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View Diary: The Conundrum of Effective Education Policy (10 comments)

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  •  I disagree that the solution to (4+ / 0-)

    math deficiencies in kids is parental involvement. I have subbed in math classes at all levels. Learning what they call "math facts" - memorizing addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division - is fundamental to grasping mathematics. It cannot be left to prescient parents who realize their kids need it and aren't getting it at school.

    Classes spend most of their time in an effort to get kids to figure out math theory for themselves, which only the most talented of them do. Math has turned into language assignments where students laboriously write paragraphs about how they solved silly problems that no one in their right mind would want to solve in real life, where we let them choose their own method for solving a problem, even if it means drawing a matrix of little circles and counting them out by hand. Even into junior high!

    Only the kids who have a real knack for the subject finish their assignments early enough to practice with the flash cards, or the ones with parents who think that memorization is important to getting comfortable in math. I think the modern math methods are increasing the numeracy gap between the kids who can and kids who can't.

    If wanting the country to succeed is wrong, I don't want to be right.

    by Angela Quattrano on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 02:54:53 PM PDT

    •  Huh? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      miss SPED

      I'm not sure I truly understand the crux of your argument, but I'll try to address it as best I can.

      I don't necessarily disagree with you that, bio-physiologically, some kids may be pre-disposed to success in higher math. Nevertheless, Elementary students in all respects do not have the kinds of classwork or homework that prevents them from reaping the future benefits of table memorization as a fundamental building block to higher math. If a kid gets to jr. high and he's still struggling with multiplication tables, he's in trouble. The solution is in elementary ed, but it is not addressed primarily by the teachers: they readily admit that their math curriculum does not have space for this kind of rote memorization. Parents must incorporate it, but that is problematic for the reasons I outlined in my diary.

      Based upon my experience with the little K boy who was believed, based upon every professional metric to be at a sub-remedial level--and demonstrably proved otherwise--I do not consider those without a subjective 'pre-disposition' to math can be ascertained worthy of a 'leave behind' mentality by the educational system. Which seems like what you're suggesting.

      In later years--jr. high and certainly high school--you're absolutely correct. By then, the benefits of rote memorization is long out of the picture and the student does, or does not, possess an affinity for higher math concepts. But they will fail, no matter what, if they do not have the foundation to support them, no matter where their conceptual capabilities may lie.

      IMHO, I believe you're grossly underestimating the influence of parents within the current elementary ed curricular environment. K through 4, EVERY teacher emphasized the importance of learning tables at home, because they simply could not focus on this aspect in class.

      You're suggesting, it seems, that rote memorization of basic math tables is superfluous unless the child exhibits an affinity for math. How do you reasonable determine that in the elementary years?

      Smart Government: 01.20.09 myth became reality. Looking better. -5.50 -4.51

      by ktward on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 03:48:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I thought Angela Q. was saying the opposite. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ms Citizen, miss SPED, ktward

        That the memorization of basic math facts is too important to not be fully achievable on classroom time, rather than also being dependent on extra home instruction beyond assigned homework. And that because of making instruction so dependent on memorization elsewhere, there's an increasing gap between those who take to math like a duck to water and those who need a bit more help to get through those first all-important learning stages - those who need the extra don't get it unless a parent realizes it needs to happen and can provide it.

        Can you see this inaugural, Dr. King? Did you see this?

        by Cassandra Waites on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 04:17:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You may be right. (0+ / 0-)

          Perhaps it's her first sentence that threw me:

          I disagree that the solution to math deficiencies in kids is parental involvement.

          I believe just the opposite, given present day realities. I see this as a challenge in current-day math curriculum, given the understandable variables in the level parental involvement.

          Smart Government: 01.20.09 myth became reality. Looking better. -5.50 -4.51

          by ktward on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 04:38:46 PM PDT

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