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Topic: Saxon Politics
Replies: 21   Last Post: Sep 27, 1995 8:08 PM

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Posts: 6
Registered: 12/6/04
Saxon Politics
Posted: Sep 25, 1995 1:25 AM
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It is disturbing to see political agendas from the "right" seep into
the educational dialectic in the form of short-sighted, reactionary,
criticism of a school celebration in San Diego. The "ditto" mentality
that is quick to criticize what it preceives as liberal methods in
education loves to tie all the world's ills to the president--including
our shared difficulties in education.

Touting the "Saxon Books" as the reason for overwhelming improvement in
math scores is another example of spreading right-wing propaganda based
on self-contrived standards. It is hard to take this propaganda
seriously. Moreover, it is difficult to give any credibility to a
textbook publisher that prefaces public textbooks with "An Open Letter
to President Clinton." Using "textbooks" to deliver politically
charged diatribes which blast the NCTM as being central to creating a
disaster in math and science education loses all chance of having any
credibility with professional educators. If Mr. Saxon wants to
criticize liberalism in education he should submit his views to the
editorial page of a local newspaper--not use his own personal vanity
press to move his political views into classrooms.

Saxon's promotion of "the superior Saxon student" is not unlike the
promotion of the superior Aryan race. This is a mentality that likes
things to be "black & white." Grades on "rigorous" exams are viewed
to be "superior" to accessing student performance based on representative
samples (portfolios) of work. This is a mentality that cannot accept
the fact that the NCTM standards have been developed by the contributions
of hundreds of mathematicians and professional educators who generally
view reform in a way that excludes the methods of Mr. Saxon.

What's scary about Saxon, his textbooks, and his attitude, is how
successful he's been. This is a success not based on the quality of his
materials and methods, but based on exploiting the fear and ignorance of
some educators. I'm troubled by the number of educators and parents
across this country who continue to be taken in by those who cannot park
their political agendas at the schoolhouse door.

After talking to Mr. Saxon, I am more committed than ever to teaching
teachers about the craft of teaching, the NCTM standards, and exploring
new possibilities in making learning work for all children. Whereas
Saxon touts having the answer, the NCTM standards promotes having an
approach--an approach developed by numerous math experts using a
consensus method. Saxon, on the other hand, boasts about hiring a
"fresh out of college PhD" to work on one of his textbooks because he
was willing to work cheap. His motivations for publishing textbooks
are chilling.

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