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Topic: Dolciani and SMSG
Replies: 14   Last Post: Sep 18, 2011 6:08 PM

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Adam Stinchcombe

Posts: 319
Registered: 12/3/04
RE: Dolciani and SMSG
Posted: Sep 15, 2011 5:22 PM
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I was wondering what was formal and what was abstract with the Dolciani series. I studied Algebra III and Trig with such a book and didn't find it (a) abstract, (b) formal, (c) torture, nor (d) new math. I did get some "new math" in grade school, functions, relations, correspondences, stuff like that, and didn't retain much of it back then.

Of course, *Dom* usually only offers incendiary posts with little dialogue.


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Beth Hentges
Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2011 12:26 PM
Subject: Dolciani and SMSG

Well, I started Kindergarten in 1968, and by the time I was in Jr. High and H.S. I used the Dolciani books mentioned. It was not torture. In fact, I thrived--as did my class mates.

We can argue about whether or not the books were good, but the SMSG and "new math" were successful. We beat the Russians to the moon. These books may not have been targeted for the general audience, though they came to be over the years.

(The fact that the US is dependent on the Russians now just to go to the ISS was caused, in my opinion, by political decisions, not technical ones.)

Beth in MN

- -----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Domenico Rosa

The publication of the Houghton Mifflin series of books, co-authored by Mary P. Dolciani, did indeed start almost 50 years ago. This series institutionalized the excessive formalism and abstractions of the "new math" strand developed by the School Mathematics Study Group (SMSG), and it completely wiped out the traditional college preparatory mathematics curriculum in the U.S. The impeccable SMSG credentials of Dolciani and her co-authors are summarized at:

I have a priceless copy of the EVERETT (MA) SCHOOL NEWS, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Winter, 1970), which contains an article that I posted at:

This article was published as a filler item in The American Mathematical Monthly, January 2002, page 12. It provides a priceless summary of how the traditional mathematics curriculum was demolished by the SMSG new math and by the Dolciani series.

Fortunately, I graduated from Everett High School in 1966, and I was spared the torture of having to use these books.
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