I always get a kick (as well as a wave of nausea) when I hear someone disparage arguments about how math should be taught as “math wars stuff”. Such criticism implies that the math wars were just trivial spats that signified nothing. In a communication I once had with Jay Mathews–who for many years has spewed his arrogant views of education in a column he writes for the Washington Post–he said that the math wars were two groups of smart people calling each other names.
I won’t comment on the word “smart” here, other than to say it’s overused to the extent that it means nothing, and has become a code word for edu-pundits who compliment each other by saying so and so “wrote a smart and thoughtful post” about whatever.
Well, I had the opportunity to write a “smart and thoughtful post” on math education, courtesy of Rick Hess…
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