Summer Help in Math

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Summer math class: Calculate the # of administrators vs. the # of qualified math teachers

By Laurie H. Rogers

[The Betrayed blog is offering spring and summer math exercises, using algebra, "real-world application," satire and humor to illustrate various realities in K-12 public education. The full series is posted here. If you would like to participate by offering a math exercise or by correcting or enhancing an exercise presented here, please write to me at]

Problem # 1. The number of useless administrators varied inversely with the number of qualified math teachers squared.

When there were 200 qualified math teachers, there were 5 useless administrators. As the number of qualified math teachers was cut back to 25, how many useless administrators were there?


Below is a calculation for Problem #1. 
Below that is a parody of typical professional development (PD) for teachers and staff, related to Problem #1.

Calculation for Problem #1:

Answer: As the number of qualified math teachers was cut back to 25, the number of useless administrators increased to 320.

This number, of course, is fake. The number of truly qualified math teachers in most public school districts (i.e. those who know enough math to teach it to at least their grade and the grade following) has been purposefully cut back by colleges of education and administrators to "small," "infinitesimal," or "a speck, really." 

Meanwhile, the number of useless administrators is more akin to the growth of bacteria, gnats or bunnies -- out of control and increasing every day.

Why is that? Why do we have this bumper crop of useless administrators, while the number of qualified math teachers is sub-atomic? It's because of the colleges of education, which work hard to turn out useless administrators, and because of education's "professional development" programs (PD), which steadfastedly aim to keep everyone as useless as possible.


Parody of PD for teachers and staff, related to Problem #1:

PD for teachers and staff typically begins with a discussion of definitions and "norms" for behavior. These are designed to help achieve consensus and to eliminate dissent. Definitions and norms usually are designed to pretend something while achieving something different. 

Below is a parody of this PD.

"Consensus" -- at least half of each small group agrees to acquiesce to the administrator (or PD "facilitator") in charge. (Those who don't acquiesce face consequences that might include Human Resources and/or poisoning.)

"Acquiesce" -- to think as administrators do, because they are correct and no one else is.
"Half" -- however many who agree to acquiesce to administrators.
"Discussion" -- coming to consensus, in alignment with administrators
"Dissent" -- coming to consensus, in alignment with administrators
"Lively debate" -- coming to consensus, in alignment with administrators

Norms for behavior:
Do whatever administrators tell you to do.
Do not note inconsistencies in what administrators tell you to do.
Be polite, even as administrators politely squish all true dissent and individuality out of you.

Instructions related to Problem #1:

Work in small groups, using taxpayer-funded highlighter pens, sticky notes, butcher paper and TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition calculators, to count the number of administrative math "professionals" in your school district. Come to consensus on a number. Subtract the administrative math professionals who know very little actual math. (This should result in a net of zero administrators.)

Appreciate the fact that administrative math professionals have purposefully not muddied their brain with limiting notions of math, direct instruction or pedantic methods of efficient calculation. Instead, they kept their minds free to explore innovation and transformation and reform – all for you. They approach everything with an open, equitable and nonjudgmental mind, and thus, they're able to identify dissenting parents and teachers and to equitably and nonjudgmentally remove them from any position of influence.

In your small groups, eat a taxpayer-funded lunch and drink taxpayer-funded bottled water as you come up with a song and skit to show how much you appreciate the administrative math professionals. Perform your skit, and have one member of your group sing the song while others sway and clap along.

Go back to your school and wipe your brain clean of anything contrary to what administrative math professionals told you. Those unable to do this will be innovatively evaluated into the ranks of the unemployed -- equitably and nonjudgmentally, of course. And all for the kids.

Please note: This information is copyrighted. The proper citation is:
Rogers, L. (May 2014). "Summer math class: Calculate # of administrators vs. # of qualified math teachers." Retrieved (date) from the Betrayed Web site:


Anonymous said...

I teach 7th grade math. My Bachelors was in Business, and I took a couple of extra calculus courses and a geometry course in college. I got my credential to teach through 12th grade by exam....the CSET....a very easy exam.

I'm in the process of asking my employer if they will let me enroll in a Masters program that focuses primarily on math competency. They will give me graduate credit for taking Calculus 3, linear algebra, abstract algebra, and stats 1 and 2. That's a little odd, I thought, but if they're willing to do it, I'm OK with it.

So far, my Superintendent is against my taking these classes because he doesn't see how it would help me be a better 7th grade math teacher. This from a man who probably never even took an advanced math or science class in his life.

Keep in mind, with my measly Calc 1 and Calc 2 credits, I have more math credits than anyone in the school district!! As it stands, no one in our district is really qualified to judge a math curriculum or to set a learning plan for the district. No one, including me, has a deep understanding of math, yet I've had half a dozen "experts" come into my classroom telling me that the common core requires students to have "deep" understanding.

So far, my superintendent is perfectly willing to support me if I take pedagogy courses. He will increase my pay if I take those courses, but not if I take math courses.

I'm trying to fight it, so we will see what happens.

Very interesting.

David Spring said...

Being a math teacher myself, here is another math question I am sure kids will enjoy figuring out.

Problem #2. In the past, a school district had 100 qualified math teachers for every five useless administrators and every one private consultant. Useless administrators are paid on average twice as much as a qualified math teacher and useless consultants are paid twice as much as useless administrators. Recently, consultants bribed school board members into cutting the number of teachers in half while leaving the number of administrators the same. How many more consultants can the school board now afford to hire? If the ratio of students to math teachers was 20 to 1 in the old math classes, how many students are in the new math classes? If the drop out rate doubles from 25% to 50% due to kids flunking their EOC math exams, how many more consultants can the school board hire to write reports about how to reduce the dropout rate?

David Spring M. Ed.

Brandon Nichols said...

Great stuff Laurie, keep it going! Just found your blog, looking forward to reading your book, will contribute what I can!