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? John Dewey and other nationally prominent educators…
“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
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.)
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.