Sunday, September 12, 2010

What is Wrong with Connected Math?

If you as a parent are wondering what is wrong with Connected Math, then I would explain it as simplistic, dumbed-down mathematics.

In February 2, 2000 Susan Sarhady traveled from Plano, Texas to Washington, D.C., to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and the Workforce. You can read her testimony here. She has an eloquent description of Plano's problem with Connected Math.

For now I will give just 2 examples from Connected Math. The 7th grade booklet on integers has illustrations of red stones and blue stones for negative and positive integers. At home we are working on writing and solving systems of algebraic equations out of a Singapore Math book, but on a school test the 7th grade Connected Math test is challenging the students to illustrate 18-6=12 with red and blue dots, except their pencil only writes in black. So the challenge is to represent red and blue dots in black and white. This is an utter waste of time.

Tonight we looked at the Connected Math book and the most challenging problems in the current section are like this: "Is +8 - (+8) equivalent to 8 - 8? Explain." What mindless tripe!

Connected Math is a good example of why mathematics abilities in America are plummeting while Korea and Singapore take turns leading the world in math.

Plano parents objected bitterly 10 years ago to Connected Math and we are still stuck with it. In April 1983, 27 years ago, the famous report A Nation at Risk was published. Why be surprised that Plano has been stuck with a bad math curriculum for 10 years when the entire nation has been saddled with poor education for over 27 years?

So if you have a low opinion of Plano's middle-school math curriculum, you are not alone.

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