In defense of traditional math: What is reform math, anyway?
Note from Laurie Rogers:
When you explain the flaws of reform math and excessive constructivism to parents, they tend to see it right away. When you explain the flaws of reform math to proponents of reform, they tend to dismiss all concerns with some variation of, "You just don't get it."
This page is dedicated to informing parents and other community members about what reform math and constructivism are. If you're wondering about America's alarming and precipitous drop in math skills, if you're struggling to find someone you can hire who has basic math skills, or if you are wondering why your child is getting straight As in honors math but can't consistently subtract one number from another or divide a two-digit number by a one-digit number --- this page is for you.
I recommend reading the online comments to these articles. Pro-reform-math arguments are incredibly enlightening. Staring at about 30 years of abject failure of reform math and excessive constructivism, staring at 30 years of students whose capabilities in math have hit nearly rock bottom, staring at frustrated parents and worried employers -- many of these people still love reform. They have no data on their side, no scientifically conducted research, and no solid students outcomes -- but they still love reform.
Sadly, the reformers have control, they have taxpayer dollars, they have most of the media, and they usually win. Not to depress you, but much of the country is getting a new slate of reform math along with the federally pushed (very-close-to-being-federally-mandated) Common Core initiatives.
Please feel free to ask questions. If you would like me to cover something in particular, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. . Those who cannot see the problem cannot repair the problem. Reformers often refuse to see it (and so will not repair it), but parents and community members can see it if they are shown, and they can take steps to repair it on their own.
In defense of long division: Pro-reform professor capably shows why reform doesn't work
In defense of vertical multiplication: Reform methods stumble over decimals
The Number Line (for Negatives):
In defense of the number line: Reform methods for teaching negatives fail on decimals, fractions ... and negatives
In defense of proper process: Reform methods lead to lost information and incorrect answers
Constructivism and group work:
In defense of direct instruction: Constant constructivism, group work and arrogant attitude are abusive to children
Common Core leading districts to adopt unproved math programs and failed approaches
Professional development for teachers:
Professional development in math should focus on math, not on pedagogy or materials
Textbooks and placement tests for Saxon Math and Singapore Math
What does a quality math textbook look like?