This item appeared in the "Editor's File" in
The Textbook Letter, July-August 1999.

Time Warp

William J. Bennetta

Glencoe's current catalogue of mathematics books for use in grades 6 through 12 begins with a message that plugs "Glencoe's continuing commitment to mathematics education." Let us note a manifestation of Glencoe's "continuing commitment":

The tennis athlete Venus Williams was born on 17 June 1980. In June 1997 she reached the age of 17, and in June 1999 she turned 19. We may deplore Glencoe's brand of mathematics -- which evidently doesn't include the art of counting -- but we cannot doubt that Glencoe has a real commitment to the notion that Venus Williams always has been, and still is, 15 years old.

William J. Bennetta is a professional editor, a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, the president of The Textbook League, and the editor of The Textbook Letter. He writes often about the propagation of quackery, false "science" and false "history" in schoolbooks.


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