Q&A #6233

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Everyday Math Program

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From: Tom Sontag

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2006092509:13:19
Subject: Re: Everyday Math-How to generate support

September 25, 2006

Dear Teacher/Evaluator,

I am a professional engineer and a father of boys aged 9 and 10. Both
use Everyday Math in elementary school. 

I find that Everday Math contains a limited subset useful teaching,
particularly in areas of understanding certain concepts such as charts
and figures. These limited strengths do not overcome its deeply
imbedded weaknesses.

However, I say with the utmost concern that it is an experiment
lacking basic and consistent mathematical skills. The kids spend a
significant amount of time learning simple concepts in difficult,
vacillating and confusing ways. 

Students have to learn a bunch of nonmathematical nonsense words and
conceptual diagrams that simply are unusable in real life. Worse, the
nonsense diagrams and words are drilled into their heads instead of
the skills. If they do not remember the nonsense words and the
diagrams, they are utterly lost. Later the nonsense words are dropped,
or other nonsense words appear to describe the next concept. 

What is wrong with the real words, such as add, subtract, multiply and
divide? What is wrong with 5 balls plus 3 balls equals 8 balls? Why
does addition have to be shown (yes in the real curriculum) as a "math
engine" that looks like a meat grinder, or as a "fact triangle",
whatever that is supposed to be.

How these high cost programs bought their way into the education
department is beyond my imagination, and probably scandalous.

Stop experimenting. Stick to what has traditionally worked or our
nation will fail.

Tom Sontag
Fridley, MN

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