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EDUCATION FOR A FREE NATION
105 Peavey Rd, Suite 116, Chaska, MN 55318
952-361-4931 www.edwatch.org - edwatch@lakes.com

September 29, 2006


1. Fuzzy Math Overturned
2. Phyllis Schlafly on "Parents Right; Math Experts Wrong"
3. EdWatch Statement to Congress on Improving Math
4. From our mailbox

1. Fuzzy Math Overturned
National Math Standards Group Reverses Course
Julie M.Quist

        In a dramatic reversal, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) now believes students should know their multiplication tables and be able to do long division. It took them only 17 years to get it right. Parents knew right away fuzzy math was trouble, but they were demonized as being radical right-wingers and know-nothings. "Listen to the experts," administrators sniffed as they churned out an estimated 10 million college-bound graduates unprepared to do college math.

        Will the "experts" ever realize they have lost all credibility about knowing what's best for our kids?

        Now the hard work begins to translate that top level turn-around into changed state standards and strong traditional math curriculum in classrooms around the country. Will federal grants be as abundant as they have been imposing integrated math on our nation?

        Fuzzy, or ěintegratedî, math doesnít teach formulas and principles -- students ědiscoverî them. Group projects replace individual achievement, calculators replace memory work as early as kindergarten, estimation replaces correct answers, essay questions replace calculations, and teachers are not to think they are experts (called ěstudent-centeredî learning).
 
        Along with these nutty teaching methods, integrated math uses math classes to teach gender/race/class warfare, global warming, American imperialism, multi-culturalism, and social activism. Is it any wonder that American math achievement has spiraled into a tailspin?
 
        The NCTM Standards are the "Federal Curriculum" -- federal money drives them. For example, the federally funded National Science Foundation spent over $1 billion in grants over five years to promote NCTM integrated math. ( See "Background on integrated math,") The federally funded education "labs," such as McREL, counselled and assisted states to implement integrated math in their standards and assessments.

        In addition, the federally established and funded National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the formerly "voluntary" federal education test that is now mandated by No Child Left Behind, is based on the integrated NCTM Standards. According to the writers of the NAEP, "The national (NCTM) standards should drive the NAEP." [National Education Goals Panel Report, January 24, 1992, p. 7]

        The first draft of NCTM math standards sternly advised that memorizing math tables can be harmful to students and that calculators have rendered math recall obsolete. Memorizing, it said, is "drill and kill." Parents who battled desperately to retain strong math classes for their kids heard that phrase hurled at them time and again. Math became an after school do-it-yourself project for many parents.

        Just this year, EdWatch submitted a written statement to a U.S. Senate committee regarding a federal bill to improve mathematics and science, urging federal lawmakers to first "put a stop to the severe damage being done by the federal government to the math education of our kids."

        
Three chapters of the book America's Schools: The Battleground for Freedom, by Allen Quist open up the topic of integrated math and the its core philosophy. That material becomes especially relevant now if states and districts return to the drawing board, as they should, recognizing the profound failure integrated math has been to a generation of children

2. Parents Right; Math Experts Wrong
Phyllis Schlafly, printed in Alains Newsletter

It took parents 17 years to overturn the tragic 1989 curriculum mistake made by the so-called education experts who demanded that schools abandon traditional mathematics in favor of unproven approaches. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics finally reversed course on September 12 and admitted that elementary schools really should teach arithmetic, after all. [See whole article here.]

3. Statement to Senate Committee on Improving Math
President Bush has clarified that his education agenda will now focus on improving math and science education in K-12 schools. That is a noble goal, but while President Bush attempts to add on to the many federal initiatives in math and science education, he should also put a stop to the severe damage being done by the federal government to the math education of our kids. [See here for the entire statement.]

4. From our mailbox
Hi EdWatch -- Something shocking happened at Target tonight.  I was making my purchase, and the cashier (age 18?) said, "The total is $17.23."  I gave her a $20.00 bill, and then reached in my pocket and said "Here's a quarter also."

She had already keyed in the amount tendered, and then said, "I have no idea how much change to give you."

I told her it was $20.25 less $17.23.  She said, "I know that, but I don't know how much that is." 

I told her it was $3.02, and she said, "You might be right." 

She then called the manager over, a 20-something fellow. She told the math problem to him, and he said "I don't know." They each looked at each other for awhile, and then he went somewhere and came back with a calculator. 

First he got $1.02, and then I told him to try again. Then he got $3.02.

I have no doubt they are products of our local school district, which we left (in part) due to the horrible fuzzy math.

Your reader (a home schooling mom)



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