*I've been working on a new website which I will share with you when ready but I haven't forgotten my faithful readers who may have forgotten me!*

There are so many issues in mathematics education that it would take forever to update you on all of them, however, I know that you are already aware of most of these.

**Some Significant Current Issues in Math Ed**

- Moving Inexorably Towards Common Standards in Math
- Teachers Need a Clear Curriculum Map/Content Guide rather than Standards!
- Rapid Push Toward Including Several Open-Ended Questions on State or Common Assessments is Slowing Down. Can you think of the major reasons for this?
- Joel Klein's Education Equality Project whose goal is to close the Achievement Gap

Of course, most of you have already skipped down to the Challenge Problems!

The first can be tackled by middle schoolers, although many high schoolers may find it interesting and fall into a trap if not careful. The wording is challenging but your students may benefit from working in small groups.

**Challenge Problem #1**

**a, b, c, d and e are positive integers with a ≤ b ≤ c ≤ d < e.**

**If a + b + c + d + e = 143, what is the least possible value of e?**

Comments:

Is this merely a guess-test-revise question or is there a strategy/method your students can come up with? How would you extend this problem? change the "143" to a larger value? Change the set of integers to 4 values (a,b,c,d)? 6? k? This is an important issue. Otherwise students may see each problem as an isolated quickly solved puzzle!

The goal of the next question is to review geometry and algebra skills and concepts and to encourage a variety of approaches. I will give the answer -- the challenge for your students is to find AT LEAST THREE METHODS! The teacher may want to submit the best team's efforts to me for acknowledgment on this site.

**Challenge Problem #2**

**P(5,1), Q(8,2) and R(**

*a*,*b*) determine an isosceles right triangle with point R above line PQ and ∠ PRQ the right angle. Determine the coordinates*a*and*b*. In your group, you must devise at least THREE methods!Answer (6,7)

Methods???

"

*All Truth passes through Three Stages: First, it is Ridiculed...*

*Second, it is Violently Opposed...*

*Third, it is Accepted as being Self-Evident.*"

- Arthur Schopenhauer (1778-1860)

*"You've got to be taught*

*To hate and fear,*

*You've got to be taught*

*From year to year,*

*It's got to be drummed*

*In your dear little ear*

*You've got to be carefully taught."*

--from South Pacific

Note: These lyrics provoked considerable criticism back in 1949-50 but Rodgers and Hammerstein would not take them out. Do they still have relevance today?