From: Ralph Raimi, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics,

      University of Rochester

To:   Members, Board of Education of the City of New York

Date: December 12, 2001

Re:   Establishment of an Upper East Side High School


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 New York schools, such as the Bronx High School of Science.  You have nothing to lose, and I can assure you that while you might hear otherwise from the present "math education" establishment as represented by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, your mathematicians at CUNY and NYU are better judges than they, of what the universities demand of today's high school graduates, and why.



Ralph A. Raimi

Professor Emeritus, Mathematics

University of Rochester

Rochester, NY 14627    585.275.4429