The Math Forum

Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.

Math Forum » Discussions » Education » mathedcc

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

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List Jump to Tree View Jump to Tree View   Messages: [ Previous | Next ]
Guy Brandenburg

Posts: 83
Registered: 1/30/05
Re: Dolciani and SMSG
Posted: Sep 16, 2011 1:29 PM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply

Oh my god. The table of contents gives away the entire evil scheme, eh? I think you need to go into more detail than that, dom.
In fact, I notice that when trying to enlighten us hicks to the evil wiles of la Donna Dolciani, you almost always ONLY mention or quote the TOC.

I have a suggestion:

Please, Dom, pick a lesson out of four textbooks -same topic each time-and hive us an honest, unsalted summary of each version, and compare and contrast. Books you like, ones you hate, middling ones, you pickem. Also give us printing/publishing/page data so we can do further digging if we do desire.

Such an effort will be much more useful and productive than your one-note rants. IMHO. And you would then deserve our thanks.


On Sep 16, 2011, at 1:10 PM, Domenico Rosa <> wrote:

> 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:
>> [] 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:
>> 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:
>> 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.

> ****************************************************************************
> * To post to the list: email *
> * To unsubscribe, email the message "unsubscribe mathedcc" to *
> * Archives at *
> ****************************************************************************

* To post to the list: email *
* To unsubscribe, email the message "unsubscribe mathedcc" to *
* Archives at *

Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© The Math Forum at NCTM 1994-2017. All Rights Reserved.