# Mathematical Digest

### Short Summaries of Articles about Mathematics

in the Popular Press

"A Universal Symbol," by Arturo Sangalli.*New Scientist*, 23 May 1998, page 53.

A debate is raging about the way we teach mathematics. Supportersof ethnomathematics challenge what they call Eurocentrism in matheducation. They say that teaching students in a culturally andhistorically meaningful way, rather than placing emphasis on getting the right answer, will make almost anyone good at math.

Not so, say the members of Mathematically Correct. This backlash to the "soft" New Age approach has gained momentum in the U.S.

In this article, Arturo Sangelli asks both sides to avoid divisive and sterile debate, take a constructive approach, and share thegood things math has to offer. The essence of math, he says, isthe search for universal truths, in which no arguments are necessary.

See the full article on the web: www.newscientist.com/ns/980523/forum.html

*--- Ben Stein*