Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bill (and Phil) and Me

   I am not an autograph hound.  However I have amassed a pretty cool collection of signatures over the years, mostly from the world of sports and literature.  Here's a sampling:

Willis Reed was the captain and fighting heart of the Knick championship teams of the late 60's and early 70's.

This program cover, from a November 17, 1974 game between  Washington and Dallas, was signed by  almost every member of the 1974 Redskins, famous as "The Over-the-Hill Gang".  I remember standing outside the Redskins locker room with my father's friend, the personal physician to several players on the team,  waiting for it to emerge.  Six players who signed are now in the NFL Hall of Fame.  Extra credit if you can name them all.

My dad got this for me when he attended Yankees Fantasy Baseball Camp in 1990.  It's also signed by Whitey Ford, Enos Slaughter, Hank Bauer, and Johnny Blanchard, but Mickey got the sweet spot. He always did.

I saw John Updike give a reading soon after this was published.  Taken together, The "Rabbit" tetrology  is the greatest portrait of post-war America, 1950-1980, ever written.    My personal favorite: Rabbit is Rich.

Harry Bosch is one amazing detective!  

My most prized possession.  I was a counselor at a day camp out on Long Island, and had Kurt Vonnegut's daughter in my group.  One day I asked him to sign my copy of Breakfast of Champions.  He sat down on a bench, scribbled for several minutes, and handed me this.  
But I am really excited about the most recent addition to my collection:

My tattered copy of the Common Core.  Signed by...Phil Daro and Bill McCallum!

  I met Phil Daro and Bill McCallum at the recent AMTNJ  conference.  The document they co-authored (along with Jason Zimba), has been the subject of  intense and heated debate, both in the political arena and within the mathematics community, and commentary of near-Talmudic proportions.  Math teachers, coaches, specialists, and supervisors have combed over the standards in minute detail, attempting to align their lessons, curricula and instruction, and decipher and decode the intentions of its authors. Teacher evaluation, student placement, and now, at least in New Jersey, high school graduation are all predicated on their mastery, as measured by the new PARCC and Smarter Balanced assessments.   Love them or hate them, their impact on the landscape of math education is undeniable, as a quick look around the exhibition room at the conference illustrated:

This is just a small sampling of what I saw.  I'll also add that half of the sessions at the conference had the words "common core" in their title or description.

    I listened to both Phil and Bill give their presentations, looking for a window into the minds of the men who, intentionally or not, set so many wheels in motion.  And I couldn't help but wonder: When they sat down to write the standards, could they ever have imagined what would follow in their wake?

Bill and me.

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