SteveH on the current slew of math reformer arguments

SteveH was commenting on a particular blog that, like many, holds that math as traditionally taught is passe, never worked, and that the blog authors’ ideas of math education are far superior.  I have left the particular blog unidentified since it is typical of the many:

The only thing I ever had to memorize was the times table, and that was only a fraction of all of our work. Does ______ think that students have to learn why different base number systems exist in third grade?

Never do we see their full promised-land curriculum of understanding and problem solving that leads to a proper preparation for the 7th grade track to algebra in 8th grade. If ____ is talking about alternate paths for high school students who are not headed for a STEM college degree program after a proper K-8 math preparation, I’m open to suggestions, but it has to be based on their career and job requirements.

Education based on teacher ego. Educators like _____ do NOT want the teacher totally as the guide on the side. They want the teacher as someone who impresses the students. It’s all about them and their turf. They define a different process, but don’t show examples of success.

 Where is their full curriculum and student end results?


2 thoughts on “SteveH on the current slew of math reformer arguments

  1. The fundamental issue they never address is that integrated (or whatever) math tried and lost in high school. IB (which leads to taking the AP test) and the AP Calculus tracks have won. That’s what colleges want to see for any STEM program and many non-STEM degree programs. This track starts at the 7th grade math track split to a proper algebra class in 8th grade. Vocational schools and community colleges place students using the Accuplacer test, not CCSS.

    Why does K-6 math education have to be completely different? Why is it a non-STEM zone to only no math remediation at the end of high school? They admit this openly now. Why don’t schools make this very clear to parents and explain the exact criteria needed to get on the algebra in 8th grade track? Why don’t they tell parents that they are now officially on their own in K-6? Why do they send home notes telling us parents to work on “math facts?” I got to calculus in high school in the 60’s with absolutely no help from my parents. This could not be done with my “math brain” son 10 years ago.

    This is educational incompetence. Seriously.

    Many of these pedagogues now talk about “math zombies” who get good grades, but still really don’t understand what they are doing, which is very normal because there are different levels of understanding. OK, so where are their other ideal students? What exact curriculum gets them there? Show how those students do on SAT II Math and AP Calculus tests. I might be their biggest fan. No. Their dream students don’t exist, so now they’re left promoting the benefits of engagement and conceptual understanding which are agnostic to pedagogy and curriculum. However, to promote their individual products (not curricula), they have to trash “rote” traditional math using rote, and wrong, justifications. It’s quite ironic.

    Their products might be good additions to a traditional approach (or not), but they don’t change the fact that traditional math curricula have won. Only those in K-6 are left in mathematical fairyland – to the extreme detriment of all students.


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