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Re: [Phys-L] Casualty of the Math Wars

Some subscribers to Phys-L might be interested in a recent post "Re: Casualty of the Math Wars" [Hake (2012)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: Scott Jaschik (2012), in his exemplary "Inside Higher Ed" report "Casualty of the Math Wars" at <> wrote (paraphrasing):

"Jo Boaler <>, a full professor at Stanford University argues that new approaches - group work, real-life examples, and solving problems students can relate to - have the potential to transform the way students interact with mathematics. Traditional methods, which emphasize students learning key principles and facts, have resulted in schools in which too many students feel early on that they just 'don't get math,' and shy away from the subject. So why does Boaler feel under siege?

On 12 Oct 2012 she posted on her own website 'When Academic Disagreement Becomes Harassment and Persecution' at <> an account of what she terms unfair personal and professional attacks in an unpublished critique 'A Close Examination of Jo Boaler's Railside Report' at <> by James Milgram of Stanford and Wayne Bishop of CalState-L.A.

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.

To access the complete 14 kB post please click on <>.

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles: <>
Links to Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs: <>
Academia: <>
Blog: <>
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"Let the war rage." - Wayne Bishop

"Can't we all just get along?" - Rodney King
The above two quotes were cited by Alan Schoenfeld (2004) in his essay "The Math Wars."

Hake, R.R. 2012. "Re: Casualty of the Math Wars," online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at <>. Post of 15 Oct 2012 12:18:37-0700. The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to several discussion lists and are also on my blog "Hake'sEdStuff" at <> with a provision for comments.

Schoenfeld, A.H. 2004. "The Math Wars," Educational Policy 18(1): 253-286; online as a 164 kB pdf at <>.