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

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Domenico Rosa

Posts: 2,039
Registered: 2/16/05
Re: Dolciani and SMSG
Posted: Sep 16, 2011 1:10 PM
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I was completely ignorant about the Dolciani series until 19 years ago, when my son brought home the sixth edition of the Algebra 1 book. I was aghast when I read the Table of Contents. Among other things, I was particularly dumbfounded by the use of "open sentences in one variable" and "open sentences in two variables" for linear and quadratic equations and inequalities. I had a flashback to 1962, when our Algebra I teacher told us that she had been pressured to adopt a new textbook, but she had refused to do so (at that time teachers still selected the texbooks). The first edition of Dolciani's book came out in 1962, and this may have been the book that our teacher had refused to adopt--for which I am eternally grateful to her.

Subsequently, I had the grim experience of comparing my Euclidean Geometry and Advanced Mathematics (Precalculus)textbooks with the corresponding Dolciani ones. It became crystal clear to me that the college preparatory mathematics curriculum that I had studied had been completely demolished. In 1966, about 150 out of 450 students in my graduating class had taken all four years of college prep math. My guess is that the Dolciani books would have been appropriate for fewer than 15 of these 150 classmates.

On 15 Sept 2011, Beth Hentges wrote:
>
> 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
> y 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: owner-mathedcc@mathforum.org
> [mailto:owner-mathedcc@mathforum.org] 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:
>
> http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?forumID=206&thread
> ID=483064&messageID=1477935#1477935
>
> 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:
>
> http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?forumID=206&thread
> ID=483954
>
> 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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