Saturday, March 17, 2007

Former punk rock guitarist smells a rat in Everyday Math

Wise words from a fellow writer.

Tom Chartier, lead guitarist in the legendary Los Angeles punk band The Rotters for 26 years until the band's final appearance in 2004, writes about the rot that is Everyday Mathematics for in, Is Your Child a Math Moron?

Tom's words:

Is Your Child a Math Moron?

One such program is Everyday Mathematics created and published by the University of Chicago Mathematics Project. Due to its confusing nature, within the teaching world E.M. is also known as "fuzzy math." And fuzzy it is, but not the warm, snuggly kind.

Everyday Mathematics boasts a "spiraling system" (hey if they don’t get it the first time, maybe they won’t get it the second either… or the third, fourth, fifth, etc.). E.M. also uses bizarre terminology unfamiliar to most parents. That means that busy parents must master Everyday Mathematics in order translate that which they already know how to do into E.M.’s new-fangled lingo for the purpose of explaining it to their children… if they can. Confused? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet! It’s kind of like learning how to "speak" a foreign language… without having a clue what you’re saying.

E.M. even has geography lessons (I don’t get that either… unless they are to help find Middle Eastern oil deposits)! I suppose counting states is math. Unfortunately for the students, there are more than twenty.

It gets better. Everyday Mathematics is chock full of alternative algorithms. What, you ask, are those? For those of you out there who suffer from "mathematics deprivation syndrome" (MDS, the new plague replacing bird flu), an algorithm is a "method to solve problems." Your basic method of adding two-digit numbers through "carrying" is an example of an algorithm. E.M.’s program is brimming over with "alternative methods" giving children a miasma of choices from which to be baffled further.

Well, if it ain’t broke… better fix it. Traditional methods are passé. Unfortunately, the old-fashioned methods only offered one way to solve a problem and another way to check it. Everyday Mathematics makes attaining a lucrative career as the Village Idiot all that more challenging. Too much competition.

Everyday Mathematics ensures that it will be nearly impossible for parents to help their perplexed offspring. Will there be federal funding for No Parent Left Behind? I sure hope so! Additionally, continued use of Everyday Mathematics is a sure fire method to hardwire children with indelible hostility towards math.

It makes me long for the good old days of Tom Lehrer and New Math.

Not convinced? Here’s an explanatory video.

For education officials who have to buy a program, there are alternatives such as Saxon Math, Progress in Mathematics and Singapore Math, all of them highly effective in actually teaching… math.

I suggest concerned parents raise a full-blown, bovine stink to get Everyday Mathematics tossed out of their children’s classrooms and into the dumpster where it belongs. Or… we can look forward to longer lines at the Chum Bucket Sea Food Buffet waiting for our change.

And remember this. Your children will be the ones to pick out your rest home and pay for it! It might help if they can add up the bill correctly.

I absolutely agree. Sadly, Olentangy parents, your administrators are sold on the hogwash that is fuzzy math. Why? Programs such as Everyday Math meet the goals of Progressive education and the worldview of most educators. It has become less about learning and more about indoctrination.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to agree.

I have a BS in Math, use advanced math every day in my work and am still perplexed with some of the approaches taken in my son's math classes. That, along with a teacher one year who didn't seem to understand how to teach math, and my wife and I ended up tutoring our son every day for an hour in math just so he would not fall behind.

Parental involvement is one thing (and very valuable), but having to reteach an entire course is going above and beyond what we expected.