Date: Mar 16, 1995 5:43 PM
Author: Ronald A Ward
Subject: follow-up, Chapter 2, Everybody Counts
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

ronaward@henson.cc.wwu.edu