Another counterproductive educrat "innovation" debunked

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What have the graduate schools of education ever contirbuted to the learning of America's children? Do we really need "innovative" or "cutting edge" techniques to teach that which has been successfully passed from generation to generation for millenia? Why has per capita spending on public education nearly doubled in real dollars, while achievement has been tanking?

The Wall Street Journal today reports ($link) that

...a report to be released today, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, which represents 100,000 educators from prekindergarten through college, will give ammunition to traditionalists who believe schools should focus heavily and early on teaching such fundamentals as multiplication tables and long division.

The council's advice is striking because in 1989 it touched off the so—called math wars by promoting open—ended problem solving over drilling. Back then, it recommended that students as young as those in kindergarten use calculators in class.

Those recommendations horrified many educators, especially college math professors alarmed by a rising tide of freshmen needing remediation. The council's 1989 report influenced textbooks and led to what are commonly called "reform math" programs, which are used in school systems across the country.

The new approach puzzled many parents. For example, to solve a basic division problem, 120 divided by 40, students might cross off groups of circles to "discover" that the answer was three.

America's government schools have been prey to all sorts of fads in part because such changes require budgets, experts, and release time for teachers, all of which have the effect of creating more jobs for educrats, more bureaucracies with highly paid administrators, and ultimately more union members.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson   9 12 06

What have the graduate schools of education ever contirbuted to the learning of America's children? Do we really need "innovative" or "cutting edge" techniques to teach that which has been successfully passed from generation to generation for millenia? Why has per capita spending on public education nearly doubled in real dollars, while achievement has been tanking?

The Wall Street Journal today reports ($link) that

...a report to be released today, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, which represents 100,000 educators from prekindergarten through college, will give ammunition to traditionalists who believe schools should focus heavily and early on teaching such fundamentals as multiplication tables and long division.

The council's advice is striking because in 1989 it touched off the so—called math wars by promoting open—ended problem solving over drilling. Back then, it recommended that students as young as those in kindergarten use calculators in class.

Those recommendations horrified many educators, especially college math professors alarmed by a rising tide of freshmen needing remediation. The council's 1989 report influenced textbooks and led to what are commonly called "reform math" programs, which are used in school systems across the country.

The new approach puzzled many parents. For example, to solve a basic division problem, 120 divided by 40, students might cross off groups of circles to "discover" that the answer was three.

America's government schools have been prey to all sorts of fads in part because such changes require budgets, experts, and release time for teachers, all of which have the effect of creating more jobs for educrats, more bureaucracies with highly paid administrators, and ultimately more union members.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Thomas Lifson   9 12 06