RME v6 n3 Feb 28 2008
One-to-One Technology Program Changes Rural Mathematics Sallie Sandler
The 620 students of Kutztown Area High School experience a rather unique
rural education. Nestled against the Blue Mountain along the eastern edge of the
Appalachian Mountains in Berks County, Pennsylvania, the district is spread over
three municipalities and three townships. Although the surrounding community
has an agricultural base, the town of Kutztown is also home to Kutztown
University. The district’s 1700 students attend one of four community elementary
schools, and the middle and high school, both located in the town. Therefore,
our students bring a variety of experiences to the classroom. Some students
start their day hours before school with chores of milking or caring for livestock.
Some are small-town students. Some are quite progressive. Regardless of their
background, their location dictates the fact that they are categorized as having a
The one-to-one program came about as a result of the school board’s need
to upgrade high school technology resources in a building that needed major
renovations. The idea of a new building was not out of the question, thus the
board was drawn to a plan that did not invest large sums of money in
The challenges of rural mathematics education prior to our high school
one-to-one program were quite typical. The department and district struggled to
“keep up” with wealthier, neighboring districts. Large sums of money were spent
each and every year on graphing calculator technology so we could offer our
students what we thought was a technology-rich mathematics education.
Through requisitions and grants we were able to secure classroom sets of
graphing calculators and enough graphing calculators to issue one to each
Calculus and Precalculus student for their use during the school year. At that
time we had an isolated computer lab located in the building, but lab time was
difficult to schedule, manage, and preparation was always a challenge because
one never knew what technical difficulties one would encounter in the lab setting.
All of this changed, however, in June 2004, when our school board approved
a one-to-one laptop initiative at the high school. That fall every student (and
teacher) was issued a laptop, complete with a full-slate of applications to use
throughout the school year.
Incorporation of laptop technology was not an overnight event. Each
teacher went through intensive training and devoted large quantities of time to
making the classrooms technologically friendly. In the four short years that we’ve
been involved in the one-to-one initiative, the mathematics department, more
than any other department, has experienced the greatest changes. With the help
of our technology director, our high school was able to secure site licenses for
Geometer’s Sketchpad and Mathematica. Each laptop also comes equipped
has a Polyvision interactive whiteboard and TI-SmartView for demonstration
purposes in the classroom. The laptop initiative hasn’t eliminated the need for a
supply of graphing calculators, but the annual costs have definitely decreased.
So, what’s different about our math department now? The biggest change in
the department is in the courses we can now offer. We have added four
electives to our list of course offerings:
• Calculus with Mathematica – a non-seat electronic offering to
students enrolled in Calculus which enables them to learn
Mathematica while applying it to Calculus topics.
• Mathematics Literature Circle – a non-seat electronic offering in
which students read, discuss, and analyze mathematics-based
literature selections using blogs and other forms of electronic
communication. Culminating projects in this course involve
student-designed book talk iMovies based on a book of their
• Course-based Math MacBook Presentations – a non-seat
electronic offering in which students design presentations using
their laptops that involve topics studied in their current mathematics
courses. Presentations require extension of mathematical
knowledge in either breadth or depth or both.
• Technology in Math – an elective designed to supplement and
enrich a students’ current mathematics course through the use of
Geometer’s Sketchpad, Grapher, MacCalculator, Word, iCal, and
PowerSchool. This elective meets every other day for the entire
school year and is designed for our non-AP/Honors students.
Clearly, these electives would not have been possible without the one-to-one
initiative. What we feel we are bringing to our students is an opportunity for a
deeper understanding of and broader appreciation for mathematics through the
use of technology. Students are making connections using many types of
applications and are beginning to use their laptops as tools for problem-solving.
The second change is in each classroom. Many of us now use the vast
supply of Applets available on the internet for demonstration purposes in
classroom instruction. We can now “record” our lessons and make them
available as documents or podcasts through our local intranet to students who
have missed class. Class documents (handouts, etc.) can now be distributed
using the local intranet. We offer extra credit in the form of a Problem of the
Week that must be completed electronically using laptop applications. Most
teachers make use of iCal and encourage students to subscribe to a class
calendar for assignments and important dates. Students now have a Peterson’s
ID number for SAT and AP Test Preparation. Teachers can make daily
comments in PowerSchool for both students and parents to view. The list
evolves as the technology use evolves.
Most importantly, the one-to-one initiative has enabled our small, rural
school to provide technology-rich experiences for our students who are entering
surroundings. The one-to-one initiative has not changed the feel of our small,
rural school other than to make it feel as though anything is possible. Here is a
link to the district webpage, which has a Technology link which will provide a bit
more One-to-One background information. http://www.kasd.org/ . Here is the link
to a colleague's webpage, which is more detail-oriented. It treats the way one
classroom works under the one-to-one initiative:
Reflections on Steen’s Concept of Mathematical Citizens Editor’s Introduction - Lynn Arthur Steen of St. Olaf College gave the Ninth James R. C. Leitzel Lecture to the Mathematical Association of America in San Jose, CA on August 4, 2007 entitled On Being a Mathematical Citizen: The Natural NExT Step. Paul Theobald, author of Teaching the Commons that places a historical concern for the good of the whole in the context of a rapidly changing society, seemed a logical choice to provide commentary on Steen’s lecture given by Steen. The October issue of MAA's Focus contained excerpts from the Lecture. One of Prof. Steen's primary goals was to encourage mathematicians and mathematics educators to dig into the issues for themselves -- thus, a very important aspect of the paper is the extensive footnoting, which include live links to web sources. For the complete paper, see
Woods-Beals Professor of Urban and Rural Education
Buffalo State College
I read Lynn Arthur Steen’s Leitzel Lecture, delivered at the 2007
Mathematical Association of America conference, with considerable interest.
There was something unusual about the title of this lecture—a title that included
the concept of mathematical citizens. It is an uncommon occurrence to come
across an argument related to schooling that does not presume unanimity related
to the ends of education--the reasons we provide free schools in the first
place--and yet the title of this lecture seemed to be suggesting something new. As a
result, I was eager to read what Steen had to say. With the exception of a couple
Steen begins by covering some of the crisis rhetoric that claims America’s
world economic dominion is at risk as a result of poor math and science
instruction in public schools. America’s workers are mathematically challenged,
according to New York Times journalist Thomas Freidman, author of the
best-selling defense of globalization, The World is Flat. Freidman interviewed
business CEOs all around the world and came up with the same answer every
time: the next generation will need more math and science in order to acquire
and keep good jobs. The bad jobs, presumably, will go to those who spend too
much classroom time on art, music, or history.
At the outset, then, Steen had a chance to lay out the terms of his
argument in full relief for the benefit of his audience. His thesis is that
mathematical wherewithal is a prerequisite for the lives of citizens—for the ability
of individuals to wield the authority they enjoy, the political voice they possess, as
active members of a democratic republic. To distinguish education for this end
from the economic ends espoused by politicians, the media, and Thomas
Freidman, Steen might have asked why Freidman thinks it is a given that there
will be good jobs and bad jobs, why there will be some who are poor while others
are rich. Mathematics, as I’m sure Steen could have persuasively demonstrated,
can be an indispensable tool for sorting through answers to such questions.
In his defense, though, Steen jumps over this line of argument to focus on
a few education policy examples because, as he says, he’s most familiar with
that realm of possible citizen action. To his credit, in my view at least, he
urging American professors to “use their knowledge and skills in a real-world
setting in service to community, the state, the nation, and the world.” For Steen
this means mathematics instruction that encourages the deployment of
mathematics on real-life problems and issues. A math lesson, perhaps, might
measure job loss versus job creation when a box store moves into one’s
community. Learning theorists, the Council of Graduate Schools, and
mathematicians of Steen’s ilk all argue that 1) such a lesson will result in more
mathematics learned better than if traditional rote methods had been used, and
2) such a lesson is an excellent tool for enculturating citizens into the kind of
policy surveillance incumbent on them as citizens of a democracy.
I have argued elsewhere that Americans suffer most from inadequate
education in history and mathematics. I am not cynical enough to believe that
there’s any causal link between the following two assertions, both of which I take
to be well-warranted (though others may not). The first assertion is that math
and history instruction have been the two school subjects most dominated by
rote, memorization-driven instruction. The second is that history and
mathematics are the two school subjects with the greatest utility for citizen
preparation; that is, for citizen use in the policy, and thus political, realm.
Steen’s examples suggest that mathematical wherewithal will make for
better societal policy-making in the realm of education. I believe he is right. But
history might make its own contribution toward that end. I have argued that if the
general public knew something about America’s nineteenth century history they
be an indispensable piece of a well-functioning republic. Accordingly, Carl
Kaestle titled his award-winning history of America’s public schools Pillars of the
Republic. Kaestle ably demonstrated that the nation’s schools were intended to
provide the literacy and numeracy skills required by citizens to shoulder the
burden of democracy. The idea that schools might contribute to the economic
lives of citizens was scarcely a concern, scarcely even mentioned by the nation’s
public school founders. And it was never argued that free schools might
contribute to global economic dominion for the United States. These ideas were
introduced early in the twentieth century, on the heels of the widespread
popularity of a racist ideology we have come to call, more palatably, Social
Darwinism. If the American public were aware of this history, a fundamental shift
in the ends of education, something Steen seems to endorse, would be much
easier to envision.
The current reform trend in both mathematics and history, something that
can be generally described as standards-based education, seems to be
exacerbating the problem of historical and mathematical illiteracy on the part of
high school drop-outs and graduates. In my view, Steen puts his finger on the
problem in the area of mathematics. “We’ve downshifted from cookbook calculus
to automated algebra where overemphasis on lists of learning objectives
promotes shallow learning and swift forgetting.”
Creating a corollary to Campbell’s Law, Steen proposed what he calls the
Perversity Principle: “the more importance we place on specific results, the less
history as well, have been dogged by decades worth of instruction geared toward
producing or identifying right answers. Standards-based instruction, which
inevitably comes with what someone, can’t recall who, called its “evil twin,” a
standardized testing regime, super-intensifies the significance of right answers.
If students can’t produce or identify them, they haven’t met the standard. As
Steen persuasively argues, this kind of instruction produces lessons devoid of
intellectual content, or what Nel Noddings has called “pedagogical fraud.”
At this point in his speech Steen takes an unexpected turn. After laying
out the difficulties involved in determining whether students are mathematically
proficient—something he seems to unquestioningly assume must come from
testing-related educational policy—he comes close to endorsing the creation of
national standards, his own Perversity Principle notwithstanding. Having laid the
possibility out there, however, he returns to his basic thesis—math can be a
legitimate contribution to every dimension of human life. Teachers, as Steen so
eloquently put it, should unfold mathematics as a contribution to the goals of a
liberal education—the very kind of education devised across centuries to ensure
the smooth functioning of a democratic republic. There is an authenticity
required by such an education, meaning the problems students should confront
wielding the knowledge and skills that come from school subjects are not those
at the end of the chapter, but those that beset the lives of individuals who attend,
live near, or send their children to the local school. Steen doesn’t refer to it in
these terms, but his argument is also an argument for place-based education, an
occupational future. In this I find myself in total agreement with Lynn Arthur
Transitioning to a Rural High School
Editor’s Introduction – When Scott Epperson contacted the editor relating his
upcoming job change to a rural setting, she requested that he write a reflection
piece about his experiences and thoughts. What follows are his thoughts after
completing his first semester in his new school.
I am in a rural place. My school is in Fowler, CO. I survived my first semester
at a rural school. Actually it is more appropriate to say that I thrived during my
first semester at a rural school.
My family recently relocated from Longmont, Colorado (est. pop. 83,000)
to the small rural town of Fowler (est. pop. 1200) in southeastern Colorado.
There is only one high school in town and I am the math teacher in a school of
Even though I have been teaching Fowler High School for only one
semester, I can honestly say that I think I’ve found “it.” I’m not sure what it is or
how to define it, but I know that teaching in this rural school provides the
rewarding experiences that most teachers search for when they enter the
Fowler High School shares many qualities with the other two high schools
I know: the school I went to in Illinois and the school I taught at in Longmont. The
staff is friendly and helpful at Fowler. The students are normally distributed
across the performance spectrum. We have high performing students and low
performing students. We also have students who are involved in countless
activities as well as students who balk at the idea of participating in any
extracurricular event. During the first few months of both my Longmont and
Fowler teaching jobs, I frantically tried to prepared, wrote exams and tried to stay
ahead of the constant stream of paperwork. There are several experiences that I
can pinpoint as very rewarding in this rural school.
My first impression of Fowler High School was directly affected by the
mere size of the school and its student body. When I asked another teacher on
the first day, “What room number is your classroom?” I received a chuckle and a
grin. I quickly found that with only 100 students in the school, there were so few
classrooms that the numbering system was irrelevant. The other high schools I
have been associated with had well over 1000 students and thus I knew I was in
for a big adjustment.
My smallest class, Calculus, has two students and my largest class,
Geometry, has twenty. Grading a class set of exams now takes forty-five minutes
instead of a grueling three hours. I am also able to move physically around the
room and check on student progress on a continual basis. It is also much easier
to take attendance when there should only be nine students present at a time. I
to check for understanding. The smallest class size that I have taught, prior to
this school year, had thirteen students. Smaller class size seems to be a positive
byproduct of teaching at a rural school. Usually with every good comes bad, and
in this case, I found that along with small class sizes came multiple preps. I teach
five different classes and am, for the first year at least, working out of five new
I have had small and large classes before; I’ve confronted preparations for
classes ranging from Algebra to Calculus; so all this is nothing really new.
Additional features, however, sharply distinguish this school from others.
The administration at Fowler High School is unbelievable. Our principal
supports his staff and offers countless resources for us to use in our classrooms.
Decisions at the school are more clearly made with students in mind.
For the past few years, I have wanted to use technology in the classroom.
My students were well versed in using graphing utilities, but I wanted to
incorporate other forms of technology into my classroom at Fowler. I asked the
superintendent in late October about fundraising and grant writing in hopes of
acquiring a Smartboard for my classroom. Within twenty-four hours he told me to
pick out the technology components that I wanted and that the school would pick
up the tab. Within two months I had a seventy-two inch Smartboard and tablet
Toshiba PC laptop computer with a wireless network connection in my
classroom. Students are excited to use this technology to show their classmates
what they know and this makes the whole learning process more fluid. The
be less red tape and budget restraints to get in the way. I am sure there are
schools in larger cities that have great administrations and advanced technology,
so once again, perhaps, there must be something else that makes Fowler High
Respect is a core value at Fowler High School. Our administration spends
as much time helping the low performing students as they do rewarding the high
performing students. During first semester, there were so few discipline problems
that the administration rewarded the student body by showing a movie and
buying pizza for everyone. This sort of recognition is encouraging to teachers
The administration has also established an accountability motto with which
the students must abide by, “CLAW”. The CLAW program is an extension of the
Positive Behavior System used elsewhere. Our school mascot is the Grizzly Bear
and thus CLAW seemed like an appropriate anagram for our school’s focus.
Contribute to a safe learning environment, Learn something new every day, Achieve excellence and Work together--these are objectives that students know and aspire to on a daily basis. Students are awarded “claw cards” for performing
in class and being respectful in the hallways. Two of the teachers, including
myself, will occasionally dress up as the Claw (a muscle man suit that parallels
that of a professional wrestler) and run through the hallways during break
reminding students to keep up the hard work.
I witnessed firsthand the positive effects of the programs and efforts of the
the staff to inform us that only four students had received one or more F’s on
their first semester report card. On a weekly basis, our principal also talks
individually to each student on the ineligibility list, encouraging them to raise their
grade and offering resources to help. I find that with a small student population,
there is a lower probability of one of them “slipping through the cracks”.
Undoubtedly there are some big schools in big cities that have low failure rates,
so perhaps there’s something more that makes Fowler different.
Perhaps it’s the community. People in town take pride in the excellence
achieved at Fowler High School. The newspaper in town publishes academic
honor lists, reports on our students’ accomplishments in the classroom, and
highlights progress on the athletic fields. During Friday night football games, the
town shuts down and everyone attends the game. Teachers and students
participate in activities, committees, and extracurricular events to help the
community. I have personally volunteered as a “celebrity reader” at the
elementary school; I serve on the executive board for the local golf course in
town; and I’ve been nominated to participate on the volunteer fire department.
Besides being more active members in the community, teachers at Fowler High
School are in constant contact with parents.
I frequently bump into parents at the grocery store or gas station and they
ask about their children and encourage me to keep up the hard work. Since the
school is such a focal part of the town, there seems to be more parent
involvement and parent-teacher communication here than elsewhere. Getting to
experience at Fowler High School and as a result I feel like a person instead of a
face among thousands.
After much internal debate and discussion with peers and friends, I can
conclude that teaching in a rural school, specifically at Fowler High School, is so
rewarding because it has the characteristics enumerated in this article. And
sure—great schools exist throughout the country, and in rich and poor places.
Fowler High School is nonetheless the place that I want to teach for the rest of
my career. The people of this school and town make me want to be a better math
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN OUR NECK OF THE WOODS
ACCLAIM students are progressing with dissertations from both cohorts one and two. Watch for announcements. Below are links to completed dissertations.
Look for more ACCLAIM dissertations and abstracts in upcoming issues!
Dissertations can be found at http://www.acclaim-math.org/dissert.aspx
Cohort 2 students recently presented their work on Lesson Study at the recent
Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE) Conference in Tulsa,
OK. This work was a culmination of projects completed in the ACCLAIM course
Research Trends in Mathematics Education under the direction of Dr. P. Mark
Taylor of University of Tennessee.
Capacity Building Update
Vena Long, University of Tennessee
Summer ’08 - Cohort 3 will be coming to Knoxville this year. First, the “08
Research Symposium will coincide with the annual Barrett Lecture Series
sponsored by the University of Tennessee Mathematics Department. The theme
this year is mathematics education focusing specifically the last two years of high
school and the first two years of college. Zalman Usiskin will be one of the
keynote speakers and the full program is currently being developed. Cohort III
Calculus." The symposium is scheduled for April 26, 27 and 28. This will be a
practice run for the Summer Session which will be hosted by UT June 16 – July
18, 2008. David Anderson will be teaching Advanced Algebra; Jennifer Morrow
will be teaching Quantitative Research; and Vena Long will be teaching
Advanced Pedagogy. Geri Landry will be coordinating all activities. Housing will
be provided on the campus of the Tennessee School for the Deaf in south
Research Initiative Update
The Research Initiative’s adventures since October include (1)
data-gathering for the national study, (2) continuing work on publications, and (3)
teaching ACCLAIM’s third cohort.
National study. The national study is well underway at the end of February
2008. Researchers have traveled to Washington State, Vermont, Maine, and to
rural Ohio to gather data for our study of the challenges of engaging community
in rural mathematics teaching and learning.
Lorna Jimerson studied an elementary school in rural Vermont, within
driving distance of her home-base near (but not in) Burlington. Bob Klein went to
rural eastern Washington in the middle of a blizzard, managing both to get into
the town and school and out again. Nice work, Bob. Heike Perko, an OU
graduate student in science and environmental education, visited a school in
And Greg Foley (OU) and Edwina Pendarvis (Marshall University) visited a
school in rural Appalachian Ohio where the math teacher has been making
connections with the community for some time.
To additional research sites have been identified, one in central Kentucky
and one in southern Alabama. Bob Klein has enlisted for additional punishment
in Kentucky over OU’s break between winter and spring quarters, and Aimee and
Craig Howley will be traveling to southern Alabama to gather data in late April.
Additional possible sites are under scrutiny as well.
With data collection well under way, the study has begun to produce
transcripts for formal analysis from the voice recordings made by researchers. In
addition to transcripts, the study will also analyze researchers’ fieldnotes,
classroom observation data, and artifacts. As with most research projects, timing
of the completion of the final report (to be issued as a Working Paper) is difficult
to predict, and the development of journal article manuscripts as yet
indeterminate. We do know that several of the researchers have expressed
interest in joining teams to write articles for peer-reviewed journals—and we also
know that the study is already producing the proverbial mountain of data
characteristic of qualitative studies. Official funding for the ACCLAIM Research
Initiative runs out September 1, 2008—but that circumstance is virtually
immaterial to the conclusion of the project. Analysis, interpretation, and writing
are part of what scholars do. The part for which funding has been helpful is the
data gathering part. This phase of the study will conclude as the school year
Publications. We expect to publish a working paper shortly; the manuscript
is nearly complete. It will be a working paper that summarizes the third-party
work evaluating the Center’s doctoral program (aka “Capcity-Building Initiative”).
This is an extensive manuscript that summarizes surveys, faculty interviews,
student interviews, and presents case studies of nine students. It will be posted
soon to the website, and reported on in the next issue. An additional evaluative
report is expected, in the next few months, describing the Center’s research
initiative. Both reports will be authored by the evaluators of Inverness Research
Sometime in the fall of 2008, as suggested above, we expect to be able to
publish the final report of the National study. It is far too early to predict what the
study will find. At this point, however, it is perhaps worth noting that the study
sites are very diverse. In at least one, community engagement seems to be a
systemic project. In others, and isolated teacher persists in the work. In others,
perhaps, an isolated teacher wavers in the work. Sometimes, the legacy origin of
the ongoing work is apparent (an instigating history). Sometimes, those who are
engaged seem to do so as a matter of common-sense bootstrapping (they report
that it “just made sense to do this.’) What we hope to discover is the nature of
the incentives and disincentives to this sort of effort, the dynamics surrounding
these influences, and some sense, as well, of community participation, influence,
and outlook on the work. The organizational and geographic variety evident in
RME editor Deb Britt has an impressive lineup of authors for the next
issue. Manuscripts are already in progress, and she’s looking for additional
authors. Ruth Heaton (Univerity of Nebraka Lincoln), Greg Foley (Morton Chair of
Math Education at Ohio University), Bob Klein (see above), and Jacqueline
Leonard (Temple University, and author of a new book on culturally relevant
math teaching) are among those promising manuscripts—as in Sherry Jones
from ACCLAIM’s second cohort. Other deals are pending!
Teaching. Dr. Bush refers to Dr. C. Howley as a teaching wimp. This is an
entirely justifiable observation; evidence supports it. Nonetheless, Dr. C. Howley
is again teaming with Dr. A. Howley to conduct the ACCLAIM curriculum’s first of
three rural courses. It’s an online venture, with lots of reading and writing, and
some viewing and discussion of documentaries related to what many rural
scholars see as the core value of matters rural: a land ethic. So far, so good.
And Dr. C. Howley reports enjoying the variety of online formats (Adobe Connect
for synchronicity and Blackboard for everything else). It’s just great to have
another group of eager (and admittedly overworked) students. We’ve been there
and done that, so we know what we’re talking about.
Brief Review: New Rural Education Report from NCES Craig Howley, ACCLAIM & Ohio University
The National Center for Education Statistics recently published The Status
of Education in Rural America. It is the federal government’s second attempt to
present a comprehensive impression of rural education, following the 1994
volume edited by Joyce Stern (The Condition of Rural Education). Researchers
will cite this work for many years to come. Unfortunately the report does not
disclose whether or not updates or refinements are planned.
The new volume does not credit the earlier work edited by Stern, which
has been so often cited in scholarly work in rural education. Perhaps the reason
for the omission is that comparison of the two volumes is instructive. The new
volume reports facts only—and it fails to engage issues of particular rural
concern (e.g., consolidation and out migration). Stern’s volume, however, was a
wide collaborative effort with scholars of rural schooling. Not only did the
previous report (Condition) present facts drawn from national databases (as does
Status), but it included actual analyses and even interpretations.
The new volume leaves readers to interpret the facts unaided by existing
scholarship and critique. This tactic leaves readers who are unfamiliar with rural
cultures, purposes, and issues solidly adrift in their own ignorance, but
readers outside rural scholarship—will believe they know something from a
cursory inspection of the facts on view in this report.
Though the volume refrains from making the judgment, the facts tend to
support the impression that rural schools are comparatively healthy. They are
not so well endowed nor successful as suburban schools, of course, but they are
shown by the facts to have a lot going for them. This volume will be usefully cited
as evidence that rural schooling overall is not normatively deficient. It will also
make it more difficult to claim that rural education in general requires particular
support—simply because federal support is most often construed as a kind of
public charity rather than as a strategic investment. Leaving out the community,
the politics, cultures, and economics in favor of educational factoids ends by
slighting the things that matter most in rural places.
Although the focus of the report is on K-12 schooling, the education facts
also attest to a durable condition in rural America: fewer rural kids pursue
baccalaureate degrees (conventional 4-year bachelor’s degrees). Most
observers define this condition as a problem in need of a solution, based on the
assumption that nearly everyone needs a college degree to negotiate a dicey
“21st-century” future. The report sidesteps the relevant critical cultural issues
identified in rural education scholarship, and lets the supposed facts define this
deficiency. For many writers about rural schools and life, however, what’s
needed is not more college but a rurally appropriate sort of schooling, at all
levels. In any case, such issues need to be a prominent part of the discussion to
We’ll have to do it without much support from the Feds (well, maybe just those
New NCES Report: 10 Findings in Search of Hypotheses Deborah Britt, Ohio University Doctoral Student
The definition of rural is subdivided more in this report than in most, which
may help or hinder depending on how each part is used in research.
Researchers will clearly need to define which part they use in their work and
whether or not they are considering the sum of the parts. Much contemporary
analysis deals with inter- and intra-state variation, and so a report that paints a
national picture has limited, though still important, value.
The NCES authors report many findings that scholars will find useful.
Among the many findings, however, the following seem particularly useful or
1. The report identified ESL and foreign language teacher vacancies as an
issue. Other areas, such as math, were not mentioned. No hypotheses
were offered to explain the difference (though these exist in the literature).
2. Rural teacher salaries are lower than those in other locales. No
hypotheses were offered to explain the difference (though these exist in
3. The proportion of federal expenditures was lower in rural places than in
cities, but greater than in suburban locales. No hypotheses were offered to
4. More money per pupil is spent in rural schools than in other schools.
Again, the report offered no relevant hypotheses.
5. Fewer rural students have access to Advanced Placement and
International Baccalaureate programs than students elsewhere. No
hypotheses were offered.
6. The percentage of free and reduced lunch students is smaller in rural but
no explanation is given for why this might occur. In my rural county, a
sense of family pride keeps students from completing the qualification
7. There is a larger percentage of African American, Indian and Alaska
natives in poverty in rural. Perhaps the hypotheses are so well known
here that they hardly need mentioning.
8. More parents in rural areas are attending events and taking their kids to
events, (thought the type of event is not specified). Once again, the report
avoids any statement of a hypothesis.
9. Over one-half of operating school districts and one-third of public schools
are in rural areas - yet only one-fifth of the students are rural. The reason
here is so well known that a hypothesis is not needed. It iss more about
connecting the dots. But the report remains silent.
10. More rural schools and districts exist in the South and Midwest. Again no
rationale is given, nor is any implication or hypothesis relevant to
It is clear that these findings are statistically significant. The meaning of
these findings—their practical significance, the policy questions they raise, their
connections with one another, and their origins and explanations—are matters
University of Illinois at Chicago – Asst. Prof. (link to sidebar)
Sidebar: Position: Assistant Professor (RME readers are advised to contact
determine if position is still open)
Where: University of Illinois at Chicago
Qualifications: math education doctorate by August 2008; strong math
background; demonstrated research capacity (K-12 or higher ed) including
publication; experience in and commitment to diversity is desirable
Procedure: send (1) CV, (2) 3 letters of recommendation, (3) teaching
statement, (4) research statement, and (5) 2 samples of scholarly writing to
Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science
University of Illinois at Chicago
851 S. Morgan Street (m/c 249)
Chicago, IL 60607
University of Wyoming Ph.D. Candidate – Mathematics Education (link to side bar)
College of Education
Ph.D. In Education –
Mathematics Education Focus
A program with a unique focus on
issues of complexity, cognition,
and modeling in mathematics
Complexity science, cognitive science, and modeling provide new paradigms for the study of mathematics education. Come
join an exciting and innovative program in mathematics education. A limited number of graduate assistantships, including tuition and fees, are available to support a cadre of graduate students in the program. The program includes:
• Mathematics Education Cognate (12 hours) with an emphasis on teacher
education, complexity, and rural education
• Mathematics Cognate (12 hours) with an emphasis on mathematical modeling,
simulation, and applied algebra
• Cognitive Science Cognate (12 hours) specializing in mathematics cognition,
learning theory, and assessment
The program will also immerse you in authentic mathematics education and teacher education experiences, including:
• Teaching apprenticeship in undergraduate mathematics and mathematics
• Outreach apprenticeship in professional development through the Science and
Mathematics Teaching Center (SMTC)
• Mathematics education research experiences in teacher education, rural education,
and articulation issues
• Mathematics research experiences in modeling and computational sciences ,
potentially in conjunction with the NCAR Super Computing facility coming to Wyoming
In addition to the 36 hours of cognates you will receive a core of courses providing a foundation in education:
• Ph.D. Core Courses (16 hours) including College Teaching, Writing for
Publication, Proposal Writing, and Diversity
• Advanced Research Core (12 hours) including qualitative methods and
• Dissertation Research Core (12 hours) devoted to conducting a research project
Assistantships will provide support for room and board and include a waiver of tuition and fees. In addition candidates can apply for numerous scholarships.
Applications will be evaluated beginning in January concluding March 15; applications will be reviewed as they arrive and assistantships will be granted on a first come first serve basis. Candidates must complete a graduate school application, have a composite GRE score of 1000 or a master’s degree from an accredited institution, submit official transcripts, three letters of recommendation, a letter of application, current vitae, GA application, and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00. A Master’s in route to the Ph.D. is an option. See the Graduate School webpage for more information:
The University of Wyoming is a Doctoral 1 research intensive institution located in Laramie, a city of 27,000. Laramie is located at the foot of the Rocky Mountains with abundant outdoor recreation opportunities, including hiking, biking, and skiing. The University is located two hours north of Denver.
Mathematics Education Faculty and Areas of Research
Dr. Linda Hutchison – Mathematics Teacher Education & Rural Education Dr. Michelle Chamberlin – Mathematics Teacher Education & Modeling
Dr. Scott Chamberlin – Mathematics Affect & Modeling
Dr. Robert Mayes – Math Cognition & Modeling
For General Information and Questions please contact Dr. Scott Chamberlin at: email@example.com
Send Applications to: University of Wyoming Curriculum and Instruction
Dept. 3374, 1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone (307)766-6371
Fax (307)766-2018 www.uwyo.edu
UPCOMING EVENTS Conferences
AERA Annual Conference and Exhibition New York, NY
March 24-28, 2008 http://aera.net/
Program Theme: Research on Schools, Neighborhoods, and Communities: Toward Civic Responsibility – Research proposals are closed but Professional Development course proposals are being accepted now. AERA sponsors both a mathematics education special interest group and a rural education special interest group.
Radical Math Conference Brooklyn, NY April 4-6, 2008
http://radicalmath.org/conference Program Theme: Creating Balance in an Unjust World
Radical Math encourages educators to incorporate issues of social and economic justice into their teaching and curriculum work. Visit the site for information about the 2008 conference and to order the 2007 DVD.
NCTM 2008 Annual Meeting and Exposition Salt Lake City, Utah April 9-12, 2008
Research Presession on April 7-9, 2008 Theme for Conference is Becoming Certain about Uncertainty
Rural Education Working Group Meeting
Tuskegee, Alabama May 16-18, 2008
Theme for Conference is Thriving Rural Schools in Challenging Circumstances There is an early registration discount
CAS (Computer Algebra Systems) Conference Northfield, Illinois (New Trier High School near Chicago)
Saturday June 28 - Sunday June 29, 2008 email@example.com
Computer algebra systems (CAS) have the potential to revolutionize
Come explore the future of mathematics education! * Discover how secondary and middle school teachers are using CAS in their
own classrooms. *Get classroom tested lesson ideas developed for CAS-enhanced classroom
* Learn what other countries are doing with CAS.
* Interact with prominent CAS pioneers from the USA and beyond. For more information or questions contact:
Dan Hall at firstname.lastname@example.org OR Ilene Hamilton at email@example.com
International Congress on Mathematical Education – 11 Monterey, Mexico
July 6-13, 2008
Between 3000 and 4000 professionals from 100 countries in the mathematics education area, including researchers, educators and teachers will gather. The International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME) aims to: 1) Show what is happening in mathematics education worldwide, in terms of research as well as teaching practices 2)Inform about the problems of mathematics education around the world 3)Learn and benefit from recent advances in mathematics as a discipline.
International Rural Sociology Association – XII World Congress Goyang, Korea July 6-11, 2008
Theme: Envisioning Prosperous Rural Future in Globalizing World
Rural Sociological Society Manchester, NH
July 28-31, 2008
Theme: Rural Sociology as Public Sociology
Public sociology is about being in dialogue with groups in civil society, including conversation over goals and values. We want to recognize, celebrate, and
interrogate the rural-sociological engagement with diverse publics over the years and currently. This theme is a way of focusing on rural sociology's roots and wings - where we've been and where we're heading.
San Antonio, TX
October 27-29, 2008 Conference Theme : NREA, Opening a New Century of Rural Education. Contact
NREA website or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Williamsburg, KY November 7-8, 2008
We received the following messages from …. :
Be on the look out for an article using ideas from rural bus routes in the
mathematics classroom by some of our ACCLAIM people. It has been accepted by the Journal of Teaching and Learning published by the Faculty of Education at the University of Windsor and should appear sometime in 2008.
I’ll have an article for you by the next issue if at all possible. (Ruth Heaton)
Both Bob Klein and Greg Foley at Ohio University have promised us to write an article.
….. and are hoping to hear more from them and others.
Would we be interested in your work? The answer is yes if the words “rural”
and “mathematics” appear often in your manuscript. We welcome distinctive and
non-trendy scholarship. Empirical work (quantitative or qualitative) is a priority,
but we will consider theoretical pieces, historical research or biography, and very
well argued commentary as well. Contact Craig Howley at email@example.com or
Deborah Britt at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Rural Mathematics Educator is produced at Ohio University and
published electronically by the Research Initiative of the Appalachian
Collaborative Center for Learning, Assessment, and Instruction in Mathematics
The Research Initiative is housed in McCracken Hall, Ohio University,
Athens, OH 45701-2979.
ACCLAIM is funded by the National Science Foundation as a Center for
Learning and Teaching. The Center is a partnership of the Kentucky Science
and Technology Corporation (Lexington), Marshall University (Huntington, WV),
Ohio University (Athens), the University of Kentucky (Lexington), the University of
Louisville (Louisville), the University of Tennessee (Knoxville), and West Virginia
“This material is based upon the work supported by the National Science
Foundation under Grant No. 0119679. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or
recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do