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[Susan notes: Who wouldn't love a letter that suggests a new name for the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation's newsletter?]

Published in The Education Gadfly

To the editor

The guest editorial in the March 4, 2004 issue of the Education Gadfly (“Will Congress hurt or help K-12 math education?”) begins with name-calling (“fuzzy math”) and then descends into an ideological diatribe filled with acid opinion and seldom “marred” by mere facts. Who would know from this article that NAEP scores in mathematics have been rising? Who would know from what he writes that a hallmark of the mathematics reforms he criticizes has been to emphasize algebraic thinking earlier in schools, not later? Who would know that peer-reviewed journals have published rigorous research articles that contradict the supposedly terrible effects of NSF-funded mathematics programs? Who would know that the difficulties in American mathematics education are well documented by studies supported by NSF, such as the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)—in other words, supported by the very programs criticized? Better information is easily available, including a book compiling studies of the NSF-supported mathematics curricula (Standards-based School Mathematics Curricula, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003).

This editorial suggests that Gadfly is more interested in ideology than information. Perhaps you should rename your publication the Education Tsetse Fly, because with this editorial you are spreading ill will rather than contributing to a useful conversation about improving education.

Andy Zucker

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