[RUME] Casualty of the Math Wars

Richard Hake rrhake at earthlink.net
Mon Oct 15 18:56:55 EDT 2012

Some subscribers to RUME 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 <http://bit.ly/V1ZSL2> wrote 

"Jo Boaler <http://bit.ly/R6XsuP>, 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 
<http://bit.ly/Wpel7t> 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and professional attacks in an unpublished critique 'A Close 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 
<http://tinyurl.com/czsa4c> by James Milgram of Stanford and Wayne 
Bishop of CalState-L.A.

Of her critics, Keith Devlin <http://bit.ly/P503sg> 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 <http://bit.ly/NGfW62> 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 

To access the complete 14 kB post please click on <http://bit.ly/R1q22j>.

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles: <http://bit.ly/a6M5y0>
Links to Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs: <http://bit.ly/9nGd3M>
Academia: <http://bit.ly/a8ixxm>
Blog: <http://bit.ly/9yGsXh>
GooglePlus: <http://bit.ly/KwZ6mE>
Twitter: <http://bit.ly/juvd52>

"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 <http://bit.ly/R1q22j>. 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 <http://bit.ly/TssFHi> with a provision for 

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

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