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
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
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
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