National Standards Sausage Making

Anyone concerned with the potential disaster looming over National Standards ought to read this article on Jay Greene’s blog about the Common Core Initiative (what the government is calling the effort to draft National Math Standards).

You can find the article here.

Below are a few comments from the article from Dr Sandra Stotsky, who served on the National Mathematics Panel.  Bolding is mine for emphasis.

… instead of choosing nationally known scholars to chair and staff these committees–to assure us of the integrity and quality of the product–the NGA and the CCSSO have, for reasons best known to themselves, treated the initiative as a private game of their own. The NGA and the CCSSO haven’t even bothered to inform the public who is chairing these committees, who is on them, why they were chosen, what their credentials are, and why we should have any confidence whatsoever in what they come up with.

One person has announced on his own to the press and to a state department of education that he is chairing the mathematics standards-writing committee. He has not been contradicted by anyone at NGA or CCSSO, so we must assume he’s for real. It turns out he is an English major with no academic degrees in mathematics whatsoever. No one has yet announced on his/her own that he/she is chairing the English standards-writing committee. One wag has already wondered whether this person might be a mathematics major with no academic degrees in English. But it’s possible the sad joke in mathematics is not being repeated in English.

You read that correctly – the head the committee drafting mandatory national mathematics standards has a degree in English.

J.K.Rowling is no more qualified to write mathematics standards than Albert Einstein would be to write English standards.

Fifty years ago the world looked to the US for the best and brightest math minds. But with the advent of the NCTM and professional educators dictating mathematics content and standards instead of mathematicians, our standing in the world has fallen. Colleges and Universities now recruit and accept more candidates from outside the US than from within for engineering and math or science dependent programs.

The United States no longer provides the best and brightest math minds.

Maybe, just possibly, that’s because we have English majors writing the math standards instead of mathematicians.

One Response to “National Standards Sausage Making”

  1. Barry Garelick Says:

    FYI, the rumored English major who is heading up the math standards team is Phil Daro.

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