To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Subject: Re: SRA McGraw Hill vs Houghton Mifflin
Saxon does not teach mathematics. It is an excellent text for teaching students computation and algortithmic thinking. Compare Saxon to a series of books with teach students spelling through continued practice and spiraled review. Spelling is very difficult for students and useful for English competence. However, even if excellence in spelling is achieved after a year of practice, will anyone argue that these students have learned how to read or write literature? The question of "what is math" interests me and would be worthy of a discussion. I can say that math is not excellence in computaion or algorithmic thinking. It is a theoritcal and applied discipline that requires critical, logical, and creative thinking and centers around problem solving. Yes, math is more than this but the death of mathematics will come when the field has been relegated to that which can already be done on computers. All arguments for the Saxon series that revolve around its success rates and versitility with previously unsuccessful students are moot for the series amounts to teaching basic rules and memorization facts (as with spelling) and denies those students the access to learn mathematics. The cry of outrage would be immense if English programs decided that the teaching of reading and writing literature would be achieved using a series of texts that only focussed on making our stuents excellent spellers.
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