The National Mathematics Advisory Panel released a few weeks ago its comprehensive report on the state of math education in the US. The panel recommends that algebra be treated as algebra again, among other things.
- Get the full report and read it
- Watch/listen to the Panel’s Chair, Dr. Larry Faulkner, discuss the highlights of the report [3 minutes, 11 seconds]
- Browse a list of topics detailed in the report
- Read the New America Foundation’s take on the implications for K-3 math
Alternatively, you can:
Pretend to read the 120page report, then select carefully a paltry 3 sentences to show your community, all of which support your political agenda and unyielding commitment to poor math education and a general lack of transparency. Although I usually find The Ridgewood Blog compelling, they’ve made a serious mistake here. They’ve assumed that Tim Brennan read the whole report to select those 3 sentences [doubtful].
Discard the report’s merits entirely. Even the Constructivists, who could embrace this report and align it with their calls for relevance, have chosen instead to be defensive and reactionary.
Friend/foe Gary Stager dropkicks the report:
“Itâ€™s easy to see how someone might think that several years worth of fraction study prepares a child for Algebra. Fractions have numerators over denominators, separated by a horizontal line. Many algebraic equations have something over something else, also separated by a line. Thatâ€™s all you need to know. Right?”
He goes on:
“Children who struggle to manipulate fractions do so because the skills are taught absent a meaningful context in a culture where fractions are rarely ever used.”
Remember, Gary – fractions aren’t just numbers separated by lines, though it’s a convenient straw man. Fractions are ratios, which are, at the most basic level, comparisons of one thing in terms of another. Then we assign meaning to that comparison of values. Then we can apply it to context, if necessary.
We all do this a hundred times a day [not just in cooking recipes] – and the Constructivists should be the first to admit that.
Threaten to kill your teachers [and yourself] if they fail. It’s science, not math, but that’s ok. The issue is the same: do we meet the challenge, do we admit that we aren’t trained to meet the challenge, or do we just freak out and draw national attention? Well, someone chose that third option:
NEW BRAUNFELS — A middle school principal threatened to kill a group of science teachers if their students did not improve their standardized test scores, according to a complaint filed with the New Braunfels Police Department. [Hat Tip: Intercepts]
Lament that your students will use math. One thing schools of education don’t want its graduates to do is to make cannon fodder for that most evil institution: the United States Military!
“Patriotic or not, I feel like the Army is snatching my student away. College funding or not, I feel like the happy and prosperous life I wish for my students is somehow incompatible with conscription. Maybe it has something to do with the sentiment expressed by Kurt Vonnegut, who fought in the Second World War, that the US military today is â€œbeing treated, as [he] never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas.â€” [snip]
“Thereâ€™s an email in my inbox from the Conference on Math Education and Social Justice. It says teaching math in New York City helps create balance in an unjust world. It doesnâ€™t know that it might actually send Stephanie into harmâ€™s way.”
Please, dear diarist, if you care about Stephanie, don’t teacher her math. Keep her safe instead. Might our diarist be a former student of Monmouth’s Jim Horn?
Edwize is starting to be a daily source of black comedy. I’d enjoy it more if I didn’t know it was real and anything but uncommon.
And some just say to Heck with it! Is Algebra Even Necessary?
O math, why must ye causeth such deth and stryfe?