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NCTM/NRC



George

I am not a part of political battles fought within universities, nor am I
so naive as to think that they are not being fought. Not all content area
specialists are opponents of NCTM standards, though a few mathematicians
would lead us to believe this is the case; even fewer practicing scientists
are opposed to the National Science Standards (NRC) or Benchmarks for
Science Literacy (AAAS). Similarly, not all members of schools of
education are blind proponents of those publications, either.

What I DO know is that any professional development in science, at least in
California, for the next few years must pass through the spigot of the
University of California (and possibly one or two somewhat gigantic private
universities in the state, one of which shall go unnamed for being so
ignomious as to lose to a 13th seed in the first round), which -- though
broad-minded and liberal as it is purported to be, actually finds quite a
few selectively conservative members sitting as policy-making regents.
Might I further remind you that the University of California is the largest
employer in the East Bay, and one of the major employers in the state of
California, and no longer claims a mantel of ivory-tower seclusion in any
political/policy-making decisions that come down in our golden state.

In fact, though I certainly do not intend to point fingers at individuals,
all members of the university world had better start taking a good hard
look in your own rear-view mirrors when it comes to corporate models and
decision-making in the field of power politics. Universities are rapidly
moving on to a scale equivalent to Monsanto and Boeing (to name a few) in
terms of shared interests and issues related to "social justice". Many a
university professor is also in the forefront of the "just tell them the
facts" school of teaching (and don't mind lending their name -- and title
-- to the movement), and wouldn't know appropriate pedagogy (or its
importance) if it hit them in the face.

Just a guy stuck in the mud, holding up a dirty and cracked mirror (the
ghost of universities to come, perhaps).

Scott Hays

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