kitchen table math, the sequel: Everyday Math causes hoarding in Anchorage

Friday, May 22, 2009

Everyday Math causes hoarding in Anchorage

Yesterday was the last day of school at my local elementary.  Today, I went to pick up some stuff and to say bye to all of my kids teachers.

I spoke to four teachers cleaning out their classrooms.  Every single one of them was in the process of hoarding math text books and scavenging worksheets to help supplement their forced transition into Everyday Math next year.

Of course when the subject of Everyday Math came up while I was talking to two of them, I started my rant.  "Your preaching to the choir" was their exact response.

My kids 3rd grade teacher was talking about how she was taking a class in Everyday Math this summer.  As a 30 year teacher, she told me how she has been through this before.  She said that she talks about she addresses the alternate algorithms like she is required to do, but then says "Now let me show you a better way" and continues to teach like she always has.

My kids future 6th grade teacher had already talked with the middle school pre-algebra teacher about what sort of things she needs to supplement to ensure they are ready for middle school math.

On the way out I ran into the Principle, and made a comment about EM.  "Oh I love Everyday Math" was his response.

Strange how the response varied so much between the teachers and the administration.

On another math related note, all three of kids scored advanced in math on their Standards Based Assessment (SBA) end of year tests.  My 5th grade son managed to score a 600 out of 600.  The only perfect score in any subject in the whole school.  Of course next year, all three of them will be taking EM.  At least my son qualified to take pre-algebra at the middle school next year, so I won't totally be working on my own on my EM insurgency.

p.s. sorry I haven't posted in a while :)


Anonymous said...

When I started first grade (we had no K), we had the Dick and Jane readers, but the teacher had kept the old phonics-based ones and kept on teaching the same way she was taught in Normal School; phonics. The whole class learned to read, too.

My family still has some algebra and physics texts that date back not only to my husband's era, but to his father's. They are still valuable resources; there's nothing fuzzy about them. We also have lots of history resources that actually present the content according to its historical significance, not its PC level.

Catherine Johnson said...

When Allison was out here we were talking about the monks preserving knowledge during the Dark Ages...

Catherine Johnson said...

A friend of mine just talked to a math teacher fan of EM who told her that Saxon Math is "demeaning" to children.

The math teacher dislikes Singapore Math, too.

This teacher works in a private school.

SteveH said...

"...that Saxon Math is 'demeaning' to children."

That should be on the school's home page; truth in education.

Catherine Johnson said...

When a teacher in a private school describes Saxon Math as "demeaning," you get a sense of how dominant ed-school ideas have penetrated the culture.

Saxon Math, as this teacher probably knows, is either the most commonly chosen textbook series for homeschooling parents or close to.

This teacher, whose school must be chosen by parents, is - yes - demeaning the ability of parents to choose an effective, high-quality education for their children.

Of course, she could say that homeschooling parents don't know what they're doing while parents sending their kids to boarding school do. Even so, it makes no sense to claim that a large group of parents would choose a textbook that demeans their children. They might choose an ineffective or incomplete or boneheaded textbook series -- but a demeaning one?


To say that a math textbook that is widely used by homeschoolers is demeaning to children only makes sense if you are on active duty in the math wars.

Which more than a few private school math teachers seem to be.

Catherine Johnson said...

Congratulations on your kids' scores!