Thursday, December 07, 2006

PPS continues fuzzy math

Article yesterday in the Oregonian about the Portland School District requiring the same math curriculum at every high school. The controversy is whether it makes sense to have one curriculum at every school, since it might not fit every student.

This question is fine, as far as it goes. But the article failed completely to mention the fact that the curriculum in question, ill-named "College Preparatory Mathematics," is one of the fuzzy math programs that have basically destroyed math education in the U.S.

A large group of parents in Beaverton have organized to stop another of these horrible programs, called "Integrated Math Project."

I've written about this topic a lot, so I won't reiterate all the reasons these curricula are awful. I was forced to take my own kids out of public school because the school had bought in to another version of this cancer. I chronicled my experience in a long article in Oregon's Future Magazine.

Another place to learn about this stuff is the Mathematically Correct website, which has chronicled the "Math Wars" for about a decade. It has great curriculum reviews of all the offending programs.

If you think the best way to learn math is in groups, and that the tradional sequence of the discipline is outmoded, and that rather than textbooks and worksheets it is more effective to have "strings and blocks and hooks and rubber bands," then perhaps the new math is for you.

PPS adopted a Fuzzy Math curriculum for middle schools in 1999, and now they are just moving more completely down thas same path by putting it into the high schools as well.

Expect to see more of that "deer in the headlights" look when you give a clerk a $5 bill and a quarter to pay for a $3.18 cent item.

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