Merlino Doth Protest Too Much, Methinks

By Gregg Settle

(A cover letter and letter submitted to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The letter was not published.)

Dear Mr. Robert Martin,

Thank you for publishing the letters on math. They have provided some much needed balance to the discussion of math issues and to Merlino's unsubstantiated claims. I find Merlino's call for Bishop to submit his "evidence to the careful scrutiny in any peer-reviewed professional journal" disingenuous in the extreme. Merlino is the one who has received millions of dollars in government largess over the years to push these ill-conceived programs, where are his scientifically valid data, presented in peer-reviewed publications demonstrating the superiority of his programs?

Below is a letter I wish to submit for your review for publication.

Again, thank you for providing a forum for the discussion of these important math issues.

Gregg Settle
Philadelphia, PA

Letter: Merlino doth protest too much, methinks

Merlino's letter of April 14, "Alarms on new math approach are unfounded," should have been titled, "Merlino's claims for his math approach are unfounded." In a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black, Merlino asks Bishop for studies published in peer-reviewed journals.

Merlino claims his new age math is superior to others. See Langland's article of April 2, "He enhances math by teaching the teachers." It is therefore incumbent upon Merlino to provide a compelling body of scientifically valid studies published in peer-reviewed journals to support his claim. To the best of my knowledge, there are no such studies. See for example

In a letter to Chancellor Joel Klein about K-12 Mathematics Curricula in New York City, the Chairs and Administrators of Mathematics Departments of NYC Universities stated, "We are prepared to explain in detail why certain education research studies cited ... in support of (Merlino's) curricula are, in a word, deceptive." These are not "armchair experts" but educators who are in-the-loop: "About 60 percent of the CUNY entering class is comprised of graduates of the (NYC) public school system. In turn, the City University produces about 40 percent of the (NYC) teaching workforce." The full text of their letter can be found at .

I challenge Merlino to provide these Chairs of Mathematics with a compelling body of scientifically valid studies published in peer-reviewed journals demonstrating the superiority of his new age math. I hope the Inquirer will print the results of their assessment of Merlino's evidence for his claims. Forget the hype: our tax dollars should not be going toward professional training in unfounded methods.

Gregg Settle