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Editorial.

It is not surprising that most people, both military and civilian, associate military education with training and conformity. I was very glad to take on this issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly to learn more about what military educators are really doing, and to share their efforts with our esteemed readership.

The articles in this issue deal with subjects such as peer-teaching opportunities, social inequalities, creative writing online and the ethical use of force. In short, what we have this quarter is a collection of articles pursuing various themes, some directly tied to a military audience, and others, although stemming from a military setting, aimed at a much broader readership.

The educators represented in this issue are but a small percentage of those charged with educating high school students in JROTC programs up to and including military officers at War Colleges and other Senior Service Schools of the federal government. Their educational charges are many and varied. Some teach english, some ethics, others mechanical engineering and yet still others maintain academic discussions outside their official classroom duties; discussions concerning the distinction between military versus civilian education or how and why more liberal arts education should make its way into professional military education.

From my experiences at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut and with the various contributors to this journal, I have found that more than anything else, education in the military stresses the courage to think carefully and ethically about decisions, and the ability to communicate those decisions clearly and concisely. Independent, critical and creative thinking is stressed, while personal motivations are generally cast aside in decision-making processes in favor of larger-picture questions of: what is in the best interest of the nation we serve? what is in the best interest of the service? how does each one of us help accomplish those objectives at the local level?

I cannot allow myself to close this missive without a quick "Go Bears!" for the Coast Guard community. The Coast Guard Academy reminded me when I began here three years ago, and continues to remind me today, of what it means to be an American citizen. I profit daily from my interactions with the young men and women who give their college years over to the U.S.C.G.A., the faculty and staff who educate and train them and all the Coast Guard personnel who learn here. All of these men and women volunteer countless hours of their time. They are reminders that we, as a nation, are a community of communities and are all interlocked in a mutually supportive system that asks us simply to do what we can for the good of all.

Many thanks go out to all of those who read and responded to the Calls for Papers I sent out, as well as to the editorial staff at AEQ and everyone who helped me with this project. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Coast Guard nor of the Coast Guard Academy

Dr. Alexander Waid

United States Coast Guard Academy, CT

The field of mathematics made possible the great achievements of the scientific revolution and is today indispensable in science, technology, and many professions. Mathematics is no longer regarded as a unitary, simple subject in the curriculum, but it is considered to be a separate form of literacy, and by some even to be a separate language, with inherent theoretical and logical content, a classical art, and the only universal language. In spite of its importance, the typical student learns only enough utilitarian math or arithmetic to cope with common daily problems, a level of knowledge incommensurate with the demands of modern democracies. As the mathematician and author John Allen Paulos warned, failure of politicians, journalists, and common citizens to understand mathematics leads to poor decisions and bad public policies.

Problems of innumeracy have become a matter of concern in many nations, especially as mathematics is now the essential gateway to higher education and studies in advanced and technical areas. As attention has been drawn to the problems students at all levels experience in this field, the teacher who must assist them is faced with a challenge that is often frustrating and at times disheartening. Recent instructional reform, especially in the United States, has focused on sense making and problem solving rather than rote memorization of facts and processes and computational problems. Even so, current reforms in math education are similar to those of a generation ago, when "new math" was introduced without sound research but an earnest eagerness to experiment with untried procedures. Some issues stir controversy and debate, such as phonics versus whole language, sex education, school prayer, or evolution, but mathematics reform escapes the attention of the public.

Without a doubt, research about math must continue in order to determine the effectiveness of current and proposed reforms, and to evaluate the success of programs that are implemented in the K-12 and higher education curricula. This special edition of research about math education provides research articles ranging elementary and postsecondary education topics, including current interest in math anxiety, gender and cultural diversity, mathematical thinking, contextual learning, parent involvement, computer-assisted instruction, the use of calculators, and pedagogical knowledge of teachers. It is hoped that these articles will spark a continued interest in research in this important field and highlight the efforts of researchers who are engaged in important endeavors that may otherwise go unnoticed in the hurly-burly of educational politics.

Dr. George E. Marsh JJ

The University of Alabama

Dr. Barrie Jo Price

The University of Alabama

Dr. Anna C. McFadden

The University of Alabama
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Author:McFadden, Anna C.
Publication:Academic Exchange Quarterly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2004
Words:948
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