#IStandWithAhmed and *that* clock

Certain parts of the internet has been buzzing today because someone called ProudGamer8 tweeted at Richard Dawkins about Ahmed Mohamed and Dawkins is resolutely standing his ground.

In case you’ve missed it all, Ahmed is a 14 year old kid who was arrested for possessing what looked like dodgy electronics. He took it to school, and people over-reacted and he was arrested for bringing a ‘bomb’ to school.

[Update: the other argument is that he was arrested for deliberately ‘faking’ a hoax. I.e. waste of police time etc which is an interesting point too, youtube link here thanks @soleeternaltat for the heads up]

Continue reading

Sunday morning musings

I just recklessly retweeted this Jezebel article just now. It was tweeted by an awesome account that I follow called @STEMWomen.

Then I thought about it. On the surface, this is a win, a victory for women and girls, and maybe service providers in that area will think again when they try to offer a “boys only” class.

I mean, I can just hear the “other side” now, but what about all the “girls only” classes that are everywhere.

It’s kinda like this meme that has been doing its rounds:

equity-vs-equality

Yes, we can have girls only coding classes, and girls only robotics classes. Because we didn’t start off at the same place. When all the little girls, from when they were babies, were told to play with dolls and boy were given transformers, then, yes, the little girl is not going to consider the robotics class, and they are sure as heck not wanting to go to one full of boys that think they know it all already! (I know this intimately, as I am a parent to a boy who thinks he knows it all already)

Which brings me to my actual musing about the article.

This particular case was a win for that little girl. It is also, incidentally, a win for all the girls in that area who were too afraid to speak out.

What happens everywhere else?

Where there isn’t a brave kid who is willing to stand up for equity (it doesn’t have to be a girl, just anyone who is willing to call it), or lets be honest here, a stroppy parent who wants to stand up for equity.

Service Providers need to do a bit better. If they are wanting to do a gender segregated classes, fine, do two of them. I think we are doing quite a lot better here in NZ, hopefully more stories like this will start to surface.

Science & Maths

Yep, I’m a self-confessed Tiger Mom. I have a real tension (within my own head) about how to raise my boys. My oldest is just finishing up his first year of school this week. He is currently enrolled in swimming lessons, karate lessons, piano lessons and Kumon Maths. This looks to continue for the next few years at least. We’ve made it clear that he needs to finish the Kumon maths as soon as he can so that he will be ready for high school maths far before he hits high school.

Other parents have been horrified at my approach.

But after a term of piano lessons, he is starting to read music. In “playing round” with technologies like his Android tablet and Google, he has learnt the periodic table (well the first 20 elements anyway) and he is truly enjoying all the things he is doing. (I can tell, because there is no way you can ‘force’ a five year old to do something they don’t want to do, and he will go and practise diligently every day by himself)

So it was with horror that I heard the news this morning. Apparently we’ve dropped significantly, as a country, in maths, science and english. The head of the Principal’s association on National Radio this morning admitted that he recently visited “Asian countries”, and that it “was against the culture” of NZ to do extra tuition (evening classes) so that our children will excel, when benchmarked against other children their age.

Is it alarming? is it important? There are some rumours (which I can’t find a link to!! so hopefully just rumours!) that science will no longer be compulsory in the near future in the NZ Curriculum. Is this important? Is the emphasis on the subjects which lead to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) careers important?

I don’t have an answer.

The Asian Tiger Mom in me cries YES with every fibre of my being. The creative, sociologist human rights advocate in me weeps at the lack of critical thinking in the children drilled in those subjects.

I don’t have an answer, I would like to hear yours.

Read More