Thursday, March 13, 2008

Must watch video on modern elementary math education

I came across this a while ago, but it never struck me that I should post it until today.

It was put together by a meteorologist (roughly 40 years old, I would guess) who went back to college to get an advanced degree. Some of her class requirements needed advanced math, and after being out of college and away from such things for so long, she was worried she wouldn't be able to do it. Once she saw the level of math ability of the normal-age college kids, she was appalled. It turned out that her older-style math education served her far better--even after years away from the subject--than the modern methods served the kids who were just out of high school.

As a result, she researched math curricula being used in schools today, and the video is a description of how two different programs teach arithmetic. One method, "Everyday Math," is the better of the two described--unfortunately, it is also the one the kids' school uses. The teachers' manual of "Everyday Math" says flat out that memorizing basic addition/subtraction/multiplication and division facts is a waste of time because kids can always use a calculator.

At 15 minutes, it's a bit long, but worth watching the whole thing. It gets worse as you go along.

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