All posts by Jim Ryan

Jim Ryan no longer works with Key Curriculum Press. His posts and biography have been preserved for the archives. -- I began teaching math at Carlmont High School in the early 90s in the Academy program (read, high-risk students); after 5 years of teaching I moved next door to the San Mateo Union High School District to be an administrator. In 2002 I joined Apple to work on their PowerSchool software. And now, I’ve been with Key for over 6 years. During that time I’ve been the Textbook Product Manager, Professional Development Director, Director of Marketing and now Vice President of Marketing. Yet, when I am asked to evaluate an educational service or product, the first question I ask myself is: How would this help my Academy students learn math?

What Constitutes Malpractice?

Two months ago I was in a meeting with a nationally recognized leader in math education when he said, “Any math teacher who does not use technology with students is committing malpractice.” Now, I have been a strong advocate for the use of technology tools in instruction since I started teaching in 1993. But, I … Continue Reading ››

Is it Time to Means Test Education?

As we watch the debt-ceiling negotiations among our political leaders, one thing is increasingly clear, the limited resources available for public education will remain tightly constrained for years to come. Both sides are suggesting substantial cuts to the federal education budget. The extent of the cuts is still to be determined, but there is no … Continue Reading ››

Show Me What You Know

I was recently reading a blog where a debate raged regarding the validity of a math activity.  The debate, as I saw it, is between: Side A:  Proponents of math activities that contain a minimum amount of given information so that students must hypothesize, test, and conjecture in order to arrive upon a reasonable … Continue Reading ››

Difficult Questions. Keep ’em Coming.

I was recently reminded of how important it is to evaluate student interaction when determining the professional development needs of a school or teacher. I was in a classroom, trying to be invisible, observing a strong teacher and her students.  Three very engaged students were debating the appropriate approach to solving an algebra problem; they were … Continue Reading ››

A Farmer Knows That You Can’t Fatten Pigs by Weighing Them All the Time

Unfortunately, some education policy folks believe that the more you test students, the smarter they become. This past weekend I participated in a meeting hosted by COMAP where the primary topic of discussion was the upcoming assessments tied to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Among the participants were curriculum developers and representatives from both … Continue Reading ››

Common Core Aligned! Nice new cover.

I’m just back from the NCSM and NCTM national conferences in Indianapolis.  I have nothing but kind words for the city and venues for the conferences.  It is a wonderful location for a conference; additionally, I highly recommend the haggis at MacNiven’s Restaurant and Bar on Massachusetts Ave.Continue Reading ››

It’s Time for U.S. Students to Man (and Woman) Up!

Although the United States is one of the richest countries in the world, our high school students’ performance in math is woefully lacking. That’s according to the international assessments, including Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), or the Trends in International Mathematics … Continue Reading ››