Wednesday, February 4, 2009

More on Everyday math from Pittsburgh

I would add that the elementary panel was much more practical about the issue of dumping EM than the middle school panel was about getting rid of CMP. And, the secondary people were emphatic that students were arriving in their classrooms unprepared to work on more advanced math beginning with Algebra 1. I might add that the report from the National Math Panel, with its timely release during the review period, was a big help - its emphasis on learning the standard algorithms challenged the way EM approaches the issue. When EM made their presentation to the Pittsburgh math review panel they were asked whether, given the National Math Panel report, EM would change their approach to teaching the standard algorithms. The answer: basically, "no"; they would continue to approach teaching the algorithms as they had always taught (or not taught) them. The National Panel's emphasis on procedural fluency also influenced the Pittsburgh reviewers. And, EM, despite its games, wasn't getting that job done.

I would also note that Pittsburgh's move away from these two programs, though certainly not complete, is probably the best that could be expected given the district's history with "discovery" math. Teachers are steeped in it; they believe in their bones that it works. Relegating EM to supplement status would likely never have happened if the district still employed its last math coordinator - Diane Briars. She left the district about two years ago. I noticed in the information on the UMLN (Urban Math Leadership Network) that she has resurfaced. She's now the president-elect of the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics. She's also appears to be working on an algebra project it seems for students who are underprepared for Algebra 1. Perhaps she has seen the error of her ways and is doing penance?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, she creates more jobs because she can't write curriculum. When there's a boom economy, she's perfect for teaching because she creates more work for math teachers, not less. But in a depression, Briars will be about as popular as a fresh cow pie.

Think of the millions of kids that grew up hating math because of counterphobic moralists like her and that great flapping seagull from Washington State.

I like the 18th century punishments best - sewing traitors and con-artists into their horses and feeding them to the dogs. Anyone really care to hear about calculas didactique anymore. What a bunch of b..s..