Monday, March 26, 2007


Key Curriculum Press Release

National Mathematics Advisory Panel Preliminary Report Disappoints

Devoid of any substance or even preliminary findings, The National Mathematics Advisory Panel’s Preliminary Report is a major disappointment, Key Curriculum Press President Steve Rasmussen said Tuesday. Like many individuals and organizations, Key offered testimony during the Panel’s public hearings.

Released to the public six weeks after it was due, the fifteen-page report provides a scant two paragraphs containing any new information. And even those don’t reveal much. “It is premature for the Panel to convey major findings and conclusions,” the document concludes.

Rasmussen sharply responded to the report:

By failing to offer any insight into its preliminary view, the Panel denies the public the opportunity to respond and comment thoughtfully throughout the next stage of the Panel’s deliberations prior to its final report. This is unacceptable.

Those of us devoting our careers and energies to making positive differences for our nation’s children deserve useful guidance and support. We deserve to hear from Panel members, even if they offer differing opinions. Undoubtedly, they are learning a lot from the data and testimony they have received. I hope we too get to learn from their experience. Our country needs a discussion of the critical issues facing mathematics educators.

Perhaps the Panel is too divided to issue a meaningful report. Perhaps politics has gotten in the way of their mission. The National Mathematics Advisory Panel was, after all, established by an administration with a highly questionable track record of using scientific evidence to make policy. The sad fact is that, over the past six years, politics has consistently trumped science in such areas ranging from global warming (Federal Climate Research) to education (Reading First). Given this record, and given the
composition of the Panel, it is entirely reasonable to raise serious questions about the Panel’s work. Despite the presence of highly respected individuals on the Panel, I worry that its final report will reflect the educational views of the administration that appointed it.

It is critical that Panel members whose views are not clouded by politics offer us their opinions, even if they contrast those held by other members. Meaningful proposals that could have a profound impact on the lives of students will not come without rigorous, un-politicized debate.

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