BOB MOSES ALGEBRA PROJECT IS FLAKEY FLUFF
Z42\doc\web\2000\06\algproj.txt
List,
Since there has been interest in the Algebra Project here, I thought you
might like to hear another voice on the subject.
George K. Cunningham
University of Louisville
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Saturday, June 10, 2000 12:07 AM
To: The Klein List
Subject: The Algebra Prevarication
Some of you may have caught Bob Moses' The Algebra Project on the Lehrer
News
Hour tonight. Our campus spends millions of federal dollars on a political
thing called Access to Algebra. A few years ago, Moses was our campus
leader,
what with his history as co-founder of SNCC, the Student Nonviolent
Coordinating Committee, in the heart of the Civil Rights Era, and now saying
all the right things about the importance of algebra competence as the
door-opening opportunity that it is. He led these would-be elementary
school
mathematics teachers on a field trip to visit the Blue Line, LA's
nonexistent
rapid transit system and, when I went to observe, water color replicas of
the
Blue Line map surrounded the room. The ostensible subject was
"equivalence",
the concept being "learned" through equivalent routes to the same location,
perhaps possible if there is a system but hardly so with only one line. No
matter. Everyone was a-buzz with the algebra that they were learning and
the
opportunity for algebra that they would be creating for their students.
Tonight's contribution was kids performing a rap song for something, prime
numbers maybe. The best summary was the quote, "Test results are not what
he's
looking for." Another, very consistent with that, "The core of the Algebra
Project is the field trips." For example, "How much time did you spend at
the
fire station? We first form a trip line [a number line of what happened on
the
trip]." Another popular destination is the murder site of Medgar Evers. An
historically reprehensible but important event? Beyond doubt. An
algebraically significant event? Not to the Asian students who are often
the
top performers in US math classes or the disciplines that depend on
mathematics
competence.
Moses has all the right words about algebra and its importance to the
opening
of genuine choices to students. Moses has all the right words and Inglewood
Unified has all the right test results. Guess which is actually going to
open
doors for the low socioeconomic minority children being served?
Wayne.
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