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New Blog Is Devoted to Workings of National Mathematics Panel

Susan Notes: It is good news that people are keeping watch on the meetings of the math version of National Reading Panel. Get out your flash cards, kids.

Take a look at the May posts.

Here is the press release naming the members of the committee. One has to wonder how some of these people got on a math committee, but I haven't spotted any accountants.

by Sean Cavanagh

Seems as though everybody with a laptop and a creative impulse has a blog these days—on politics, religion, celebrity, or simply themselves. Now, the blogosphere has spawned another entrant on a topic of probably limited cultural but stronger educational interest: the National Mathematics Advisory Panel.

The Web log at http://mathpanelwatch.blogspot.com offers background information and documents, news articles (including one by Education Week), and oft-critical commentary on the 17-member group formed by President Bush to examine and offer recommendations on proven strategies for teaching and learning in math.

One posting is a commentary on the panel’s first public hearing, on May 25 in Washington, mixing quotes from panelists with sometimes biting analysis. Another is an e-mail from the panel’s vice chairwoman, Camilla Persson Benbow, to others in the advisory group, describing possible standards to be used as evidence of math programs’ effectiveness.

No author is listed for the blog, though there is a link to it from the site http://www.mathematicallysane.com, which describes itself as opposing overly rigid and conservative approaches to teaching math.

Valerie L. Smith, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Education, which organized the panel’s meetings, said the Bush administration has no objections to the outside commentary. “A vigorous debate ultimately supports our mission,” she said in a statement, “to help prepare students with the math skills they need for the future.”

— Sean Cavanagh
Education Week


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