Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

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Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Domenico Rosa
Yesterday, I had the grim experience of examining another disgraceful doorstop, which has been adopted by a local high school.

Algebra 1
Holt, Rinehart and Winston (2007)
921 pages, plus 165 additional pages at the end.

Authors: Edward B. Burger, David J. Chard, Earlene J. Hall, Paul A. Kennedy, Steven J. Leinwand, Freddie L. Renfro, Dale G. Seymour, Bert K. Waits

Also listed are 28 Reviewers, 2 Contributing Authors, and 4 Field Participants

I was told that students do not actually use the book. They simply keep it at home for "reference." The teacher distributes photocopies of handouts that come with the doorstop.

The fact that these abominable doorstops are being written, published, promoted, and adopted is indicative of the incompetent people who have overrun the education business in the U.S.--and who are primarily responsible for the continuing pseudo-education of American students.

To get an idea of how our textbooks have degenerated, compare the above with William G. Shute et al, "Elementary Algebra," American Book Co. (1956). [The 1965 Enlarged Edition, which evidently responded to "market forces," is identical except for some axioms and set theory added at the end of the book.]
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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Theresa Detert
So, who can give their honest opinion about another Algebra 1 "doorstop."
We are still looking for a good Pre-Algebra and Algebra curriculum to
replace our UCSMP curriculum and are looking at the McDougal Littell
Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 series written by Larson, Boswell, Kanold, and
Stiff.  Thanks for any constructive responses!  Sincerely, Theresa Detert



At 08:25 PM 4/14/2008 EDT, you wrote:
>Yesterday, I had the grim experience of examining another disgraceful
doorstop, which has been adopted by a local high school.
>
>Algebra 1
>Holt, Rinehart and Winston (2007)
>921 pages, plus 165 additional pages at the end.
>
>Authors: Edward B. Burger, David J. Chard, Earlene J. Hall, Paul A.
Kennedy, Steven J. Leinwand, Freddie L. Renfro, Dale G. Seymour, Bert K. Waits
>
>Also listed are 28 Reviewers, 2 Contributing Authors, and 4 Field
Participants
>
>I was told that students do not actually use the book. They simply keep it
at home for "reference." The teacher distributes photocopies of handouts
that come with the doorstop.
>
>The fact that these abominable doorstops are being written, published,
promoted, and adopted is indicative of the incompetent people who have
overrun the education business in the U.S.--and who are primarily
responsible for the continuing pseudo-education of American students.
>
>To get an idea of how our textbooks have degenerated, compare the above
with William G. Shute et al, "Elementary Algebra," American Book Co.
(1956). [The 1965 Enlarged Edition, which evidently responded to "market
forces," is identical except for some axioms and set theory added at the
end of the book.]
>
>
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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Dave L. Renfro
In reply to this post by Domenico Rosa
Domenico Rosa wrote (in part):

http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?messageID=6178125

> Yesterday, I had the grim experience of examining another
> disgraceful doorstop, which has been adopted by a local
> high school.
>
> Algebra 1
> Holt, Rinehart and Winston (2007)
> 921 pages, plus 165 additional pages at the end.
>
> Authors: Edward B. Burger, David J. Chard, Earlene J. Hall,
> Paul A. Kennedy, Steven J. Leinwand, Freddie L. Renfro,
> Dale G. Seymour, Bert K. Waits

No relation to me (that I'm aware of), in case anyone
is curious.

> To get an idea of how our textbooks have degenerated,
> compare the above with William G. Shute et al, "Elementary
> Algebra," American Book Co. (1956). [The 1965 Enlarged
> Edition, which evidently responded to "market forces,"
> is identical except for some axioms and set theory
> added at the end of the book.]

I'm rather partial to the books by Todhunter, Chrystal,
and Hall/Knight:

http://books.google.com/books?as_q=algebra&as_auth=todhunter

http://books.google.com/books?as_q=algebra&as_auth=chrystal

http://books.google.com/books?as_q=algebra&as_auth=knight

Dave L. Renfro
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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Richard Strausz
In reply to this post by Domenico Rosa
> So, who can give their honest opinion about another
> Algebra 1 "doorstop."
> We are still looking for a good Pre-Algebra and
> Algebra curriculum to
> replace our UCSMP curriculum and are looking at the
> McDougal Littell
> Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 series written by Larson,
> Boswell, Kanold, and
> Stiff.  Thanks for any constructive responses!
>  Sincerely, Theresa Detert
>
>
Theresa, here is one bit of positive feedback on the Holt book:  a friend uses it at his school.  He speaks positively of the video lessons available on their web site, where one of the authors does 2-3 minute demos connected to the examples in each section.  My friend says that it is very helpful for students who are absent or who need a second presentation on a topic.  

Richard
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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Bishop, Wayne
In reply to this post by Theresa Detert
MacDougall Littell has two series (at least) for this sequence and
this one, Concept and Skills, is by far the weakest.  Algebra Lite,
maybe, but better would be Imitation Algebra.  They also have a
decent one, the current evolution of the Dolciani series (that Dom
objects to!), Structure and Method.  They are still doorstops, of
course, but at least the content is there.

At 06:39 AM 4/15/2008, Theresa Detert wrote:

>So, who can give their honest opinion about another Algebra 1 "doorstop."
>We are still looking for a good Pre-Algebra and Algebra curriculum to
>replace our UCSMP curriculum and are looking at the McDougal Littell
>Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 series written by Larson, Boswell, Kanold, and
>Stiff.  Thanks for any constructive responses!  Sincerely, Theresa Detert
>
>
>
>At 08:25 PM 4/14/2008 EDT, you wrote:
> >Yesterday, I had the grim experience of examining another disgraceful
>doorstop, which has been adopted by a local high school.
> >
> >Algebra 1
> >Holt, Rinehart and Winston (2007)
> >921 pages, plus 165 additional pages at the end.
> >
> >Authors: Edward B. Burger, David J. Chard, Earlene J. Hall, Paul A.
>Kennedy, Steven J. Leinwand, Freddie L. Renfro, Dale G. Seymour, Bert K. Waits
> >
> >Also listed are 28 Reviewers, 2 Contributing Authors, and 4 Field
>Participants
> >
> >I was told that students do not actually use the book. They simply keep it
>at home for "reference." The teacher distributes photocopies of handouts
>that come with the doorstop.
> >
> >The fact that these abominable doorstops are being written, published,
>promoted, and adopted is indicative of the incompetent people who have
>overrun the education business in the U.S.--and who are primarily
>responsible for the continuing pseudo-education of American students.
> >
> >To get an idea of how our textbooks have degenerated, compare the above
>with William G. Shute et al, "Elementary Algebra," American Book Co.
>(1956). [The 1965 Enlarged Edition, which evidently responded to "market
>forces," is identical except for some axioms and set theory added at the
>end of the book.]
> >
> >
>
>
>--
>No virus found in this incoming message.
>Checked by AVG.
>Version: 7.5.519 / Virus Database: 269.22.13/1378 - Release Date:
>4/15/2008 9:12 AM
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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Bishop, Wayne
In reply to this post by Domenico Rosa
At 05:25 PM 4/14/2008, Domenico Rosa wrote:
>Yesterday, I had the grim experience of examining another
>disgraceful doorstop, which has been adopted by a local high school.
>
>Algebra 1
>Holt, Rinehart and Winston (2007)
>921 pages, plus 165 additional pages at the end.
>
>Authors: Edward B. Burger, David J. Chard, Earlene J. Hall, Paul A.
>Kennedy, Steven J. Leinwand, Freddie L. Renfro, Dale G. Seymour, Bert K. Waits

Worse than the number of pages is the list of authors.  How much has
Waits raked in over the years by foisting calculators off onto
innocent children?  Dale Seymour (that's what TERC was called in the
1994 California adoptions that drove our revolution!)?  Steven
Leinwand?  Say no more.  Please.

Your post reminds me of my first Content Review Panel experience
after that (honestly) standards-based revolution.  I was reviewing
the algebra submission of one of the major publishers that did not
have nearly 1000 pages (UCSMP Algebra already did) but in the middle
of that experience I had an epiphany, interrupted my work, and sent
the following to my fellow CRP members.  Bagley/Keane is
California-speak for of an open meeting law regarding private
conversations outside of announced meetings.  About the only change I
would make is that Thirty is now Forty.

One more thing, I commented on the missing concept of proof, that had
been so important in the book I was using in the mid-60s, but this
was algebra.  I had yet to learn - never would've guessed! - that the
concept would be dropped from high school geometry as well.

Wayne
         ----------------------------------------------------------------------

                 What Thirty Years Hath Wrought

If this be a violation of the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, so be
it.  If so, someone who has contact with Bagley, or Keene, or anyone
else who may be able to revise it, should work on fixing it.  The
intent is not to be publisher specific nor am I looking for any
confirmation of my evaluation.  It's just that anecdotes of poor
students or poor books are so prevalent that they don't mean much
and, at the opposite extreme, my eyes roll back when someone talks
about the mathematical power of their students, the higher order
thinking skills that they are achieving, etc.  I always want to say,
and often do, "Can you give me an example or two?"  That usually ends
the conversation and the start of a beautiful friendship.  Although
the plural of "anecdote" is not "data", sometimes a single example
can be data.  In that spirit, treat this as data about many
publishers' products.

California does not approve texts for adoption beyond eighth
grade.  It may be that the greatest benefit to come out of the
decision to include the content of algebra in grade 8, so open to the
approval process, is that a small number of mathematically competent
but agenda-free people take a hard look at what algebra means to too
many of our country's schools.  Perhaps we need to follow up this
activity, not just with Xxxxx's suggestion of a joint letter, but
with a collective look at what might pass as algebra II, geometry -
whether as separate books or "integrated" - or even pre-calculus
books these days.  It should come as no surprise that we are getting
- - at least those of us at third rate institutions are getting -
students who can not think conceptually nor perform ordinary symbolic
mathematics at a minimally competent level.  The failure rate on the
Entry Level Mathematics exam (the CSU ELM is a system-wide product
for you out-of-staters) at my campus is about 80%.  For inner-city
African American students it exceeds 90%.  And these are the top
students; ordinary ones don't graduate or go to a community college
for repairs instead.  A good look at the available textbooks may tell
us why the dramatic rise in this failure rate over the last decade
has occurred.  Even without a formal adoption procedure, our
collective statement would carry national import.

I started to give this submission a positive, but highly qualified,
recommendation but the more I thought about it, the more it became
clear that being so generous would have been being part of the
problem instead of being part of the solution. In fact, enough of the
items of the content of algebra beyond the 7th grade standard are
present to warrant qualified approval.  The problem, and I finally
realized that it is fatal, is that the actual and new algebra content
comes so late in the book, and that the rest is so weak, that
students, teachers, and schools that adopt it would use it to assert
that they are "doing algebra" when in fact they are doing little if
anything beyond pre-algebra.  Students are more than 80% through the
book, P. 470 out of 555 of instruction, before they are asked to be
able to multiply (3x)(2x+1) and then with stupid algebra tiles as
"Method 1".  Example 2 of the same section has students factoring out
common factors and the following section multiplying binomials, and
trinomials times binomials as well.  Students (those classes that get
that far into the book at all) but who really needed the 470 pages of
preparation to get here will be glad that the year is only days from
being over.  They will be buried in what is finally the normal
symbolic manipulation of algebra.  They'll see algebra for a little
bit and then their eyes will glaze over.

For comparison, I pulled out the algebra 1 book from which I taught
high school thirty-some years ago.  After a brief introduction of
exponents, order of operations, integers, rational, and real numbers,
multiplication of monomials was introduced on  P. 112 and a
reasonable number of coherent exercises followed.  The exercise set
concluded with the hint  "Use the distributive property" and a couple
of monomial times binomial examples looking ahead three
sections.  Interestingly, P. 470 was part of a section entitled "A
Final Word on Proof", the content of Algebra 1 had since concluded
and the text was taking a more formal look at what had
transpired  and was looking forward to a proof-based geometry course
the following year.  This was the last section in a chapter entitled
"Another Look at Proof" that reflected on the proofs that had
occasionally been presented in the text along with a few new
ones.  The first paragraph of the chapter concluded with the
statement, "In this chapter, we will take another look at proof since
the topic is one of far-reaching importance for all of your future
work in mathematics. "Proof" is a word not mentioned in the table of
contents nor the index of this submission.  I assume it is mentioned nowhere.

Granted, a sizable portion of the intervening material in that old
text, some 100 pages, dealt with linear equations of one and two
variables, material that this submission has treated prior to
polynomial arithmetic, but that material is all part of the Grade 7
California standard.  Thus, we're talking 470 pages of review and 85
pages of new material late in the course and many classes are not
even going to get to those last 85 pages.  For all intents and
purposes, the entire course would then be a review of the seventh
grade standards material.

Equally as bad as the lack of development of reasonable algebra
proficiency in mechanical skills is the lack of proficiency in
applications of algebra in standard word problems.  Although I'm sure
there are more than that, I found exactly 8 that I would put in the
category.  A student could earn a strong A and never solve a single
one.  Admittedly, some I didn't count.  I counted none of the 4 on P.
268.  Why not?  This "Math Toolbox" is entitled "Guess and Test" and
that is exactly what is encouraged.  Don't write a simple algebraic
equation to solve an easy word problem; just fool around with your
calculator until you find a solution.  Exercise 9 and 39, ten pages
later, don't count either.  Why not?  Although they are each problems
that are naturally two linear equations in two unknowns, in both
cases, both equations are given.  Likewise, the "Business"
application on P. 282, and the "Vacation" example as well.  The title
of the next section is "Writing Systems" so perhaps I was premature
in my expectations.  In it, there are three exercises that are
natural candidates.  The first is a coin problem that can easily be
solved by the valid solution technique of Guess and Test.  The second
is to find the sides of an isosceles triangle of perimeter 12 where
the two sides  s  are three times as long as the third side  t  with
the figure given, sides identified, and then a three step, a, b, and
c, solution strategy to follow so not requiring much student
creativity.  The third is easy but legitimate, two integers with sum
of 1244 and difference of 90.  That is the entire set of applications
of simultaneous linear equations.  You may safely extrapolate to
other areas of the text as well.

Not that the old algebra book referred to above was particularly rich
in such things.  Still, and although not touted as being
"integrated", following the section on simplifying sums of radicals
was (very naturally) a section on the Pythagorean Theorem, including
a familiar algebraic proof of it.  Exercise 14 had a different one
that students themselves were to do.  Exercise 13 just before that
asked for the length of the hypotenuse of a right triangle in which
one leg was half the hypotenuse and the other measured
sqrt(6).  Although this submission supposedly meets the California
Standard regarding the Pythagorean Theorem, it has no exercises more
involved than finding the third side of a right triangle given the
other two, and it assumes a calculator is there to do the arithmetic.

This idiocy must stop.  Let California lead the way.

Happy Easter,

Wayne

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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Dave L. Renfro
In reply to this post by Domenico Rosa
Wayne Bishop wrote (in part):

http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=6178958

> "Proof" is a word not mentioned in the table of
> contents nor the index of this submission. I assume
> it is mentioned nowhere.

I just read this and I became curious about whether
"proof" is in the index of any of the core plus books
that I posted about recently [1]. I went to look.
No, it's not. This in spite of the fact that I
mentioned the indexes were especially complete.
Incidentally, when I was looking in the 4'th year
volume index for "proof", I happened to come across
the entry "undifferentiable". The reference was to
p. 46 (I think), where I didn't see the word but
one of the exercises had to do with difference
quotients (but not a limit of difference quotients,
mind you) for that absolute value of x at x=0.
For those who don't get it, "undifferentiable"
is not correct usage. Oh, you might find it used
occasionally here and there, but the correct term
is "not differentiable" (but not "nondifferentiable",
which typically means nowhere differentiable and
not "fails to be everywhere differentiable"). This
is such an obviously poor word choice that I'm frankly
extremely unimpressed that none of the dozens of
readers and reviewers whose names appear in the front
of the books noticed it. And if they did, it's worse,
because this would mean reasonable advice wasn't taken.

I know this is relatively minor, but red flags go up
when I spot something like this in 20 seconds when I'm
not even looking for concerns of this nature.

[1] http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?messageID=6153067

Dave L. Renfro
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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Michael Paul Goldenberg
In reply to this post by Bishop, Wayne
Wouldn't that been "by far the weaker," given that you are discussing  
only two books?

As you mention, Dom objects (vehemently and frequently) to Dolciani.  
On the other hand, Greg tells us it's good stuff (or maybe that was  
some other anti-reform person). You, too, seem positive about  
Dolciani. What's a mother to do? Which flavor of anti-reform fanatic  
should one believe? Why, it's enough to give a reasonable person a  
headache (if a reasonable person didn't realize that no good,  
constructive advice was going to come from Dom, Wayne, or any of the  
other knee-jerk responders to anything that smells like reform to  
them. Then, the reasonable person would look at the books for him/
herself and speak with folks who've actually used them. There's no  
substitute for experience teaching from a text, and most certainly  
the sort of biased judgments from those here and elsewhere who need  
not even SEE a book to "know" it's bad would be the worst possible  
substitute for informed feedback.

On Apr 15, 2008, at 3:40 PM, Wayne Bishop wrote:
> MacDougall Littell has two series (at least) for this sequence and  
> this one, Concept and Skills, is by far the weakest.  Algebra Lite,  
> maybe, but better would be Imitation Algebra.  They also have a  
> decent one, the current evolution of the Dolciani series (that Dom  
> objects to!), Structure and Method.  They are still doorstops, of  
> course, but at least the content is there.
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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Michael Paul Goldenberg
In reply to this post by Domenico Rosa
I realize that this is like spitting into the wind, but rather than  
listing the authors and offering your usual litany of negative  
adjectives, how about some useful, detailed analysis of ONE topic in  
that book? Just one, Dom. Your choice.

By the way, I would take Ed Burger as a professor of mathematics over  
you, Wayne, and any number of other bores in the anti-reform camp.  
Not that Burger is out there fighting the Math Wars. He's too busy  
being one of the most popular professors (not just mathematics  
professors) at Williams. Well, that's three strikes against him right  
there, I'm sure.


On Apr 14, 2008, at 8:25 PM, Domenico Rosa wrote:

> Yesterday, I had the grim experience of examining another  
> disgraceful doorstop, which has been adopted by a local high school.
>
> Algebra 1
> Holt, Rinehart and Winston (2007)
> 921 pages, plus 165 additional pages at the end.
>
> Authors: Edward B. Burger, David J. Chard, Earlene J. Hall, Paul A.  
> Kennedy, Steven J. Leinwand, Freddie L. Renfro, Dale G. Seymour,  
> Bert K. Waits
>
> Also listed are 28 Reviewers, 2 Contributing Authors, and 4 Field  
> Participants
>
> I was told that students do not actually use the book. They simply  
> keep it at home for "reference." The teacher distributes  
> photocopies of handouts that come with the doorstop.
>
> The fact that these abominable doorstops are being written,  
> published, promoted, and adopted is indicative of the incompetent  
> people who have overrun the education business in the U.S.--and who  
> are primarily responsible for the continuing pseudo-education of  
> American students.
>
> To get an idea of how our textbooks have degenerated, compare the  
> above with William G. Shute et al, "Elementary Algebra," American  
> Book Co. (1956). [The 1965 Enlarged Edition, which evidently  
> responded to "market forces," is identical except for some axioms  
> and set theory added at the end of the book.]
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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Domenico Rosa
In reply to this post by Domenico Rosa
On 15 Apr 2008, Wayne Bishop wrote:

>
> At 05:25 PM 4/14/2008, Domenico Rosa wrote:
>
> >Yesterday, I had the grim experience of examining
> >another disgraceful doorstop, which has been adopted
> >by a local high school.
> >
> >Algebra 1
> >Holt, Rinehart and Winston (2007)
> >921 pages, plus 165 additional pages at the end.
> >
> >Authors: Edward B. Burger, David J. Chard, Earlene
> >J. Hall, Paul A. Kennedy, Steven J. Leinwand,
> >Freddie L. Renfro, Dale G. Seymour, Bert K. Waits
>
> Worse than the number of pages is the list of
> authors.  How much has Waits raked in over the years
> by foisting calculators off onto innocent children?
> Dale Seymour (that's what TERC was called in the
> 1994 California adoptions that drove our
> revolution!)?  Steven Leinwand?  Say no more.  Please.
[snip]

I was not surprised to see these "math reform" stalwarts in the list of authors. I was surprised, however, to see Edward B. Burger, a professor of mathematics at Williams College. It must be difficult to resist the very lucrative doorstop-publishing racket!

Thanks for attaching "What Thirty Years Hath Wrought."

Dom
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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Domenico Rosa
In reply to this post by Domenico Rosa
On 15 Apr 2008, Wayne Bishop wrote:
>
> MacDougall Littell has two series (at least) for this
> sequence and this one, Concept and Skills, is by far
> the weakest.  Algebra Lite, maybe, but better would
> be Imitation Algebra.  They also have a decent one,
> the current evolution of the Dolciani series (that
> Dom objects to!), Structure and Method.  They are
> still doorstops, of course, but at least the content
> is there.

I first became aware of the Dolciani books 16 years ago, when my son brough home the sixth edition of Algebra 1: Structure and Method. Quite frankly, I was jolted by the pages of abstractions that saturate the beginning of the book. I was particularly aghast when I read "Open sentences in one variable" in the list of topics.

Three years later, my son's so-called honors precalculus class was using, in part, Dolciani's "Modern Introductory Analysis," the first 70 pages of which cover:

1-1 Logical Statement; Sets
1-2 Variables and Quantifiers
1-3 Operations on Sets and Statements
1-4 Conditional Statements and Converses
1-5 Negations
1-6 Complements
1-7 Evaluating Compound Statements; Truth Tables
1-8 Patterns of Inference

2-1 Axioms of Fields
2-2 Proving Theorems
2-3 Indirect Proof
2-4 Axioms of Order
2-5 Absolute Value
2-6 Subsets of R

If my Advanced Mathematics textbook, which is described at:

http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?forumID=206&threadID=478525

had started out with this material, most of my classmates and I would have been as completely turned off as most students have been during the past 40+ years. The contrast in the geometry book is even more stark.

I stand by my claim: the Dolciani books institutionalized the excessive formalism and abstractions of the SMSG new math, and they demolished the traditional college preparatory curriculum in the U.S.
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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Michael Paul Goldenberg
In reply to this post by Domenico Rosa
Well, Dom, you still haven't said anything that would specifically  
lead to the conclusion that the book isn't wonderful. Burger's name  
at the front suggests it would be worth looking at even if you and  
Wayne and a host of bigots came out against it.


On Apr 15, 2008, at 9:12 PM, Domenico Rosa wrote:

>
>
> I was not surprised to see these "math reform" stalwarts in the  
> list of authors. I was surprised, however, to see Edward B. Burger,  
> a professor of mathematics at Williams College. It must be  
> difficult to resist the very lucrative doorstop-publishing racket!
>
> Thanks for attaching "What Thirty Years Hath Wrought."
>
> Dom
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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Michael Paul Goldenberg
In reply to this post by Domenico Rosa
Dom, I don't know how to break it to you, but a list of topics  
doesn't tell us a thing about the books other than what the authors  
most generally included or didn't. The table of contents doesn't tell  
us how well a topic that's included is covered.

But that must be news to you. Because I've been pointing that out  
here for over a decade, yet you keep posting tables of contents as if  
they comprised a critique. Are your eyes giving you trouble? Am I  
using words you don't understand?

On Apr 15, 2008, at 9:43 PM, Domenico Rosa wrote:

> On 15 Apr 2008, Wayne Bishop wrote:
>>
>> MacDougall Littell has two series (at least) for this
>> sequence and this one, Concept and Skills, is by far
>> the weakest.  Algebra Lite, maybe, but better would
>> be Imitation Algebra.  They also have a decent one,
>> the current evolution of the Dolciani series (that
>> Dom objects to!), Structure and Method.  They are
>> still doorstops, of course, but at least the content
>> is there.
>
> I first became aware of the Dolciani books 16 years ago, when my  
> son brough home the sixth edition of Algebra 1: Structure and  
> Method. Quite frankly, I was jolted by the pages of abstractions  
> that saturate the beginning of the book. I was particularly aghast  
> when I read "Open sentences in one variable" in the list of topics.
>
> Three years later, my son's so-called honors precalculus class was  
> using, in part, Dolciani's "Modern Introductory Analysis," the  
> first 70 pages of which cover:
>
> 1-1 Logical Statement; Sets
> 1-2 Variables and Quantifiers
> 1-3 Operations on Sets and Statements
> 1-4 Conditional Statements and Converses
> 1-5 Negations
> 1-6 Complements
> 1-7 Evaluating Compound Statements; Truth Tables
> 1-8 Patterns of Inference
>
> 2-1 Axioms of Fields
> 2-2 Proving Theorems
> 2-3 Indirect Proof
> 2-4 Axioms of Order
> 2-5 Absolute Value
> 2-6 Subsets of R
>
> If my Advanced Mathematics textbook, which is described at:
>
> http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?forumID=206&threadID=478525
>
> had started out with this material, most of my classmates and I  
> would have been as completely turned off as most students have been  
> during the past 40+ years. The contrast in the geometry book is  
> even more stark.
>
> I stand by my claim: the Dolciani books institutionalized the  
> excessive formalism and abstractions of the SMSG new math, and they  
> demolished the traditional college preparatory curriculum in the U.S.
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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Greg Goodknight
In reply to this post by Michael Paul Goldenberg
Michael Paul Goldenberg wrote:
> Wouldn't that been "by far the weaker," given that you are discussing
> only two books?
>
> As you mention, Dom objects (vehemently and frequently) to Dolciani.
> On the other hand, Greg tells us it's good stuff (or maybe that was
> some other anti-reform person). You, too, seem positive about
> Dolciani. What's a mother to do? Which flavor of anti-reform fanatic
> should one believe?
Take your pick, all who have valid criticism of NCTM & NSF style
"reform" have some valid things to say. Even Dom would have much less to
find fault of were the Dolciani treatment the furthest from his ideal
that was being used.

My son's copy of Dolciani Algebra I formally introduces proof around
page 130, and even has a section that explicitly covers polynomial long
division (pg 274). Something you won't find in Mikey's beloved "reform"
texts.

- -Greg

> Why, it's enough to give a reasonable person a headache (if a
> reasonable person didn't realize that no good, constructive advice was
> going to come from Dom, Wayne, or any of the other knee-jerk
> responders to anything that smells like reform to them. Then, the
> reasonable person would look at the books for him/herself and speak
> with folks who've actually used them. There's no substitute for
> experience teaching from a text, and most certainly the sort of biased
> judgments from those here and elsewhere who need not even SEE a book
> to "know" it's bad would be the worst possible substitute for informed
> feedback.
>
> On Apr 15, 2008, at 3:40 PM, Wayne Bishop wrote:
>> MacDougall Littell has two series (at least) for this sequence and
>> this one, Concept and Skills, is by far the weakest.  Algebra Lite,
>> maybe, but better would be Imitation Algebra.  They also have a
>> decent one, the current evolution of the Dolciani series (that Dom
>> objects to!), Structure and Method.  They are still doorstops, of
>> course, but at least the content is there.
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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Michael Paul Goldenberg

On Apr 16, 2008, at 8:25 PM, Greg Goodknight wrote:

> Michael Paul Goldenberg wrote:
>> Wouldn't that been "by far the weaker," given that you are  
>> discussing only two books?
>>
>> As you mention, Dom objects (vehemently and frequently) to  
>> Dolciani. On the other hand, Greg tells us it's good stuff (or  
>> maybe that was some other anti-reform person). You, too, seem  
>> positive about Dolciani. What's a mother to do? Which flavor of  
>> anti-reform fanatic should one believe?
> Take your pick, all who have valid criticism of NCTM & NSF style  
> "reform" have some valid things to say. Even Dom would have much  
> less to find fault of were the Dolciani treatment the furthest from  
> his ideal that was being used.

Just curious, Greg: are there valid criticisms of traditional texts?  
Of Saxon Math? Of Singapore Math? Of anything you like or Wayne likes  
or Dom likes?

Also, any good things about the books you folks criticize? You  
wouldn't know it to read what you folks post.

So if I HAD a beloved reform text (please DO tell me which one(s)),  
would there be any valid reason whatsoever for me to like it?

You see, Greg, one of the main reasons I have no use for you folks is  
that you're completely one-sided. I've criticized things I like  
overall. I've even found things to like in books or methods I don't  
generally care for. When I read what passes for analysis of reform  
books and methods from the keyboards of the anti-reform fanatics,  
however, everything traditional is always great. Everything new and  
in any way different is without exception horrid. Bill Quirk's  
"analysis" of INVESTIGATIONS in light of the Math Panel report would  
be a (ahem) textbook case in point of such a one-sided critique. I  
have a hard time not being skeptical of what comes from people who  
are so clearly going to present only negatives regardless of reality.  
Aside from the fact that so much of what you (collectively) raise is  
not necessarily quite as "valid" as you think, the bias that informs  
the viewing of these materials makes it hard to take completely  
seriously. And when the people who produce these critiques are  
similarly unwilling to admit to any flaws in the materials they like,  
it's pretty clear what's afoot.


>
> My son's copy of Dolciani Algebra I formally introduces proof  
> around page 130, and even has a section that explicitly covers  
> polynomial long division (pg 274). Something you won't find in  
> Mikey's beloved "reform" texts.
>
> - -Greg
>
>> Why, it's enough to give a reasonable person a headache (if a  
>> reasonable person didn't realize that no good, constructive advice  
>> was going to come from Dom, Wayne, or any of the other knee-jerk  
>> responders to anything that smells like reform to them. Then, the  
>> reasonable person would look at the books for him/herself and  
>> speak with folks who've actually used them. There's no substitute  
>> for experience teaching from a text, and most certainly the sort  
>> of biased judgments from those here and elsewhere who need not  
>> even SEE a book to "know" it's bad would be the worst possible  
>> substitute for informed feedback.
>>
>> On Apr 15, 2008, at 3:40 PM, Wayne Bishop wrote:
>>> MacDougall Littell has two series (at least) for this sequence  
>>> and this one, Concept and Skills, is by far the weakest.  Algebra  
>>> Lite, maybe, but better would be Imitation Algebra.  They also  
>>> have a decent one, the current evolution of the Dolciani series  
>>> (that Dom objects to!), Structure and Method.  They are still  
>>> doorstops, of course, but at least the content is there.
>
>
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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Domenico Rosa
In reply to this post by Domenico Rosa
Mike, I don't know how to break it to you, but you can actually examine and compare these books on your own, just as I did.

On 16 Apr 2008, MPG wrote:
>
> Dom, I don't know how to break it to you, but a list
> of topics doesn't tell us a thing about the books
> other than what the authors most generally included
> or didn't. The table of contents doesn't tell  
> us how well a topic that's included is covered.
...

> > ... my son's so-called honors precalculus class was  
> > using, in part, Dolciani's "Modern Introductory
> > Analysis," the first 70 pages of which cover:
> >
> > 1-1 Logical Statement; Sets
> > 1-2 Variables and Quantifiers
> > 1-3 Operations on Sets and Statements
> > 1-4 Conditional Statements and Converses
> > 1-5 Negations
> > 1-6 Complements
> > 1-7 Evaluating Compound Statements; Truth Tables
> > 1-8 Patterns of Inference
> >
> > 2-1 Axioms of Fields
> > 2-2 Proving Theorems
> > 2-3 Indirect Proof
> > 2-4 Axioms of Order
> > 2-5 Absolute Value
> > 2-6 Subsets of R
> >
> > If my Advanced Mathematics textbook, which is
> > described at:
> >
> > http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?forumID=206&threadID=478525
> >
> > had started out with this material, most of my
> > classmates and I would have been as completely
> > turned off as most students have been  
> > during the past 40+ years. The contrast in the
> > geometry book is even more stark.
> >
> > I stand by my claim: the Dolciani books
> > institutionalized the excessive formalism and
> > abstractions of the SMSG new math, and they  
> > demolished the traditional college preparatory
> > curriculum in the U.S.
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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Michael Paul Goldenberg
No, Dom, I can't. You Have these doorstops (or are you just whining based on the authors' names and/or tables of contents and/or indexes?)

You have the marvelous magic books of yore. I bought one of the latter at your recommendation. But you refused to do a topic by topic analysis with the list, the only reason I bought the book to begin with (FOUNDATIONS OF ADVANCED MATHEMATICS by Kline, Oesterle and Wilson, 1959 ed ). It wasn't a total waste of effort and money, however: yesterday I checked the index of this revered tome for the word "proof." Imagine my shock and dismay at not finding it anywhere!  I guess it's just a lighter doorstop or maybe a paperweight. Cost me a little more than I would normally pay for one and it's not very attractive. Maybe if I read the table of contents there will be magic?  
Michael Paul Goldenberg
6655 Jackson Rd #136
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
734 644-0975 (c)
734 786-8425 (h)
"Oh, bother," said Pooh, as he chambered another round.

- -----Original Message-----
From: Domenico Rosa <[hidden email]>

Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 20:40:50
To:[hidden email]
Subject: Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops


Mike, I don't know how to break it to you, but you can actually examine and compare these books on your own, just as I did.

On 16 Apr 2008, MPG wrote:
>
> Dom, I don't know how to break it to you, but a list
> of topics doesn't tell us a thing about the books
> other than what the authors most generally included
> or didn't. The table of contents doesn't tell  
> us how well a topic that's included is covered.
...

> > ... my son's so-called honors precalculus class was  
> > using, in part, Dolciani's "Modern Introductory
> > Analysis," the first 70 pages of which cover:
> >
> > 1-1 Logical Statement; Sets
> > 1-2 Variables and Quantifiers
> > 1-3 Operations on Sets and Statements
> > 1-4 Conditional Statements and Converses
> > 1-5 Negations
> > 1-6 Complements
> > 1-7 Evaluating Compound Statements; Truth Tables
> > 1-8 Patterns of Inference
> >
> > 2-1 Axioms of Fields
> > 2-2 Proving Theorems
> > 2-3 Indirect Proof
> > 2-4 Axioms of Order
> > 2-5 Absolute Value
> > 2-6 Subsets of R
> >
> > If my Advanced Mathematics textbook, which is
> > described at:
> >
> > http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?forumID=206&threadID=478525
> >
> > had started out with this material, most of my
> > classmates and I would have been as completely
> > turned off as most students have been  
> > during the past 40+ years. The contrast in the
> > geometry book is even more stark.
> >
> > I stand by my claim: the Dolciani books
> > institutionalized the excessive formalism and
> > abstractions of the SMSG new math, and they  
> > demolished the traditional college preparatory
> > curriculum in the U.S.
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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Dave L. Renfro
In reply to this post by Domenico Rosa
Dave L. Renfro wrote (in part):

http://mathforum.org/kb/message.jspa?messageID=6179108

> I just read this and I became curious about whether
> "proof" is in the index of any of the core plus books
> that I posted about recently [1]. I went to look.
> No, it's not. This in spite of the fact that I
> mentioned the indexes were especially complete.

Michael Paul Goldenberg made a couple of points in
an e-mail to me that, in fairness with the comments
I made, should be mentioned.

First, several other school math texts he looked at
did not list the word "proof" in their indexes. To
be honest, the absence of "proof" in the index of
the Core Plus books didn't really concern me very
much -- I was mostly just curious. However, I should
have looked through some other books to see where
"the bar was". I suppose it did surprise me just a tiny
bit, though because the indexes in the Core Plus books
are so good. (Except "undifferentiable" should not
have been there. Instead, the term "not differentiable"
should have been one of several words/terms listed
under an entry for "derivative".)

Second, the word "proof" *is* in the index for the
3rd year books. As I mentioned in my first post about
these books [1], I don't have access to the 3rd year
books. I should have been more complete with my comments
yesterday and mentioned this.

[1] http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?messageID=6153067

Nonetheless, I stand by the comments I made earlier
(see [1]), especially in the hands of teachers whose
background knowledge doesn't allow them to distinguish
between the trees (leaves and needles, in fact) and
the forest.

Dave L. Renfro
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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Bishop, Wayne
In reply to this post by Michael Paul Goldenberg

At 05:02 PM 4/16/2008, Michael Paul Goldenberg wrote:

>  Bill Quirk's "analysis" of INVESTIGATIONS in light of the
>Math Panel report would be a (ahem) textbook case...

Ahem, indeed. For those who missed this important work:
http://www.wgquirk.com/TERC2008.html

Wayne
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Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops

Michael Paul Goldenberg
In reply to this post by Domenico Rosa
So you agree that it's a classic example of the sort of biased, empty "critique" that you folks pretend is critical analysis? I plan to offer a critique of Mr, Bill's "work" in the near-future.
- ------Original Message------
From: Wayne Bishop
To: Michael Paul Goldenberg
Cc: Greg Goodknight
Cc: Math-teach Teach
Sent: Apr 18, 2008 4:08 PM
Subject: Re: Junk Algebra 1 Doorstops


At 05:02 PM 4/16/2008, Michael Paul Goldenberg wrote:

>  Bill Quirk's "analysis" of INVESTIGATIONS in light of the
>Math Panel report would be a (ahem) textbook case...

Ahem, indeed. For those who missed this important work:
http://www.wgquirk.com/TERC2008.html

Wayne






Michael Paul Goldenberg
6655 Jackson Rd #136
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
734 644-0975 (c)
734 786-8425 (h)
"Oh, bother," said Pooh, as he chambered another round.