Thursday, August 9, 2012

Too bad the first shot in the Math Wars was not fired today...

Too bad the first shot in the Math Wars was not fired today! 

What I mean is that many math teachers realize something is not working.  All you have to do is look at our end product -- we have 40% of all incoming freshmen at college requiring math remediation (not sure what percentage of the non-college students are not prepared).

As a group, we must admit that what we are doing does not instill a true understanding of mathematics and its interrelatedness.  We still simply sort students. (Note - there are many great teachers, doing many great things but say there are 10,000 great math teachers, that would not even be 10% of all math teachers)

But when we started to reform math there was not the resources that there are today.  We gave new texts with new ideas and methods to teachers who were not truly trained to deliver the material (5 days inservice does not change a teaching culture).  We sent one letter home to parents explaining why it was important, or asked them to come meetings -- that didn't create an understanding.

And as so often happens the pendulum in education had swung too far towards reform/discovery too quickly, schools did not allow for a migration.  More importantly schools did not include enough public relations work and true reforms in math education have simply not worked yet.

And the pockets of math that seems to really work due the school or the individual teacher are seemingly not scaleable to the rest of the country. 

Today I feel like the open source revolution is here, there is the ability to create and share is as easy as ever.  We can easily communicate with one another from our desks -- teacher-to-teacher, teacher-to-parent, teacher-to-anyone.  We can find/create videos that help instruction or guide as teachers.  

We can address things - but it means making a real cultural change -- at least today it seems doable.  We can set up videos to share, have meeting easily (and cheaply), and communicate with parents thru facebook, twitter, etc.  Now if we all had the will.