On Tue, 14 Mar 1995, Ronald A Ward raised some excellent questions :
> > 1. What really is "mathematical power" and how do your students get it? > [The definition given in this reform document differs markedly from > those given in the various Standards documents, in my opinion]
This is a difficult one! I would define "mathematical power" as the ability for a student to operate within today's society dealing with basic mathematical skills.
> 2. In what sense is mathematics our "invisible culture"? >
I think it might be "invisible" when compared to the ability to read, for example. When I, as a college mathematics professor meets someone and tell them what I teach it's not uncommon for the person to say "I was never able to do math" or I never liked math". How often will an English professor hear "I was never able to read" ? It has become "acceptable" to be poor in math, while not acceptable to be unable to read. I see this as an "invisible" problem.
> 3. Comment on the statement: "As computers become more powerful, the > need for mathematics will decline." > I think the focus of mathematics might change (more discrete mathematics, graph theory, combinatorics and less continuous math ) but the need for mathematics will continue to GROW!
> 4. Why is it that mathematics education in the United States resists > change in spite of the many forces that are revolutionizing the nature > and role of mathematics itself? > There are still too many people (teachers and parents) who say things like -- "I learned things find the old way, so why change things?" I don't agree with that type of attitude, but I think that there are a lot of vocal people who feel that way.
> 5. Why do you suppose that 50% of school teachers leave the profession > every seven years? > I honestly don't know, but I would like to see statistics on other professions, too.
Thanks Ron for stimulating my brain and making me think about these things.
Herb Kasube Department of Mathematics Bradley University Peoria, IL 61625 firstname.lastname@example.org