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Topic: Texas Rejects Fuzzy Math Textbooks
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 13,353
Registered: 12/3/04
Texas Rejects Fuzzy Math Textbooks
Posted: Jun 20, 1999 4:42 PM
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[Thanks to Carol Fry Bohlin for bringing this article to our attention ...]
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Texas Public Policy Foundation's Policy Action Update, Volume 3, No. 12,
May 25, 1999

Texas School Districts Reject "Fuzzy Math" Textbooks -- Major Defeat for
Statewide Systemic Initiative

According to an analysis of recent math textbook selections, Texas school
districts have overwhelmingly rejected the latest fad in math instruction.
Sometimes called "fuzzy math," "whole math," and "new new math," textbooks
based on this pedagogical approach received only 4% of the textbook orders
for second grade math, 2% for fifth grade math, and 5.6% for seventh grade
math. Ironically, those promoting this approach refer to it as
"standards-based math."

This rejection is particularly significant given the fact that this
instructional approach was heavily promoted throughout the state by the
Texas Statewide Systemic Initiative (SSI), with funding from the National
Science Foundation, operated by the Charles A. Dana Center at the
University of Texas at Austin -- both publicly funded by tax dollars. "We
are happy to see this educational fad bite the Texas dust. Fuzzy math has
been shown to hurt children academically, especially disadvantaged and
minority students. Thanks to discerning textbook committees in our school
districts, parents can breathe a sigh of relief," commented J. C. Bowman,
TPPF Director of Research.

Parents should watch for signs that their children are enrolled in
"standards-based" math programs when students: Direct their own learning;
work in groups to teach one another; construct their own math language,
facts, and computations; are not taught or required to memorize facts or
formulas; are taught to use calculators as the first and primary form of
computation; and, are taught that deriving correct solutions lacks
importance.

TPPF, along with two other organizations Mathematically Correct and
Education Connection of Texas released an analysis earlier this year to
provide parents and school officials the information needed to make
informed selections of elementary and middle school math textbooks. The
analysis was sent to all school districts and local school board members
throughout Texas and encouraged use of a "classical" instructional approach
characterized by curricula that is taught directly, systematically, and
incrementally in small structured and guided steps that progress from basic
to more complex learning; instruction focused on specific academic content
(not process or outcomes); repetition, practice, and memorization used used
to derive automaticity; and students receive immediate feedback and
correction.

The "fuzzy math" textbooks that were unsuccessfully promoted by the
Statewide Systemic Initiative and Charles A. Dana Center were: (second
grade books) Everyday Mathematics published by Everyday Learning
Corporation; and Investigations in Number, Data and Space published by
Addison Wesley Longman; (fifth grade books) Everyday Mathematics; and
Investigations in Number, Data and Space; (seventh grade books) Math
Thematics published by McDougal Littell; and Connected Mathematics
published by Addison Wesley Longman.

The entire math textbook analysis can be viewed and downloaded from the
worldwide web at http://www.mathematicallycorrect.com/books.htm. The
21-page report on instructional methodologies can be viewed and downloaded
from the Texas Public Policy Foundation website located at
http://www.tppf.org. All textbooks ordered by local school districts can be
examined at

Textbook order information for specific school districts can be obtained
by calling J.C. Bowman at the Texas Public Policy Foundation at
(210) 614-0080.
********************************************
*
Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618)453-4244
Phone: (618)453-4241 (office)
E-mail: jbecker@siu.edu






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