Saturday, February 19, 2005

Taxes finance fuzzy math

The role played by the tax-supported National Science Foundation (through its EHR division) in promoting fuzzy math is a scandal of monumental proportions. This NSF division was captured by fuzzy (constructivist) math fanatics some time ago and has been conducting an aggressive tax-financed campaign ever since to spread the constructivist gospel far and wide.

The results are described in this excellent article in Education Next by Barry Garelick.

Image from Education Next

Hat tip: Joanne Jacobs


Stiles said...

I'm interested in how you reconcile this attack on reform math with last week's AIR study.

Given the study's comparison of Singapore math, Everyday Math, and Scott-Foresman, it seems to me that the reform movement has at least moved the ball down the field. Returning to the traditional texts would be akin to backing yourself up against your own goal line.

Why not acknowledge the strong elements of the reform approach while stating that we need to add to them in terms of more emphasis on concept and a strong foundation in basic facts?

Dr. Stat said...

I am critical of AIR's conclusion that the US has something to offer over against Singapore. I have not been able to detect anything that reform math has contributed to improving math instruction, and I see it at the level where it most matters--college and graduate school. As for "returning to traditional texts," I'm not sure what that means because I'm not sure what a "traditional" text is. I prefer that we return to "sensible" instructional methods, regardless of what texts are used. And "sensible" instructional methods can come only from teachers who actually understand math and don't have to rely on the teacher's manual to know what to do.

See my article for more