Actually, not just the heart of the matter of the Hacker-Tanton debate, but, like, The Heart of The Matter in math education.
Is math for everybody?
I have come to feel like I can hear this question somewhere in the background of almost every debate about math education and math education policy that I encounter.
Almost everyone will say “yes.” But do they mean it? Or more precisely, what do they mean?
Is ‘rithmetic for everybody but that abstract stuff is just for eggheads? Is being put through the paces of the corpus of school math for everybody but enjoying it is just for dorks or smartypants? Is having to take tests for everybody but math as a tool to exercise agency is just for white and Asian men?
Or is all of it for everybody?