Date: Oct 14, 2012 8:50 PM
Author: GS Chandy
Subject: Re: Jo Boaler reveals attacks by Milgram and Bishop
Robert Hansen (RH) posted (GSC's remarks interspersed):
> This is amazing that Michael would post this. When I
> started posting here at math-teach long enough for
> Michael to decide that he did not like my opinions
> regarding mathematics education (after 3 posts) it
> became clear to me that when Michael doesn't like
> your opinion, he doesn't like you personally. As we
> are all probably aware, some more than others,
> personal attacks are prohibited on this forum and are
> (usually) blocked by the moderator. I don't have to
> imagine Michael's frustration after having typed a
> 200 word attack only to watch it go into the vacuum
> of space because the moderator pressed "Disapprove".
> What I find to be harassment (and a form of stalking)
> is what Michael did next, he emailed me personally. I
> don't mean like "Hey Bob, don't take my posts the
> wrong way, I can get passionate about mathematics
> sometimes." To which my reply would have been "No
> worry, me too." No, he used the unsolicited
> opportunity my email address presented to continue
> his personal attack on me, personally. This is
> harassment. This is the internet version of a
> stranger repeatedly calling my house only to tell me
> how much they dislike me.
The above claims by RH that Michael Goldenberg "stalked him" may have had some credibility if he had provided some evidence of this stalking more than his unsupported claim on the matter. [Readers here may be aware that I promote something called the 'One Page Management System' (OPMS) - some information about the OPMS is attached to my message heading the thread "'Curriculum' is NOT the same as 'system' - some differences" - http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?threadID=2408198 ].
Over a period of years, RH has been propagating the blatant falsehood that OPMS was "just empty list-making and nothing else (and is therefore worthless and trivial)" [words to that effect]. True, RH did not quite 'stalk me' with this, but he (along with another Math-teach participant), assiduously (time and time again) promoted this falsehood right here at Math-teach. Time and time again, I set the record straight. Anyone who troubles even merely to glance at the documentation I've provided about the OPMS will surely agree that OPMS is MUCH more than "empty list-making" (as RH has been claiming). But no, as per RH's distorted vision of fact, "OPMS is just empty list-making and nothing else". View the above sordid history, RH will have to do more than make such empty asseverations that someone has been "stalking" him.
> I have posted a long time, and in topics far more
> serious than this one, so I was not a "newbie" to
> what happens when you add people to the internet.
Indeed, RH has been posting a long, LONG time - as I understand, he has posted more than 5600 messages at Math-teach alone. He is surely not a "newbie". So why does he find it necessary to propagate his falsehoods about OPMS? If he cannot see any virtue or benefit in OPMS, he could just say so. Why lie?
> can be a staunch and forceful critic and I have had
> my share of unsolicited email haters. I call them
> stalkers because that is exactly the behavior they
> are exhibiting. Most of them stop when I point this
> out. Some, like Michael, do not, and your next choice
> is to simply block their emails as spam. Michael
> isn't the first nor will he be the last anti-fan that
> seethes at the very mention of my name.
Well, I'm happy to observe that I have NEVER felt the need to directly email RH despite his assiduous falsehoods promoted right here at Math-teach about something I truly believe has huge potential for India, for the US, for the world. (Check out the attachment herewith, "Some Missions of Interest", to gauge some idea of what I believe its potential to be).
> So, with that introduction, let's examine Jo Boaler's
> claims. First off, Boaler should have had a lawyer
> draft this letter. A lawyer would have not drafted a
> letter using the same tactics they claim the
> defendants are using. For example...
Here is one of RH's typical 'misstatements' of things he knows nothing about. I have it on very good authority that Dr Jo Boaler did indeed consult some distinguished attorneys BEFORE and WHILE drafting the document!
> "Honest academic debate lies at the core of good
> scholarship. But what happens when, under the guise
> of academic freedom, people distort the truth in
> order to promote their position and discredit
> someone?s evidence?"
True enough. RH finds this objectionable? See below.
> As far as I know, Bishop's and Milgram's view is that
> Boaler distorted the truth. This part of her claim
> looks like: You distorted the truth, no you did!, no,
> you did!
To the best of the understanding that I have gained after a fairly careful reading (NOT intensive study) of Dr Jo Boaler's .pdf document titled "When Academic Disagreement Becomes Harassment and Persecution", this part of her claim does NOT look like what RH claims it to be.
>The best way to win over critics, or at
> least to prove them wrong, is to prove your results
> again and again and again.
I whole-heartedly agree with RH on this. From my 'fairly careful reading' of the evidence at hand, my opinion is that Dr Boaler did indeed try again and again and again to convince Professors S. Milgram and W. Bishop. (As to whether she actually *proved* her case, I cannot tell - but what she claims to be her primary finding (see ** below) appears to be accurate enough and a reasonable enough claim.
** Jo Boaler's primary claim: "My different studies have shown that students who engage actively in their mathematics learning, rather than simply practicing
procedures, achieve at higher levels." -- see her document "When Academic Disagreement Becomes Harassment and Persecution")
>Unfortunately, education research is very different than scientific research
> (which uses the again and again and again method).
If the above very confused sentence means what I think it does, 'education research' is, in fact, NOT very different from 'scientific research' (if you know what 'scientific research' is). The following is an excellent example of unscientific thinking being passed off as a critique of someone's work:
> education research you do a single NSF study and then
> immediately try to sell it. Now we have dozens of NSF
> sponsored success stories, being sold to schools, all
> doing it a different way. It reminds me of the
> proliferation of 411 scams.
>If it wasn't for the
> Bishop's, Milgram's and thousands of frustrated
> parents, who would provide the necessary critical
> review of NSF sponsored studies? As far as I can
> tell, within the NSF sponsored community, and the
> schools of education, there is no peer review. It
> seems to be an unwritten rule that education
> researchers do not criticize each other. Jo Boaler
> seems to be pinning her hopes in this letter on that
> I am going to skip the rest of the "he said she said"
> elements of this letter and get on to the
>> "Between 1999 and 2003 Bishop posted on mathematics
> education websites that I had invented the schools in
> my studies. He asserted that ?The schools exist only
> in her mind.? At the time, his candid comments in
> some web-based discussions with his perceived allies
> disclosed the motivation behind his efforts to damage
> my reputation and discredit my work. He wrote that I
> was ?the worst possible scenario ? a researcher in a
> top university with data?.
> If anything, this would be libel, not harassment, and
> judging from the context, it would seem that Bishop
> was clearly stating opinion, not fact.
As to whether the behavior of Professors Milgram and Bishop towards Jo Boaler and her work constitutes "libel, (and) NOT harassment" (emphasis mine), as RH claims, I cannot tell. I have linked up to a whole number of sites via Google-search to find out the specific legal position, but have not been able properly to satisfy myself as yet. These are some of the sources I am consulting:
-- Defamation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/libel, harassment, defamation, slander
-- Law.com - http://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=1153
-- Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary - http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/libel, harassment, defamation, slander
-- The Free Online Dictionary - http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Libel+and+Slander
-- (several others too - there are several TENS OF MMMMMMillions of such sites, most of which make for EXTREMELY difficult reading - so it will be quite a while for me to get somewhere on the inquiry. What I can tell from right here is that RH does NOT at all understand [as he so grandiloquently gives us to understand he does] the legal distinctions between "libel" and "harassment" - nor does he understand at all when the one shades into the other!)
>Also, how can
> you discredit a researcher's work and not damage
> their reputation? If Bishop or Milgram had published
> this letter falsely, in Boaler's name, that would be
> a malicious act with the purpose of damaging Boaler's
I am unable, at my current level of understanding of such legal matters, to answer RH's question above. I am forced to wonder whether RH understands enough to answer it!
> "In 2005 preliminary results of my NSF research were
> published, again showing that students who are more
> actively involved in mathematics achieve at higher
> Adding "NSF" to "research" makes it less believable.
> That has nothing to do with this case, but since
> Boaler thought it a point worth mentioning, I thought
> it a point worth mentioning.
I don't know enough about NSF to know whether "Adding 'NSF' to 'research' makes it less believable" (as RH claims it does): perhaps his clam is true. Anyway, this is something he will need to convince me that he is writing correctly and truly.
>> "In 2006 Milgram claimed that I had engaged in
> scientific misconduct. This is an allegation that
> could have destroyed my career had it been
> substantiated. Stanford formed a committee to assess
> Milgram?s allegations. After reviewing all of my NSF
> research data, Stanford found that Milgram?s
> allegations of scientific misconduct were unfounded
>> and terminated the investigation."
> Again, libel, not harassment. I suppose you could
> make the claim that the libel was used to harass, but
> the libel would be more serious than the harassment.
> In any event, to prove harassment by libel, you would
> have to prove libel.
See above, to know my reaction to RH's claims of sufficient legal expertise to know the distinctions between "libel" and "harassment".
And so it goes on and on. I'm afraid that RH needs to do a lot more homework to convince anyone more knowledgeable than the most credulous of us that he knows what he is talking about.
(For the reader's ready reference, the rest of RH's mail follows my signature [and 'valedictory', of course]).
("Still Shoveling Away!" - with apologies if due to Barry Garelick for any tedium caused; and with the humble suggestion that the SIMPLE way to avoid such tedium
is simply to refrain from opening any message purported to originate from GSC)
>Is this the whole story? I would
> think a professor libeling another professor would be
> serious. Did Milgram state Boaler's misconduct "as
> fact" or did he express concerns about her research
> that a university (rightly so) would have to
> investigate? Did Milgram do this maliciously or with
> authentic concern?
> "Milgram was informed that there would be no formal
> investigation of scientific misconduct as the
> Stanford inquiry found his allegations of scientific
> misconduct to be without merit. Having failed to
> convince Stanford, Milgram went public with his
> damaging allegations."
> Again, this would be libel before it would be
> harassment. If Boaler does not have a case for libel
> then Boaler has simply proved that Milgram does not
> believe in her research. This is the same principle
> that protects Boaler from libel, she isn't making any
> claim, other than Bishop and Milgram don't buy her
> research methods or results.
> "Milgram and Bishop attempted aggressively to
> identify my research subjects ? schools and students
> that had been promised confidentiality for their
> protection, consistent with fundamental research
> study principles. Identifying human research subjects
> is contrary to university policy and federal law. Yet
> Bishop contacted numerous school district officials,
> including principals, and pressured them to disclose
> whether they were subjects of my study. Among other
> tactics, he threatened to take legal action against
> them. Two of the people concerned contacted Stanford
> University and sent details of Bishop?s communication
> with them. In letters to Stanford they stated that
> Bishop had been ?unprofessional, demanding,
> condescending, dishonest? and ?verbally aggressive?.
> "In 2006 Milgram and Bishop posted a ?paper? on
> Milgram?s website in which they claimed that they had
> identified the schools in my study. They specifically
> asserted that they ?were able to determine the
> identities of these schools?. The ?paper? presented
> information from which schools, teachers and students
> in my study could easily be identified. The ?paper?
> went on to attack the schools and students, (eg ?The
> Railside students show that they do not have a good
> understanding of mathematics?). The ?paper? also
> attacked my integrity as a researcher, claiming for
> example, that different populations of students were
> studied at the different schools ? a false assertion
> at the core of the allegations of scientific
> misconduct that Stanford found to be baseless."
> I am going to end this analysis with this point. The
> paper that Boaler refers to is not on "Milgram's
> website", as she claims. It is on Stanford's
> Boaler doesn't seem to show much fondness for
> important details in this letter. Boaler practically
> accuses Milgram of libel, even to imply that Stanford
> agrees with her. Yet, here the paper sits, on
> Stanford's website.
> I make this point because her claims in this letter
> imply libel yet there appears to be no libel, and she
> does not explicitly claim libel. Therefore, this is
> criticism, and criticism is not harassment. Burber
> probably knows this and in her frustration she tries
> to make a case for harassment by implying a case for
> libel (she is trying to make criticism look like more
> than just criticism). A lawyer would have made a case
> for harassment by making a case for harassment. The
> only point in this whole letter that could lead to a
> case for harassment is where Milgram went beyond
> criticizing her research and purportedly contacted
> the department hiring her. Unfortunately, Boaler
> lacks a fondness for details and provides none. Being
> that Milgram and the department are part of Stanford
> (from my understanding) I seriously doubt that
> Milgram relaying his concerns to another department
> would be construed as harassment.
> I repeat what I said earlier, as a researcher,
> Boaler's response to criticism should simply be more
> proof. That is how science works. I am also
> particularly concerned that she invoked the "bully"
> Bob Hansen
> On Oct 13, 2012, at 6:29 AM, Michael Paul Goldenberg
> <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > http://www.stanford.edu/~joboaler/
> > When Academic Disagreement Becomes Harassment and
> > by Dr Jo