As the owner of a private learning center and a former public school principal, I regularly research education trends. Furthermore, because I have students from a wide geographical area, I have seen a number of math programs filter through a a wide range of school disctricts. Therefore, I am perplexed and dismayed that the Branford school system had decided to implement the Everyday Math Program next year. I pose several questions to the decision-makers on the Board of Education:
1)First and foremost– Where is the empirical data that this method produces students who are more capable in math? Where are the studies that demonstrate its superiority to traditional math?
2) Our international math ranking is far below a number of countries. Has anyone researched the math programs they use to help keep our students competitive?
3)Why is calculator use such an integral part of the program? Anyone who has seen the movie Apollo 13 may recall that with all the electrical systems inoperable on the spacecraft, the astronauts had to do all the calculating “by hand.” I continually press upon my students that unless they are doing complicated formulations, they do not and should not NEED a calculator. NO, not long multiplication or division, or even most algebraic formulas. They need to know the algorithm.
4) Wasn’t this program, or one similar to it, in place several years ago?
5) I refer you to Two Million Minutes, a documentary that contrasts American teenagers with their counterparts in China & India. Why are Americans the only ones who do not realize they are in a globally competitive economy.
6)College mathematicians, physicists, and other professionals excoriate the Everyday Math program. Who benefits from this besides the publisher?
Like “new math” in the 60′s this is another trend that will leave students with little math ability and no competitive edge.
For more information, take a look at the Youtube entitled “Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth”