Saturday, September 30, 2006

Fuzzy math behemoth cracking?

Could the fuzzy math steamroller be showing signs of sputtering?

Teens and Tweens, a site devoted to "understanding-based" math education that gratifyingly beats TERC over the head, cites a letter from a math teacher in Detroit who reports that Detroit's public schools have jettisoned CMP (a widely used fuzzy math program for the middle grades) in favor of a more traditional program:

"The Detroit Public Schools have replaced CMP with normal textbooks from Holt-Reinhart-Winston. The first group of students to have CMP throughout all 3 middle school years (6-8) had horrible standardized test scores. Someone finally got wise. The new textbooks seem OK. I will, however, continue to teach students rather than a curriculum."
However, the last sentence is somewhat mysterious. What could this teacher be teaching the students if not a curriculum? The phrase harkens back to one of the progressive ed dicta: “teach the child, not the subject.”

How about teaching the child the subject?


Anonymous said...

It kind of sounds like his audience is the curriculum rather than the students. It's kind of an incomprehensible statement any way you look at it.

CrypticLife said...

If you look at his starting point, he'd been rejecting a fuzzy math curriculum for some time (at risk to his job), and teaching the subject as he saw fit for the students he was teaching. That's what he means by "teaching students, not a curriculum". The fuzzy math was dropped, but he still doesn't plan to adhere to the new curriculum if he feels the students will be better served by deviating from it.