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The Role of Mathematics in Education for Democracy


by Deborah Loewenberg Ball & Hyman Bass ó 2008

Mathematics enables us to fly to the moon, track our genetic codes, create beautiful music, design our cars, build our houses, and contact others around the world almost instantaneously. However, mathematics, that abstract language which helps us to access the relationships in our physical universe(s), is rarely invoked in the service of preparing young people for democratic participation. Deborah Ball and Hyman Bass take on the challenge of situating the highly revered, somewhat mystical discipline of mathematics as a key contributor to concepts of democracy.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 107. No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 110 Number 13, 2008, p. 171-184
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18470, Date Accessed: 10/18/2017 11:51:09 PM

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About the Author
  • Deborah Ball
    University of Michigan
    E-mail Author
    DEBORAH LOEWENBERG BALL is Dean of the School of Education and the William H. Payne Collegiate Professor of mathematics education and teacher education at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Drawing directly and indirectly on her experience as a classroom teacher, Ballís work focuses on studies of instruction and of the processes of learning to teach, efforts to improve teaching through policy, reform initiatives, and teacher education.
  • Hyman Bass
    University of Michigan
    HYMAN BASS is the Roger Lyndon Collegiate Professor of mathematics and mathematics education at the University of Michigan. His mathematical research publications cover broad areas of algebra, with connections to geometry, topology, and number theory. Bass is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His work in education focuses on the nature, measurement, and instruction of the mathematical knowledge needed for teaching mathematics.
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