Thursday, June 14, 2007

Open Letter to Dr. Martin Brooks regarding Ridgewood, NJ

Dear Dr. Brooks:

I'm very saddened to learn that you've chosen not to take the
Ridgewood, NJ position. I grew up next door, in Fair Lawn, and
graduated high school in 1968. I'm now a mathematics educator based
in Ann Arbor, MI. I am an active supporter of good, high-quality
mathematics teaching and follow the "math wars" closely and with
great interest. I became aware of Linda Moran and her band of
activists earlier this year, and then learned through reading her
lists and blogs that you were taking the job there, much to my
pleasure. I've read your book on constructivism with pleasure and had
looked forward to seeing you keep things going in the right direction
in Ridgewood.

Unfortunately, your withdrawal, which I can understand must have been
an unpleasant personal decision, has given a great deal of
satisfaction to the anti-progressives in Ridgewood. Surely you
understand that they represent a small minority. Had you come, you
would have found great support for your ideas among both parents and
the teachers. Several have already written me privately to express
their dismay at your change of heart, and there is evidence on-line
that these activists are not beloved in their community, except
amongst themselves and like-minded people in other communities.
Indeed, some of the most frequent posters to Linda Moran's anti-TERC
list are from other cities, most notably Irvington, NY
(coincidentally, my high school girlfriend grew up there, so I know
the town better than I probably should).

I know you are unlikely to change your mind, but I want to urge you
to reconsider. The people of Ridgewood spent $20,000 to find you. It
will be a feather in the cap of some very awful people if you allow
that money to be wasted. And you could do the job there, I am sure,
and would now probably find even greater support that you might have
before. We cannot let these small, vocal, anti-democratic groups to
run roughshod over our schools and our kids.

Please see my blog and a web-
site I helped create . I will be
addressing many of the substantive issues about reform mathematics,
what it really calls for and how it actually works, as well as trying
to expose the lies and distortions of people like Linda Moran. But
again, to let her and those like her win this battle is a disaster.
It has already emboldened them, as is evident on her list, and I
shudder to think what will come next: veto power over what books may
be read in Ridgewood? Control over what political ideas may be
examined? Creation "science" and "intelligent
design" in biology class? Where does this stop? You truly do have to
consider the very deep implications of your withdrawal beyond just
your personal situation. These people routinely insult me on-line,
have done so for 15 years, have tried to cost me my academic standing
and several jobs, and yet I persevere. I think you could do so if you
reconsidered and went to Ridgewood. Don't let them win without a real


Michael Paul Goldenberg

"The new life needs to be inspired with the realization that the new
advantages were gained through great gropes in the dark by unknown,
unsung intellectual explorers."
R. Buckminster Fuller

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