What credentials do you have to answer the questions regarding math & graduation requirements?
Government sponsored credentials: NONE
- B.A. from Oberlin College (1960) with majors in Mathematics and English
- Ph.D. from Indiana University (1967) in mathematics, algebraic number theory.
Note: My graduate degree is a Ph.D. and not an Ed.D. This is significant if you understand the difference in these degrees. Most math professors have a Ph.D. degree and most math education professors have an Ed.D. degree.
Also, note I do not have a Masters degree. This is usually an intermediate degree before the Ph.D. degree and is what I consider a “booby prize” for all the grad students who don’t get their Ph.D. A high percentage of math graduate students never get the Ph.D. This is because they are a very cheap source of labor for the elementary college math students, so they are given a Masters degree and booted out.
Experience Credentials: I have taught all levels of post elementary math from “shop math” through advanced theoretical math like Topology and Functional Analysis, and everything in between over a sixty year period starting in 1954 when I was a junior in high school and paid to tutor the captain of our football team in geometry (he went from failing to a B).
I tutored students and taught classes at Greencastle High School, Oberlin College, Western Reserve High School, DePauw University, Indiana University until September 17, 1966 when I passed my thesis defense and was awarded my Ph.D. It was during this 12 year period when I learned how to effectively teach math and the necessity of SPIKE pedagogy. It was during this period when I was also a victim of the Standard Math Curriculum, along with my fellow students and learned how insidious it really was. My experiences in Calculus 2 and what I observed from my fellow students resulted in my strong antipathy for the Standard Math Curriculum, SMC.
When I taught high school I realized how our “math educators” were ruining math education. One reason I did not remain a high school teacher is that I was told I would be forced to take math education courses and conform to the math education system. I knew this was not good for the students and refused to participate in this travesty.
Subsequently, I went on in my math studies and got a Ph.D. and then taught advanced math theory where math educators had no influence. Indeed, I never met an Ed.D. math educator who knew much advanced math, or understood the horrific problems with the SMC. Needless to say, I was not popular with the math educators.
I taught advanced theory math for three years at Indiana State University where I was in a department with math educators. This is when I got an “inside view” of how and why it was such a rotten system. Then, I escaped from this system, and went and taught math at an engineering school for their math and physics majors for four years.
By 1973 I was anxious for more adventures and departed academia. I got involved in various business ventures and made, and lost, a lot of money and had a lot of fun.
In 1980 I really missed teaching. But, I wanted to teach things that I knew were good for the student. This was difficult or impossible in academia. So I founded an industrial training company called, Hane Training, Inc. You can still see the old Website: www.hanetraining.com.
We developed training for high tech skilled tradesmen in the industrial markets. We trained thousands of these workers. The companies paid us to teach what the workers needed. We did not have any “educators” forcing us to do things we knew were wrong. It turns out that the underlying foundation for all of these technical programs was basic practical mathematics. And, almost all of these workers did not know this math. In fact, most of them had an aversion to math due to their bad experiences with the SMC in school.
The comment we got the most was, “I thought math was hard and that I couldn’t learn it. But, this was really easy and fun. Why didn’t someone teach me this math a long time ago in school?”
We made a lot of money. We invested in distance learning companies and began to deliver training over the Internet. www.braincable.com will give you an idea of this. It is no longer active because I decided to pursue another project.
I always had a deep urge to do something about the horrible high school math education system which I knew first hand was hurting most of our students, even the small percentage who managed to survive it.
But, there was nothing I could really do. The math educators and the textbook companies and the standardized testing companies controlled the system completely. And, anyone like me who had the temerity to make constructive criticisms or suggestions was ostracized. After all, their jobs and careers were at stake.
Well, with the advent of the new internet and communication technologies by the 21st century it seemed like it might be possible to finally challenge the system and provide a radically different math educational experience for students that was infinitely better than the existing SMC.
So, in 2007 I began developing practical math training for adults and delivered them via CD’s and DVD’s. It went over pretty well. I also knew there were powerful computer math systems like Mathematica (introduced by Steve Wolfram in 1988 about the time when Steve Jobs Next Computer was introduced) that had revolutionized the way STEM professionals solved math problems. But, it was an expensive system and required powerful computers to run it.
Then, amazingly to me, in 2009 Steve made a version of Mathematica available FOR FREE via the internet he called, Wolfram Alpha, WA. WOW. Katie bar the door! Now the game was on!
Now, we could teach math to our young students in a way that was significantly better than the old approach. In 2011 I wrote a book, Teaching Math, where I described this and explained how a totally new math curriculum could, and should, be developed. It would be orders of magnitude better for our students, and teachers too, and would be a lynch pin to improving our economy in multiple ways.
The reaction of the “math education community”?
You guessed it, Nothing. “Don’t confuse us with the facts.” Is more like it.
Well, do they want to throw out all of our old math textbooks? Do we want to rewrite all of our standardized tests? Do we want to retrain our math teachers? Do we want to give up our “horse and buggy” Standard Math Curriculum and replace it with a modern “automobile or jet plane” Math Curriculum?
Maybe you do. But, not the math educators whose whole careers are invested in these things.
It reminds me of what happened to math educators in the 1970’s when the first scientific calculator, the HP 35, was introduced. It was expensive (over $2,000 in 2015 dollars) and difficult to use. But, it was much much faster and more accurate and more error free than the manual technologies of the day, i.e. logarithms and trig tables, and the slide rule. So what happened?
The math educators and teachers resisted it as long as they could. But, it was just too superior. And, calculators got better and cheaper. Today the TI 30Xa is less than $10 and much more powerful than the HP 35 and much easier to use. But, I digress. The math educators could only resist so long. Slide rules slid into the dustbin of history in about 1980. We no longer have to use log and trig tables. We no longer have to use the manual algorithm for finding square roots. Etc.
Well, believe it or not, Wolfram Alpha does for modern STEM math what the scientific calculator did to slide rules.
Anyway, now I have completed Tier 5, calculus. Wolfram Alpha is better than I realized in 2011. It is amazing. It revolutionizes how you solve many algebra, geometry, and trigonometry problems. It does things you can’t do manually too. But, for calculus and linear algebra and differential equations it is even more amazing. All current calculus textbooks are obsolete. They don’t teach a modern tool like WA and they do teach a bunch of obsolete manual techniques or tools. It is almost unbelievable.
So, it is time we deliver a math education program to our students that they deserve.
It is like teaching a student to use power tools for carpentry as opposed to old hand tools. No employer will pay you to use old fashioned hand tools. You must use modern power tools.
It might be fun and good exercise to chop down a tree with an ax. But, a chain saw is much faster and will allow us to do things we could never do with an ax. Our current SMC is like doing math with an ax and other hand tools, the modern math curriculum I am advocating and have created is like using modern power tools.