Attacks on mathematics education reform: If it’s on the Internet, it must be true
I recommend reading the whole sordid story below, of mathematics faculty decrying mathematics education reform efforts because they believe that it’s not rigorous enough. The story is a familiar one to many who have tried to change education to be more engaging or improve retention. I’ve certainly heard similar claims made about Media Computation (e.g., “If students are now passing MediaComp when they used to fail CS, then he must be lowering standards! How else could he be getting students to stay?”).
A thread I found particularly intriguing in this story is the assumption by the critics that peer-review and publication are meaningless. The only source for critique of the math ed reform in question is this one, never-published essay available on a Stanford FTP site. One of the essay’s authors insists that it was peer-reviewed, just never published, because he never found time to make the corrections that he was required to make by the human research board. In other words, it was peer-reviewed, found wanting, and he chose not to revise-and-resubmit. In response to the quote below: Yes, if they couldn’t get it published, that fact does undermine its worth.
This is a rejection of academic standards — by academics!
Ze’ev Wurman, a supporter of Milgram and Bishop, and one who has posted the link to their article elsewhere, said he wasn’t bothered by its never having been published. “She is basically using the fact that it was not published to undermine its worth rather than argue the specific charges leveled there by serious academics,” he said.