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American Educator
Fall 1999


Table of Contents

Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics (PDF)
By Richard Askey

Elementary school mathematics, it turns out, is not so elementary. This means that teaching it well requires much deeper mathematical knowledge than almost everyone has thought. There will be no math reform unless we provide teachers with the training, textbooks, time, and support needed to develop this knowledge.

Basic Skills versus Conceptual Understanding (PDF)
A Bogus Dichotomy in Mathematics Education

By Hung-Hsi Wu

In mathematics, skills and understanding are completely intertwined. There is not "conceptual understanding" and "problem-solving skill" on the one hand and "basic skills" on the other. Nor can one acquire the former without the latter. This false dichotomy impedes efforts to improve math education.

Teacher Time (PDF)
(Or, Rather, the Lack of It)
By Marty Shollenberger Swaim and Stephen C. Swaim

A secondary school teacher with a typical workload who puts in a 50-hour week has approximately 10 minutes to prepare for each class and five minutes per week to review each student's work. And elementary school teachers face the same time bind. Go figure.

Different Strokes for Different Folks? (PDF)
A Critique of Learning Styles

By Steven A. Stahl

People are different. Certainly people might learn differently from each other; and we should structure our teaching accordingly. This sounds so reasonable. But it isn't.
New Unions for the New Economy

By David Kusnet

Things aren't all rosy for workers at Microsoft,, and other high-tech companies. Familiar problems—and new ones—are giving rise to a variety of employee organizations.

Why Read?
Letters to Your Students
By Jim Burke

If you have students who say books are boring—or worse—here are some letters from ordinary folks that might make them think again.

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About American Educator

American Educator is a quarterly journal of educational research and ideas published by the American Federation of Teachers. Recent articles have focused on such topics as reducing the achievement gap between poor and affluent students, heading off student discipline problems, teaching an appreciation and understanding of democracy, the benefits of a common coherent curriculum, and other issues affecting children and education here and abroad. Total circulation, as of our most recent issue, is over 900,000.

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