> I never said not to teach the other 80%, they will still learn. They never did before. Your median high school graduate took two years of "consumer" or general math and never touched it again. The majority of American adults couldn't calculate the interest on a loan if their lives depended on it. A sizeable minority can't calculate a tip. >But if you don't meet the needs of the 10-15%, then you >won't have as competent group of mathematicians and scientists >in the future. True enough. If the reform movement takes over, I do wonder how we'll serve the needs of graduate schools. What I found using CPM was that my top students suffered little. They seemed to adapt by concentrating on the challenge problems others wouldn't touch. As for their overall mathematical skills,. perhaps they suffered a slight drop, but it certainly wasn't much, if it existed at all. On the other hand, I did find the number of students succeeding in class increase dramatically, and over 50% of my high school's graduates took Algebra II while in high school. Our average SAT scores went up slightly, yet far more students took the test. More students also achieved recognition on the Golden State Exam. To me, that's success. My hypothesis: Traditional math instruction has evolved to become the best and most efficient means of educating those destined to become the scientists and engineers of the next generation. Traditional instruction is simultaneously a frustrating nightmare for most other students. The reform movement of the 1980s and 1990s has attempted to bring in other methodologies so as to serve other learning modalities. The resultant body of curriculum is not as efficient a means of transmission of knowledge, but appeals to a far wider range of students. Overall, I think that if reform math takes over, we will have a significantly better educated populace. The challenge is in preventing the elite from receiving a weaker education. > The math being taught out there in the public schools is not strong enough. It never is, is it? Seriously, however, this is another issue entirely. If you surveyed your feeder schools I'd be quite surprised if even 100 of your 600 students was in a reform math program. Good teaching requires well educated, well trained individuals with dedication to their profession and a good deal of autonomy to allow for innovation. I've met many such high school teachers, but there are also many marginal ones. So long as a good economy provides good paying jobs to new college graduates, a shortage of excellent teachers will ensue. We've got to make do with what we've got. Prof. Eric Kaljumagi LAC/Math Mt. San Antonio College