Convoluting Math – Betraying Our Children’s Future

More woeful elementary core curriculum education news from the state of Oklahoma, and specifically in Tulsa and surrounding areas. Headline: Elementary Test Results Dip, and they have dipped “to the lowest rates in years.” The good news is, about 24 years ago, Tulsa schools took 6th graders out of elementary schools and moved them into what was transitioning from Junior High School to Middle School. That bright idea is apparently now being corrected and 6th graders are moving back to elementary school where they are better served. The fact is, students across the nation are failing in mathematics and science. Many High School graduates are put in remedial reading classes so they can qualify for college. Appalling. We have convoluted math to the extreme. Our education system continues to be in crisis as we pour billions and billions of dollars into teaching and administration. With half my brain tied behind my back, I know that funding is not the problem. The article and video below will raise your eyebrows, give you a migraine and if you care about your child’s future, you will be madder than heck. It’s one of the most important pieces I have read on education, other than Kevin Jennings moving out of Obama’s Safe Schools Czar office. Please pass this to family and especially to parents who are dismayed at their child’s lack of interest in mathematics.

The district’s overall fourth-grade reading proficiency rate fell 10 percentage points to 42, and third-grade math is down 9 points to just 48 percent overall. Moderate losses were seen at the fifth-grade level, with math and reading proficiency down 6 and 5 points respectively to 52 percent and 49 percent overall.

Sixth-graders improved three points in both math and reading, to 54 and 53 percent, respectively. Source: Tulsa World


The New Math

by Grumpy at Grumpy Opinions

Years ago when I got out of the service unemployment was high, and no one really wanted Vets, the general assumption was we were all crazy– a slight exaggeration.  The construction industry was a little different, cray was normal and it paid well, provided you were willing to get paid for what you produced, instead of the time you put in…   The only problem was you were on your own for things like insurance, and the winters were rough on cash flow.   That was when I started learning there was more money in selling the materials, then there was in nailing it together..

A couple years later I was managing a lumber yard.  One evening I wrote a guy up for 160 feet of baseboard molding, and set him to the kid in back to get loaded up.. and went back to what I was doing..  A couple minutes later the came to and asked how many pieces he should give the customer.  The kid was eighteen and had graduated from High School less than a month before..

I looked at him and said ” You’ve got sixteen footers back there, the stuff’s in ten piece bundles, the customer has a racks on his truck, so sixteens are fine.

The pride of the local school system just stood there for a full minute looking at me, then he said “Yeah, but how many pieces do I give him?”

I had to explain to this kid, who had just Graduated High School that ten times sixteen equaled 160-

Over the years I’ve heard people complain about the lack of very basic skills kids have when they finish High School.  Educators have demanded and gotten more money, smaller class sizes and the latest and greatest in modern educational tools.  The result is a lower quality finished product than we had fifty years and hundreds of billions of ago.  Now we’ve gotten to the point that everyone is blaming everyone, the parents blame the schools and the teachers,  In turn the schools and the teachers blame the parents.

Every year the experts come up with a new solution, but it will cost money.  Somehow the experts don’t get blamed– they just get more money out of the deal.. Before we go any farther, take a look at the video.. The narrator gets much better as she gets into her subject, she’s not so good at first.

Explaining New Math, no – really (video)

I’m not so sure if I’d have been able to solve a simple multiplication problem if I’d been taught bu any of those methods.  However that’s what the experts say works.. at least while they’re selling the school districts new curriculum models, and very expensive books to go with them.

I sat my almost eleven year old grandson down and we watched the video together, he’s been taught everyone of the algorithms except the lattice method.. Then he laughed a little..

He told me last year as Florida’s FCAT  Testing Season was approaching his teacher was having a really hard time getting her students to understand the clusters, thingamajigs and whatever’s the new math calls for..  She was getting desperate.  Finally she said “Screw this”, and started erasing  everything on the black board.

Then she said.. “You don’t have to show your work on the FCAT, let me show you how to do this stuff right.  It didn’t take long for the class to figure it out, when it was taught the way it had been for generations.. before the experts made it better.


Read an excellent UPDATED follow-up at Grumpy Opinions.

Linked at SENTRY JOURNAL’s Spilt Milk Edition while teeing it up around the links – thank you John (some great reading here – trust me!)