To the Editor:
A major factor contributing to America’s mathematics education malaise is an aging and hoary mathematics education professoriate and its symbiotic relationship with education research funding (“Essential Qualities of Math Teaching Remain Unknown,” April 2, 2008).
Thanks to the revolving-door “peer review” system of the U.S. Department of Education, the National Science Foundation, and other such agencies, these over-the-hill academics can engage in a back-scratching reciprocity with their peers to fund pet projects, keep graduate students employed, and almost anything else except improving the quality of teaching and learning in America’s public school classrooms.
Private agencies have been similarly hoodwinked by these charlatans.
The sooner the U.S. public education system and its higher education counterpart put an end to teacher tenure and to a peer-review culture that has no interest in “solutions,” the sooner some real progress will be made in improving mathematical literacy for both students and teachers.
A version of this article appeared in the April 30, 2008 edition of Education Week as Tracing Math’s Teaching Woes To ‘Over-the-Hill Academics’