Addressing Equity

Keith Devlin, the Math Guy on NPR and prolific author of mathematics books for a broad audience, highly recommends a recent address by Uri Treisman at the NCTM annual conference in April (Treisman’s talk is embedded in Devlin’s post; there’s a link to Treisman’s slides a little further down).  I’ve put out my response to Treisman as part of a conversation at the Mathematics Teaching Community website.  In brief, his presentation and analysis of data on student mathematics achievement as it relates to where children live and their families’ income levels is as clear and thought-provoking as any I’ve seen anywhere, but he provides no reasonable evidence to support his statement that NCTM members should “subvert” the Common Core standards.

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About Priscilla Bremser

Professor of Mathematics Middlebury College
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2 Responses to Addressing Equity

  1. Rob Root says:

    This is a powerful address, and I really appreciate your bringing to it our attention. I pursued the work of Michael Marder, whose graphs of math proficiency against poverty in Texas schools are such a powerful part of Treisman’s talk. The paper at http://uteachweb.cns.utexas.edu/sites/default/files/BrokenEducation2011.pdf includes the plots Treisman uses along with many more, and is one of the most trenchant analyses of the problems facing public education I have ever read. His take-down of charter schools seems to be primarily directed to Texas, but the rest of the the analysis has universal appeal. The comparison of contemporary American public education with British civil aviation in the 1950s is particularly insightful.

    Certainly teachers should take the CCSS and interpret them in ways that make sense to them. As your immediate prior post suggests, this can be done more fruitfully in a collaborative environment where teachers have the opportunity and inclination to speak to one another about how their curricula fit together. More opportunities for this kind of discussion would greatly benefit most teachers I know.

  2. Pingback: Practice Standard #3: Construct Viable Arguments and … | MathSugarOff

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