Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Yet Another Op-Ed About Math Ed

This time it's Suzanne Fields writing about the sorry state of our math education. She specifically mentions Singapore because they regularly kick everyone else's butt in international competitions.

I've seen Singapore's math curriculum; I used it at the charter school last year. I was on the curriculum committee, and I recommended it be adopted for all the students. The school decided to go with Saxon, another curriculum I'd recommended. Saxon is not a bad curriculum-- in fact it's quite good-- but it's not world-class like Singapore Math. Why did they choose Saxon over Singapore? Because Singapore requires teachers to be well-versed in math. Saxon comes with pre-fab lesson plans. I keep offering to do math inservice for the teachers, but so far nobody's taken me up on the offer.

Like I keep telling everyone who will listen while I preach from my soapbox, the problem with our math education has gone way beyond the kind of thing that can be fixed with testing or a new curriculum or more funding, unless these things are used to educate the teachers. The problem is that the teachers don't know math, and they can't teach what they don't know.