If you assumed this was Alpine School District in Utah, it’s not, but it’s the same old story. We’ve just saved $26,000 by not having the study done.  This news report is about Anchorage School District in Alaska which has jumped into constructivist math with the “Everyday Math” program (named thus because it was designed to frustrate parents and children every day). The “A-ha” moment of this article is right here. In all my years of studying this issue, I never saw this insidious angle.

Both Comeau and Nees say that they’ve heard complaints about the “Everyday Math” program from parents, who say that the method is so different from what they learned in school, that some parents aren’t able to help their children with their homework.

“When you have [the traditional method] on the board, and [the “everyday math” method] on the board, and the parent’s trying to do it the traditional way, [the student] is going to stop listening to Mom and Dad, and Mom and Dad can’t help them,” Nees said.

“Mom and Dad don’t know how to do it this way, so I will only listen to my teachers from now on.” Hmmm, where have I heard something like that before? Oh, that’s right, BYU’s Education department national consultant, John Goodlad.

Public education has served as a check on the power of parents, and this is another powerful reason for maintaining it.”
– John Goodlad, Developing Democratic Character in the Young, pg. 165

“Most youth still hold the same values of their parents… if we do not alter this pattern, if we don’t resocialize, our system will decay.”
– John Goodlad, Schooling for the Future, Issue #9, 1971

Parents do not own their children. They have no ‘natural right’ to control their education fully.”
– John Goodlad / Developing Democratic Character in the Young, pg. 164

Every child in America entering school at the age of five is insane because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It’s up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well – by creating the international child of the future.
-Dr. Chester M. Pierce, Harvard Professor of Education and Psychiatry, in an address to the Childhood International Education Seminar in 1973

It is a very real possibility that Mr. Goodlad and all these other educators have embraced constructivist math not only for the social engineering aspects, but because it’s another barrier between parent and child. Parents don’t know how to do this method of math, so they may figure that it will serve to separate the parents a little further from their children and get children to believe that their teacher at school is the source of knowledge they should turn to. Why? Here’s what other prominent national educators have taught.

Every child in America entering school at the age of five is insane because he comes to school with certain allegiances to our founding fathers, toward our elected officials, toward his parents, toward a belief in a supernatural being, and toward the sovereignty of this nation as a separate entity. It’s up to you as teachers to make all these sick children well – by creating the international child of the future.
-Dr. Chester M. Pierce, Harvard Professor of Education and Psychiatry, in an address to the Childhood International Education Seminar in 1973

Education should aim at destroying free will so that after pupils are thus schooled they will be incapable throughout the rest of their lives of thinking or acting otherwise than as their school masters would have wished …
-Bertrand Russell, quoting Gottlieb Fichte the head of psychology that influenced Hegel and others.

I have never before understood this issue in this way. If you are new to fuzzy math, or even for a quick refresher, I strongly encourage you to watch these videos and read my comments below. (Update, looks like the video on the news report has been taken down now. You can still read the story though.)

http://www.ktuu.com/news/ktuu-report-suggests-improvements-for-anchorage-school-district-math-program-20110620,0,7214623.story

[VIDEO REMOVED]

One final note, when the lady in the video above says that when students learn this way studies show they do better, that is utterly false. There are no studies that support constructivist math as a superior method of teaching. To the contrary, they have been shown as failures.

Here’s meteorologist M.J. McDermott to explain this bizarre lattice method along with a stinging rebuke of Everyday math and Investigations math (the parental-separator of choice for Alpine School District). This video is 15 minutes, but she explains the lattice method after a couple minutes. I strongly encourage you to keep watching though, as she will explain fuzzy division, and then share an astounding quote at the 10 minute mark from the Everyday Math textbook telling teachers that mastery isn’t important.

At the end she holds up a couple of Singapore math workbooks to help your children learn math and I also endorse the Singapore Primary math workbooks which you can get at www.SingaporeMath.com.

8 Responses to “Report Suggests Improvements to ASD Math Program – ALARMING”

  • kristie:

    Thanks for sending this along, Oak.

    There is good reason that Mathnasiums have sprung up all over these school districts in Utah. They would not be here were it not a great need. It says a lot about the math education in Utah.

  • Jim Rawson:

    An excellent read and interesting explanations from the videos. It is beyond my imagination why any district would want to use Constructivist Math. It does not work as I have experienced with students who have graduated from ASD. Even asking simple Mathematical questions; “How many is one dozen?” Students could not give me an answer. And this was at a check out counter at the Orem Target. I’ve had the same problem with students working at a number of fast food restaurants along the Wasatch front who hadn’t a clue how to make change when the cash register wouldn’t work. I’m completing 44 years in education and am appalled at the obvious effort to dumb down our students whilst driving a wedge between parent and child as you’ve explained and proven.

  • […] via Report Suggests Improvements to ASD Math Program – ALARMING. […]

  • Larry Ballard:

    One item that stuck out for me was her focus on the issue that the students struggled to work alone. Certainly we are part of society. However, although we have a lot of intelligent people and students, if one is trained only to group think across the academic board, the God given and intended function of the brain to engage in critical thinking is absorbed in to the group problem solving process exclusively. When this group problem solving methodology is not structured or where it can have many solutions or outcomes, none of which might be considered correct; the individual will is suppressed, apprehension and uneasy conclusions are reached, and the concept of absolute truth is swallowed by relativity. If I wanted to control the mass mind, this is how I would want to mold the brains of the children. Obviously the new math is about a lot more than math.

  • Marshall:

    Thanks for posting Oak. Good to nail down the motivational issue so we know more about where and what to fight.

  • I was appointed, much to my great surprise, to the Texas Education Agency’s state math review committee. (As author of John Saxon’s biography, I am not on a “wanted” list by TEA folks. Nonetheless, some strings were pulled to get me on the committee, I’m told.)

    We had our first meeting in May. Our responsibility is to rewrite the K-12 state math standards. We were told to refer to Massachusetts, Minnesota, Singapore Math, and the Common Core Standards (even though TX did not get on board with CCSSI) for background preparation. Both Massachusetts and Minnesota specifically require the use of “standard” algorithms. Our document refers only to the use of “arrays” in learning multiplication and division.

    Since Jim Milgram was one of the national experts who worked on the initial document, I checked with him about this omission. He was stunned to learn standard algorithms, which he and other mathematicians had specifically required, had been removed from the document, evidently by TEA staffers.

    I get to go to our second meeting in July and the last one is in October. You want to know what it’s like to be the only outspoken traditional math person in a room of 80 people, most of whom are “curriculum directors, math coaches, and other district office” individuals who are whining because we are supposed to eliminate a lof of fluff from the document? (Teachers comprise only one-fourth of the committee.) I volunteered to work with grades 3-5 because I’ve been tutoring those grades the past year at the local Catholic School that uses Saxon, so I KNOW what should be in those grade levels. It also helps (me, at least) that I was a principal in Seattle and don’t get cowed by the “administrators” in the room.

    And the beat goes on…and on…and on.

  • Pat in Maine:

    To Niki Hayes,
    Stick to it Niki. I know the feeling as a school board member who fought for 4 years to get rid of Investigations and Connected Math.
    Don’t waver on CCSS either. Texas got it right. It goes way beyond methods, it is an agenda that gives all control of K-12 education to a handful of elitists.

  • If Common Core Lives, Freedom Dies.
    When you come across a Common Core video, or any video on YouTube, you can create a copy of it on your hard drive.

    If you want to copy a video, do this…

    I want to copy a video called Some Random Video
    the URL will look like this:
    http://www.youtube.com/somerandomvideo

    Just put ss in front of the YouTube word like this:
    http://www.ssyoutube.com/somerandomvideo
    and your computer will ask what resolution and format you prefer, then it will ask for a storage target, like your desktop or hard-drive, then when you select the proper avenue, you can download the video. This way, they cannot totally eliminate any video you want to re-post.

    Keep up the good fight.

Leave a Reply