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reform textbooks
Posted:
Aug 28, 2000 9:12 AM


It would be a good idea if people who subscribe to this list actually looked at Math In Context, Connected Math, and all of the other reform textbook initiatives for themselves and decided what they thought about them for themselves, rather than listening simply to the fanatics rail against them in a predicatble kneejerk manner. These reform textbooks actually do have some very good ideas. They are not perfect, of course  no textbooks are, even those from Singapore or from the US before Sputnik!!  but they do hold some promise for actually inspiring some of our lessthanstellarlyperforming American youngsters to take math seriously and to see its practical usefulness for a change.
Remember: most adults I meet will gladly tell me that "Math was my worst subject" or "I always hated math." And these are adults who took either presputnik math or poorlyimplemented new math or backtobasics math. None of them in any way were infected by the evil rampant virus of newnew math; so we don't really know what the results will be of "newnew math" if done properly. It is easy to teach ANY math in a very poor manner; that has been done for many, many generations. Anybody with no educational background at all can do it with ease.
Somehow, some of the most fanatical fundamentalist backtobasics provoucher antireform antiNCTM types in California seem to attribute all of the ills of current math understanding levels in California to "rainforest math"; it couldn't be that the taxlimitation proposition of about 20 years ago so messed up the budgets for the California public schools that they went from being just about the best in the country to the worst? Naah.
Guy Brandenburg



