Date: Oct 17, 2012 7:04 PM
Author: Greg Goodknight
Subject: Re: Jo Boaler reveals attacks by Milgram and Bishop

On 10/17/2012 12:09 PM, GS Chandy wrote:
> Reference Jo Boaler's research work on math education and in the context of the raging dispute between Boaler on the one side and Milgram and Bishop on the other, I provide an excerpt herewith of some comments from Keith Devlin and Allan Shoenfeld (as quoted by Richard Hake in his post of Oct 16, 2012 4:26 AM - see
>> Of her critics, Keith Devlin <>
>> director of the
>> Human Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research
>> Institute at
>> Stanford, said 'I suspect they fear her because she
>> brings hard data
>> that threatens their view of how children should be
>> taught
>> mathematics.' He said that the criticisms of Boaler
>> reach 'the point
>> of character assassination.'
>> Alan Schoenfeld <> of the
>> University of
>> California at Berkeley, a past president of the
>> American Educational
>> Research Association and past vice president of the
>> National Academy
>> of Engineering, said 'The discussion of Boaler's work
>> 'fits into the
>> context of the math wars, which have sometimes been
>> argued on
>> principle, but in the hands of a few partisans, been
>> vicious and
>> vitriolic.' He said that he is on a number of
>> informal mathematics
>> education networks, and that the response to Boaler's
>> essay 'has been
>> swift and, most generally, one of shock and support
>> for Boaler.' One
>> question being asked, he said, is why Boaler was
>> investigated and no
>> university has investigated the way Milgram and
>> Bishop have treated her.

> I know nothing about Jo Boaler's research work in math or in math education, except what I've seen in the document titled "When Academic Disagreement Becomes Harassment and Persecution" that was linked in MPG's post that started this thread, and after that what her critics at Math=teach and elsewhere have been writing.
> I observe that her document makes what is (in my opinion) is a very valid observation (quoted below) - an observation that demands something more in the way of scientific research to check its validity or otherwise than the abuses being hurled at her:
> "My different studies have shown that students who engage actively in their mathematics learning, rather than simply practicing procedures, achieve at higher levels".

The straw man in that argument is that the Milgrams and Bishops of the
world do not disagree with that. "[S]imply practicing procedures" is the
usual caricature made of those who demand practice to some semblance of
automaticity to be a key part of math education by those who want to get
rid of it.

"It's easier to understand multiplication if you can multiply". Do you
agree or disagree?

I've a private source that states firmly that a "Railside" administrator
confirmed the problems with the Railside study were worse than the
Milgram paper was able to state. A problem throughout the Reform math
campaign, and the reason for the doublechecking of the glowing studies,
is that teachers and students were often cherrypicked. Good teachers and
good students for the experimental group, problem students and weaker
teachers for the "control". Whether this was intentional or due to blind
spots by the researcher, I really don't care. The important thing is to
not use the data to make decisions that affect any kid's education based
upon it when such problems are found.

Peer review is good, "Pal" review isn't. If educational researchers are
to improve their image, it might help if a clear path to career success
can be had by demolishing bad research, but that doesn't seem to be the
case and we have positive reinforcement to be the order of the days.

Being judgmental is a key part of actually having good judgment and web
campaign to bully Milgram and Bishop isn't likely to succeed. They're
pretty secure in their current status.


> In my view, this is unexceptionable - and, in fact, such a viewpoint is the basis on which I developed the 'One Page Management System' (OPMS), about which I often post.
> I do not know how accurate or properly compiled has been Boaler's data comparing the achievements of students at three schools. Milgram and Bishop claim this data is fake. Their view may or may not be valid - I simply have no opinion on this matter (except a fairly strong distaste for the way they have gone about doing their hatchet job on Jo Boaler: if her work was of doubtful validity, there should have been much better ways of making this known than they have done: it was surely their responsibility as eminent faculty members at prestigious teaching institutions to have sought out these ways).
> However, I have seen that Bishop himself and some supporters here at Math-teach (of Bishop and Milgram) have themselves been guilty of making the totally false assertion about a system development of mine - the 'One Page Management System' (OPMS) - to this effect: "OPMS nothing but vacuous list-making and it is therefore worthless" (words to that effect). Now, OPMS is something I know plenty about as I invented the concept. It is very definitely MUCH more than "vacuous list-making" - as may be confirmed by anyone who goes through the attachment herewith that describes the OPMS. Therefore, I am not much impressed by the standards of probity that Jo Boaler's critics here at Math-teach hold dear: if they can lie about OPMS, then they may well also be lying about Jo Boaler's work. I have no way of discovering the truth-value of their charges against Jo Boaler. As far as I am concerned, Jo Boaler's basic finding referred above (quoted between "BBBBBBBB") is highly valid mo!

st useful - but perhaps not proven yet: Im certain there will be people capable of proving/ disproving it (more convincingly than Bishop, Milgram, et al have done).
> ("Still Shoveling Away!")