Monday, January 22, 2007

Math education follies

One of my favorite edubloggers is Instructivist; I just wish s/he would post more often, because it is always fascinating stuff. Instructivist is a math teacher, and blogs passionately about the sad state of math education in our country.

Anyone who follows the travails of our educational system and its declining performance may have heard of "fuzzy spelling" and "fuzzy math". I myself have read many books and articles about those subjects, and I have seen fuzzy spelling in action, such as encouraging students to invent the spelling of words rather than learn the correct spelling, because learning the correct spelling would "stifle" their creativity. Meanwhile, the kids never do learn how to spell properly. I never really got the full story about how fuzzy math works... until now.

Instructivist has linked to a YouTube video that was produced by what looks to be a local T.V. weatherlady in the Seattle area. She made the video in order to shed light on the math curricula that is being used in her childrens' schools. She does an excellent job of showing how these fuzzy math curricula take the simple and make it agonizingly difficult. The video is about 12 minutes long, but it is worth every second if you want to see the insanity that is being taught in some public schools around the nation. No wonder so many of our students stink at math! Just watch a young 'un try to count change behind the cash register if the register doesn't do it for them. Better yet, look at the confused look on their face if the price is $15.25 and you hand them $20.25. That happened to me just recently.

Good Day to You, Sir


Charity said...

Thanks for sharing that. I was just yesterday looking at The Weapons of Math Destruction, which was featured on edspresso. It is a comic based on one father's effort to get good math back into the schools.

It turns out that the school my kids went to before I started homeschooling uses one of these types of curricula, though not the two featured in the video. I am so glad I homeschool!

This is really scary stuff.

Instructivist said...

Many thanks for the kind words, Chanman.

I really should make an effort and post more. I am always waiting for my mood to improve, but it's not happening yet. I find that thoughts come by more easily when I am in a good mood.

I am in Chicago. What's on my mind right now is the constructivist crap programs the board here forces on failing schools. I had a post about that. Now they want to fire principals if schools don't improve. The principals' hands are tied with these junk programs. Those who force this junk on schools should be fired.

Darren said...

I thought *I* was one of your favorite edubloggers.

Chanman said...

Darren, you're definitely on my short list!