by the usual crowd of activist ideologuesrnat her college. Her husband Rick, arnhigh-school chemistry teacher who hadrnalready clashed with his department overrnthe attempted introduction of a “whole”rnscience curriculum, had been invited tornaccept an award at an American ChemicalrnSociety meeting in San Diego. Onernof the speakers, molecular biologistrnMichael McKeown of the Salk Institute,rnclosed his remarks with a critique ofrnWhole Math. “After a minute or so ofrnthis. Rick and I were almost jumping uprnand down in our chairs. Within a weekrnor so the three of us had formed MathematicallyrnCorrect.”rnThe molecular process of resistancernhad just begun. Relying on e-mail andrnthe Internet, the fledgling pressure grouprncontacted everyone it had heard of whorndissented from the new order in mathrneducation. All the individuals contactedrnhad hitherto believed their various schoolrndistricts’ solemn protestations that theyrn”were the only ones who had a problemrnwith the new math reforms.”rnPaul Clopton of UC San Diego, instrumentalrnin setting up MC’s “2+2=4″rnwebsite {www.mathematicallycorrect.com),rnnotes that, “when parents get together,rnthe bureaucrats’ first line of defense fadesrnaway. As each new parent told their story,rnwe were constantly re-energized.”rnMartha Schwartz says simply, “Everyrntime I talk to another child who has beenrncheated, I wish I could do more.”rnAt first, MC’s efforts focused on convincingrnlocal districts—Petaluma, Novato,rnEscondido, San Diego, Torrance,rnand others—to get rid of existing WholernMath programs. Design engineer Larr)’rnGipson, another cofounder of MC, led arnsuccessful fight in Escondido because “Irndidn’t want my kids experimented onrnThey were telling the kids to invent theirrnown math out of thin air.” Mr. Gipsonrnformed Parents for Math Choice andrnlobbied his school board for just that:rnchoice between traditional and wholernapproaches. Today, 70 percent of districtrnparents opt for traditional, andrnparental permission is required beforernany experimental program is implementedrnAfter some other successes at the localrnlevel, MC decided to aim for the overhaulrnof the state math framework. Revisedrnevery seven years, this frameworkrndictates the content and methodologyrnof prospective textbooks. The grouprnpushed for tough new K-12 content standardsrnand for MC to be representedrnon the appointed Academic StandardsrnCommission that would write them.rnLarry Gipson had learned that victoryrnwas “more about beating the district politicallyrnthan arguing them to death.”rnToward this end, MC developed workingrnrelationships with two Republicanrnassemblymen, Steve Baldwin and HowardrnKaloogian. Group members pepperedrnlegislators with data regardingrnWhole Math’s dismal showing on allrnkinds of tests, wrote open letters and critiques,rnand were frequentiy on hand torntestify. Assemblyman Baldwin reportsrnthat, “when Mathematically Correctrnsubmitted testimony in person or in writing,rneveryone took notice,” and AssemblymanrnBCaloogian adds that “being rightrngave them a great deal of leverage in tryingrnto change the curriculum.”rnAnd change it they have. The mathrnstandards finally adopted by the state ofrnCalifornia last year are a realization ofrnMathematically Correct’s belief that, inrnMichael McKeown’s words, “Mastery ofrnthe basics is the key prerequisite for effectivernproblem-solving, and one of thernmost effective ways to build understanding.”rnWilliamson Evers, who played anrnimportant role in writing the new standards,rnexplains that “we put them inrnplain English. . . . We took out the fuzzyrnmath. We beefed them up. And we unscrambledrnthe courses so Algebra I, Geometryrnand Algebra II exist again.”rnThe new standards have been denouncedrnby California’s superintendentrnof public instruction. Delaine Eastin,rnwho has taken it upon herself to instructrnteachers to ignore them. But new GovernorrnGray Davis seems disinclined tornbacktrack on the standards, a sign thatrnthe public-relations battle may be won—rnat least for the moment. Meanwhile, anrnindependent review by the FordhamrnFoundation of state math standards recentlyrnrated California’s number onernand even compared them favorably tornJapan’s. Distinguished mathematicianrnRalph Raimi, coauthor of the Fordhamrnreview, says of MC, “They are notrnparochial. In working on California detailsrnthey’re also lighting a path for others.rn.. . And unlike their opponents, theyrnlisten to mathematicians, whereas thosernwho excoriate them are invariably fromrnthe math education, not the mathematical,rncommunity.”rnThese opponents truly believe, as onernof their number declared, that “it nornlonger makes sense to teach childrenrnstandard algorithms.” And they are quiternwilling to portray MC and its allies asrnhooded agents of the Christian right tryingrnto drag children back into the DarkrnAges of rote memorization, “drill andrnkill,” and the Right Answer.rnIn fact, most MC members are politicallyrnliberal (this is California, after all),rneven if academically traditional. MartharnSchwartz, during her fight to restore algebrarnto the Torrance schools, was mostrnannoyed byrnhaving to write a letter pointing outrnthat as a secular Jewish geologyrnteacher and registered Democrat, Irnwas not, as charged, a Christianrnfiindamentalist conservative—butrnnoting that those were all legalrnthings to b e . . . . People would actuallyrnsay things like “All you collegernpeople care about is skills andrnknowledge.”rnPaul Clopton echoes her:rnOne of the most upsetting thingsrnwas a statement by a Palo Altornteacher in connection with thernstruggle there. To paraphrase, thernteacher said, “Those parents arernonly concerned because they wantrntheir own children to be competitivernin college.” Were we supposedrnto feel shameful?rnMrs. Schwartz adds that she is “alwaysrnoutraged when people claim femalesrnand minorities can’t learn math or sciencernlike ‘regular people.'” Lest thatrnsound like a distortion of her opponents’rnreal views, listen to Jack Price, then headrnof the National Council of Teachers ofrnMathematics, in a debate with MichaelrnMcKeown on San Diego radio in Aprilrn1996: “What we have now is nostalgiarnmath. It’s the mathematics that we’vernalways had, that is good for the mostrnpart for high-socioeconomic-status Anglornmales.” Later in the debate. Price asserts:rnWe have a great deal of researchrnthat has been done showing thatrnwomen, for example, and minorityrngroups do not learn the same way.rnThey have the capability of learning,rnb u t . . . the teaching strategiesrnthat we use with them are differentrnfrom those that we have been ablernto use in the past when .. . most ofrnthose who did graduate and go onrnto college were the Anglo males.rn46/CHRONICLESrnrnrn