Because there was response to certain of the questions, here is some additional comment:
1. I could rephrase the question, perhaps: if Asian minorities are "making it" in scientific, engineering, and professional fields, why aren't Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans to the same [or even close] degree?
2. What prompted me to ask about the "unusual" connection between math and cultural or family values was the following quote from Lynn Arthur Steen:
"Among the many subjects taught in school, mathematics is probably the most universal, depending least on a student's background and culture. As a result, mathematics education has, with few exceptions, been generally exempt from public controversy based on religious or social views. Indeed, mathematics has benefited from widespread support of its value in general education. Yet at the same time, precisely because mathematics has few links to issues of belief, mathematical ideas are not transmitted in our culture in the same way as are theories of evolution or standards of ethics." "School mathematics should, therefore, transcend the cultural diversity of our nation. In fact, it does just the opposite. In the United States, mathematics is primarily part of upper-and middle-class male culture. Except for shopkeeper arithmetic of a bygone age taught in elementary school, few parts of mathematics are embedded in the family or cultural traditions of members of the many large "developing countries" that make up the American mosaic."
3. The question of demand for teachers of mathematics exceeding the supply of qualified persons came out of a consideration not so much of "demand" but rather of "qualified." According to Everybody Counts, of the nation's 200,000 secondary school teachers of mathematics, "over half do not meet current professional standards for teaching mathematics. Probably no more than 10 percent of the nation's elementary school teachers meet contemporary standards for their mathematics teaching responsibilities."
Thanks to all who have been participating in this discussion. I'll post some follow-up on the Chapter Three discussion in a day or so.
Ron Ward/Western Washington U/Bellingham, WA 98225 firstname.lastname@example.org