Kirby, everyone's kids were falling behind, everyone at the district was in denial before the SAT9 was forced on them, and the New New Math is still here. For example, Phil Daro, one of the architects of California's whole math debacle is a prime mover of the Common Core disaster apparently in the making.


We're not necessarily on opposite sides here.  I am happy to agree that New New Math was a disaster.
 
New Math was great stuff, just inappropriate for most math teachers. One can still buy the New Math inspired Dolciani Structure and Method series, and they were a godsend when even the St.Sensible fell short of my son's needs.

Yeah, I had New Math before moving to Italy and doing Junior English, OSR, then Florida for first semester high school (the worst school in the train), then International School in Manila.  Then Princeton.  Then School of Life.  :-)

Nowadays, I think of Saturday Academy as giving Portland many shots in the arm, hoping to help it awaken from the long dull dream that his been Industrial Era education in our Gotham.  So dreary, so bland.
 

BTW, I'll cut the flogging of the dead horse to a minimum. I chose MIT as the real STEM baccalaureate institution to refer to because the two real STEM colleges that are ahead of MIT for the percentage of alums with PhD's are both in Los Angeles County and I didn't want to trigger any Ore-gone-ian Californiaphobia.


I only feel sorry for California, most day.  Could be such a glorious state, but trampled upon.  I have family there.
 
Most STEM cheerleaders are essentially just cargo cultists erecting poor imitations of science, math, and engineering hoping that good STEM stuff will drop in.


Well, I'm distinctly elitist and look down on most PhDs as over-specialized larvae when it comes to the abilities as polymaths.  Most still need to hatch.  But that's just me.  A lot of my colleagues are more starry-eyed when it comes to degrees and academic credentials.  I'm happy where I'm at for the moment, working for an on-line school based, yes, in CA.

Sometimes I call what I teach "Gnu Math", a pun on "New Math" and an accurate reflection of what we owe the GNU project, in liberating us from the high costs of intellectual property owners who planned to squeeze it out of us until the cows came home.  Now we have power tools galore, and have started work on tractors:

http://www.ted.com/talks/marcin_jakubowski.html

Kirby