This is a great editorial piece done by our local free newspaper The Camden County Reporter. I appreciate their coverage of this issue. A reporter from The Camden County Reporter, Jeff Thompson, attended a recent forum to become educated on what the REAL issues were. I am so impressed with the measures he went to in order to make sure he heard from both parties and then reported a fair and balanced story.
Taken from http://www.theccreporter.com/ :
MIP (Math In Peril)
Studies have shown that the United States is behind many countries in math and science.
Over the years public schools have been “dumbing down” each successive generation which just makes the problem worse.
Curriculums are being used that are actually hurting more than helping.
Now the Camdenton School District is jumping on board with the mathematical farce called “Math Investigations Program”.
The school district should do research before forcing a program on kids that will actually keep them from learning math.
In an online forum at The Online Teacher Resource (www.teach-nology.com) a 22 year veteran teacher has been using the MIP program for four years – and it is doing more harm than good, according to her.
“First, the kids do not learn their basic facts with this program. I know I'm a veteran and have been teaching for 22 years, but I don't care who you are, you can't do math until you know those facts. So here I have a program that is very time-consuming in the classroom, and I feel the need to take extra time to teach the basic facts.”
Math was easy for me in school and one of the things that made it easy was actually being taught how to solve the math problem.
If the teacher would have asked me to “Write a story problem to go with this problem: 352 (divided by) 168 = ?”.
What? How about teaching the child HOW to solve the problem? Does the kid even know how to do division?
Here is another part of an actual worksheet found at www.mathinvestigations.com called “Candy Math”:
1. Estimate how many candies are in the bag.
2. Open your bag and count the candies. How many candies are in the bag?
3. How far off was your guess?
4. Group your candies into sets by color. Write the total for each color:
And then you come to number six.
6. Write a candy math word problem.
First of all you have the expense of buying bags of candy for grade school kids and then when you give grade school kids candy there won’t be any left to count.
You teach children how to do the math problem first and then you can investigate deeper.
And the school district’s solution if parents have a problem with the MIP program: make sure parent-help materials are sent home, monthly “Math Nights” to help parents with the MIP process.
So in other words teach the parents how to understand the program and they can help their children.
In that case what do we pay the schools for? If the parents are supposed to help the teachers then why not just pull the kids out of school and home school them?
In this world of modern technology we think we know more than those who lived and taught 20, 30 or 40 years ago, but in many cases we are wrong.
Want some proof? Give a grade school or even high school kid a math problem but don’t allow them to use a calculator.
Do they even know how to do it with paper and pencil?
Maybe this new program will help; maybe it will bring the Camdenton School District math scores to the highest in the country.
Then again, maybe it will prepare them for a future career where a single phrase will be their life blood:
“You want fries with that?”
Just don’t ask them to count the fries.