
Alan Schoenfeld's "A Modest Proposal"
Posted:
Jan 22, 2012 10:36 AM


Schoenfeld's DOCEAMUS piece from the Feb 2012 AMS NOTICES is available at:
http://www.ams.org/notices/201202/
Schoenfeld provides some fascinating anecdotes concerning the current state of mathematics pseudoeducation, and then reminisces about teaching Precalculus at his first position at the University of Rochester. In the last paragraph, he proposes "that we revise the entire curriculum." Unfortunately, as is the case with many selfstyled math reformers, Schoenfeld continues to operate in a complete historical vacuum. For example, with respect to Precalculus, he could have pointed out how our textbooks have degenerated:
From my high school textbook described at: http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?forumID=206&threadID=478525
To the Houghton Mifflin book, influenced by the SMSG new math, described at: http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?forumID=206&threadID=1728344&messageID=6179351
To the current 1000page doorstops like: http://www.amazon.com/PrecalculusConceptsFunctionsApproachTrigonometry/dp/0321644875/ http://www.amazon.com/PrecalculusConceptsFunctionsTriangleTrigonometry/dp/0321645081/
When I received the above two unsolicited desk copies, I was appalled to see two distinct doorstops for the two approaches to Trigonometry, whose equivalence is demonstrated in two pages in my high school textbook.
In 2007, I read Schoenfeld?s article "The Math Wars," and exposed some of the historical distortions at: http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=5491810&tstart=0

