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President's Message (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Astrid Monson Recipient of Achievement Award (Jackie Parnell)
Candidates in Focus (Jean Aoki)
Makakilo Candidates' Forum
In Memoriam
OCCC Voter Registration
Ad Watch (Arlene Ellis)
Education: A U.S. Gold Medal in Math
Education Committee Meets (Marion Saunders)
New Member Orientation Video
New National League Publications
Time for Women, A
Hawaii Lawyers Care Receives Grant
Letter to the Editor (Carol Odo)

Education: A U.S. Gold Medal in Math

This is a reprint of the article found in the August 1, 1994 edition of NEWSWEEK.

There are no fans from back home to shout U!S!A!, U!S!A! (There wasn't even a TV announcer to roar g-o-a-l!) But at the 35th International Mathematical Olympiad in Hong Kong last week, six American high school students performed a feat that was not unlike the U.S. Olympic ice-hockey team's gold medal win in 1980. Each of the high school boys of summer scored a perfect 42 points on a two-day, nine-hour test of algebra, geometry and number theory to win the gold medal. Their unprecedented, flawless execution astonished the competition from 69 other countries. The U.S. team's combined score beat the Chinese team's by 23 points, said the gleeful U.S. coach, Walter Mientka, a professor of mathematics at the University of Nebraska.

Students made the mathematical team U.S.A. by outscoring 350,000 other teens on the American High School Math Exam last February. They then passed a series of follow-up tests and attended a onemonth mathematics seminar at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, before leaving for Hong Kong. In contrast, Chinese and Russian students, who usually dominate the math Olympiad, train together year-round. Last week they had to settle for second and third place, respectively.

The U.S. win, said Mientka, proves that American students can excel at math despite the steady drum beat of poor results on standardized tests in recent years. "Without question (the winning students) have innate ability, but their performance is directly attributed to the excellent teachers they've had." All six went to public schools.

Either I missed the report of this event, or the local papers did not carry it, but with public education in the U.S. always being compared so unfavorably with that of other developed countries, I feel this deserved more attention than it got. -Jean Aoki

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