Opening doors to math

On Math Notatations, Dave Marain is interviewing Lynn Arthur Steen, a math professor at St. Olaf College who’s a leader in rethinking math education. Here’s part 1 and part 2. Steen believes good teachers are “the key to success in mathematics education,” but “outsiders impose standards and assessments” to protect students against the many not-so-good teachers.

. . . the only way that teachers can regain control over their own affairs is for them to convincingly take on the role of ensuring quality education for all children. That will require much higher standards for initial licensure, for tenure, for professional development, and a commitment to post-tenure reviews. This is the regimen followed by most good colleges and with suitable modification, by hospitals. Self-imposed quality control is the sign of a true profession.

Steen works on math benchmarks for Achieve.

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  1. Charles R. Williams says:

    It’s hard to argue against good teachers. We can certainly improve math education by having stronger elelementary teachers specialize in math instruction.

    It is more practical however to go with a strong, uniform curriculum with systems in place to assure that students do not fall between the cracks.

    The kinds of “reform” curriculum that Steen is associated with is particularly dependent on well-prepared and energetic teachers.