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OCR for page 5

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6 THE NATURE AND ROLE OF ALGEBRA IN THE K-14 CURRICULUM them even more important. Part of the concern now is how we deal with algebra on this test and what this does to the curriculum. These kinds of questions make what we are about here even more important. Algebra is actually just the tip of the iceberg just part of the broader picture of mathematics education that we are thinking about because we are going to have to face some of the same issues in terms of geometry and statistics and measurement. First, though, we have many questions before us about algebra algebra for all, algebra in the eighth grade, how we factor in technology, the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and what it says about how we teach algebra, algebra in the 12th grade, algebra in the first and second grades, algebra at the university level, algebra in community colleges. One thing that I hope comes out of this is the beginning of a coherent vision of what algebra ought to be and look like from grades K through 14. It is exciting because here, at this meeting, we have people from all over the United States and Canada to consider this important topic of algebra. We owe the National Science Foundation a great deal of thanks for sponsoring this symposium by giving a grant to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. We also owe a great deal of thanks to Texas Instruments and to Casio, who have donated money to NCTM to support some of the costs associated with putting on this meeting. On behalf of NCTM, I am very glad to welcome you and to say that I hope we can make this an extremely productive and useful two days. I hope this symposium will advance the national dialogue on how we make a difference in what we do with algebra. I would like to introduce our first speaker today, Hy Bass. Hy is a member of the Mathematics Department at Columbia University and also the Chair of the Mathematical Sciences Education Board, which is housed in the National Academy of Sciences. Hy is going to help us get a glimpse of what algebra looks like from the mathematician's perspective."