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Topic: J. Escalante and L. Lieber
Replies: 3   Last Post: Jun 3, 1995 6:58 PM

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Alfred Barron (908) 704-4102

Posts: 8
Registered: 12/6/04
J. Escalante and L. Lieber
Posted: Jun 2, 1995 3:53 PM
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I'm new to this list but have been following it for a few weeks. Just by way
of introduction, I taught HS algebra II to 10th graders ('83-'84). I then
continued with grad school in statistics and have been employed in industry
for the past nine years as a statistician. I have taught "pre-calc" math eve-
nings at a local community college as well. As a member of the Math Assoc of
America I'm aware of the state of flux which mathematics education has been
undergoing. I subscribe, more or less, to many of the ideas implicit in the
University of Chicago School Math Project. I'm also involved with my local
Board of Ed's Math and Science/Technology Task Force. Ok, so much for me.

- - - - - -

I recently completed the book, 'The Best Teacher in America', which as some
of you may know is the story of Jamie Escalante, who was, and presumably still
is, a high school math teacher in California. What is interesting about this
guy was that he taught calculus to a group of "basic math" kids, relatively
impoverished (and presumably incorrigible ?) ones at that. Looking back on my
own lmited experience, I'm certainly impressed with his accomplishment. For
one it seems to cut across many of the preconceptions which I believe are held
sacrosant by many educators and academics. I wonder, for example, how well
modern educational modeling methods would do with data from Escalante's East
LA schools ? Maybe treat them as outliers ? Any thoughts ?

- - - - - -

Mike Goldenberg wrote about Lillian Lieber's books on yesterday's list. For
those of you who aren't familiar, she (and her husband) wrote a whole set
of cheerful math and science books during the 1940's. Their titles include
Non-Eulcidean Geometry, Group Theory, Relativity, Infinity, The Education of
T.C. Mits, among others. Throughout her books, there is a unique balance of
mathematical and scientific information fused with poetic style. I'd be hard
pressed to find something like this now days. Real happy stuff. Incidently,
T.C. Mits stands for The Common Man In The Street. Oh yes, for those of you
who might be offended, the Liebers were what was then called "progressives".

As mathematicians and educators, they saw their mission as nothing short of
bringing science, mathematics, and later the arts to the people. This un-
doubtly as part of a rational alternative to the economy of Great Depression
and the ravages of fascism of the second world war.

Most of their books are out of print.

- - - - - -

The Mathematical Association of America (Washington, DC) has a publication
on recommended mathematics books for secondary school libraries. I'm not
familiar with it, but if it's as good as their one on recommended books for
undergraduate college libraries (which is excellent), I'd look into it.

/* Alfred M. Barron R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Inst.*/
/* [908] 704-4102 1000 Route 202, P.O. Box 300 */
/* barron@alloy.bitnet Raritan, New Jersey 08869 */
/* --------------------------------- */
/* The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily */
/* reflect the views of PRI or any other Johnson & Johnson company. */

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