From: Ralph Raimi, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics,
To: Members, Board of Education of the City of New York
Re: Establishment of an
Though I am not from New York City, let alone its School District #2, I wish to add my voice to those from the CUNY and NYU mathematics departments you already have heard, to warn you most fervently against extending to the proposed new high school in District 2 the mathematics programs that have already been decreed by the District for its other schools. It may be that the experiment of using these terrible programs must run its course so long as District 2 is held hostage to the National Science Foundation grant that supports their use, but there is no more reason to extend this disaster to a new school than there was reason to extend slavery to new States in the years before the American Civil War. Slavery was to run its course in any case, to be sure, as it did in almost all the rest of the world at about the same time, but to extend it at the last minute before its inevitable demise was to commit a shocking crime.
I am sure that the errors committed by the National Council
of Teachers of Mathematics will also in due course be corrected, especially as the National Science Foundation now has new management and ten or fifteen years more experience in mathematics education than its predecessor, but to wait for that correction without doing anything to hasten it is to condemn, unnecessarily, a cohort of today's children to mathematical illiteracy.
It is, I am told, within
your power to relieve the new high school of any obligation to follow the
experimental program suffered by the rest of District 2. If so, let this school choose freely, as do
certain nationally admired
Ralph A. Raimi
Professor Emeritus, Mathematics