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The Ravages of the New Math
Posted:
Apr 14, 2009 8:21 PM


The April/May 2009 issue of MAA FOCUS contains an article by John Loase, "How to Excel at Math Transformation," which is available at:
http://www.maa.org/pubs/aprmay09pg1011.pdf
The article discusses five suggestions for improving remedial efforts for the everincreasing numbers of pseudoeducated students.
To me, the following information in the first paragraph is what makes this article truly priceless.
"I started teaching math 41 years ago in an economically disadvantaged junior high school. On day one I was given the syllabusadding and reducing fractions by prime factorization, least common multiples, an axiomatic approach to prove why the product of two negatives was positive. As most of my eighth grade class did not know the times table, the curriculum was sheer madness."
It is unfortunate that Loase does not point out that this "sheer madness" and the pseudoeducation of his students reflected the devastating impact of the "new math," which demolished the traditional mathematics curriculum in the U.S. All subsequent "reforms" have also been abject failures.
I started eighth grade 48 years ago in the factory city of Everett, MA. We were packed like sardines in a classroom of about 40 students. I cannot believe that a single student in my class did not know the multiplication table. Some of my reminiscences about our teacher Mr. Hogan are at:
http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?forumID=206&threadID=477030&messageID=1461443



