPS academies, and the U.S. government will add $4,000 per student per year funding to each of the 150 NAPS academies nationwide for a total federal funding of $61.2 million per year. The states will be obligated to collect their 15% per student per year expenditure savings into a Science Education Fund that will be exhausted every year through the issuing of major grants to upgrade public high school science classrooms with new computer technology, new laboratory equipment, and/or general facility improvements. The grants will range in size from $20,000 to $50,000 each, and will be awarded by a three-person review committee comprised of one science professor from each of the three public research universities where the in-state NAPS academies are sited. If a state expends $8,500 per high school student per year, its SEF will collect and then spend out $390,150 per year, which could result in 19 grants of $20,534 each.

    After the awarding of SEF grants every year, the state governors will consider the merits of all unfunded grant requests for their individual state, and will forward all deserving requests to in-state private industry leaders for their consideration and possible patronage. Special corporate tax credits will be given to companies that fund SEF grant requests. If the SEF grant review committee recommends improvements to particular requests along with encouragement to request a grant the following year (for example, if the request was for equipment that is being made obsolete by new technology), those recommendations will remain attached to the unfunded requests that are forwarded to industry leaders.

    States with more than three public universities will select the three universities that: 1) have the largest population base within an established to-and-from daily commute using public mass transit, and 2) do federally funded research on topics associated with gifted learning. All site universities should propose and do research that will improve the NAPS academies over time while also maximizing the benefits that can be had by other schools. Grant money from both federal and private sources will support select research over time.

    * * *

    By the way, like you, I too hated school. However, I absolutely disagree with you when you state: "... I believe most kids in your program will be those of parents who can afford the $24,000 tuition at a private school for gifted children (and who want to ship them off to such a place)." Gifted children can be born out of poverty from parents who are uneducated and uninspired. I have created NAPS for those gifted children especially.

    Finally. my NAPS proposal does not include "the emotional pleas and personal insight" because I rooted all of that out from my original versions. I agree: that stuff has "no bearing on the program" I propose. I offer that information in this forum only because it seems to be necessary to break the ice.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #79242 - 06/29/10 05:41 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    PoppaRex Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/09/10
    Posts: 44
    Steven, I guess we'll just have to disagree.

    I prefer to look at the larger vision. It's always better IMHO to get the entire design worked out rather than building piecemeal and trying to retrofit later.

    Good luck.

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    #79292 - 06/29/10 12:06 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: PoppaRex]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Rob,

    You first wrote: "I have a 10 year old son who likely is gifted. Unlike my daughters, I will have him tested as he is heavy into science and math and I need to open as many doors as I can."

    Then you wrote: "I prefer to look at the larger vision. It's always better IMHO to get the entire design worked out rather than building piecemeal and trying to retrofit later."

    My recommendation to you is that you set your "IMHO" aside in favor of a much more selfish motivation that works hard to achieve something beneficial for your own son. Look around, and then move toward a solution that can be personally self-serving. Why? Because you will fight your fight for maybe four or five more years, and then you will give up defeated. I speak from experience. It always seemed to me in my naive hope that middle school would be different than elementary school, and then that high school would be different than middle school, and then that college would be different than high school. Well, guess what? None of it is different — from start to finish, it is all the same!

    Ponder this very deeply, schools administrators — principals and their assistants and their higher-ups — are all people who loved school all the while that they were students. For them growing up, schools provided the answer. What does that mean? Sadly, it means that almost all school administrators were NOT gifted children. And, unfortunately, the same holds true for almost all teachers.

    Why would people who have lived their whole lives loving school have any desire whatsoever to change it? The answer to that question is simple: They would have no conceivable desire at all to change school, they would likely battle against changing school, and they would likely win any battle fought regarding school because they together hold all of the power positions in the fight.

    Rob, I do not need good luck because my children are done with the K-12 grind. You are the person who needs good luck.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #79312 - 06/29/10 02:05 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    PoppaRex Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 06/09/10
    Posts: 44
    Steven, there are few times in history where government has made a decision within 5 years. I'm afraid my son and I are on our own regardless which path is taken.

    When I grew up I had a dad who never passed the 4th grade and a mom who didn't make it much further. The difference between my son's education and my own is that he has a mentor in me and my wife. It's not a matter of luck, it's a matter of hard work.

    I’ll give you one last thought to mull over. There was a period of time where I spent time with kids who were institutionalized as mentally ill. These kids were not all druggies or sociopaths. Some were kids from messed up homes with lousy parents. Some of them were absolutely brilliant and nearly all of them broke my heart. One thing that stuck with me was how even in such a dismal place (we are not as much out of the 1800’s as we may think) some of these kids still hung onto the hope of finishing school and making something out of themselves. They couldn’t deal with the day to day stresses, couldn’t understand what was happening, couldn’t make a decision for themselves yet they hung onto that ideal. I think part of me knows that mine and yours will end up OK and you and I really didn’t have it as bad as we like to portray. Yes, it’s my humble opinion that we owe it to ALL kids to build a system that allows them to reach their potential. I kind of like that thought.

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    #79587 - 07/02/10 12:11 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: PoppaRex]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    So what kind of young person would become a NASA Scholar? For example, a young person like Grigori Perelman in his youth would:
    http://www.notablebiographies.com/supp/Supplement-Mi-So/Perelman-Grigory.html

    From Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grigori_Perelman

    Grigori Perelman was born in Leningrad, USSR (now Saint Petersburg, Russia) on 13 June 1966, to a Jewish family. His mother gave up graduate work in mathematics in order to raise him. His mathematical talent became apparent at the age of ten, and his mother enrolled him in Sergei Rushkin's after-school math training program.[6]

    His mathematical education continued at the Leningrad Secondary School #239, a specialized school with advanced mathematics and physics programs. In 1982, as a member of the USSR team competing in the International Mathematical Olympiad, an international competition for high school students, he won a gold medal, achieving a perfect score.[7] In the late 1980s, Perelman went on to earn a Candidate of Science degree (the Soviet equivalent to the Ph.D.) at the Mathematics and Mechanics Faculty of the Leningrad State University, one of the leading universities in the former Soviet Union. His dissertation was titled "Saddle surfaces in Euclidean spaces".

    * * *

    Why all the fuss about Perelman's genius? Consider:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poincar%C3%A9_conjecture

    * * *

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/01/AR2010070106247.html

    Russian mathematician wins $1 million prize, but he appears to be happy with $0

    By Marc Kaufman
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, July 2, 2010

    Who would turn down a $1 million prize for solving a math problem?

    Perhaps the smartest man in the world.

    Three months ago, a famously impoverished Russian mathematician named Grigori Perelman was awarded the prestigious $1 million Clay Mathematics Institute Millennium Prize for his groundbreaking work -- having solved a problem of three-dimensional geometry that had resisted scores of brilliant mathematicians since 1904.

    Thursday, the institute announced that Perelman, known equally for his brilliance and his eccentricities, formally and finally turned down the award and the money. He didn't deserve it, he told a Russian news service, because he was following a mathematical path set by another.

    The president of the Clay Institute, James Carlson, said that Perelman was a mathematician of "extraordinary power and creativity" and that it was he alone who solved the intractable Poincaré's conjecture. "All mathematicians follow the work of others, but only a handful make breakthroughs of this magnitude," Carlson said.

    Still, while he had been hopeful that Perelman would take the prize, he was hardly surprised that he did not. Perelman had already turned down several of the world's top awards in mathematics. And when he solved the Poincaré conjecture, he ignored the peer-review process and simply posted his three-part solution online. That was in 2003.

    It took other mathematicians two years to determine that he had indeed solved the problem.

    "The community knew about Perelman, and that's why they took him seriously," Carlson said. "But what he did is definitely not the way things are normally done."

    Immediately after his postings, Perelman was invited to lecture at several top American universities, and did so with aplomb. Speaking in fluent English, he wowed his math colleagues and, after returning to Russia, continued to communicate via e-mail with some about his work. Within several years, however, he stopped responding and left the math world, Carlson said.

    "I went to St. Petersburg almost two years ago and I did get him on the phone," Carlson said. "I told him I'd like to meet, but he said it 'wasn't necessary at this time.' "

    Perelman lives in a bare-bones apartment in St. Petersburg with his elderly mother; a poor and reclusive man with long, wild hair and, in his photos, a look of fierce pride. Carlson said that when he spoke with Perelman, the man had quit his research and teaching job at Russia's top institute and did not appear to have other employment.

    The Poincaré conjecture, named after prominent French mathematician Henri Poincaré, involves a complex problem in the field of topology -- an important area of math that studies the enduring properties of objects that are stretched or otherwise deformed, but not torn or otherwise reconstituted. Scores of prominent mathematicians tried to solve it over decades but failed, leading to its characterization as the Mount Everest of math.

    The $1 million prize was to be the first of seven Millennium awards given out by the Cambridge, Mass.-based Clay Institute to mathematicians who master long-unsolved problems. The program was established in 2000 and an award will only be made if one of the seven selected math problems is resolved.

    Perelman, 43, did not show up for the early June ceremony in Paris where his prize was to be awarded. Author Masha Gessen, who wrote a book about Perelman, told the prize committee earlier this year that Perelman would not attend the Paris event, but said he had not decided whether to accept the prize money.

    The Poincaré conjecture was updated over the years and one of its modifiers, William Thurston, said at the ceremony in Paris that "Perelman's aversion to public spectacle and to riches is mystifying to many. I have not talked to him about it and I can certainly not speak for him, but I want to say I have complete empathy and admiration for his inner strength and clarity, to be able to know and hold true to himself. . . . We have learned from Perelman's mathematics. Perhaps we should also pause to reflect on ourselves and learn from Perelman's attitude toward life."

    In 2006, Perelman turned down another coveted award in mathematics, the Fields Medal, which honored "his contributions to geometry and his revolutionary insights into the analytical and geometric structure" of topology. The journal Science credited Perelman with the scientific breakthrough of 2006, the first time a mathematician had been recognized.

    Still, Perelman was quoted by the Interfax news service this week as saying he believes his contribution in proving the Poincaré conjecture was no greater than that of American mathematician Richard Hamilton, who first suggested a pathway toward the solution.

    The Clay Institute was founded in 1998 by Boston businessman Landon T. Clay and his wife, Lavinia. Its mission statement says the institute was formed "to increase and disseminate mathematical knowledge." On its Web site, the institute says its leaders will make an announcement this fall about how the prize money will be used to benefit mathematics.

    * * *

    As I stated in my Reply #79040 on this thread: "Get real, and show some compassion to those who deserve it through no fault of their own. What is real is this: I was born without a left hand, which is a birth defect. What is real is this: A genius child is born that way, which is a birth defect. The term "gifted" masks an awful truth, which is that gifted children often suffer through the same unending calamity as that suffered by birth defected children, because genius is a birth defect that sets its victim apart from almost everyone else. I have witnessed ragged grief and painful tears expressed by my own daughters over this, and I have known those emotions firsthand and intimately at the very deepest levels of my own being at many times throughout my life because of my lack of a hand. There is nothing cute about it when a child bitterly laments and offers to God the entirety of her intelligence in exchange for just one honest friendship."

    Furthermore, as I stated in my NAPS proposal:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-scie...-of-oregon.html
    "NAPS will put an enormous academic and emotional strain on its NASA Scholars, especially during the junior year. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that each and every scholar can relate in a genuine supportive way with his/her classmate scholars especially, but also with scholars from the other two grade levels and with the “high school” teachers. Because emotional maturity is not always on a par with intellectual maturity, gifted adolescents in the transition to adulthood need friends who can understand them. Gifted adolescents are adolescents at risk who are sometimes very vulnerable to social challenges, and they tend to know this about themselves. But, in usual settings, they are alone with their fears. NAPS academies will have the opportunity to create a safe haven in which truly extraordinary young people can experience what it feels like to be ordinary, at least during the while when they are among peer classmates; the importance of this cannot be overstated: a NAPS site will either succeed or fail in its primary purpose by whether or not it can succeed in making its scholars feel ordinary."

    * * *

    Finally, as I stated in my letter to The Pauling Blog:
    http://paulingblog.wordpress.com/2008/06/26/pauling-and-the-nobel-prize-trip/
    "Though I am proud of my academy idea in its entirety, I am especially proud of the Colloquy honoring Linus Pauling. I believe the Colloquy will be the most inspiring and life-changing learning experience of all for some academy scholars, and I look at it as something Linus Pauling would be proud to have his name on. Being awarded The Linus Pauling Medal at a “NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences” will be a high distinction that will certainly earn some academy scholars significant university scholarships.

    If you have not read through the Colloquy description in my document, please do so. And then remember back to being in high school. The academically-minded high-achieving grade-driven student who will be the typical academy scholar will be entirely flummoxed by the Colloquy in the beginning, because all of the usual motivations are gone: it is Pass / No Pass with no need whatsoever to please or impress the teacher, but with every need to impress and influence peers with clear thinking, precise articulation, and persuasive argument in achieving a growing agreement toward a common goal of identifying and advancing an idea for the good of humanity.

    A careful read of the Colloquy description reveals the telling endgame decision that will seriously challenge some academy scholars: Do you abandon the growing consensus of the group effort when the rules allow you to revert to being a lone wolf again, or do you stick with the group effort (even if only in a supportive role) to make the shared solution the best that it can be?

    In the world of ideas, there are those who create, invent, or form ideas, and there are those who make ideas happen — the doers. The idea people need the doers more than the doers need the idea people; the doers can muddle on because they will always accomplish something in the process, but the idea people and their ideas will die lonely deaths if they cannot persuade the doers to actually make things happen. The Colloquy will identify both the idea people and the doers, and sometimes the doers will be those who are most deserving of praise and recognition — and should be those who sometimes receive The Linus Pauling Medal for their efforts.

    Again, I think Linus Pauling would be proud."

    * * *

    I hereby award Grigori Perelman the first Linus Pauling Medal ever awarded — not as an actuality, but as an abstract thought that recognizes who he is in relation to the world he must live in. Perelman is not crazy. Rather, he is who he is — a deeply principled man.

    Grigori Perelman would have benefited from feeling "ordinary" for three years while he was a teenager. That "ordinary" feeling felt during a fleeting but memorable time in his life would have been a blessing that might have endured throughout his adulthood, and might have given his principled thoughts enough of a balance that he would now be willing to accept the prizes that he well deserves. It is sad. But he is not failing himself now in his actions; it is we who have failed him — and the others like him who struggle because they live in a lonely parallel universe that very few people understand and can even imagine.

    The Crime Against Humanity is this: In America in 2010, young people like Grigori Perelman in his youth are now attending local public high schools, and are enduring the normal curriculum at those schools because there is nothing else for them. But the greater horror is this: we as the voting adults in our society are responsible, and have continuing complicity in that crime until something like NAPS becomes a reality.

    How long will we wait until we finally do what needs to be done?

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #79751 - 07/05/10 12:39 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    I have invited outsiders to this forum thread from The New York Times online ROOM FOR DEBATE and from DISCOVER online Blogs/80beats:
    http://community.nytimes.com/comments/ro...id=19#comment19
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beat...ur-prize-money/

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #80015 - 07/10/10 02:11 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    The edits changing "computer programming" to "computer science" have all been done.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #80017 - 07/10/10 04:54 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    Iucounu Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/02/10
    Posts: 1457
    Perhaps this thread will be allowed to die now.
    _________________________
    Striving to increase my rate of flow, and fight forum gloopiness. sick

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    #80036 - 07/10/10 11:41 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: Iucounu]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    lucounu,

    What is your problem?

    I tried to figure that out for myself, and I found this:
    http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/B....html#Post77358

    Ten years from now, you will not be worrying about your 5-year-old son as he is about to enter kindergarten, you will be worrying about your 15-year-old son as he is about to enter his sophomore year in high school. The year 2020 might seem like an eternity away to you because your son has only been around for five years now, but today will seem like just yesterday when the summer of 2020 suddenly becomes the present. My once 5-year-olds are now 21 and 23.

    If it is too much for you to consider my NAPS proposal right now, then do not bother yourself with it. Find the kindergarten threads in the Gifted Issues Discussion Forum and involve yourself there. This thread will get along fine without you, but you are welcome to come back if it ever matters to you what options will be available for your son during his high school years.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #80040 - 07/10/10 01:01 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    LighthouseKeeper Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 08/13/09
    Posts: 24
    Lucounou mentioned his son's love of art, flair for imaginative storytelling, "fantastic verbal linguistic ability," and reasoning and argumentation ability. Math is just one of his skills, and not necessarily the strongest one. It's not at all clear that the NAPS proposal would be a good match for him.

    This whole thread strikes me as a bit ironic. On the one hand, you bemoan the fact that people in the mainstream educational establishment aren't likely to be geniuses themselves, and so don't really "get" gifted children. On the other hand, your proposal seems to be based on the idea that our most intelligent and capable young people should be channeled into studying math and the physical sciences. Maybe it would be of greater benefit to our society if a good chunk of them became teachers, psychologists, and even (though it makes me cringe to say it wink ) politicians and lawyers.



    Edited by LighthouseKeeper (07/10/10 01:05 PM)

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    #80042 - 07/10/10 01:32 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: LighthouseKeeper]
    Iucounu Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/02/10
    Posts: 1457
    LighthouseKeeper is right. From the sounds of it, I'm not sure that when he is a teenager that my son would be interested in NAPS, let alone that he would be well-suited ability-wise for the program. So far he seems to be able to soak up whatever he likes (including math) at a fast clip, but I haven't had him tested, and I understand testing can be inaccurate at his age. Although I have a feeling he will be a very highly effective person, I have no way of predicting specifically what he'll be like.

    But that doesn't mean I can't have an opinion on what I've read here. This thread seems to be used for extremely long-winded promotion of your idea, blogs, etc., Steven Sylwester. I'm not trying to attack you personally, but you post novella-length answers in response to criticism, often ranging far afield from your topic. You've essentially acknowledged that your use of the NASA name is not approved by anyone. You get quite argumentative when people make good points in response to you. You seem to be... highly focused on using this space to promote your idea at all costs.

    I just think everyone here has said all they can usefully say about the NAPS proposal, and that your first post from today was a transparent "bump" to the top of the heap in the hopes that someone would notice all the words you've written here. I am sorry if you took offense, but I really think this thread should be allowed to sink down in the list of threads if there's no genuine new content to add.

    I am genuinely sorry for offending you-- and I felt that you might take offense, based on things previously written here-- but I still think it's a bit in poor taste to bump a thread for no real reason, to promote one's self or cause. I will say that you seem to be genuinely interested in seeing this NAPS thing through. I will reserve open judgment on whether that is likely to happen, and I won't post here again.
    _________________________
    Striving to increase my rate of flow, and fight forum gloopiness. sick

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    #80049 - 07/10/10 04:24 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    AlexsMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/01/10
    Posts: 741
    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester
    the academic needs of Talented and Gifted (TAG) students who excel in mathematics and the sciences are generally not acknowledged by U.S. taxpayers, because the general sentiment is that “smart” kids can get by in our public schools without any additional funding for merit-based programs that might result in educational advantages for the top-end few


    Sorry for not letting this thread die - it came up when I was on vacation, and I didn't see it until now.

    There are only 18 states that don't already have at least one (and in many cases, multiple) public, highly selective, math and science high schools. They have PhD instructors, provide college-level instruction, and have a range of courses that far exceeds what you're proprosing.

    The Oklahoma program, for instance, admits 70-80 students per year for the entire state, so is more-selective than you propose. It's a boarding school, and you're proposing a day school. But because of the way the 4-year universities are distributed in the state, even were there 3 of them, a significant portion of the potential students couldn't attend without a boarding option.

    I don't see your proposal as filling an unmet need. Sorry.

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    #80050 - 07/10/10 05:05 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: Iucounu]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    LighthouseKeeper,

    Yes, you are correct in observing the irony — much more than you can possibly know. I am the very last person who should ever design the NAPS program and be its champion, because I have a whole lifetime of hostility that I battle against at every turn. But I am doing it all at this point because no one else has yet done it — and it needs to be done!

    To understand it all is to understand two things: 1) the concept of triage, and 2) the painful realities of necessary compromise.

    Unless NAPS can be fashioned as an innocuous parasite that lives off the good graces of public research universities, it will never happen. The NAPS program has to have such an invisible presence that the "Why do this?" question easily gives way to the "Why not do this?" question. There is no good reason to "not" do NAPS in my opinion, but people tie themselves in knots over the "Why do this?" question.

    My take is that the vast majority of Americans will dismiss and even openly shun any ongoing displays of intellectual brilliance, because such displays diminish their own self-worth — and these are the same people who stand in loud praise and enthusiastic ovation for all displays of athletic brilliance. It is crazy, but that is the political reality NAPS is up against. Even in this forum, I sense there are those who are willing to sell some gifted young people short who are not gifted in the same way as their own child(ren). It breaks my heart, but it strengthens my resolve, too.

    Personally, I would throw out the term "gifted" altogether if I could, because it confuses the thinking of too many people. "Gifted" is so nice and so precious a term to so many proud parents who then so deeply insult the sensibilities of so many wannabe parents whose children are so ordinary that the only thing that results from it all is seething hatred. And I can understand that response, even though that response is entirely wrong in every respect. The "gifted" children are not to blame, yet they are the ones broadsided by the ensuing hatred in too many cases. How else can you explain the battle in this? Why else would society freely choose to deny extraordinary educational opportunities to those young people who are fully capable of doing the work?

    NAPS is designed to serve the needs of only a small group of young people who are simply different than the rest of us. Truly, they are birth-defected: both blessed and cursed by a circumstance beyond their control. For [SPAM] sure, if we force them into being mediocre like the rest of us — even for just the while of high school — we will likely succeed in torturing at least some of them for their entire lives thereafter. Some people finally give up, including some intellectually brilliant people who become crippled by a lack of opportunity at a very early time in their lives. It is beyond sad.

    So I accept the irony, and force myself to go beyond it. Triage and compromise — somehow, make it happen.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #80060 - 07/10/10 07:55 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    AlexsMom,

    How old is Alex?

    Who pays the room and board costs at the boarding schools? The state or the parents?

    I seriously considered sending my own children away to distant boarding schools on several occasions, but I decided against it. And I have no regrets about that. My family history includes the sending away of children to distant boarding schools during the high school years, and so I know there is a lasting price to pay in making that decision.

    Home is special — as are loving parents who care deeply for their children. The trade-off in sending children away to boarding schools is extreme, even if it is sometimes necessary. Personally, I do not like the boarding school model.

    I differ with you on another level, too. In the NAPS model, capable young people quickly find the confidence to compete intellectually in the real world by being students in the classrooms of public research universities. That is significantly different than the boarding school model in which high school students remain exclusively with other high school students throughout their high school years. NAPS creates a small high school identity that does foster same-age peer groups, but it also opens the door to a confidence building experience that would not be duplicated in a boarding school setting in my opinion.

    My oldest daughter took an intensive 2nd Year Japanese language course at the University of Oregon during the summer that she turned 12. She had skipped sixth grade, and the university language course occurred during the summer after her seventh grade year. The language course taught the usual year-long three-term "2nd Year Japanese" sequence during the one summer term, so the class met for four-and-one-half hours everyday Monday through Friday for nine weeks. Classes started at 8:00 AM and went to 2:00 PM with a lunch break. For the first few days, my wife and/or I met our daughter for lunch, but after that she was on her own. We discovered later that our daughter sometimes walked downtown during her lunch break (at least ten blocks away one-way), and that sometimes she went to the university student center's video arcade room. In any case, we did not interfere with her choices. She received "A" grades throughout the summer and earned 15 university credits, and she also became very self-confident and mature in her judgments and in her ability to interact socially with others. I doubt the same outcome would have resulted in a boarding school environment in which all of her classmates would have been her same age.

    My youngest daughter had a similar experience when she took two terms of 4th Year Japanese at the University of Oregon when she was a high school freshman.

    NAPS would certainly serve the needs of more young people than the Oklahoma boarding school you describe. True, NAPS does not offer a dormitory option, but that does not bother me. I propose 150 NAPS sites as a starting point, but it could grow from there if it is wildly successful. In the end, every public research university in the U.S. could host a NAPS site. Why not?

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #80062 - 07/10/10 09:24 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    AlexsMom Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/01/10
    Posts: 741
    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester

    Who pays the room and board costs at the boarding schools? The state or the parents?


    In my state, the state does.

    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester
    Personally, I do not like the boarding school model.


    Personally, I don't disagree with you with respect to boarding schools.

    But because those boarding schools already exist, and exist primarily in the same location (public research universities) that you propose to house day schools, and do essentially the same thing you propose to do, I don't see this as a winner.

    But you know, if you can convince NASA that they've got $61 million of excess funding, and that the best use of that excess funding is running high schools, more power to you.


    Edited by AlexsMom (07/10/10 09:25 PM)

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    #80192 - 07/12/10 12:35 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: AlexsMom]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    AlexsMom,

    Two things.

    First thing: An excellent article titled "The Dark Side of Perfectionism Revealed" appeared on the Internet yesterday. It can be found at:
    http://www.livescience.com/health/perfectionism-health-100711.html

    Perfectionism is a potentially destructive characteristic that is common among many gifted children — and, worse, the characteristic is also common among the parents of many gifted children, which can create a terrible double whammy for a gifted child. My oldest daughter had it bad for a long while, but was finally liberated from it when she received less than an "A" grade in Calculus at the end of high school. I was so relieved when it happened, because I knew my daughter would be blessed to learn that her world would not end if she was not always a straight "A" student — and she was blessed. She learned that her genuine interest in a particular subject matter was more important than her excelling in all subject matters, and this allowed her to focus her efforts toward her own interests during her undergraduate years. She became much more selfish in her academic efforts by concentrating her learning on what was useful for her own personal goals rather than on what the teaching goals of a professor might have been, and I consider that to be a hard-won victory in gaining intellectual maturity. Finally, when your life, your mind, and your curiosity are your own, you are no longer the victim of the dictates of others, and you then become free to be yourself and to make your own contributions to the world. It is not easy to get there, and perfectionism is often a big obstacle along the way.

    One goal of mine in designing NAPS was to put NASA Scholars into a learning environment where they will not always be the smartest people in the room, where an "A" grade will be an honest praiseworthy accomplishment, and where a "B" grade is something to be proud of if a best effort is made. NAPS accomplishes that goal.

    Second thing: Accreditation is a beastly consideration in the world of education. It forces a norm, and it lives on accepted prerequisite streams. Measurable proficiency is a "must" accomplishment for a school, and understandably so. Always, being clever in a curriculum has its punishments, so cleverness is not encouraged. For example, as a third grader, my oldest daughter was placed in a third and fourth grade grouping where she immediately went to the top of the whole class in academic performance. Good for her throughout third grade, but what then when fourth grade happens? Well, her academic and social peers became fifth graders while she became a fourth grader, and the rest of the story becomes predictable after that.

    NAPS concedes the prerequisite streams to the university accreditation process without any protest, because nothing is to be gained in fighting the system. If you choose to get fancy with a special curriculum at an out-of-the-ordinary school somewhere, your graduating students will be forced to submit to a proficiency exam that will then place them appropriately into the standard university system, and they will then start in that system where they are told to start — and that is the way it is.

    NASA scholars will earn university credits on a university transcript that cannot be denied to them at a later time. The great curriculum at a special boarding school somewhere might in the end require a student to retake a class at a university because the high school class did not fully teach to the standard proficiencies required by the university prerequisite streams. Yes, I know it is crazy, but that is the way it is, and time is precious.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #80232 - 07/13/10 12:59 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    News to me, maybe news to you, too.

    The following linked article about NCAA athletic scholarships was published in The New York Times on March 10, 2008. It was written by Bill Pennington and is titled "Expectations Lose to Reality of Sports Scholarships."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/10/sports/10scholarships.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

    If Pennington's article was made required reading for all eighth grade athletes and their parents, I wonder how the value placed on high school academics would change.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #80257 - 07/13/10 07:05 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    inky Offline
    Member

    Registered: 10/10/08
    Posts: 1299
    Thanks for posting that article. It was eye opening! Nice to hear the NCAA president recommending families focus on academics and saying the best opportunity is to improve one's academic qualifications. Hope this reaches a wide audience.

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    #80685 - 07/20/10 01:00 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: inky]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    In the picture of me at my blog you will notice a bird on my shoulder. That bird is Pretty Bird. I wrote about Pretty Bird in the following comment that I wrote to a commentary written by Dick Cavett titled "The Windows of the Soul Need Cleaning" that was published as an Opinionator column in The New York Times online edition on May 14, 2010. Cavett's commentary can be read at: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/14/the-windows-of-the-soul-need-cleaning/

    My comment to Cavett is perhaps a fitting comment to some of you regarding my thoughts concerning biology. But please do not confuse the issue. I did not include Biology in the NAPS curriculum for one and only one reason: it did not fit in according to what I was trying to accomplish. That stated, my thoughts concerning biology might interest some of you anyway.

    * * *

    http://community.nytimes.com/comments/op...=104#comment104

    Comment #104
    Steven A. Sylwester
    Eugene, Oregon
    May 15th, 2010
    7:16 pm

    Dick Cavett wrote: "Meltzer tied in with this the fascinating distinction between the thing that makes us human creatures unique: consciousness. Consciousness, that is, vs. awareness. A dog is not conscious. He is aware, but only we are conscious."

    I spent my kindergarten through eighth grade years living in Seward, Nebraska, which is very near Lincoln where Cavett spent many of his formative years through high school. While Cavett had Baptist influences in his upbringing, I had Lutheran influences in mine. I understand the religion behind such a statement as Cavett's that separates humans from all other creatures through a distinction that only gives the trait of consciousness to humans, but I have come to a point of thinking differently about it all.

    There is folly in separating living creatures through the distinction of consciousness, and a whole lot of arrogance, too — especially if we as humans do not know or in any way understand the expressive languages used by those other living creatures. My revelation — my consciousness raising — came as the result of living in my home with a free-flying cockatiel for the past 14 years. Pretty Bird is a creature with consciousness, and I state that with sincerity and conviction. My family and I have countless times witnessed firsthand the consciousness of Pretty Bird — and he has taught us much of his language along the way, even to the point of successfully devising bridges between our consciousness and his consciousness to achieve his purposes. And, remarkably, after he has devised a working bridge, he keeps using it with confidence, because he knows that he is communicating with us — his human flock.

    The whole question of consciousness in living things exists at a global ecosystem level, too. Much of the global warming controversy unmasks an arrogance among scientists that gives no credibility to the intelligence and the consciousness of Planet Earth, because such a notion that a global ecosystem could have intelligence and consciousness is not easily measured and is simply preposterous by the current accepted premise, which is based on the linear thinking of evolution.

    It seems to me that many scientists are alarmists concerning global warming.

    Consider:
    http://money.cnn.com/2009/05/14/magazines/fortune/globalwarming.fortune/index.htm
    http://www.newsweek.com/2007/04/15/why-so-gloomy.html

    I trust in Earth's mechanisms. Furthermore, I believe Earth is an intelligent ecosystem that naturally fluctuates through the means of self-correcting mechanisms between various extremes of climate and the consequent environmental results of those extremes. Most spectacularly, the self-correcting mechanisms are observable in polar ice formations, sea level changes, and volcanoes, and it is very probable that these three observable self-correcting mechanisms are absolutely and profoundly interrelated, and that they naturally trigger at the extreme points of the normal fluctuations of Earth's ecosystem.

    If you believe in the haphazards of chance and luck, the opposing alarmist thinking is understandable. After all, the circularity of natural cycles is opposed to the linear requirements of the scientific thinking that is premised on evolution. Fortunately, "scientific thinking" does not require adherence or allegiance to the limited premises of some scientists, even if those "some" constitute a majority. In the end, if intelligence is observable sometimes somewhere in some life forms, then it must be present at all times everywhere in all life forms, including in the life forms known as ecosystems. That "intelligence" is not always visible to us and measurable by us does not determine whether or not intelligence exists. Ultimately, "intelligence" is inherent wherever there is life, and an ecosystem is teeming with life on the very grandest of grand scales.

    In my thinking, "intelligence" is evident when deliberate coherent reactions occur in response to provoking actions. The presence of "intelligence" is not limited to life forms that have a presently recognized discernible brain. The world is not only a physical reality that is wholly dependent on known material substances and manifestations. If the world is not wholly material according to what is presently known, then "intelligence" also is not wholly material in its sources and/or in its observable origins.

    The question then is this: Is what is unfolding in Nature best described as evolving change or as the revelation of what is and has been?

    I vote for the latter.

    That said, I am opposed to the unnecessary polluting of all land, air, and water environments and the unnecessary destruction of any natural environments, especially those that are still pristine. An abiding credo of the developed world should be an unwavering determined commitment to pollute less and less, to recycle more and more, to live in harmony with Nature and that which is natural, and to expect consciousness where intelligence can be observed.

    * * *

    Steven A. Sylwester


    Edited by StevenASylwester (07/20/10 04:25 PM)

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    #80704 - 07/20/10 08:14 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    La Texican Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/10/10
    Posts: 1777
    Loc: South Texas
    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester
    .For example, as a third grader, my oldest daughter was placed in a third and fourth grade grouping where she immediately went to the top of the whole class in academic performance. Good for her throughout third grade, but what then when fourth grade happens? Well, her academic and social peers became fifth graders while she became a fourth grader, and the rest of the story becomes predictable after that.


    Why? What happened?
    _________________________
    Youth lives by personality, age lives by calculation. -- Aristotle on a calendar

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    #80746 - 07/21/10 10:51 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: La Texican]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    La Texican,

    Think it through. In the case I described, the gifted third grader essentially skipped third grade academically because of the third/fourth grade grouping she was placed in. Furthermore, she excelled academically at the top of fourth grade while she was actually a third grader, and so she became part of the fourth grade "smart kids" peer group while she was a third grader. The following year, the gifted third grader became a fourth grader, and she was essentially held back a year in advancing one grade level because she had already completed fourth grade the previous year as a third grader.

    As it played out, the gifted third grader — my daughter — became uncomfortably socially isolated as a fourth grader. She tried to compensate by actively dumbing down in order to fit in. In every way, she tried to submit to the group, and the group was being led by a devilish little girl who was very good at maintaining her sway, which at times meant being aggressively unkind to others. It was a bad situation that showed no hope for improvement.

    I insisted to the local public school district that my daughter be allowed to skip sixth grade. As a general rule, my local public school district does not allow students to skip a grade, so the school district resisted me at every turn. I finally prevailed because I promised to accept all responsibility for the outcome if it turned out to be bad.

    Well, for my daughter, skipping sixth grade turned out to be good in every way. She flourished as a result, both academically and socially — and she also became very self-confident in her own person. She became editor-in-chief of her high school student newspaper during December of her freshman year, and remained in that position for the remainder of her high school years. She graduated from high school at age 16 and earned a full-ride academic merit scholarship to the Robert Donald Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon, from which she graduated at age 20 after completing a double major. She finished writing her first novel at age 23, and could be a well-known writer before she reaches age 30.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #80757 - 07/21/10 01:16 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    La Texican Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/10/10
    Posts: 1777
    Loc: South Texas
    Did you mean "think it through", or did you really mean "use your imagination.". Because either way, no thanks. I'm much more interested in hearing the story of what really happened. I'm sure that's why I asked. Maybe by hearing the same thing won't happen to my children. So why would she not continue to the next grade level the next year? If she was telescoped or subject accelerated or whatever they call it one year why did they not do it again the next year? Did you switch schools? Did they come up with excuses? What reason did they give for such an unreasonable sounding decision? I mean I realize this was a decade ago so maybe things have changed, but maybe they haven't so I'd like to know. Especially since all the modern literature suggests accelerating gifted kids.
    _________________________
    Youth lives by personality, age lives by calculation. -- Aristotle on a calendar

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    #80763 - 07/21/10 02:41 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: La Texican]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Well, I guess a lot of "good" ideas sound good during the talking stage, and then they sort of fall apart when the special circumstances arise. Surely, no one factored in someone as brilliant as my daughter coming along as a third grader to enter the third/fourth grade grouping when the grouping idea was first being considered, because there was no contingency plan in place at all to deal with my daughter as she entered fourth grade, except to give her separate work on the side at times, which only served to isolate her socially. As a parent, perhaps I should have insisted on an appropriate solution, but the only appropriate solution available was to have her skip a grade, which was eventually done after fifth grade.

    La Texican, you are to be applauded for wanting to hear the story, but you must be prepared to "think it through" as you care for your own children during their K-12 years. Schools do not function according to "all the modern literature" regarding gifted kids; they function according to economic realities and best-for-most efficiencies. If any of your children are truly off-the-charts extraordinary as my daughter was, you are on your own to fight for whatever compromises you can fashion — and your compromises are likely to be measly and far from what you would rightly consider to be appropriate solutions.

    To give you a reference point: At my insistence, our local school district tested my daughter's reading ability during her first month of first grade, and it was determined by that testing that she was then reading with comprehension at an adult level beyond high school level, and that her reading comprehension was full except for times when it was limited by her chronological age and consequent lack of life experiences.

    I ask you: What do you do with a kid like that? Believe me, it was a never-ending challenge. Public schools are not prepared to deal with kids like my daughter, and so I advocated for her at every turn along the way to the best of my ability.

    Regarding Talented & Gifted programs: We quit fighting the fight in early middle school, because the focus of the programs was all wrong — at least in our case. TAG was always something "in addition to" the standard curriculum, never something "instead of" the standard curriculum. Our daughter did not need extra work; she needed appropriate work.

    The local school district advised us to place our daughter in the district's Japanese Immersion School, because that was the most challenging program they had. And so we did so. She entered that program in second grade, and was almost immediately up to speed with all of her classmates who had been in the program since kindergarten. Her second grade Japanese teacher labeled our daughter a genius during our first parent/teacher conference. In fact, the teacher commented that she had never before encountered a student who could flawlessly learn Japanese at first hearing as our daughter could, and that teacher's long career included teaching at all levels from kindergarten through the highest university levels. It made no sense to even consider moving our daughter to another school, because she was already in the most challenging program that was available.

    La Texican, ultimately it gets down to you doing the best you can do for your own children. So do continue asking to hear the stories of others, but do also think it through in your own special case, because quite probably you might be the only person who cares enough to think it through. God bless teachers, but teaching is a job for most of them — and that is not an unreasonable reality, even when your own children are involved.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #80769 - 07/21/10 03:25 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: La Texican]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3288
    Loc: California
    Originally Posted By: La Texican
    Did they come up with excuses? What reason did they give for such an unreasonable sounding decision?


    I obviously can't speak for what happened to Steven's daughter, but I can tell you about my own experiences and my own opinions.

    To avoid a big segue, I started a new thread here.

    Val


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    #80792 - 07/21/10 05:34 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: Val]
    La Texican Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/10/10
    Posts: 1777
    Loc: South Texas
    I hope I don't double-post. I thought I posted this reply before I cooked dinner, but it looks like I didn't. I hit my browser back button until I found it, so at least I didn't have to think up the whole reply again (plus I re-read it and cut out the extra verbiage for to make it more concise:)
    I can kind of understand that, especially a decade ago. The only thing to do with a gifted kid back then was fast-forward her completely past her childhood, like that 11 yr. old boy in revenge of the nerds. But the long-term outcome of that would be too novel, so therefore viewed as a huge gamble.
    I think the Internet is what's opening the doors for better education of the gifted kids these days. Parents are talking for the first time in history, parents are learning about the options and seeing real-life stories of what's working and in what cases.

    A thought on your project- (can't really comment on your cirriculum) but I disagree that there's any ethical dilemma with diverting NASA funds "covertly" to a highschool. It wouldn't be taken out of NASA's education fund though, that's more for public awareness programs, especially aimed at minorities and the underpriviledged (according to their website). It would be more like certain jobs I've heard stories about that will help pay for job-related college for current and future employees. This would just be NASA starting them younger to make sure they get pick of the litter. But, if that's the case, you ought to be bouncing ideas off a NASA human resources person to refine your cirriculum because the school would be less interested in offering random classes that might interest gifted students and more geared towards "vocational education" if I can use such a term for a lofty career. Then it wouldn't really be "covertly" or re-directing funds, it would go in the same part of a business report that other companies pay for college/continuing education for their employees and future employees.
    I know, I muddling up two topics here. But I'm here as a parent for one conversation and had an idea for your project on the other topic
    _________________________
    Youth lives by personality, age lives by calculation. -- Aristotle on a calendar

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    #81675 - 07/31/10 01:42 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: La Texican]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    The New York Times online edition messed up the dashes in the following, so I am providing a corrected version here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/201...set=3#comment41

    Steven A. Sylwester
    Eugene, Oregon
    July 22nd, 2010 12:46 am

    The issue of National Education Standards is meaningless without an overriding philosophical basis. GWBush's "No Child Left Behind" program had a philosophical basis, but it was wrong-headed in that its focus was entirely on the bottom end. An appropriate philosophical basis for meaningful National Education Standards would be: "Every Child 21st-Century-Literate at No Less Than Grade Level While Being Actively Challenged and Fully Facilitated to Achieve Personal Potentials in All Core Academics."

    The question of definitions then becomes important. Define these terms: 1) 21st-Century Literate, 2) No Less Than Grade Level, 3) Actively Challenged, 4) Fully Facilitated, 5) Achieve Personal Potentials, and 6) All Core Academics. Plainly, the consequence of creating a philosophical basis is that the National Education Standards then become more of an adult taxpayers' commitment to excellence than anything else — and that is how it should be.

    The end result of what I propose would benefit everyone, including the academically gifted students whose needs have long been ignored.

    For example, I have proposed a nationwide three-year public high school for young people who are exceptionally gifted and joyful in mathematics and the physical sciences. My proposed school is called "NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences" (NAPS), and it would be located on the campuses of 150 public research universities across the U.S. at its founding. Eventually, however, every public research university in the nation could have a NAPS site on its campus. NAPS is described in thorough detail at: http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/

    I participate in a forum regarding NAPS at: http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/B...y_of_the_P.html

    The point being this: National Education Standards that do not address the needs of all students — including the needs of those students who are academic geniuses — are worthless standards in my opinion. The American commitment is to provide free public education to its citizens for thirteen years from kindergarten through high school. What does that mean? My argument is that thirteen years of free education is the commitment, not access to a standard public school curriculum through the 12th grade level. A whole lot changes if my argument prevails. For starters, a school like NAPS happens — immediately! — and at government expense!

    At the top end, the National Education Standards should be simply this: Students Must Be Advanced to the Academic Level at Which They Can Succeed While Being Challenged.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #84453 - 09/06/10 07:37 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    Mark D. Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/31/69
    Posts: 271
    Hello,

    Please discuss only the topic of this thread here. Since this is a forum to discuss gifted education, those who wish to continue the discussion on religion, please do so over private messaging.

    I just deleted a number of posts, and will continue to do so if posts to this thread veer of topic.

    Thank you!

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    #84456 - 09/06/10 09:21 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Valerie,

    I am the son of an emeritus professor who has an international reputation regarding current brain research and its implications for education. He has authored many books and hundreds of journal articles, and he has lectured all over the world.

    I am the brother of a Ph.D. research biologist who does live HIV/AIDS research.

    You cannot possibly state an argument that I have not already heard many, many times. I am not persuaded — not in the least.

    Recently, both my father and my brother have increasingly referred to those who do not share their particular science world view premise as people who are irrational. My brother adds freely that these "irrational" people are to be feared. My brother is an atheist by his own description. Most certainly, my brother's religion is science, but he steadfastly refuses to acknowledge that.

    Valerie, if you want peace in the world, you start by not calling others irrational. Think it through. If you and I do not share the same fundamental world view premise, then neither of us can rightly call the other irrational. Rationality MUST be measured solely by the logical progression of thought that springs from a shared premise. If you call me irrational because you do not share my premise, then you are arrogantly claiming that your premise is the only acceptable premise. That sort of arrogance is what defines the worst kinds of religious fundamentalism. If your arrogance — your religious fundamentalism — is based on the Theory of Evolution, then your most basic fundamental belief is something that is unproven and unprovable — it is your leap of faith.

    Understand this: I am NOT opposed to anyone's leap of faith. You are hereby welcome to make whatever leaps of faith you want to make, and please feel free to make those leaps with enthusiasm and gusto. BUT please do the first right thing and own up to it, meaning: admit openly and frankly to all others that you have made a leap of faith — even a giant leap of faith. And then do the second right thing, which is to allow all others to make their own leaps of faith, no matter what those leaps might be.

    Valerie, you cannot escape religion, even in a science classroom, but you can put it in its rightful place and there fully give it its due honor and respect. What that means is simply this: you entitle everyone to their own curiosity without qualm or judgment. What "huge disservice to our children and the nation's future" is being done in allowing science students to ask their own honest questions? — even if they are Muslim in their thinking? — even if they are Jewish in their thinking? — even if they are Christian in their thinking? — even if they are atheistic in their thinking? ...

    Science begins in response to the question asked; it does not begin with the premise.

    Valerie, I can tell you from multiple firsthand experiences that homeopathy works. I can also tell you that I was the biggest skeptic in the world regarding homeopathy before my first firsthand experience observing it in action. That homeopathy works is one of the revelations of my lifetime, yet most Ph.D. biologists and most M.D. physicians dismiss homeopathy outright as quackery. I tell you frankly: the critics and the dismissers of homeopathy are simply wrong.

    Many years ago, the physician who opened my eyes to homeopathy was sanctioned by the local medical board because he was practicing outside of accepted boundaries. He was willing to try things that worked even if he did not know why they worked. Homeopathy was discovered by Samuel Hahnemann more than 200 years ago ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Hahnemann ), but how and why it works is still unknown. Standard western medical thinking rejects mysterious treatments, so most Americans never benefit from homeopathy or acupuncture or herbal remedies — even if those treatments are reliably effective.

    Valerie, the same physician who opened my eyes to homeopathy is the physician in the following true story:
    http://steven-a-sylwester.blogspot.com/2009/10/connecting-dots-asthma-and-vitamin-d.html
    http://community.nytimes.com/comments/ro...=170#comment170
    http://community.nytimes.com/comments/ro...id=68#comment68

    I am related to physicians. For almost ten years, even my own blood relatives who are physicians would not listen to me regarding Vitamin D and asthma. It is very, very frustrating to go up against the powers that be, because those powers are in lockstep against everyone but their own kind. I can tell you: the truth is out there to be found, but you might be brutalized if you dare grab hold of it.

    Valerie, I was born without a left hand 56 years ago because a physician prescribed a drug to my mother. I do not stand in awe of smart people, be they scientists, physicians or academics, no matter how elite and renowned they might be. All of those "smart" people are just educated ordinary people who are fully capable of being duped and of doing stupid things. And they are party-line people through and through. The value of a Ph.D. degree or an M.D. degree can only be maintained if the club maintains its rules and keeps the riffraff out.

    Valerie, I can only imagine that I threaten you in some way. Please do not feel threatened. What I propose will not hurt you or anyone else, but it will help many, many people.

    Please ponder the lives of two people: geologist J Harlen Bretz, Ph.D. and physician Barry Marshall, M.D.:
    http://www.detectingdesign.com/harlenbretz.html
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/megaflood/fantastic.html
    http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/mar1int-1
    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2005/press.html
    http://www.helico.com/h_history.html

    Bretz and Marshall are two of my heroes. They were always correct in their thinking, but they endured horrible abuse from the scientific world for a long time before they were proven correct by the scientific establishment. Remember that. The enemy is not a question from a science student who happens to believe in God. The enemy is a science establishment that would forbid a student to ask his/her question simply because that student openly believes in God.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #84459 - 09/06/10 09:44 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: Mark D.]
    Dandy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/12/08
    Posts: 574
    Originally Posted By: Mark Dlugosz
    Please discuss only the topic of this thread here. Since this is a forum to discuss gifted education, those who wish to continue the discussion on religion, please do so over private messaging.

    Doggonit (sp?), I just noticed that I don't have the "Thinking BIG" forum in my RSS archives... drat. Deleted posts are my favorite thing to read.

    Did I miss anything particularly interesting?
    _________________________
    Being offended is a natural consequence of leaving the house. - Fran Lebowitz

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    #84460 - 09/06/10 11:12 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    Dandy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/12/08
    Posts: 574
    Sorry. I apologize for my uncharacteristically flippant response above. (And thanks to the handful of people who shared some of the more... interesting... tidbits!)

    Not sure how I've missed this most intriguing thread over the last couple of months, but I did. In fact, I never touched it until I saw Mark D.'s admonishment, at which point I figured I must have missed a doozy.

    And never one to speed by a trainwreck, I decided to take a gander. Not a long, thoughtful, scholarly assessment -- just a gander... a skim... a cursory glance. But, honestly, that's all that was really necessary.

    -- -- --

    Let me start by saying that I don't know any Bob Dylan songs... let alone have two favorites that could, by my naming them, define me. But I do have a special place in my heart for Barry Manilow, Ray Charles and Harry Connick Jr., if that helps any.

    Furthermore, I'm only the product of a stenographer and electrical lineman, neither of whom have written anything more scholarly than a Christmas letter, but don't hold that against me, okay? (And don't even ask about my brother.)

    -- -- --

    Unfortunately, it's incredibly difficult to comment on Steven's proposal without dragging Politics kicking and screaming into the middle. One characteristic I've thoroughly enjoyed about this group is that despite a diverse collection of political views, I rarely see any overtly political sniping one way or the other. Just like watching my favorite apolitical figure, Brian Lamb of C-Span, it's nearly impossible to guess who voted for whom in the last election... AND I REALLY DON'T CARE! All I've cared about is the incredible support that comes together to discuss everything from FSIQ to the tying of shoes... and everything in between.

    Bottom line for me is that for all the holy heck so many here have endured while advocating for their children, I don't recall anyone (beyond an isolated cry) begging for greater government involvement from the top down.

    Seriously. Think it through.

    The parents I've "met" through Davidson in general -- and this discussion forum in particular -- have shared countless examples where the greatest successes in advocacy came at the local level... not by petitioning some massive bureaucracy squirreled away in DC. Besides, guvmint has proven time & time again that it either a.) doesn't like GT-ed, or b.) doesn't understand GT-ed... or both. And you are seriously asking us to buy into a federal agency taking on the responsibility for this? Did you Think it through?

    Who knew that, back in the 80's, when I sold hundreds & hundreds of copies of Math Blaster and Reading Blaster, the proceeds would end up funding an organization like the Davidson Institute, which has helped so many gifted children and their families over the years... including my own. At the same time, think of the trillions of tax dollars that the feds have scraped off the top of people like the Davidsons. How much has all that helped our little ones? Personally, I'd like to see the Davidsons get a massive retroactive tax refund so that they could (should they so choose) do even more for this woefully under-served population. Seems to me that they've done infinitely more with their relatively small budget than any government acronym-laden agency could even hope to do.

    Are government schools a total & complete failure? I guess that depends on how you define "total & complete," doesn't it? Are there little pockets of success scattered about here and there? Oh, yeah -- and, thankfully, we've stumbled upon one here locally. And as we look down the road a bit, I'm actually excited about some of the charter school options I've seen in our state.

    But to my untrained eye, the success of these charter schools doesn't appear to come from the fact that they are bundled into the budget of some massive agency. Quite the contrary -- in any of the schools I've had a chance to explore (or learn about through the experiences of fellow parents) -- these schools do so well precisely because they are in one way or another partially (or entirely) removed from the nasty bureaucracy that cripples all the neighboring schools.

    Now this may go dancing in the sticky-thicket of icky politics, but if you want to see a real federal solution, then advocate for the feds getting the Hades out of our way, and letting us keep our educational funding in our own pockets to spend as we see fit. This way, if someone wants to patronize a private-sector solution like the Davidson Institute, fine. And, if another group of people want to pool their money for a federal solution, they can knock themselves out in the process.

    All you gotta do is send a first-class letter, or travel coast-to-coast on a train in this country to see what I'm saying.

    Seriously... think it through.
    _________________________
    Being offended is a natural consequence of leaving the house. - Fran Lebowitz

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    #84461 - 09/06/10 11:49 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences [Re: ]
    Dandy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/12/08
    Posts: 574
    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester
    If my proposal cannot generate excitement and a concerted group effort here where people actually care about making worthwhile educational opportunities happen for the exceptionally gifted, then the value of my continuing effort must be questioned.
    I agree completely.
    _________________________
    Being offended is a natural consequence of leaving the house. - Fran Lebowitz

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    #84465 - 09/07/10 12:49 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    Dandy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/12/08
    Posts: 574
    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester

    The Golden Rule states: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

    Yeah, and the Board Rule states: "[they] reserve the right to delete any message for any reason whatsoever."

    Ixnay on the eligionray.
    _________________________
    Being offended is a natural consequence of leaving the house. - Fran Lebowitz

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    #84466 - 09/07/10 01:03 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Dandy,

    So are you asking me to take my ball and bat and go home? or what?

    NAPS is for a relatively few extraordinary people who have a narrow interest in mathematics and the physical sciences. I believe there should be established options for gifted children and their parents — that the ongoing struggle should not be necessary. Unfortunately, many gifted children do not have supportive parents, either because the parents do not understand the needs of a gifted child or because the parents lack the time, energy, and financial resources that are necessary to make a difference. An established option like NAPS would require very little from most parents, and that is is a very good thing in my opinion. A gifted child who wants to be in NAPS should not lose out on the opportunity because of his/her parents.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #84467 - 09/07/10 01:24 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    Dandy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/12/08
    Posts: 574
    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester
    So are you asking me to take my ball and bat and go home? or what?

    C'mon, now... please read all my posts from start to finish from the beginning to the end. It is clear to me -- without the aid of Google Analytics -- that you did not.

    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester
    NAPS is for a relatively few extraordinary people who have a narrow interest in mathematics and the physical sciences.

    And why, exactly, is this something that needs to be handled at the federal level?

    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester
    I believe there should be established options for gifted children and their parents — that the ongoing struggle should not be necessary.

    I think you will find considerable agreement with that sentiment. I, for one, totally agree. I just think the "establishment of options" needs to be a little lot closer to home.

    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester
    Unfortunately, many gifted children do not have supportive parents, either because the parents do not understand the needs of a gifted child or because the parents lack the time, energy, and financial resources that are necessary to make a difference.

    And how, exactly, is this something that can be efficiently remedied at the federal level?

    Andy J. Dandifer
    _________________________
    Being offended is a natural consequence of leaving the house. - Fran Lebowitz

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    #84478 - 09/07/10 07:58 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Andy,

    You ask: And how, exactly, is this something that can be efficiently remedied at the federal level?

    My question: Have you read my proposal?

    Please read: http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #84487 - 09/07/10 12:38 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    Mark D. Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/31/69
    Posts: 271
    Quote:
    You must be kidding. I started this thread, and now my posts are being deleted because I am judged to be veering off topic. May I ask: according to whom? Exactly what is the topic of this thread anyway? Did someone else hijack the topic of this thread when I was not looking? If so, who is now leading the discussion?


    It wasn't just your posts that were deleted. The posts were deemed to be off-topic according to me, the board moderator. While some variation from strictly-gifted education topics are allowed, I have seen discussions like this fall off track before on this forum, and it is my job to keep them on track. So you are not being singled out. The topic of this thread is your NASA Academy of the Physical Science proposal. If you wish to discuss a topic that does not focus around gifted ed, I suggest you find the appropriate forum that specifies in that topic. You are also welcome to discuss whatever you like over private messaging. Please send me a private message if you have any questions (and that goes for everyone).

    Best regards,
    Mark

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    #86880 - 10/07/10 11:47 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    I am still fighting the battle at The New York Times website. I made the following comment to the October 6, 2010, Opinionator column "Waiting for Super Principals" by David Brooks and Gail Collins.
    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/waiting-for-super-principals/

    My comment:
    http://community.nytimes.com/comments/op...=122#comment122

    America's public schools need to redefine the concept of special education.

    Currently, the privilege of special education is limited to the bottom end students — those who are 1) functionally illiterate, 2) slow learners, 3) emotionally disturbed, 4) intellectually compromised by defect or injury, and/or 5) not fluent in English. Special education is needs-based, but the acceptable "needs" are very narrowly defined, and are only defined as deficiencies. This limited narrow definition is simply wrong — and is morally wrong at that. The necessary correction would have to identify those with excesses as being just as needy as those with deficiencies, meaning: special education would respond to the needs of the top end students, too — the geniuses, the profoundly gifted, and those who are able to excel in the most challenging academic courses out of pluck, hard work, and sheer determination.

    Much would be quickly accomplished if the National Education Standards in America were redefined by replacing the thinking that formed “No Child Left Behind” with the thinking that forms "Every Child 21st-Century-Literate at No Less Than Grade Level While Being Actively Challenged and Fully Facilitated to Achieve Personal Potentials in All Core Academics." Furthermore, an additional clarifying National Education Standard should require: Students Must Be Advanced to the Academic Level at Which They Can Succeed While Being Challenged.

    See: http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/BB/ubbthreads.php/topics/81675.html#Post81675

    A free 13-year public school education is now provided according to U.S. law, but it is wrongly interpreted as K-12 according to the standard curriculum. If my proposed new thinking were adopted, a 13-year commitment would actually become a 13-year commitment, even for America’s most brilliant young people.

    I have proposed a nationwide three-year public high school for those young people who are exceptionally brilliant in mathematics and the physical sciences: http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/

    Please read my proposal, and then do what you can to implement it. The future of America could depend on it.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #86882 - 10/08/10 01:55 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    Dandy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/12/08
    Posts: 574
    Wow. Just wow. I'll bite, though.

    Is this still a federal solution?

    If so, how is this something that can be efficiently remedied at the federal level?

    Andy J. Dandifer
    _________________________
    Being offended is a natural consequence of leaving the house. - Fran Lebowitz

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    #86894 - 10/08/10 08:27 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Andy J. Dandifer,

    I will answer your question if you can honestly tell me that you have read my proposal — if not the whole thing, at least the following three portions:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/2009/11/history.html
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/2009/11/overview.html
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-scie...a-and-naps.html

    I think you will find the answer to your question in my proposal document.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #86901 - 10/08/10 09:01 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    Val Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/01/07
    Posts: 3288
    Loc: California
    Oh no. Not again! crazy

    Val

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    #86907 - 10/08/10 09:49 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    Chrys Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/15/09
    Posts: 370
    Loc: Central Ohio
    I know this is a public board, but I am uncomfortable with the idea of listing this board as a link on a site like the New York Times - we did get rid of the Facebook links (Thanks Mark!). The great things about this board, are that no one has to prove that they should be here and that it is so supportive. I hope we can keep it that way.
    _________________________
    Warning: sleep deprived

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    #86910 - 10/08/10 09:55 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Ask yourself: Is it possible for a man to walk on the moon?

    The answer is "Yes" — and that very feat was accomplished through a federal program, namely NASA.

    Ask yourself: Is it possible for America to educate its very brightest young people to their fullest potential in mathematics and the physical sciences?

    I believe the answer is "Yes" — and that the achievement could be accomplished by the very same federal program that landed a man on the moon, namely NASA.

    I do not consider the federal government to be incompetent. I am one who still believes that "We The People" are the government.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #86911 - 10/08/10 10:20 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Chyrs,

    Do you consider those who read and respond to the Opinion pages at The New York Times to be riffraff? If so, why?

    It is up to you to be welcoming: to not require others to prove that they should be here, and to be supportive and kind.

    Do not be afraid of those who imagine themselves to be better than you, especially those who posture themselves as being part of the intelligentsia. I have lived my whole life among intelligentsia, and my best advice is this: take and hold your ground — find the courage of your convictions, and then speak your mind as plainly as you are able to, without embarrassment and without apology.

    Intelligentsia can be like mean dogs in that they sometimes respond to fear in others with aggression and attack. But intelligentsia can be as kind and generous as you are, too.

    If you expect goodwill from others, you will generally get it as long as you are offering it to them first.

    Steven A. Sylwester

    Top
    #89286 - 11/10/10 12:30 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Regarding Joan Freeman and her book Gifted Lives (September 2010):
    http://www.digimaxhost.co.uk/~joan/
    http://digimaxhost.co.uk/~joan/interview.php
    http://digimaxhost.co.uk/~joan/books.php

    News articles regarding Gifted Lives:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/oct/09/gifted-children-joan-freeman-psychologist
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1315414/Gifted-children-just-likely-fail-life.html
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/8028543/Gifted-children-no-more-likely-to-succeed.html
    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/lifestyles/family/s_703803.html

    Psychology Today two-part article regarding Gifted Lives:
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/atte...-when-they-grow
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/atte...n-grow-part-two

    * * *

    National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (U.K.):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Academy_for_Gifted_and_Talented_Youth

    * * *

    I have not read the book Gifted Lives by Joan Freeman. The various links above suggest that the book is worth reading.

    The news articles linked make me weary. It seems the battle is always against those who are looking for reasons to not do what is possible. Of course, there will always be the sad stories, and it is forever likely that there will always be more sad stories than happy stories. But the measure of things is somewhat skewered to a wrong-headed bias. For who is to decide what defines success in life or what is the genuine stuff of happiness? In the final analysis, success and happiness can only be judged by the person who is living it. One must ask: Was Isaac Newton successful and happy? How about Beethoven? By most measures, Newton and Beethoven had strange and lonely lives, but I would argue that "most measures" do not apply to people like Newton and Beethoven.

    Life is for the living, but the accomplishments of a lifetime are for the ages. Genius realized is a burden and often a curse for the genius, but genius realized is always a gift for the rest of humanity.

    Isaac Newton observed, "Truth is the offspring of silence and unbroken meditation." Jesus said, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." The genius finds happiness in the freedom that comes from truth — a question answered — a problem solved — a masterpiece accomplished. Such happiness is often a quiet and solitary satisfaction that is shared with no one, because no one else can quite appreciate it as fully as does the genius.

    Society tends to disappoint, and so the genius tends to isolate and withdraw, and that is how happiness can easily be mistaken for sadness when it is observed from the outside.

    NOVA Transcript: Newton's Dark Secrets:
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3217_newton.html
    Isaac Newton: The Last Sorcerer by Michael White
    http://books.google.com/books?id=l2C3NV3...ion&f=false
    Isaac Newton by Albert Einstein
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/newton/einstein.html

    Beethoven: A Brief Biography
    http://www.awesomestories.com/biographies/beethoven/preface

    In every case, a school should open a door for a student to become who the student actually is, not who the student should be by someone else's expectation. That is asking a lot, but no school should ever be satisfied if it accomplishes anything less than that. We must — all of us — insist that the truly gifted children be not overlooked, that their needs be met, and that they be challenged to their fullest potential in all of their academic pursuits.

    Steven A. Sylwester

    Top
    #89393 - 11/11/10 02:41 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    The war begins now.

    Proficiency of Black Students Is Found to Be Far Lower Than Expected
    By TRIP GABRIEL
    Published Online: November 9, 2010 (A version of this article appeared in print on November 9, 2010, on page A22 of the New York edition of The New York Times.)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/09/education/09gap.html?src=me&ref=general

    Excerpt:

    An achievement gap separating black from white students has long been documented — a social divide extremely vexing to policy makers and the target of one blast of school reform after another.

    But a new report focusing on black males suggests that the picture is even bleaker than generally known.

    Only 12 percent of black fourth-grade boys are proficient in reading, compared with 38 percent of white boys, and only 12 percent of black eighth-grade boys are proficient in math, compared with 44 percent of white boys.

    Poverty alone does not seem to explain the differences: poor white boys do just as well as African-American boys who do not live in poverty, measured by whether they qualify for subsidized school lunches. ...

    * * *

    Schools report finds ‘jaw-dropping’ gap for black boys
    By Zachary Roth
    Wed Nov 10, 1:20 pm ET
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/report-black-boys-lagging-badly-in-school

    Excerpt:

    A new report has found that black boys lag behind their white counterparts in reading and math to an even greater extent than previously thought. The sponsor of the report -- the Council of the Great City Schools, an advocacy group for urban public schools -- calls the findings as "jaw-dropping."

    The study concluded that the school performance gap between black boys and white boys couldn't be chalked up to poverty alone. That could provide ammunition to those who argue that cultural factors, as opposed to economic forces, explain low educational performance among African-Americans. ...

    * * *

    ‘Culture of Poverty’ Makes a Comeback
    By PATRICIA COHEN
    Published Online: October 17, 2010 (A version of this article appeared in print on October 18, 2010, on page A1 of the New York edition of The New York Times.)
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/18/us/18p...ihan&st=cse

    Excerpt:

    For more than 40 years, social scientists investigating the causes of poverty have tended to treat cultural explanations like Lord Voldemort: That Which Must Not Be Named.

    The reticence was a legacy of the ugly battles that erupted after Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then an assistant labor secretary in the Johnson administration, introduced the idea of a “culture of poverty” to the public in a startling 1965 report. Although Moynihan didn’t coin the phrase (that distinction belongs to the anthropologist Oscar Lewis), his description of the urban black family as caught in an inescapable “tangle of pathology” of unmarried mothers and welfare dependency was seen as attributing self-perpetuating moral deficiencies to black people, as if blaming them for their own misfortune.

    Moynihan’s analysis never lost its appeal to conservative thinkers, whose arguments ultimately succeeded when President Bill Clinton signed a bill in 1996 “ending welfare as we know it.” But in the overwhelmingly liberal ranks of academic sociology and anthropology the word “culture” became a live grenade, and the idea that attitudes and behavior patterns kept people poor was shunned.

    Now, after decades of silence, these scholars are speaking openly about you-know-what, conceding that culture and persistent poverty are enmeshed. ...

    * * *

    I am a life-long registered Democrat who now at age 56 is starting to lean Republican. Why? Because when Obama became President of The United States of America, the Far Left ultra-liberals of the Democratic Party felt confident to paint me as unacceptably conservative, and I have felt unwelcome ever since. It is a very strange thing, because many who have made me especially unwelcome are some of my own blood relatives. Such are the realities of politics in America in 2010.

    I share this personal information because it pertains very directly to my NAPS proposal. The term "Bleeding Heart Liberal" accurately describes the Far Left perspective in my experience, and I am here to report that none of those hearts are bleeding for the top-end students I am trying to help. It absolutely shocked me to find that out, but my initial shock long ago turned to anger, and I am now more than willing to become an arch-conservative if that is what is necessary to make NAPS happen.

    America is in turmoil. The last election cycle just happened, and the Republicans have decisively taken over the majority of the U.S. House of Representatives. Meanwhile, the Tea Party is making itself heard from coast to coast, and every thinking person in America is quietly pondering the question: "What will happen next?"

    In my pondering, I have come to conclude this: the combination of the zeal behind the Tea Party and the zeal behind the rebirth of the Republican Party might be just what NAPS needs to go forward. Why? Because 1) Republicans believe in the part of The American Dream that rewards hard work, merit, and personal accomplishment, and 2) the Tea Party is hyper-patriotic, and would certainly be strongly interested in doing prudent things to enhance national security over the long term. NAPS is all about both #1 and #2 through and through.

    Does my heart bleed for the black male student who is not grade-level proficient in reading and math? Yes, absolutely! However, as difficult and unsettling as it is to do so, the concept of triage must be applied to the situation, because education resources in the U.S. are dwindling fast. As it is, U.S. law requires funding for bottom-end Special Education, but there is no similar funding requirement in the law for top-end Special Education. What that means is this: the top-end students — The Top One Percent — are expendable. That is reality. That is stupid. And that should be unacceptable to any and all who care about the future of America.

    Regarding the Concepts of Triage:
    http://orgmail2.coe-dmha.org/dr/DisasterResponse.nsf/section/08?opendocument&home=html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triage

    Triage requires brutal objectivity. Nobody wants to exercise such objectivity when the very lives of human beings are at stake, but triage is a must-do responsibility that cannot be shirked when circumstances require it. The two most basic concepts of triage require 1) doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people, and 2) making the most efficient use of available resources. What should that mean in the world of public K-12 education? Certainly, it should NOT mean ignoring the needs of the Top One Percent in order to provide extraordinary services to the Bottom One Percent, especially when the Creative Scientific Health of our nation is actually what is dying in the present disaster.

    Consider the November 10, 2010, news reported by NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/40118312#40118312

    When will the U.S. finally wake up to the national disaster in education that has already happened? And when will national leaders finally insist on the triage that will save America?

    What follows is a copy of a very long letter that I wrote to Bill & Melinda Gates on May 13, 2009. At that time, what is now NAPS was known as Linus Pauling Academy of the Physical Sciences (L.PAPS). Sadly, I conclude that my letter was never read by either Bill or Melinda Gates, but instead got tossed around like a hot potato until poor Stephanie Jones was given the task of responding. On May 26, 2009, she wrote to me the following:


    Dear Mr. Sylwester,

    Thank you for contacting the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Your letter to Mr. and Mrs. Gates has been forwarded to me for reply.

    We appreciate your interest in the U.S. education system, and thank you for sharing with us your proposal to reestablish leadership in mathematics and science instruction in high schools nationwide.

    The foundation's Education initiative seeks to improve high school graduation and college readiness rates so that all students graduate prepared for success in college, career, and life. In pursuit of this goal, the foundation supports schools and policies that set high expectations for all students and provide the support they need to meet them. Our Education initiative also works to provide children with opportunities for quality early learning in Washington state and funds scholarship programs that reduce financial and other barriers to higher education for low-income and minority students. Please note that the Education initiative does not accept unsolicited proposals.

    For more information about the foundation's Education initiative, please visit www.gatesfoundation.org/topics/Pages/high-schools.aspx.

    We wish you all the best.

    Sincerely,

    Stephanie Jones
    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

    * * *

    That reply was in response to the following:

    May 13, 2009

    Dear Bill & Melinda Gates,

    My name is Steven Sylwester, and I live in Eugene, Oregon. I am a committee of one championing my own proposal to reestablish United States leadership in mathematics and science instruction at the high school level among nations worldwide.

    I have created a simple solution that can be used as a universal model for similar sites across the nation. My personal challenge was to neatly fit into the established university-level prerequisite stream for mathematics, computer science, chemistry, and physics instruction by creating a straightforward, scaled-down, efficient curriculum that directly uses the teaching resources of U.S. public research universities to educate high school students who are gifted in mathematics and the physical sciences. I have succeeded to the best of my ability. Now it remains whether others can improve on my solution.

    My solution neither favors nor disfavors economically advantaged students, but it does favor students who are gifted in mathematics and the physical sciences by creating three-year public high schools with academic merit-based admission standards. Though it might be more common that children of affluence are academically gifted, it is certainly not the case that all academically gifted students are the children of affluence - not at all. Additionally, given the rigors and the sacrifices that are unmistakable and unavoidable in what I propose, many poor children will strive and rise to the challenge while many affluent children will shirk away.

    It is completely wrong-headed to imagine that my proposal creates a special advantage for those who are already advantaged. In truth, our public school system is sometimes punishing to those who are academically gifted in mathematics and the physical sciences. Sadly, where advantage might have grown and flourished in some gifted students through their being challenged by skill level-appropriate instruction, what sometimes results instead is the lasting disadvantage that can be born out of the discouragement caused by the forced under-achievement of potential during the long years of high school.

    You will find my proposal attached to this email. I have included the below forwarded email to demonstrate that I am aggressively going public with my proposal. I have also emailed my proposal to select U.S. senators, select U.S. representatives, former Speaker Newt Gingrich (for many years, an outspoken advocate for the need to improve math and science instruction in U.S. public high schools), select public school district superintendents and public high school principals in Oregon, the presidents of Oregon's three public research universities with undergraduate programs, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, the Broad Foundation, and The Walton Family Foundation.

    I send my proposal to The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with this encouragement: Please consider implementing a working model of my proposal at two public research universities in the Northwest, either in Washington and/or in Oregon. Originally, I developed my proposal as a local solution for a local problem. Then I pushed my thinking to the Oregon statewide level. And then, after listening to President Obama's inaugural address, I finally concluded that my proposal could (and should) be done nationwide.

    Dreaming big dreams is grand, but proving that the solution is good and workable in real life is something else entirely. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has both the resources and the good intent to make my proposal happen on a working model basis, and so I ask you to consider that possibility.

    If you have any questions regarding my proposal, please either call me or email me at your convenience.

    Sincerely,

    Steven Sylwester


    P.S. My youngest daughter was a 2007 graduate of North Eugene High School in Eugene, Oregon, which is a Small Schools site funded by your foundation. Fortunately, she graduated the year before the Small Schools initiative went fully into effect. She is a 2007 National Merit Finalist who entered her freshman year at the University of Oregon with 100 credits already on her university transcript, which means she entered her freshman year with junior status by credit count. My daughter had traveled across town to attend NEHS, because such an academic achievement as that was possible there - before the Small Schools initiative happened.

    For many years, NEHS was the best-kept secret in Eugene. Improbably, the smallest, economically poorest, and most blue-collar of Eugene's four public high schools awarded more Advanced Placement credits per student per year than any other Eugene high school - and it did so by quietly maintaining a phantom "small school" within the framework of the whole school. Though the "small school" did not actually exist in any formal sense, it naturally manifested because NEHS had steadfastly maintained a four-period school day while also refusing to let International High School (IHS) through the front door. The consequence was that the best students had no place to go but together, and so most of them quickly migrated to the available A.P. classes.

    It was a magnificent stage for excellence! Because of the long class periods, an entire year of instruction was accomplished in half of a school year. As a freshman, my daughter took a year of chemistry during the first half of the school year, and a year of physics during the second half. During four years of high school, my youngest daughter took math through A.P. Calculus, three years of chemistry (including A.P. Chemistry and high school Organic Chemistry at NEHS, and Advanced General Chemistry Laboratory at the University of Oregon), two years of physics (including A.P.-equivalent College Now Physics), and A.P. Biology.

    Well, the Small Schools initiative funded by The Gates Foundation killed the best "small school" Eugene ever had. The principal at the time your foundation got involved was new to NEHS, and he was determined to change things. He opened the door to IHS and so added the extra class periods the IHS program required - and the goose laying the golden eggs got weakened until the Small Schools initiative just killed it. Fortunately, my two daughters got through before the end came.

    My proposal (Linus Pauling Academy of the Physical Sciences) is contrary to what I understand your thinking to be. However, I will strenuously argue with anyone that my idea is better.

    I volunteered at NEHS everyday for half of the school day for 3/4 of a school year as a Read Right reading tutor, and some of the high school sophomores and juniors whom I tutored were reading at a beginning first grade level when I began working with them - they were functionally illiterate! By comparison, my oldest daughter had her reading ability tested by the local public school district during her first month of first grade when she was six years old, and was judged at that young age to be reading at an adult level BEYOND high school level!

    When my youngest daughter was a junior at NEHS at the beginning of the transition to Small Schools, the decision was made to have all NEHS juniors take A.P. English, because some misguided teachers thought everyone was capable of high academic achievement. The decision was made to purposely separate the best students from each other by distributing them equally among the different class sections while also doing the same equal distribution with the worst students. The whole bad idea was an utter failure that no one would own up to in the end, and was a complete waste of time for my daughter and her honest A.P. peers.

    Know this: The students who were functionally illiterate when I started tutoring them were reading well six months later. Some who began at a second or third grade level were actually reading at a ninth grade level or better just six months later. That is what is possible. That is what I witnessed with my own eyes and ears.

    But what impressed me the most was the kindness, gentleness, and patience that these poor-performing students had for each other when they were in the non-threatening environment we had created for them in the tutoring classroom, and how honestly encouraging they were to each other as they struggled to learn how to read. It was at once both heartbreaking and wonderful. More than that, it was a very rewarding experience that revealed much about the difficult divide that confounds effective education reform. Why? Because the classrooms I had grown up in and that my daughters excelled in were places of intense intellectual competition where something so simple as kindness was not always present. It is no wonder to me now that the poor-performing students fall behind, and that they eventually give up - they don't stand a chance.

    But there is a solution, and it is to be found in the simplest and most amazing of simple observations, and I can tell you with certainty that it is absolutely true. If you want to solve the problem of educating the slow learners who become the poor students who become the drop outs, you MUST start with this scientific fact: Every brain has a discernible brain speed at which it functions while learning; brain speeds vary from person to person; brain speed functioning is negatively impacted by stress; and slow normal brain speed can slowly be sped up to the point of classroom speed with no loss of skill, proficiency, and comprehension if both personal competency and personal confidence can be demonstrated by the brain to the brain (meaning: the slow learner drops the "slow" from his/her identity and simply becomes a learner who approaches learning with calm self-confidence).

    How do I know this? My father is Dr. Robert Sylwester, Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Oregon. He is a world-renowned expert on current developments in brain research, and the implications of those developments for education. He has had a relationship with Scientific Learning for many years, and writes a column for their website (http://www.brainconnection.com/). The Scientific Learning story and its many discoveries are told here (http://www.scilearn.com/our-approach/ourfounders-story/index.php). But, in layman's terms, it is essentially what I have described above referring to "brain speed."

    The problem going forward is the problem of capitalism, which is the profit motive that controls intellectual property rights. In the case of Scientific Learning, the copyrights and patents have to do with computer hardware and software. In the case of Read Right, the copyrights have to do with materials describing the tutoring procedures, defining the reading libraries, and providing the progress tally forms. But everything my father told me about the scientific discoveries made by Scientific Learning using elaborate computer set-ups is true, and is plainly observable with the naked eye in a four-person tutoring group if you know what you are looking for. In fact, it is all as plainly visible as a snow line is on pavement as you drive from rain at low elevation to snow at high elevation - it is that undeniable: starkly plain and sharply defined. And what you are witnessing when it manifests so clearly is the brain speed of the learner.

    It is a truly remarkable phenomenon to behold, and it borders on miraculous what can occur in learning how to read if the "brain speed" reality is made the guiding light. Students fight it at first as you insist that they slow down, sometimes way down - sometimes slower than they have ever talked before. But then suddenly it happens: you find their natural brain speed >> and they can read! It is startling for a high school kid who has been stuck in Special Ed for ten years with a dunce cap on his/her head to suddenly be able to read. I preached confidence when I tutored (as in: "I know you can do this"), but my spiel was not according to the copyrighted abracadabra terminology I was supposed to use. Against the plan, the kids needed confidence, and so I gave it to them in heaps - and in straight talk. Thinking back now, it was these three things: calm down, slow down, and you can do it. And they could.

    Read Right had this simple belief: If a person can engage in meaningful conversation, that person can also read with comprehension. By what I have witnessed, I absolutely agree with that conclusion.

    But there is another obstacle in the way of successful education reform - and it is horrific! Sadly, it too is about "the profit motive," and again the slow learner is the one who is potentially harmed. Remarkably, it is not a capitalist corporation doing harm by legally withholding effective learning tools and processes if its products are not purchased, it is the school system itself doing harm by holding students in an official Special Ed classification who no longer belong there. It is a fox guarding the hen house situation: slow learners have become a huge revenue source in the education finance equation because the site school and the site school district are paid significantly more by the government for educating students who are classified Special Ed than they are paid for educating normal students - so significantly more that deciding to do the wrong thing can be judged the right thing to do!

    I witnessed this twice firsthand.

    In one case, a girl I tutored was as close to being a zombie as anyone I have ever encountered; she was emotionally unreachable - she was a walking dead person who was unreliable to follow even the simplest procedure. I was completely stymied by her, so I begged my supervising teachers for any privileged information they could possibly give me to help me understand the girl. I found out the girl was adopted, and that her adoptive parents were an older couple with no other children. Also, I found out that the girl's biological mother was alcoholic. The girl was long-term Special Ed. All of that did not help me one bit. What finally helped was the gentle kindness of a boy who was also in her group of four. Every morning, the boy greeted her, even though she never responded back. And every morning, before we started the tutoring session, the boy told a funny story of what he had done the previous day, and eventually - finally - the girl smiled one day. And then one morning out of the blue, the girl wanted to tell her own story of something she had done the previous night. And the boy was all ears, and was genuinely interested in hearing the girl's story. And thereafter the girl actually started participating, ever so slowly at first. When that girl began her tutoring, she literally responded to books like a kindergarten student if she responded at all - it was weird. But once she actually started reading, her progress was faster than anything I ever witnessed as a tutor. Before five months was over, that girl was reading Jack London books out loud near flawlessly at first read (maybe one word error per page), including dramatic readings of odd dialect story conversations with unique phonetic word spellings. It was a stunning thing to behold (the Jack London books were at the twelfth grade level, and have very sophisticated complex sentences with challenging vocabulary throughout). We actually contemplated how to possibly make that girl a tutor's aide to legitimize keeping her around, because she had surpassed any need at all to remain in the program. Yet that girl was kept in Special Ed afterwards, and away from the standard curriculum. Imagine that. How do you explain something like that without contemplating evil?

    The other case had a different twist. The girl was Special Ed since the beginning of her schooling, but was full of life and very talkative. She started at maybe a second grade level, and was very labored in her reading, though she was willing to try when it was her turn. Through the girl's story telling, it became obvious that she ran with a gang of troublesome losers, and that she submitted herself to the rule of the boys in the gang. As it happened, she was originally assigned to a tutoring group that included one of the boys she was subservient to. When that became apparent, we separated the two into different groups, and I kept the girl. Even so, the girl plainly felt the need to subordinate herself to boys by never excelling a boy who was in her company. One day I had had enough, so I excused myself and the girl from our group, and I took that girl out of the room into the hallway where I very seriously scolded her, and told her in no uncertain terms that she was better than any of the boys she was hanging around with, and that she needed to immediately and forever stop giving herself and her potential away. Wow! That girl changed thereafter. All she ever needed was permission to be all that she could be. She became determined. She wanted it to be her turn more frequently and longer - and she wanted to excel! Through dogged effort, that girl got fully to her own grade level with reliable competence and joyful, proud self-confidence. Her turnaround was so complete that one day I finally sprang the ultimate question to her without first talking with my supervising teacher. Even though a new term had already started and even though that girl had always been in Special Ed, I asked her if she would be willing to enter the standard curriculum classes at NEHS if I could open the door for her. Her response was an enthusiastic and very confident "Yes," and she was willing to start immediately, even knowing that she would be behind when she started. I made her ask her parents for their permission, and she eagerly ran home and ran back with permission in hand. Well, the NEHS teachers who should have then opened their classroom doors to that girl would not do so, and the administrators would not intervene - and I was done. In my mind, it was criminal that that girl was held back in Special Ed, and I could no longer in good conscience teach someone to read who would then not be allowed to learn to his/her fullest potential.

    One other tutoring story is revealing. A big sophomore boy was one of my students. He was a mess, and he was just plain dumb - a functional illiterate. He was always late, always eating something, and always confused. Slowly, I got that boy to focus, but it was two steps forward and only one step back if I was lucky. Finally, it kicked in: calm down, slow down, and you can do it. Suddenly, the boy could read a four-word sentence made up of one-syllable words - and for him that was an accomplishment! The boy was African-American (which is rare in Eugene) and likable, and he wanted to learn, but he was defeated academically - just broken. He needed hope. When that boy finally got just a glimmer of hope, he became like a bull in a china shop. The Read Right program has a multitude of procedures that I more-or-less ignored, both because they were silly and because they worked in spite of themselves due to their luck-on to the "brain speed" phenomenon. In the case of this boy, I quietly abandoned Read Right altogether. More than anything, that boy simply needed to read to the bottom of the page, and then feel the supreme accomplishment of turning the page - and I was not going to deny him that accomplishment, no matter how many errors he made getting there. It was wild. He wanted to advance faster than he deserved to advance, and I let him to a point. When I quit volunteering as a tutor and had to come clean with how I had made him a special case, I argued with the supervising teacher that she should maintain my strategy with the boy. She refused, and placed him back where he belonged in the program. It saddened me greatly, because I feared the boy's spirit would be broken. After I left and the supervising teacher came to appreciate what I had done with the boy and why I did it, she eventually followed my lead and set the established procedures aside like I had advised. At the end of his senior year, that boy graduated from NEHS and received an academic award for being the most improved student during his four years in high school. More than that, that boy is now happily employed in a child daycare facility as a caregiver.

    Back to the point: It is wrong to ever put students like my daughters in the same class in the same high school classroom as students like the three examples I have just described from my experience as a high school reading tutor. It is unconscionably wrong at both ends of the spectrum - absolutely so - unquestionably so! To think otherwise is to be ignorant of all applicable facts, and to have never known either a truly brilliant child or a child in desperate need of a reading tutor. Furthermore, children at both ends of the intellectual spectrum are children at risk, and I sincerely mean that in every literal sense. The easiest and best way to raise the low end into the general population is to get the high end out - not by ignoring them and/or dumbing them down, but by advancing them to educational opportunities that will fully challenge their potential.


    April 30, 2009

    This letter and attachment is simultaneously being sent to thirteen officers and councilors of the Council of the National Academy of Engineering, the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Academy of Sciences, and all seventeen members of the Council of the National Academy of Sciences.

    I am an American citizen with an idea that was inspired by President Obama's inaugural speech, and by the experiences I had while parenting my youngest daughter through high school. When my daughter was a freshman in high school, my wife and I discovered to our surprise and great challenge that she was incredibly gifted in the sciences, especially in chemistry. Hers was not just a gift in deep understanding and ability; my daughter found she also truly loved both chemistry and physics, especially the laboratory work. As a high school junior, she took Advanced General Chemistry Laboratory (CH 237, 238, 239) at the University of Oregon, a notoriously difficult three-term sequence course that almost exclusively enrolls UO honors college students. My daughter entered the sequence at winter term without the benefit of ever having taken fall term, and she earned an "A-" grade winter term and an "A" grade spring term. The course professor told me during that spring term that my daughter was easily in The Top One Percent of all the university chemistry students he had ever taught during his 25-year career to that point, including the students he taught while earning his Ph.D. at Princeton - and my daughter was then a high school junior. He noted that a former student of his is now a NASA astronaut, and that my daughter was farther along and more skilled at the same age than the now astronaut was. My daughter is a 2007 National Merit Finalist, meaning she was academically in the top one half of one percent of all high school graduates in the U.S. in 2007.

    Though my daughter's high school chemistry, physics, and calculus teachers were all truly superb, especially the chemistry teacher, I came away from it all knowing I had been blessed, but also knowing I was exhausted - and that my daughter would not have had the opportunities she deserved and thrived from if I had not strenuously advocated for her throughout those four years. When I nominated my daughter's high school chemistry teacher for a national award, the teacher told me that I had convincingly demonstrated her own need to advocate for her own children during their time in the public schools - and that teacher is a first-rate career public high school chemistry teacher!

    I was especially inspired to write my proposal because my daughter's childhood best friend - a girl who was smarter than my daughter according to the PSAT test they both took as high school sophomores - ended up dropping out of high school and earning a GED at a local community college because her parents and various school officials let her fall through the cracks. In my opinion, our public school system does not serve the needs of its best students unless strong unrelenting advocacy from those students' parents literally forces the issue. This should not be the case.

    My proposal puts some shared responsibility onto the public school system itself to identify the best mathematics and science students during the middle school years, and to then offer an extraordinary and deserved opportunity to those students during the high school years. My solution is a nationwide solution that would eventually certainly benefit all of us by creating a Linus Pauling Academy of the Physical Sciences at 150 different public research universities across the country.

    You will find my proposal in the attachment. If you printed it out, you would find my proposal to be nineteen pages long. The first two pages are a preface introduction, and the following two pages are an overview with stated premises. Then there are seven pages that describe The First Model: The Linus Pauling Academy of the Physical Sciences at The University of Oregon. Following that are two pages of class schedule charts, and an appendix that is six pages long. It would be helpful to print out the class schedule charts and have them as a quick reference while you are reading The First Model.

    I certainly hope some of you will find the time to read my proposal. Something like what I propose needs to be done, and an endorsement from your groups would certainly get things started. My proposal is written as if it were being described in an oral presentation. It does go full circle, and it does answer all necessary questions before it concludes. With the strictest discipline, I forced myself to simplify everything that could be simplified, and to strive for the most efficient elegant solution possible that could be most easily replicated as a universal model at various sites across the country. Ultimately, a careful read of the prerequisite streams in math and science education as found in the University of Oregon Course Catalog were defining of what could and should be done in my opinion.

    I am happy to answer any questions, and to receive any suggestions for improvements. Please feel free to share my proposal with anyone.

    Sincerely,

    Steven Sylwester

    * * *

    What a letter! The point being this: every child in the U.S. who is able to engage in conversation with another person is fully capable of reading at his/her grade level. There is literally no excuse for illiteracy. I know this from firsthand experience. It is shameful and inexcusable that some public schools in America allow significant numbers of black boys to be illiterate. In fact, I think it is a crime.

    Regarding black people in America, the problem of poor health, especially asthma, might be a significant contributing factor to poor academic performance. Please, please read this, and then act on it if you can: http://steven-a-sylwester.blogspot.com/2009/10/connecting-dots-asthma-and-vitamin-d.html

    The war is against stupidity in all of its manifestations, especially the stupidity that governs the thinking of too many smart people. Truly, we are our own worst enemies time and time again. Political correctness is an evil.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #89446 - 11/11/10 09:39 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    Dandy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/12/08
    Posts: 574
    3,000+ words in a P.S.?
    _________________________
    Being offended is a natural consequence of leaving the house. - Fran Lebowitz

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    #89447 - 11/11/10 10:20 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    Iucounu Offline
    Member

    Registered: 06/02/10
    Posts: 1457
    Steven, do you think it's fair to say that you "participate in a forum regarding NAPS" when you post on blogs elsewhere about this thread? Doesn't that make it seem like there are a lot of people, well, participating in a forum on your idea, instead of you just prolonging this thread? Doesn't it convey the impression that the Davidson site or foundation is promoting your idea?

    If I were you, I would keep things a little shorter on the next initial letter to a charitable foundation, and try to come off as a little less excitable. Good luck.
    _________________________
    Striving to increase my rate of flow, and fight forum gloopiness. sick

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    #89879 - 11/19/10 08:23 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    I wrote comment #6 at:
    http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/e...-rep-mike-honda

    Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) better mean "each and every child" when he writes: "The international achievement gap will also close as we employ all the tools in our toolbox to ensure that each and every child is successful."

    Civil Rights are not just for poor people, or for people who are functionally illiterate or who are flunking out of school. Civil Rights are also for the most brilliant young people in America — The Top One Percent — the geniuses.

    I have proposed a national public high school for the most brilliant young people in America who have career interests in mathematics and the sciences. I call my proposed school "NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences" (NAPS), and my proposal can be read at:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-sciences.blogspot.com/

    NAPS was designed with the national security interests of the U.S. in mind. Please read:
    http://nasa-academy-of-the-physical-scie...a-and-naps.html

    I participate in an online forum regarding NAPS at:
    http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/B...y_of_the_P.html

    The guiding light for NAPS should be found in a U.S. commitment to meaningful National Education Standards. In my thinking, the basic National Education Standards should be: Every Child 21st-Century-Literate at No Less Than Grade Level While Being Actively Challenged and Fully Facilitated to Achieve Personal Potentials in All Core Academics. At the top end where NAPS exists, the National Education Standards should be simply this: Students Must Be Advanced to the Academic Level at Which They Can Succeed While Being Challenged.

    NAPS is doable. Please read my proposal.

    Steven A. Sylwester

    BY Steven A. Sylwester on 11/19/2010 at 03:21

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    #89913 - 11/19/10 09:02 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    Dandy Offline
    Member

    Registered: 08/12/08
    Posts: 574
    One of my grandpa's favorite quotes:

    "A sophistical rhetorician, inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity, and gifted with an egotistical imagination that can at all times command an interminable and inconsistent series of arguments to malign an opponent and to glorify himself."

    Andy J. Dandifer

    BY Andy J. Dandifer on 11/19/2010 at 09:19
    _________________________
    Being offended is a natural consequence of leaving the house. - Fran Lebowitz

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    #90162 - 11/26/10 10:47 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered



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    #90164 - 11/26/10 11:03 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    http://www.aip.org/fyi/2010/061.html

    Excerpt:
    FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

    Administration’s National Security Strategy Highlights Importance of S&T and STEM Education

    Richard M. Jones
    Number 61 - June 3, 2010

    “Yet even as we have maintained our military advantage, our competitiveness has been set back in recent years. We are recovering from underinvestment in the areas that are central to America’s strength. We have not adequately advanced priorities like education, energy, science and technology, and health care – all of which are essential to U.S. competitiveness, long-term prosperity, and strength.” - National Security Strategy

    Last week the Obama Administration released a document outlining a broadly encompassing strategy for rebuilding the nation’s strength and influence that looks beyond military might. In a cover letter accompanying the strategy, President Obama declares “Simply put, we must see American innovation as a foundation of American power.”

    The 60-page “National Security Strategy” is divided into four sections: Overview of National Security Strategy, Strategic Approach, Advancing Our Interests, and Conclusion. The section entitled Advancing Our Interests includes a subsection “Prosperity” which states the following under the heading Strengthen Education and Human Capital:

    “Invest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education (STEM): America’s long-term leadership depends on educating and producing future scientists and innovators. We will invest more in STEM education so students can learn to think critically in science, math, engineering, and technology; improve the quality of math and science teaching so American students are no longer outperformed by those in other nations; and expand STEM education and career opportunities for underrepresented groups, including women and girls. We will work with partners - from the private-sector and nonprofit organizations to universities - to promote education and careers in science and technology.”


    * * *

    If you go to the above link, you can access the entire 60-page "National Security Strategy" document.

    Steven A. Sylwester


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    #90165 - 11/26/10 11:35 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    http://www.masshightech.com/stories/2010...commitment.html

    Thursday, June 24, 2010
    Raytheon CEO Swanson urges STEM education commitment
    By Kyle Alspach


    The U.S. must act now to develop more young talent in science, technology and engineering, as a “matter of national security,” Raytheon Co. CEO Bill Swanson said during an address Tuesday morning.

    Swanson spoke to several hundred at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston as part of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Executive Forum. The CEO of Waltham-based Raytheon since 2003, Swanson focused the address on educational issues that impact the defense industry.

    The U.S., he said, has fallen behind other parts of the world in engaging and equipping young people for careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Only four percent of college students expected to graduate next year are majoring in one of those fields, with 1.6 percent in engineering, Swanson said.

    “The frightening part is I can name five companies that will hire a third of all those graduates, us being one of them,” he said, later saying that Raytheon hires 4,500 engineers a year.

    Raytheon is taking its own approach to the issue – putting 60 percent of its corporate giving toward educational purposes, Swanson said. The company has also developed the U.S. STEM Education Model, a system dynamics model, which predicts the impacts of educational policy decisions.

    “This is not a way to implement policy, but a way to check policy decisions,” Swanson said.

    Raytheon and the Business-Higher Education Forum coalition, which Raytheon has gifted the model to, are using the model to find ways to increase the number of graduates in STEM fields, he said.

    Swanson called on government and education leaders to see the need for more engineers and scientists as a national security issue, and to act accordingly by making bold moves.

    One thing that needs to change: teachers in STEM fields and teachers in other fields – history and literature, for example – can’t be paid the same salaries, according to Swanson. STEM teachers have to be paid more to be competitive with industry, he said.

    * * *

    The need for NAPS or something like it is huge. Politicians from the President on down through Congress along with the top businesspeople in American industry know this, but still nothing seems to be getting done.

    I recently wrote letters introducing NAPS to President Barack Obama and to Dr. John P. Holdren, who is advisor to President Obama for Science and Technology and who is Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and is Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Also, I recently wrote a letter introducing NAPS to Raytheon Co. CEO Bill Swanson.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/pcast
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/pcast/about

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #90194 - 11/27/10 04:09 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Read this: http://www.dailyiowan.com/2010/10/28/Metro/19691.html

    There are children like the Manzar siblings in every city in America, yet most of those children do not reach their full potential because the academic opportunities and the needed parental support are not there for them. My NAPS proposal would certainly help thousands of those children reach their potential while still in high school.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #90196 - 11/27/10 05:07 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    no5no5 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/02/09
    Posts: 529
    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester
    Read this: http://www.dailyiowan.com/2010/10/28/Metro/19691.html

    There are children like the Manzar siblings in every city in America, yet most of those children do not reach their full potential because the academic opportunities and the needed parental support are not there for them. My NAPS proposal would certainly help thousands of those children reach their potential while still in high school.

    Steven A. Sylwester


    Obviously these children have no need of NAPS or anything similar; they are doing very well without it. And frankly, I don't think it's cool that you are using them to promote your idea.

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    #90207 - 11/27/10 11:49 PM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    Henry Petroski, Duke University Engineering & History Professor

    The Essential Engineer
    Tech Nation
    41 minutes, 18.8mb, recorded 2010-03-16

    http://itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail4443.html#

    Dr. Moira Gunn talks with Duke University professor, Henry Petroski, about his new book, The Essential Engineer: Why Science Alone Will Not Solve Our Global Problems, where he explores science and engineering and how they must work together to address our world’s most pressing issues. From climate change to cars, natural disasters to renewable energy sources, the scientist may identify problems but it falls to the engineer to solve them.

    * * *

    Because of its name — NASA Academy of the Physical Sciences — some might think that NAPS is only about the "physical sciences." In actuality, my proposed NAPS curriculum would provide excellent preparation for every possible career in science, engineering, technology, and/or medicine — including careers in life science.

    Understanding the distinctions separating science, engineering, and technology can be difficult. Listening to the above linked interview with Henry Petroski might be helpful for those who are not sure about how scientists differ from engineers in their thinking and in their doing.

    Even though the NAPS curriculum would be exactly the same at every site across the nation, I wonder whether there would be a perceptible difference in outcome between public universities that are predominantly focused on teaching Science and public universities that are predominantly focused on teaching Engineering. Regarding the eventual careers of the NAPS graduates, would the "Science" universities more tend to produce scientists while the "Engineering" universities would more tend to produce engineers? Because some industrious NAPS students would certainly find their way onto university research teams during their high school years, the Science vs Engineering bias of the host university would likely have some influence.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #90208 - 11/28/10 12:34 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    StevenASylwester
    Unregistered


    no5no5,

    If someone tells their story to a newspaper, their story is no longer private. In fact, to the extent that they tell their story to a newspaper, their story is thereafter public, and is available to be used in the public debate, both pro and con.

    The Manzar siblings show what is possible if you have certain available resources and are able to function outside of the restrictions that generally govern public education.

    The question becomes this: If the Manzar siblings can achieve their stunning academic accomplishments through homeschooling, what then is possible through public education? As it is, public high schools too often fail to challenge the potentials of their very brightest students. Can this problem be solved? I think so, and NAPS is my proposed solution.

    If you have a better solution, please offer it for review.

    Steven A. Sylwester

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    #90210 - 11/28/10 07:12 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    no5no5 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/02/09
    Posts: 529
    Originally Posted By: StevenASylwester
    no5no5,

    If someone tells their story to a newspaper, their story is no longer private. In fact, to the extent that they tell their story to a newspaper, their story is thereafter public, and is available to be used in the public debate, both pro and con.

    The Manzar siblings show what is possible if you have certain available resources and are able to function outside of the restrictions that generally govern public education.

    The question becomes this: If the Manzar siblings can achieve their stunning academic accomplishments through homeschooling, what then is possible through public education? As it is, public high schools too often fail to challenge the potentials of their very brightest students. Can this problem be solved? I think so, and NAPS is my proposed solution.

    If you have a better solution, please offer it for review.

    Steven A. Sylwester


    They told their story to their school's daily newspaper, but that doesn't make it ethically correct for you to use it for your own ends.

    Even if there were a hundred PG students who wanted to attend your school, I think you would find that each one would have very different needs. These needs can be easily met through homeschooling, but it is very hard to serve the needs of such a diverse group in a classroom. I don't think it is fair to assume that if something can be accomplished through homeschooling it must therefore be possible to do even better through the public schools.

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    #90253 - 11/29/10 11:56 AM Re: Proposal: NASA Academy of the Physical Science [Re: ]
    Mark D. Offline
    Member

    Registered: 12/31/69
    Posts: 271
    Since much has been discussed on this thread over the past few months, and there isn't any pertinent back-and-forth discussion at this point, I have decideded to lock it.

    As a reminder, please be respectful of all posters and all viewpoints and please keep the discussion to matters of gifted education.

    If anyone has any questions, please contact me in a private message.

    Thank you!
    Mark

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