To the Editor:
I was relieved to read in your May 24, 2006, article “Some Worry About Potential Bias on the National Math Panel” that there are others who are concerned about the backgrounds of the National Mathematics Advisory Panel’s members.
I am a middle school mathematics teacher with over 30 years of experience, and I am certain that it would be helpful to have more classroom teachers represented on the panel. Moreover, as a teacher of students who speak English as a second language, I am disappointed that there are no panelists who have expertise in both reaching students who are English-language learners and teaching mathematics.
The educational needs of this growing population must be addressed if the charge of the panel is to be completed in a meaningful way. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 3.4 million students with limited English proficiency in 2000. Over 70 percent of these students are Spanish-speakers.
It is my hope that this glaring oversight in the composition of the panel will be corrected, and that the mathematical needs of Hispanic students will be an important part of the panel’s deliberations.
A version of this article appeared in the June 14, 2006 edition of Education Week as Makeup of Math Panel Shows ‘Glaring Oversight’