A brief History of American k-12 Mathematics Education in the 20th Century



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Appendix

The letter below was written in response to the Open Letter sent to U.S. Education Secretary Richard Riley from more than 200 mathematicians and prominent individuals. That Open Letter was published on November 18, 1999 in the Washington Post. It called for the withdrawal of the U.S. Department of Education's recommendations of the following mathematics programs, labeled by the Education Department as "exemplary" or "promising":



Exemplary

Cognitive Tutor Algebra

College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM)

Connected Mathematics Program (CMP)

Core-Plus Mathematics Project

Interactive Mathematics Program (IMP)



Promising

Everyday Mathematics

MathLand

Middle-school Mathematics through Applications Project (MMAP)

Number Power

The University of Chicago School Mathematics Project (UCSMP)


 
 

November 30, 1999

Secretary Richard W. Riley

United States Secretary of Education

400 Maryland Avenue

Washington, DC 20202

Dear Mr. Secretary:

In light of the recent paid advertisement in the Washington Post requesting that you withdraw the list of exemplary and promising mathematics programs, the Board of Directors of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics wishes to inform you of their unconditional support for the work of the Expert Panel, the criteria used by the Panel, the process employed by the Panel, and the quality and appropriateness of their final recommendations.

We are deeply disappointed that so many eminent and well-intentioned mathematicians and scientists have chosen to attack the work of the Panel. We note, however, that the advertisement represents the opinion of a small, but vocal, minority of mathematicians and scientists, many of whom have little direct knowledge of the elementary and secondary school mathematics curriculum nor how to make it responsive to the needs of all students.

Unfortunately, while NCTM is working diligently and successfully to engage mathematicians and mathematics teachers at all levels in the process of setting high standards for school mathematics, the authors of the Post advertisement seem determined unilaterally to undermine the programs that the Expert Panel has found to be exemplary and promising. We believe that the Panel took a hard look at quality, alignment with sound standards, and most importantly, how the various programs affect student learning. The ten programs recommended by the Expert Panel have already had a positive influence on thousands of young people. Thanks to work of the Panel, these programs can be expected to have an equally positive impact on millions of young people in the coming years. For reasons that we do not understand, this fact appears to seriously bother many of the individuals who allowed their names to be associated with the Post ad.

Mr. Secretary, NCTM's Board of Directors believes that the Department has performed a great service by providing this list of programs. We thank you and your colleagues for supporting the work of the Expert Panel and look forward to continuing to work with you on behalf of the mathematics education of our nation's youth.

Sincerely,

John A. Thorpe

Executive Director



Acknowledgements. The author would like to express his gratitude to Henry Alder, Richard Askey, Wayne Bishop, Williamson Evers, R. James Milgram, Chiara Nappi, Ralph Raimi, Diane Ravitch, Sandra Stotsky, and Edie Pistolesi for their helpful comments and suggestions on draft versions of this chapter
 

Endnotes



<> 1.An Open Letter to United States Secretary of Education, Richard Riley, November, 1999 http://www.mathematicallycorrect.com/riley.htm;
    Richard W. Riley, The State of Mathematics Education: Building a Strong Foundation for the 21st Century, Notices of the American
    Mathematical Society, April 1998, 487-491.
 2.Diane Ravitch, Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms, Simon and Schuster, 2000; E.D. Hirsch Jr., The Schools We Need: Why
    We Don't Have Them, Double Day, 1996.
 3.Quoted in Diane Ravitch, Left Back, p. 193.
 4.Quoted in Diane Ravitch, Left Back, p. 179.
 5.E.D. Hirsch Jr., The Schools We Need, Diane Ravitch, Left Back.
 6.E.D. Hirsch Jr., p. 52.
 7.Samuel Tennenbaum, William Heard Kilpatrick, Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York 1951. p. vii.
 8.Tennenbaum, p. 185.
 9.Tennenbaum, p. 105.
10.Alan Osborne, F. Joe Crosswhite, Forces and Issues Related to Curriculum and Instruction, 7-12, In: A History of Mathematics
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11.Phillip Jones, Arthur Coxford, Jr., Mathematics in the Evolving Schools, In: A History of Mathematics Education in the United States
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12.Osborne, Crosswhite, p. 211.
13.Ravitch, Left Back, pp. 81-86.
14.Osborne, Crosswhite, p. 193.
15.Tennenbaum, p. 104.
16.Ravitch, Left Back, p 126.
17.Osborne, Crosswhite, pp. 194-195.
18.Ravitch, Left Back, p126; Tennenbaum, p. 107.
19.Osborne, Crosswhite, pp. 194-196.
20.Osborne, Crosswhite, p 203.
21.Duren, W., Mathematics in American Society, in: A Century of Mathematics in America, Part II, ed. P. Duren, American Mathematical
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22.Osborne, Crosswhite, p 234.
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24.Ralph Raimi, Judging Standards for K-12 Mathematics, In: What's at Stake in the K-12 Standards Wars: A Primer for Educational
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25.Jones, Coxford, p. 59
26.Ravitch, Left Back, pp. 328 - 330
27.Quoted in Cremin, p. 340.
28.Ravitch, Left Back, p. 346.
29.Ravitch, Left Back, p. 361.
30.Jones, Coxford, p. 54
31.Michael J. Bosse, The NCTM Standards in Light of the New Math Movement: A Warning!, Journal of Mathematical Behavior 14,
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32.Quoted in: Tom Loveless, A Tale of Two Math Reforms: The Politics of the New Math and the NCTM Standards, In: The Great
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33.Raimi, p. 36; Bosse, The NCTM Standards in Light of the New Math Movement: A Warning!; Morris Kline, Why Johnny can't add: the Failure     of the New Math, New York, St. Martin's Press, 1973; William Wooton, SMSG: The Making of a Curriculum, Yale University Press, 1965.
34.William Wooton, SMSG pp. 9-16.
35.Kline, Chapter 3.
36.Bosse, p. 179.
37.Richard Askey, Good Intentions Are Not Enough, In: The Great Curriculum Debate: How Should We Teach Reading and Math?,
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38.Kline, Chapter 9.
39.Raimi, Judging Standards; Ravitch, Left Back
40.Ravitch, Left Back, pp. 387-388.
41.Ravitch, Left Back, p. 395.
42.Lisa Delpit, Skills and Other Dilemmas of a Progressive Educator, Harvard Educational Review, November 1986, pp. 379-385. Reprinted in American Educator, Fall 1996.
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45.Ravitch, Left Back, pp. 399, 406.
46.Ravitch, Left Back, p. 404.
47.National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, An Agenda For Action: Recommendations for School Mathematics of the 1980s, National
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48.National Commission on Excellence in Education, A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform, Washington, D.C.: U.S.
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49.Williamson Evers, Standards and Accountability, Chapter 9 in: A Primer on America's Schools, Edited by Terry Moe, Hoover
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50.Ravitch, Left Back, p. 413.
51.National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Curriculum and Evaluation Standards, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics,
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52.Bosse, pp.184-185.
53.Posted on the Mathematically Correct website at: http://mathematicallycorrect.com/hwsnctm.htm
54.Bosse, pp.182-183.
55.John R. Anderson, Lynne M. Reder, Herbert A. Simon, Applications and Misapplications of Cognitive Psychology to Mathematics
    Education, 1997, unpublished http://act.psy.cmu.edu/ACT/papers/misapplied-abs-ja.html
56.Hirsch, http://mathematicallycorrect.com/edh2cal.htm
57.Ravitch, Left Back, pp. 431- 432.
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59.Raimi, p.40.
60.Raimi, Judging Standards; McKeown, Klein, Patterson, National Science Foundation Systemic Initiatives, In: What's at Stake in the
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61.McKeown et al., National Science Foundation Systemic Initiatives.
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65.McKeown et al., p. 317.
66.McKeown et al., National Science Foundation Systemic Initiatives.
67.Victor Mejia, Fuzzy Fracas, Los Angeles New Times, July 31, 1998; Karima Haynes, Parental Equation, Los Angeles Times, May 29,
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68.The author was one such visitor on February 11 and 12, 1999.
69.McKeown et al., p. 337.
70.Mathematically Correct, http://www.mathematicallycorrect.com
71.Constance Kamii, Ann Dominick, The Harmful Effects of Algorithms in Grades 1? 4, In: The Teaching and Learning of Algorithms in
    School Mathematics, 1998 Yearbook, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Constance Kamii, Mary Ann Warrington, Teaching
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73.Richard Colvin, Formulas for Math Problems, Los Angeles Times, Column One, January 5, 1997.
74.Charles Sykes, Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good about Themselves but Can't Read, Write, or Add, St.
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75.Hung-Hsi Wu, Basic Skills Versus Conceptual Understanding: A Bogus Dichotomy in Mathematics Education, American Educator,
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76.Chiara Nappi, Why Charter Schools? the Princeton Story, The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, October 1999.
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77.Bill Evers, The Need for Choice, Letter to the Editor, Palo Alto Weekly, May 17, 1995.
78.Testimony of Susan Sarhady, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early
    Childhood, Youth and Families & Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education, Training and Life-Long Learning, February 2, 2000
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79.Sherry Jacobson, Part of parents' lawsuit dismissed, The Dallas Morning News, May 13, 2000.
80.See for example: Richard Askey, Some comments on education, Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 39 (1992), 424-426.
    Hung Hsi Wu, The Mathematician and Mathematics Education Reform, Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 43 (1996),
    1531-1537. Hung Hsi Wu, The Mathematics Education Reform: Why you should be concerned and what you can do, American
    Mathematical Monthly 104 (1997), 946-954.
81.Henry Alder, Presentation to the State Board of Education, Dec. 7, 1995. http://mathematicallycorrect.com/alder1.htm
82.U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics Pursuing Excellence, A Study of U.S. Eighth Grade Mathematics
    and Science Teaching, Learning, Curriculum and Achievement in International Context, (NCES 97-198), Washington, DC, U.S.
    Government Printing Office, 1996, Chapter 3.
83.Tom Loveless, Paul DiPerna, The Brown Center Report on American Education: How Well are American Students Learning? Focus
    on Math Achievement, The Brookings Institution 2000.
84.Hung-Hsi Wu, The 1997 Mathematics Standards War in California, In: What's at Stake in the K-12 Standards Wars: A Primer for
    Educational Policy Makers, Edited by Sandra Stotsky, 2000. http://www.mathematicallycorrect.com/hwu.htm
85.Fordham Report: Volume 2, Number 3 March 1998 State Mathematics Standards by Ralph A. Raimi and Lawrence S. Braden,
    http://www.edexcellence.net/standards/math.html
86.Richard Colvin, State Board May Return Math Classes to the Basics, Los Angeles Times, November 30, 1997; Wu, The 1997
    Mathematics Standards War in California.
87.David Klein et al, Open Letter to CSU Chancellor Charles Reed http://www.mathematicallycorrect.com/reed.htm
88.David Klein, R. James Milgram, The Role of Long Division in the K-12 Curriculum,
    ftp://math.stanford.edu/pub/papers/milgram/long-division/longdivsiondone.htm
89.Mathematics Framework for California Schools: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve, California Department of Education 1999.
90.Richard Colvin, Debate Over how to Teach Math Takes Cultural Turn, Los Angeles Times, March 17, 2000; Guillermo Mendieta,
    Math That's Worth A Hunger Strike Education: Algebra is a Civil Rights Issue for Poor and Minority Children, Los Angeles Times,
    Op-Ed, March 31, 2000.
91.Liping Ma, Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 1999.
92.Liping Ma, p. xxii.
93.David Klein, Math Problems: Why the U.S. Department of Education's recommended math programs don't add up. American School
    Board Journal, Volume 187, No. 4, pages 52-57, April 2000. http://www.mathematicallycorrect.com/usnoadd.htm
94.Mark Clayton, How a new math program rose to the top, Christian Science Monitor, May 23, 2000
    http://www.csmonitor.com/sections/learning/mathmelt/p-2story052300.html
95.Hyman Bass, Views on the Open Letter, The Math Forum, November 30, 1999. http://forum.swarthmore.edu/epigone/amte
96.Allyn Jackson, Open Letter on Mathematics Curricula Ignites Debate, Notices of the American Mathematical Society, February 2000.
    http://www.ams.org/notices/200002/fyi.pdf
97.For background information, see the Mathematically Correct website. http://www.mathematicallycorrect.com/bassattack.htm
98.Anemona Hartocollis, The New, Flexible Math Meets Parental Rebellion, The New York Times, April 27, 2000.
99.Harold L. Schoen, Christian R. Hirsch, Arthur F. Coxford, James T. Fey, When Political Agendas Get in the Way of the Facts The Case
    of Debra Saunders' Column 3/12/99, Copyright 1999, Core-Plus Mathematics Project.
100.National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, Reston, VA, 2000.
101.Ralph Raimi, Standards in School Mathematics, Letters to the Editor, Notices of the American Mathematical Society February 2001.
102.Wilfried Schmid, New Battles in the Math Wars, The Harvard Crimson, May 4, 2000.
103.Hung Hsi Wu, The Mathematics Education Reform: Why you should be concerned and what you can do, American Mathematical
    Monthly 104 (1997), 946-954.
 
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