Accepted into TAMS

School

I am pleased to announce that I have been accepted into the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science Class of 2018. I would like to thank my teachers and counselor for providing excellent recommendations to the admissions committee. In addition, I am grateful for the support of my family, friends, and role models.

I think from writing my application essay, to preparing and taking the SAT twice, to my days of pondering over visiting TAMS for the Interview Day (which will continue after this), I have gained and learned a lot about applying for a university and how a change in life would affect me. Regardless of my actual admission to TAMS, the application process has changed my life for the better, through all of the best struggles.

Now to see if I will attend…

Applying politics to pedagogy and grading doesn’t work

SchoolSociety

Why are school board elections nonpartisan? Why don’t we apply political goals to schools as often as we can? Because… they don’t apply.

There is a popular example of why socialism doesn’t work in society where a professor will average out test scores and then hand that same score out to everybody. By the end, everybody gives up on trying because the high scorers are punished unjustly and the low scorers are rewarded overcompensatorily. This story is available across the Internet so I won’t bother posting it in full here.

Here’s an issue with this: civilization isn’t just test grades and wealth redistribution. School is a safe sandbox (not a garden) to learn and nurture oneself in. Therefore we give more chances in school, unlike our society of no chances. School is a place to perfect perfection, not to demonstrate perfection like society is.

If you still think this is defensive liberal propaganda, why don’t we try a free-market, laissez-faire school system?

Here are the rules that apply for the socialist and laissez-faire demonstration:

  • The teacher controls what happens to the grades (score distribution)
  • There will be tests with fair grading at the beginning
  • No cheating takes place during testing
  • The teacher sets the rules
  • If the students fail to perform well, the dean will fire the teacher. (In the case of the socialist example, pretend the teacher gave massive curves to everybody at the end, because that’s what happened with FDR’s New Deal: an interventionalist Keynesian policy.

Several students emerge at the top of the exams scores and the rest of the students don’t do so well. The elite students start to hoard all of the prime study materials to themselves and threatens to fail themselves in the professor’s class (getting him fired) unless he ditches the retest policy, doesn’t give curves, and lets the well-testers provide exclusive tutoring to the other students. Sure enough, the elite students don’t tutor anything and instead continue to hog study materials, get great test scores, and aren’t invalidated by the curves given by the professor. Also, most of the students will fail the class and cannot even retake the test, meaning they bomb the entire course. And by the way, all of those who fail automatically get their score dropped to a zero. At this point, the Dean honors the well-doing students because of their façade presented and doesn’t care anymore about the failing students.

This model sure is a counter for the stupid “socialism” experiment in school.

But why do neither of these models work?

  1. School policy is modified too drastically.
  2. Students have too much bargaining power. Nobody has this kind of power in real life unless they are the elite.
  3. Grades are way too subjective and don’t reflect money accurately due to its restrictions and issuance.
  4. It’s imperfect, yet a school system offers more opportunities to succeed as fairly as possible.

Now please stop applying politics to school.

@ShareNet, a Wi-Fi Co-Op

InternetSociety

Wouldn’t it be great if one could travel somewhere and automatically be connected to a Wi-Fi network? It:

  • saves mobile data
  • better access to the internet
  • more efficient use of Wi-Fi network

Imagine Bob is jogging through his neighborhood. When Bob leaves his house, he loses access to his Wi-Fi network, BobNet. He jogs past Sherri’s house. Sherri’s Wi-Fi network is SherriNet. Neither match, so neither can use each other’s Wi-Fi network without sharing. But sometimes, they go over to each others’ houses. Also, Bob streams Spotify through his headphones when jogging past Sherri’s house, using a lot of data. The issue is, whenever Wi-Fi is needed the most, or outside one’s home, it never seems to be there.

But if Bob and Sherri and all of their neighbors added a guest network (with a password) called @ShareNet to their own home, they’ll also get access to every other @ShareNet Wi-Fi access point! So, whenever Bob is jogging, he will automatically be connected to the guest Wi-Fi network in each house that he jogs past. Now, when Sherri is at home, she uses SherriNet, but whenever she visits Bob, she doesn’t need the password to BobNet. She just uses @ShareNet.

All of the neighbors have ONE password for @ShareNet, so it’s important to keep this key integrous (the key must be of integrity). If Gordon the villain neighbor decides to leak the password of @ShareNet on 4chan, everybody’s screwed and Gordon will be attacked by an angry mob at the next HOA meeting. Most neighbors can set up a WPA2 Personal Wi-Fi guest network on their routers easily, but not a RADIUS server. The only way to keep @ShareNet integrous is to continually update the password (pre-shared key/PSK) and to maintain control over who is participating in @ShareNet. Also, it’s not okay to simply stop offering @ShareNet at your house while continuing to use @ShareNet in others’ houses.

So if you want to join @ShareNet in real life, we’ll try to keep it secure and centralized as much as possible. Just shoot me an email (j@mywikis.com). Thanks!

Improving McKinney ISD’s focus on academics?

SchoolSociety
Here’s some thoughts on what McKinney ISD can do:
  • Add more coaches for UIL Academics competitions, so that students can learn more, do well on the tests, and get scholarships. Plus, who doesn’t like a little school pride? (I think Lovejoy has mandatory club classes?)
  • Pay for our AP exams – We pay $30 for each AP exam right now and this might drive people away. Awesome teachers, great curriculum, but the payment might deter some non-lower-income parents from enrolling their kids in the classes.
  • Pay for dual credit – perhaps offer dual credit for free for all students that are eligible? It still costs money compared to regular classes.
  • Add a local-credit only class for SAT, ACT prep – we have some very well-performing students attending great schools, but what about everybody else? Offering a local-credit only class for SAT and ACT prep would boost everybody’s scores for colleges and add more National Merit Scholars.

Concerning my admission to the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science

School

On Wednesday, March 23, (2016), I visited the University of North Texas’s early university program, called the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, for an invited interview, consisting of a math test and a group interview with questions being impromptu college essays, to determine placement within the program. While I accepted the invitation to go and interview, I am not sure if I will be admitted by the time May 7 rolls around. (May 7 is when admission notices go out.) In addition, if I were accepted, I do not know if TAMS is the best choice for continuing my education. On one end, it is a great college program, but on the other hand, the various limitations of the early “college” program suggest to me that a hidden torture chamber lies within.

Tentatively, it would be best for me to presume and act as if I were to continue my education at McKinney Boyd High School. The Home of the Broncos has been a moderately enjoyable experience, and it is with concern of my academic record that I decide to remain. Perhaps it is better to be predictably sliced by La Guillotine than to be “freely” suffocated without relief, so that I may have some control over the desperation like Rodion did to Pulcheria. From here, I will see where the wind blows. Wish me luck in my future!

(P.S. You can tell that my juxtaposition of English references to a reflective blog post concerning a math and science academy is ironic.)

UT Austin is cool

School

I visited the campus. I’m trying to adhere to my previous post’s introspectivity abstention, so yeah, here goes:

It’s a nice campus. Big and full of cool things to do. A little bit crowded but nothing like China. I’ll see if and how I can attend. #HookEm

Spring Break? More like [Internal] Spring Broken.

School

So, it’s Spring Break—so “relaxing” yet so stressful. So much homework to be done. So many concepts to catch up on. So, yeah, I have a project due in two days that I have yet to film its video (most important part of it!!). So, I don’t have time to write introspective blog posts. So working nonstop on the Boyd Website Redesign. So tired. So not rested. So broken.

The new McKinney ISD stadium misprioritizes the district’s needs

SchoolSociety

Our school district, the McKinney Independent School District, has recently decided to spend $62 million dollars on an athletic stadium. Supposedly necessary to replace our current Ron Poe Stadium, it will be one of the major landmarks of the school district and the city.

The only problem is, it’s a waste of money. Why?

Academics before athletics. That’s the chant of millions of parents in America placing an emphasis on their children’s education before they play. After all, there are certainly more people attending university to learn rather than to play a sport. That’s also why the number of academic scholarships surpass the number of athletic scholarships. It clearly establishes academics to be the priority. McKinney ISD does not see this. They think that the priority is playing. $62 million is a lot of money to play around with. Considering all of its students are required to be in classrooms learning but only a small percentage play varsity sports (the only team that gets players to universities), and we already have a decently-sized stadium, why exactly should there be an already overextended emphasis on sports? There shouldn’t be.

Our district is pitiful in educational rankings. Schools similar in size to McKinney’s three high schools have dozens more National Merit Scholars than any of our schools combined. In fact, last year, one of the most important scholarships in the United States was awarded to only TWO students in the entire McKinney ISD, both from Boyd.

This is a failure on the side of the district: it does not allocate enough of its priorities on actual learning, but rather on its sports. It’s great that our high schools are making state. But how does that help any of our students succeed in the real world? Perhaps one or two will go on to a university team and then a professional sports team. What about the rest of the students? Are they supposed to suffer because of subprime learning and make a fool of themselves in society?

How could $62 million be spent on education? For one, we could lower class sizes, add more teachers, who could emphasize skills more relevant to the real world. Each teacher’s salary is $49,100 a year. $62,000,000 / $49,100 = 1,262 teachers. We could add ONE THOUSAND teachers with this amount of money. Instead, we’d rather spend it on one or two athletes? They already have Ron Poe! It’s not like the stadium is the actual factor preventing athletes from succeeding. In school, however, the lack of funding prevents our teachers from accessing the resources they need, diminishing the amount of classes necessary to fully prepare our students for success, and prevents both the school district and students from following the path to success.

Let’s place more emphasis on education for all, not sports for a few.

McKinney Boyd HS website redesign – part 3

InternetSchool

Screen Shot 2016-02-22 at 11.39.34 PM

We are now about halfway complete with the website redesign. Many pages have now been completed, and focus is turning on aesthetics, such as the home page, section “dividers” (if we use yearbook terminology), and improving the heart of it all, the navbar.

We have many excellent contributors, ranging from Bora to Jarod to Justin to Alex, who have contributed the majority of ideas. Andrew has continued to draft us up with great designs and mockups, including envisioning our directory search. He, Marvin, and Scott have been working on compiling all of our staff’s photos in a systematic way so that they are easily accessible using JavaScript.

A consultation with Dr. Ayers today revealed some significant work to be done on the main page, including adding carousel functionality and adding images more appealing to newcomers to Boyd rather than the recurring parents, who are more interested in the resources and news of Boyd rather than “About.”

Recently, I shared the website with the local community, who were very pleased with the newly redesigned website. This is encouraging to the entire redesign team, as our primary audience of this new design is indeed our parents and students.