Author Archives: rmberkman

About rmberkman

This blog is the sole musings of one Robert M. Berkman, an educator who has taught math, science and technology for the past 30 years in New York. You can react to all his posts by emailing him at

Blabbing About Charters: The Myth of the “Bad” Public School

To me, when the “news” about a charter school is “good,” it usually has to do with a typical scandal about embezzlement or inappropriate “teaching” methodologies. However, when the “real” news outlet, The “Not-Failing” New York Times published an article about a Brooklyn … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is This The End of Childhood As We Know It?

I was having lunch with a friend who works in app design (thank gawd his are only intended for adults) when he described an outfit called “Age of Learning” which puts out a very successful app for young children. I shook … Continue reading

Posted in educational malpractice, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Andrew Hacker, The Math Myth and the Economics of Book Publishing

I’m no fan of how the New York Times covers mathematics education, but every once in  while they find someone who has an interesting voice and even an argument that stands up to even the most minimal scrutiny. Andrew Hacker … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Learning About Sex Through Porn: The Stock Market Game as Simulation

My 17 year old son goes to a pretty good high school, and for the most part, I have not interfered with the more nefarious activities so far as curriculum goes. It hasn’t been that easy: a few years back I … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’ve got a bone to pick with Jo Boaler…..

Readers of this blog, of which I am certain there are few, will know that I am not an easy mark and that nothing delights me more than taking the sails out of the windbags who pronounce themselves “experts.” At … Continue reading

Posted in Common Core State Standards | Leave a comment

The Death of Success Academy Charter Schools – Why 2016 Was Pivotal

January 1, 2020 With a few tears, the last Success Academy school (SA) closed its remaining campus today. The “SA Trump Institute,” which was formed after the stunning defeat of Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election, was seen as a … Continue reading

Posted in charter schools, educational malpractice, The New York Times | 1 Comment

You mean I CAN’T improve my brain playing video games????

This just in: ““Brain training” company Lumosity just settled deceptive-advertising charges with the Federal Trade Commission for $2 million. The company will have to notify its customers about the settlement and allow them to easily remove any auto-billing they have … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why Singapore Math Will Not Put The US At The Top

As mentioned in my previous post, Robert subscribes to a homegrown philosophy of “good” math teaching that relies on some simple principles. His first one, The Vidal Sassoon Principle, focuses on making teachers look good through encouragement and “having their back” … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

You Are NOT Katherine Gibbs and Math Class is NOT Secretarial School….

I stop in to see K, our sixth grade teacher, who is twelve kinds of awesome and always quick with a witty phrase (it was from her where I learned to say “for all shits and giggles….”) K looked tense. I … Continue reading

Posted in Computation, educational malpractice, Language | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Visit from the Language Police: Diamonds vs. Rhombi

I’m always amused when teachers try to censor correct children’s language, especially when it comes to mathematics. I remember observing a kindergarten teacher working with a child on the names of the pattern block shapes, and the child correctly identifying the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment