The importance of rote memory in Asia and everywhere else

The battle over school testing continues. As I’ve said many times, I think that standards are important. I think it’s good to rate students, and I think it’s great to rate teachers so that schools can promote the good ones and fire the bad ones. My oldest is going to undergo some Common Core testing this year, and while I can understand the nervousness that testing can create, it’s the right thing to do for public schools. Every child should have age-appropriate goals. Of course there should be a reasonable amount of testing–kids shouldn’t be tested every day, and schools shouldn’t waste three weeks on a single test because they don’t have computers–but the idea is right. Kids should be able to pass tests.

D.C. school goes after Asian American “truant”

Meet 13-year-old Avery Gagliano. She is a piano and concert prodigy, the daughter of a Chinese mother and Caucasian father. She travels the world, entering and winning competitions, playing before large audiences. Last year she played at a prestigious event in Munich. She’s a straight-A student.

But no longer. The problem was that she missed a lot of school in order to pursue her musical education. In the D.C. public school she attends, that’s a big no-no. After she missed ten days, her record was permanently marked: Avery was considered a truant for missing school.

New Common Core math

Sorry for not posting more on Asian American issues, but I’m Asian American’ed out.

For you parents with elementary/primary school kids out there, this article will ring familiar: Math Under Common Core Has Even Parents Stumbling. In the first few paragraphs, the article tells the story of a family that moved to a better school district in Louisiana only to pull their children out of school because they didn’t like Common Core Math. The father, who is a pipe designer at an engineering firm, had to watch YouTube videos to understand the new math. The parents have now decided they will opt-out and homeschool their children in the fall.

Affirmative action, and the rift between the Asian American media and the rest of us

Bronx School Stands Out

Pic from Time

It’s an oft-quoted statistic in the ethnic media that Asian Americans support affirmative action. But those organizations reporting this statistic are mostly liberal-biased organizations that use questionable statistical methods. As we’ve seen from SCA-5 and other popular uprisings among Asian Americans, lots of us, if not most of us, are against affirmative action. Affirmative action discriminates against Asians, but I thought I’d talk a bit more about the rift between the ethnic media and the rest of us.

Bloomberg rips liberal censorship

Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg delivered the commencement speech at Harvard on Thursday and ripped into the out-of-control liberalism that has infected our universities:

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, delivering Thursday’s commencement speech at Harvard University, criticized what he described as a disturbing trend of liberals silencing voices “deemed politically objectionable.”

“This spring, it has been disturbing to see a number of college commencement speakers withdraw — or have their invitations rescinded — after protests from students and — to me, shockingly — from senior faculty and administrators who should know better,” Bloomberg said.

Protecting meritocracy, even if it’s not a perfect meritocracy, and inspiring families to get involved

Professor Jonathan Marks has been a friend of this blog for some time. Yesterday, he wrote this article for Commentary: Playing Politics with NYC’s Magnet Schools. In the article, he links the NYTimes article that I wrote about here. Marks astutely writes:

The public magnet schools have been a means for non-affluent families to get an education on par with the education they would receive at a first-rate private school. You would think that people on the left would view the success of Asians in the system as a sign of the triumph of merit over racial and, in many cases, economic privilege. But Asians are the wrong kind of minority, and their success, far from meriting celebration, apparently needs to be rolled back.

Playing to be a better coach

Exciting news for me: I joined a chess tournament. It’s a real over-the-board tournament where local chess players battle for supremacy in the royal sport. G90 for the first forty moves, and then…then I don’t know. I haven’t gotten there yet. I played my first real game yesterday…and I won! My opponent was really good though. He skewered my queen against my rook with his bishop, which meant I was down a bit of material for much of the game. I managed to get lucky a few moves later when I pinned his rook against his queen while threatening a back rank mate. He made a wrong move, however, and I took his queen, forking the rook and the bank rank mate. He would have been down a queen and rook, so he resigned.  My second match was today. I played White against an opponent I had faced before, one whom I had beaten many times before, but he prepared a special opening for me which I had never seen before, and I had to settle for a draw when it came to a threefold repetition that I couldn’t escape. He was happy, but to me it feels like a loss. I guess our losses make us better.

Real life vs. computer smoke (new addition to the bigWOWO lexicon)

I was scouring the web to find some good judo videos to help my son on his jiu-jitsu journey. He recently achieved a big personal milestone and has been excited about it. I was specifically looking for videos on o-soto gari, and I happened across the YouTube video above, in which an Asian American dude demonstrates a pretty powerful o-soto gari. I especially liked the video since it also shows a transition to sasae tsurikomiashi, the second of the only two throws my son currently knows. The video linked to the content creator’s totally awesome website: http://www.reddragondiaries.com/

Learning a language to speak with your parents

MG-LOSINGLANGUAGE_Day 2_Paskova_0011378478467I had written an article about this: Studying Chinese to Reach His Parents. The article is a couple weeks old (it was actually old when I first saw it), and the article I wrote was lost during the server crash. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I was touched with the story about how Daniel Chen’s parents gave up so much so that he could have an education. They had a relatively comfortable lifestyle in China, but they immigrated to become laborers in order to give their son what they felt were greater opportunities. Daniel grew up hardly ever seeing his parents, and it sounds like he basically raised himself. He mostly speaks English, so when he went to college, he decided to study Chinese so that he could converse with his parents.