August 7, 2014

Rehashing the Math Wars in an Understandable Way, Again

The Math Wars never seem to go away. Those who created the idea that children learn better by not being taught recycle and repackage it, year after year.

The latest incarnation is Common Core math. True, CC are just standards...but, they really aren't. Nothing is ever free of interpretation, especially standards. This is especially true when purveyors of fuzzy math are in charge of teacher education, curricula, tests, and everything else imaginable in public education.

Read this article by Elizabeth Green that started the latest dust-up. In a nutshell, she asserts what fuzzy math supporters have always asserted: fuzzy math is good and will raise our test scores if only teachers were trained properly in how to teach it. She and others believe that Common Core math will succeed if only there were better teacher preparation schools out there. Again, the most wonderful teacher prep paired with the best teachers the world (paired with extra bright, with-it parents who can teach this "new" math to their children) could provide will not make something that could just be ill-informed and unworkable.

It doesn't make sense to start 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 year old children thinking about and having to explain math when they don't know math. Of course, children mature at different rates. Children also grasp different things at different times, as well. However, by signing up for Common Core standards, there is NO deviation from the Common Core timetable of what is taught and when it is taught. The timetable will be rigid because of the testing component.

Then read the Tom Loveless article, "Six Myths in the New York Times Math Article By Elizabeth Green." His article hits on many of her myths (or points).

Lastly, read this article by Barry Garelick entitled "A common-sense approach to Common Core math standards." It is long, but it spells out what you need to understand about what math does and does not do right now. Also, the author gives an easy example with 1st grade math standards. 

After reading everything I've suggested, you'll have a better idea about the main math issues that have bled into Common Core. 


  1. You may find these interesting.

    Misunderstanding Asian education in the UK

    Blended learning and the evolving Japanese "cram schools"

  2. Great links, thanks! The US is going the way of cram schools; we've got to if we want our kids to get a complete math education.


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