JAIME ESCALANTE ENDORSES MATHEMATICALLY CORRECT POSITION
Jaime Escalante, perhaps the best known mathematics educator in the United States, has joined 23 University Mathematics Professors, including two past presidents of the Mathematical Association of America, multiple high school science and math teachers, many scientists, and concerned parents in endorsing a significant proposal to increase student achievement in mathematics.
This document, A Program for Raising the Level of Student Achievement in Secondary School Mathematics, was written by Professor Frank Allen, a former President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). It contains descriptions of
how to establish clear standards of what we expect students to learn;
the learning situation in which these objective can be achieved;
the properties of an effective grading system;
the appropriate roles of teachers as expositors and students as learners.
In the absence of alternative documents, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Standards have become a guide to drastically altering mathematics education in the United States. Many serious minded educators, mathematicians and parents are concerned about these changes but have lacked a clear alternative to the NCTM Standards.
Professor Allen's Proposal is designed as a specific statement of alternatives to the NCTM Standards. The differences are both intellectual and stylistic as the document is both concise and clear.
In this context it is highly significant that Jaime Escalante would choose to endorse Professor Allen's Proposal. Mr. Escalante entered the public consciousness as a result of the hit movie Stand and Deliver. This film chronicled his success in teaching top quality mathematics to students at Garfield High School in Los Angeles. Garfield is a school with high minority enrollment and, prior to Mr. EscalanteÃÂ¦s arrival, a record of substandard performance in mathematics. Against this background Mr. Escalante established one of the strongest public high school math programs in the country with a large number of students taking calculus and passing the Advanced Placement Calculus exam, thereby earning college mathematics credit while still in high school.
Mr. Escalante has been, and continues to be, highly critical of the NCTM Standards. He is quoted by Charles Sykes in, "Why American Children Feel Good about Themselves but Can't Read, Write, or Add," as saying, "Whoever wrote [the NCTM math standards] must be a physical education teacher." Mr. Escalante's endorsement of Professor Allen's Proposal is a significant acknowledgment of the failure of the NCTM Standards and the need for clear alternatives.
A Program for Raising the Level of Student Achievement in Secondary School Mathematics can be obtained from the 2+2=4, the Mathematically Correct Homepage, at