I've written several recent posts about the decline of math education. It's usually not mathematics professors who want to dumb down math, it's math education professors who want to.
I’m so old I can remember Jesse Jackson challenging black kids in the 1970s by asking, “What could you accomplish if you spent as much time and worked as hard at math as you do at basketball”? No black “leader” will dare say such a thing today. Instead, they will be told they are victims of white supremacy, because math itself is white supremacy.
To be sure, Escalante is a rare teacher. He was absolutely riveting in person. And while that kind of genius can’t be easily acquired, it can be studied and emulated as an example of human excellence and effective pedagogy. I suspect the number of education schools that teach a case study about Escalante (or Marva Collins, who I also met once) is precisely zero.
Instead of Escalante’s challenge, students at the University of Illinois they will get this....