kitchen table math, the sequel: 8/3/14 - 8/10/14

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Does anyone remember the math wars?

The New York Times is out with yet another entry on the failure of traditional teachers to teach math to Americans:
My hunch is that how we learn math in America has very little to do with best practices and a lot to do with how teachers remember learning math when they were children.
Can you spell Weltanschauung?

Free advice: Never trust a "hunch" when your hunch is identical in every respect with the worldview of a Most Emailed story in the New York Times.

If your hunch is identical in every respect with the worldview of a Most Emailed story in the New York Times, it's not a hunch. It's conventional wisdom and nobody needs to hear it again.

Contra Elizabeth Green, we do not have to accept that the traditional approach we take to teaching math — the one that can be mind-numbing, but also comfortingly familiar — does not work. It should be obvious to anyone who actually looked at our history that "the traditional approach to teaching math" worked perfectly well for many American students.

Here's Barry Garelick:
From the 1940′s to the mid 1960′s, at a time when math and other subjects were taught in the traditional manner, scores in all subjects on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills increased steadily. From 1965 to the mid-70′s there was a dramatic decline, and then scores increased again until 1990 when they reached an all-time high. Scores stayed relatively stable in the 90′s.

The decline in SAT scores doesn't fit the narrative, either.

Do we know when state legislatures passed laws requiring teachers to have degrees in education?

I'm trying to track that down.

Speaking of the math wars, it's been a couple of decades now since the NCTM, an organization whose membership consists almost entirely of public school math teachers, accepted that the traditional approach we take to teaching math does not work.

Chris is turning 20. Neither he nor any of his peers learned their math facts at school.

Disclosing relationships at The New Yorker

Since reading Elizabeth Green's endorsement of Common Core in a Times excerpt of her book, I've been trying to remember how other newspapers and magazines handle disclosure.

I'm pretty sure the Wall Street Journal always includes a disclosure about ownership in any stories mentioning Murdoch, but I need to check.

I've just this moment found a good model for disclosure in a blog post at The New Yorker:
An earlier version of this post did not disclose the author’s relationships with some sources whose research he cites. Gabriele Oettingen is a professor at New York University, where the author also teaches. Heather Barry Kappes is a former student of the author’s, with whom he has collaborated. The post has been updated to reflect this.